Why we need Palm Sunday

The first Palm day was a prelude to unexpected pain and suffering. Most of us did not anticipate the pain and suffering this pandemic would bring. But the second Palm day was a celebration

Palm Sunday is one of several “holidays”, or more correctly holy days that Christians “celebrate”, or observe, in the weeks before Easter called Lent. Palm Sunday comes from an event recorded in the Bible books of Mark, Luke, and John.

The prophet Zechariah had said 

“Announce to the people
of Jerusalem:
‘Your king is coming to you!
He is humble
and rides on a donkey.
He comes on the colt
of a donkey.’ ”

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The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do. They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on.

The next day a large crowd was in Jerusalem for Passover. When they heard that Jesus was coming for the festival,  they took palm branches and went out to greet him. They shouted,

Hooray for the Son of David!
God bless the one who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hooray for God
in heaven above!”


(Mark 11.1-11; Luke 19.28-38; John 12.12-19)

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

© 2006 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.

Lent starts with the well known Fat Tuesday-Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday.


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Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday, related in the story above. At my church on Palm Sunday, the preschool age children march into the auditorium waving palm branches and sing a song for us. The parents and grandparents sit up front, proudly taking pictures and video. It’s a day to celebrate before we observe the solemn sad days of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

two crossed palm branches

a second day to wave palm branches

It may not have been a Sunday, but I recently discovered another time when palm branches are used to honor Jesus. But unlike the first Palm Sunday, it celebrates a much happier occasion. It’s in the book of Revelation.

After this, I saw a large crowd with more people than could be counted. They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands, as they shouted,

Our God, who sits

    upon the throne,

has the power

to save his people,

    and so does the Lamb.

Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom,

    thanks, honor, power,

and strength belong to our God

    forever and ever! Amen!”

Revelation 7:9-12, CEV

sharing faith, hope, and love

FAITH LOVE HOPE- words created with letter tiles
These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

The first Palm day was a prelude to unexpected pain and suffering. Most of us did not anticipate the pain and suffering this pandemic would bring. But the second Palm day was a celebration because their pain and suffering was over. And I believe some day we will look back on these difficult days and celebrate health and wholeness again.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

cheesy-free faith-focused stock photos

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National Doctors’ Day 2020- battling the COVID-19 pandemic

Doctors’ Day 2020 will be somber for not only U.S. doctors, but for physicians all over the world. This year we are all working together against the biggest medical foe any of us have ever faced- the novel coronavirus pandemic

National Doctors’ Day

Did you know there is a national day to honor physicians? In 1990, the U.S. Congress established a National Doctors’ Day, first celebrated on March 30, 1991.

The first Doctors’ Day observance was March 30, 1933, in Winder, Georgia. The idea came from a doctor’s wife, Eudora Brown Almond,  and the date was the anniversary of the first use of general anesthetic in surgery.

an electron microscope image of the coronavirus
used with permission, CDC.GOV

Doctors’ Day 2020

But Doctors’ Day 2020 will be somber for not only U.S. doctors, but for physicians all over the world. This year we are all working together against the toughest medical foe any of us have ever faced- the novel coronavirus pandemic.

March 30 is Doctors' Day

You may not have a chance to honor your doctor in person, but you can commit to doing your part to establish a trusting, respectful relationship with your doctors. It will be good for both of you.

a medical person holding a stethoscope

how to communication with your doctors-

Be open and honest about your medical history,lifestyle, and concerns. 

Sometimes patients leave out important information due to forgetting, thinking it’s not important, embarrassment, or fear. But that may be the very piece of data I need to pinpoint what’s wrong.

So tell the doctor

  1. If you can’t do something you’re asked to do
  2. If you can’t afford medication, tests, or treatment
  3. If you are afraid of a test or treatment
  4. If other doctors are caring for you
  5. Your social habits-alcohol use, smoking, sexual behavior

Learn more tips on talking with your doctor here-

How to talk to your doctor to improve your medical care a male doctor holding a tablet

Give details about your problem, explain what you feel

I find that patients often have difficulty describing how they feel. They may say they hurt, cough, itch or get short of breath, but give few details. Maybe because we use  text messaging with its brevity, abbreviations and emoticons. We have forgotten how to use descriptive words.

