Religious Freedom Division in the Federal Health & Human Services Department

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What in the heck is “religious freedom”, and what does it mean to your health?  Here is a definition of “religious freedom” from the people who want the legal right to “practice” it.

“… is the right to use religious beliefs as a license to discriminate, and to provide special protections for Christians that fly in the face of the First Amendment.”  https://newrepublic.com/article/140645/trump-republicans-redefining-religious-freedom-favor-christians

So, now that we have the definition down, what is going to happen to you, if you need to go to a health provider?  Well, the following may happen to you if you are the following:  the child of a gay couple who needs health care; a LGBTQ+ person in need of health care; another religion, including but not limited to: Muslim, Hindu, or something other than Christian.  How will you be denied care?  Well, if your health care provider does not “believe” in contraception, he/she need not offer it to you as part of your health insurance, because their beliefs are more important than your care.  The same holds true if you need the “morning after pill” regardless if that is because of rape, incest, or another reason – no need for you to take it, since an unwanted pregnancy is a “silver lining”, or even an “unexpected gift from God”.   Because this is the “belief” of the health provider, you don’t get a choice.  Another problem with this new law is that if a woman needs an abortion, and there are a variety of medical reasons for this, including a dead fetus, the hospital or doctor can deny them the choice, leaving them with a) having to endure an induced labor and a still birth; b) carrying a dead fetus and hopefully not dying herself due to a septic womb.

Another item to take note of here, this “religious freedom” is used to control women and their health decisions along with anyone who is not a cis man.  I don’t see anyone worrying about prescriptions for Viagra, or even prostate examinations.

However, the most interesting question is this – whose religion is it that we must worry about with this freedom of religion?  Is it only the Christian religion, or does this also include:  Hindu, Muslim, the Church of Satan?  Is there a line, and if so where is it?  This opens a huge legal can of worms, and it will be interesting to see where it leads.  I’ve left some links for you if you want to know more about this subject.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/trump-administration-could-narrow-affordable-care-acts-contraception-mandate/2017/10/05/16139400-a9f0-11e7-92d1-58c702d2d975_story.html?utm_term=.8d7198460d17

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-healthcare-religion-legal/trump-move-on-healthcare-religious-freedom-prompts-discrimination-fears-idUSKBN1F800L

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/6/1737656/-A-Trump-official-wanted-to-forcibly-reverse-an-unaccompanied-teenager-s-medical-abortion?detail=emaildkre

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Doctor Visit

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After eight years, I finally put on my “big-girl panties” and went to the doctor for a “wellness visit”.  Once again, when it came time to go for my pre-visit blood test, I almost backed out.  Seriously, after eight years of not having any tests done, why go now?  I feel healthy and only have a few questions.  However, the change now is this – who knows how long I’ll have health care?  I could lose it at any time, just as you could (if you live in the U.S.).  The cost of our insurance is sure to continue rising, and it looks like rising is the least of it.  I’ve heard up to 18% increases and more in my state alone.  So, I decided to keep my appointment, just in case.

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How did it go?  Great!  All my blood work was terrific.  The only problem is that once again my blood pressure was a little high.  Gee, I wonder if that has anything to do with how nervous I was?  My doctor suggested that I buy a cuff and take my pressure every day for two weeks and see if my normal pressure is lower than the one at his office.  So, that I will do.  If it is high during the day on a consistent basis, I’ve got to go back. I hope it’s not.

I do know that I’ve got a major “fight or flight” response, so in order to combat my stress I want to try just laying on my bed and practicing my yoga breathing since that is one thing that I know works for me.  I’m happy that I went, and I’m extremely happy that I’m healthy!

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What is a Pre-existing Condition?

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There has been a lot of talk about pre-existing conditions, what they are and if people who have them can be denied health insurance, or be made to pay more for health insurance.  A pre-existing condition is anything medical that happened before a person’s health care policy went into effect.   In the bad old days, before the ACA, health insurance companies could refuse to sell policies to people who were sick, or who had been sick.  There were companies who did sell policies to these people, however the cost was much too high for the average person to pay.  With the ACA, these people were able to buy policies for about the same price that the average “healthy” person could.  With the advent of TrumpCare, these pre-existing conditions don’t need to be covered by insurance companies.  Here is a list of some of these conditions that no longer will be covered.

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As you can see, a lot of people have these conditions.  For example, I was born of with a heart murmur and I have had asthma in the past.  Heart murmurs, as I understand it, can be a crap-shoot.  It’s a 50/50 chance of needing a medical intervention.  I never even knew I had one until I was pregnant, then I was told that I’d had it all my life – go figure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMNOvVX8e4I

What do you think about these pre-existing conditions?  Are you in danger of losing your health care?  If you do lose it what will you do about it?  Let me know in the comments below.