I don’t think we doctors expect our patients to always recite a rehearsed narrative  about “why I came to the doctor today.” But it does help if you come prepared to answer questions as specifically as possible.

You might try thinking about your problem using the PQRST mnemonic. It will help your doctor identify possible causes for your symptoms, and may also help you understand your problem and even suggest ways you can help yourself.

Find out what PQRST means at this post-

How to tell your doctor what’s wrong with you.

Female doctor looking at an xray

Recognize your doctors are people first

As physicians, our patients’ “social histories” help us understand factors in your life that impact your health -where you live, your job, your family, your hobbies . Besides that, we enjoy getting to know you, especially the things that make you and your life unique and interesting. That feeling can go both ways.

a woman in white coat with mask over mouth

Exchanging a few social words can make the encounter more satisfying for you and your doctor. Some of us will be more open about sharing our personal lives, and some subjects may be off limits. But I don’t think any of us will object to polite,  caring interest in our lives outside of medicine.  

You may cry when you read about a unique doctor-patient relationship in this post-

A simple way to help your doctor beat burnout

Finally, in honor of Doctors’ Day, meet some physicians with unique experiences to share, just a few of the many doctors who work tirelessly to share the HEART of health.

INTERNATIONAL HEALTHCARE

Dr. Kent Brantly awoke feeling ill- muscle aches, fever, sore throat, headache and nausea. As his condition progressively worsened to include difficulty breathing, he learned the cause of his illness- the Ebola virus. Having spent the past few weeks caring for patients caught up in the Ebola epidemic that swept Liberia in the spring of 2014, Dr. Brantly had contracted the disease himself, and would likely die, as almost all victims do.

Continue this story at-

Surviving Ebola, “Called for Life”- Dr. Kent Brantly

affiliate link

 DISASTER HEALTHCARE

When she applied for a position in New York City at the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), Dr. Judy Melinek never imagined that decision would plunge her into the nightmare of September 11, 2001. She was at the ME office that day when the Twin Towers were attacked and fell, killing thousands of people.

She and the other staff collaborated with the team of investigators who worked night and day identifying remains of the victims, a task she vividly describes in the book. This was basically their only job, since the cause of death was for the most part irrelevant, and impossible to determine. Sometimes they had only a small body part, as little as a finger, to extract DNA to identity a victim. Such identification was critical to bring closure to the families who lost loved ones, people who left for work that day, and never came home.

Read more about Dr. Melinek at this review of her book-

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and The Making of a Medical Examiner- a review of words worth sharing

Meet the 91 year old still practicing physician, whose grandfather was a slave- Melissa Freeman, M.D.

Photos in this post are from the LIGHTSTOCK.COM collection, an affiliate link. Consider Lightstock for your photo and graphic needs. You will get quality media and help support the mission of this blog-to inform and inspire us all to discover the HEART of health.

exploring the HEART of dedicated physicians

Join me on Facebook March 30 through April 3 where I share stories about physicians past and present who share the HEART of health every day.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

March Sadness-how COVID-19 has changed 2020

In 2020 we’ll be thanking doctors for tackling this new and largely unknown disease that just a few weeks ago we knew little about. Since then we’ve learned it’s name, it’s genetic make up, symptoms, how it spreads, and complications, and slowly learning what does and does not work, and how to contain and stop it.

Daylight Saving Time-March 8

Most of the United States changed to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday March 8 2020. However, since then, not much else has been the same due to the pandemic caused by the novel Coronavirus that began in China at the end of 2019.

Your body has probably adjusted to the time change by now but  WebMD offers these tips to make the change easier.

St. Patrick’s Day-March 17

Of course you know that March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day. Cities around the world have cancelled their St. Patrick’s Day parades-Dublin Ireland, New York City New York, Boston Massachusettes, and Chicago Illinois.

Not only is the parade in Chicago cancelled, but also the tradition of dying the Chicago River green. Fortunately, I have this photo from a previous year taken by my son who lives there.  

The Chicago River is green on St. Patrick's Day
photo of the Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day by Ryan Oglesby

Welcome Spring.

We will welcome the  first day of Spring, March 20,  in the northern hemisphere, with the occurrence of the vernal equinox. I don’t think the virus can stop that, but may make it less enjoyable. Many families are cancelling or limiting their spring break vacation plans. Even Disney World is closing all of their parks.

This link to The Weather Channel explains what the vernal equinox means.

graphic of the earth explaining equinox and solstice
original source not known

 

National Residency Match Day

March 20 is also Match Day. No, not the kind of match you light fires with.

It’s the day graduating medical students find out what residency program they will join through the National Resident Matching Program , which “matches” them with available positions in residencies all over the United States.

Why should you care? This matching process determines who will care for our medical needs in the next 30-40 years; our family physicians, internists, pediatricians, general surgeons, obstetricians, dermatologists, psychiatrists, and the multitude of other medical specialties. Most doctors will continue in the same specialty their entire career, although some  switch after a few or many years.

For those graduates who match to a residency, especially if it is their top choice, it is a day for celebrating with family and friends, almost like a graduation. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak many medical schools are scaling down or even cancelling festivities this year, disappointing after 4 years of long hours of study and hours of tiring clinical work.

 

Match Days Cancelled, Pared Down Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

THE SURPRISING NEW DOCTORS CARING FOR YOU
photo from Lightstock.com, graphic created with Canva

Read this previous post about the new doctors who will care for you

National Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been designated National Doctor’s Day in the United States. You may not have heard of  a day to honor doctors.

HONOR A DOCTOR-MARCH 30

The first Doctors’ Day observance was March 30, 1933, in Winder, Georgia. The idea came from a doctor’s wife, Eudora Brown Almond,  and the date was the anniversary of the first use of general anesthetic in surgery.

The Barrow County (Georgia) Medical Society Auxiliary proclaimed the day “Doctors’ Day,” which was celebrated by mailing cards to physicians and their wives and by placing flowers on the graves of deceased doctors.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress established a National Doctors’ Day first celebrated on March 30, 1991.

In 2020 we’ll be thanking doctors for tackling this new and largely unknown disease that just a few weeks ago we knew little about. Since then we’ve learned it’s name, it’s genetics, symptoms, transmission, and complications, and slowly learning what does and does not work, and how to contain and stop it.

RESOURCES FOR understanding COVID-19

CDC-Coronavirus Disease 2019

Tips from your Family Doctor

 

March Madness- college basketball tournament

Even people who don’t follow basketball regularly, get excited about March Madness-when college football teams vie to be named the National Champion. Sadly, that has also been cancelled this year, along with other amateur and professional sporting events. Even the Summer Olympics is in question.

statues of runners passing a torch
at the U.S. Olympic Training Center at Colorado Springs Colorado, photo by Dr.Aletha

 

 

exploring the HEART of health

I invite you to follow Watercress Words on Facebook where I share links and occasional posts about the current status of COVID-19.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

 

                              Dr. Aletha 

 

 

How the Republicans want to fix your healthcare- a review of the party platform

“We are the party of independent individuals and the institutions they create together — families, schools, congregations, neighborhoods — to advance their ideals and make real their dreams. Those institutions, standing between the citizen and the power of government, are the pillars of a free society. They create spaces where the power of government should not intrude. They allow Americans to work together to solve most of the problems facing their communities. Our society is at a crossroads. The question is whether we are going to reinvigorate the private-sector institutions under citizen control or allow their continued erosion by the forces of centralized social planning. In that divide, the Republican Party stands with the people.” quote from the Republican party platform

If you consider health care an important issue for the upcoming presidential election this year, you are in good company. In a Gallup poll December 2019, 81% of those surveyed considered it very or extremely important. Following closely in importance were terrorism/national security , gun policy, and education.

It’s too soon to discuss what the individual candidates propose for healthcare as there are still multiple Democratic candidates vying for the nomination and there are challengers to the Repubican incumbent.

What do the political parties say about healthcare?

So we’ll focus on the two major party platforms and see what they say about health care. My intent is to present a non-partisan review since this blog does not endorse any party or candidate. If my reviews seem biased toward any specific viewpoint, that is unintentional.

I’ll summarize what I consider the highlights but encourage you to read the entire documents. I’ll include points that express the party’s positions as well as its proposals.