Health Care?

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Okay, so I’ve simply got to say something about the plan for healthcare under the TrumpCare proposal.  I realize that “they” don’t want us calling it TrumpCare, however, if “they” were allowed to call the Affordable Care Act ObamaCare, then I really don’t see why this proposal can’t be called TrumpCare.

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Actually, the plan is to throw as many people off health insurance as possible.  Does that sound extreme?  Then tell me why, as a fifty-something year-old, under this plan, my insurance would go up 5 times what I’m paying now.  Yes, not 5%, but 5 times the cost.  Are they insane?  My health insurance per month would cost roughly what our monthly income is.  That would leave us with no money for food or shelter.  Oh, and by the way, Jason Chaffetz, I don’t have an expensive phone, instead I probably use one of the oldest flip phones still in use, and have no internet connection on it.  My husband though, has an expensive one that is for work, and therefore is paid for by his place of employment.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/07/if-jason-chaffetz-wants-to-compare-healthcare-to-iphones-lets-do-it-the-right-way/?utm_term=.1801ab53d187

I’m leaving some links below for those of you who want to educate yourselves further.  Please read them, as the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/03/07/the-new-republican-health-care-plan-is-awe-inspiringly-awful/?utm_term=.b904f58689ee

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/opinion/how-republicans-plan-to-ration-health-care.html?_r=0

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/health/risk-of-losing-health-insurance-in-republican-plan.html

 

Looking for Solutions

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Finding a problem is way too easy. Usually when we look at our lives all we see are the problems. However, we can be stymied when looking for a solution to the problem that we just found. As an example, my latest problem is that with a new health insurance company, my husband’s employer is now taking out an additional two hundred dollars from his monthly pay. So, now I’ve got a problem. I’m the one who pays the bills, and two hundred dollars missing from the monthly intake has really interfered with my ability to do the bill paying.

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At first, I just went into denial mode. If I ignore the problem, it will go away. Has this worked for anyone? Ever? Didn’t think so. Then I made a short list of what I could do. First of all, I could look into health insurance policies. After all, maybe I can find one that is cheaper. So far, I’ve not had much success, but I did only spend about two hours on this task. The cheaper policies also carry huge deductions, many of them to be paid up-front. This will force me to keep on looking.

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My second solution is that I need to take a look at our spending habits and see where I can cut those. One of the things that we consistently do is to get take-out on Friday nights. This can get rather more expensive than I would like, since my husband enjoys buying one or more appetizers. I have already cut down here by not getting anything for myself; instead I make a fabulous salad and have that. The only time when I get something is when we decide to get Chinese. The cost of the meal goes way down since I can usually get three meals out of my take-out. As a solution, there is no reason why we have to get take-out every Friday night. I believe that I’ll make pizza from scratch every other Friday. I’ve done this before, and the results have been pretty positive. See, there’s another solution.

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Then, the third solution. Food is extremely expensive. I am going to be finding cheap, easy vegan meals to make a couple of times a week for all of us. That should help with the food bill, and I can buy bags of beans instead of cans. Cheaper and better for you. Good ideas. So, as soon as I left the land of denial, my problem turned into solutions. Give it a try and let me know your results. I’ll keep you posted on mine.

New Ideas for Health Insurance

     Like most people, my family has to sign up for a new health insurance. When we went through the process, the most important questions had to do with cigarette smoking, and our height and weight. Of course they asked the medical issues questions, but nothing about our lifestyle other than smoking.

     So, my question is, why not? Why didn’t they ask how many times we eat meat and cheese; how many times do we exercise a week; or do we meditate? Why were lifestyle questions not asked? Why are lifestyle choices not considered for pricing of health insurance? If someone lives a lifestyle that keeps them healthier than one where meat is eaten repeatedly during the day, sugar is consumed at astonishing rates, and junk food is inhaled consistently, of course the health care costs are going to be higher.

      I would really like to see a system much like those offered by such stores as BJ’s (I know you get rewarded by receiving money back), but in this case where you get a reward for being healthy. How about if people were able to earn points for losing weight; dropping their high blood pressure; going from too high blood sugar to normal blood sugar; and other such healthy pursuits. We could all get so many points for these actions, and then use the points for classes on how to cook healthier food; classes on meditation; or other healthy pursuits.  Even points to be used for massage; or other stress relief.  How fun would that be?

     This would be a worthwhile endeavor, and wouldn’t it be great to become the healthiest nation, instead of the unhealthiest one?  People love getting rewarded; it’s a great motivational tool and wouldn’t it be fun to get classes, etc. free or for a reduced price?  What do you think about this idea?