The Republican Platform on health

Since they are the challengers this year, I started with the Democratic party platform; this post only addresses the Republican position .

The photos are for illustration only and are not associated with the platform or the party.

First, let’s read the introduction to the 2016 platform on health. The Republican platform is structured differently than the Democrats’, grouping healthcare  with education and criminal justice. I will include references to health issues that appear in the education and justice sections. There are also health issues addressed in other sections of the platform that I include as well.

Great American Families, Education, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice

“We are the party of independent individuals and the institutions they create together — families, schools, congregations, neighborhoods — to advance their ideals and make real their dreams. Those institutions, standing between the citizen and the power of government, are the pillars of a free society. They create spaces where the power of government should not intrude. They allow Americans to work together to solve most of the problems facing their communities.

Our society is at a crossroads. The question is whether we are going to reinvigorate the private-sector institutions under citizen control or allow their continued erosion by the forces of centralized social planning. In that divide, the Republican Party stands with the people.”

Family of 4 sitting at a dining table.

Marriage, Family, and Society

“Foremost among those institutions is the American family. It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman. That is why Republicans formulate public policy, from taxation to education, from healthcare to welfare, with attention to the needs and strengths of the family.”

Republicans

oppose policies and laws that create a financial incentive for or encourage cohabitation

do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states

Families formed or enlarged by adoption strengthen our communities and ennoble our nation. Private entities which facilitate adoptions enrich our communities

Republicans

support measures such as the First Amendment Defense Act to ensure these entities do not face government discrimination because of their views on marriage and family

urge marriage penalties to be removed from the tax code and public assistance programs 

a little girl with a big backpack standing next to a yellow school bus

Choice in Education 

“We support options for learning, including home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, and early-college high schools. We especially support the innovative financing mechanisms that make options available to all children: education savings accounts (ESAs), vouchers, and tuition tax credits.”

Republicans

propose that the bulk of federal money through Title I for low-income children and through IDEA for children with special needs should follow the child to whatever school the family thinks will work best for them

renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior

oppose school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception and believe that federal funds should not be used in mandatory or universal mental health, psychiatric, or socio-emotional screening programs

support the original, authentic meaning of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. It affirmed that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Republicans

commend the good-faith efforts by law enforcement, educational institutions, and their partners to address (sexual assault) responsibly, and further propose

Whenever reported, it must be promptly investigated by civil authorities and prosecuted in a courtroom, not a faculty lounge

Questions of guilt or innocence must be decided by a judge and jury, with guilt determined beyond a reasonable doubt

Those convicted of sexual assault should be punished to the full extent of the law 

taking blood pressure

Restoring Patient Control and Preserving Quality in Healthcare

“Any honest agenda for improving healthcare must start with repeal of the dishonestly named Affordable Care Act of 2010: Obamacare. It must be removed and replaced with an approach based on genuine competition, patient choice, excellent care, wellness, and timely access to treatment. “

Republicans propose

The President, on the first day in office, will use legitimate waiver authority under the law to halt its advance and then, with the unanimous support of Congressional Republicans, will sign its repeal.

reduce mandates and enable insurers and providers of care to increase healthcare options and contain costs. Our goal is to ensure that all Americans have improved access to affordable, high-quality healthcare, including those struggling with mental illness

return to the states their historic role of regulating local insurance markets, limit federal requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid, and call on state officials to reconsider the costly medical mandates, imposed under their own laws, that price millions of low-income families out of the insurance market. 

block grant Medicaid and other payments and to assist all patients, including those with pre-existing conditions, to obtain coverage in a robust consumer market

affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life… abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it.

To ensure vigorous competition in healthcare, and because cost-awareness is the best guard against over-utilization,

Republicans will

promote price transparency so consumers can know the cost of treatments before they agree to them

empower individuals and small businesses to form purchasing pools in order to expand coverage to the uninsured

We believe that individuals with preexisting conditions who maintain continuous coverage should be protected from discrimination. We applaud the advance of technology in electronic medical records while affirming patient privacy and ownership of personal health information.

Today’s highly mobile workforce needs portability of insurance coverage that can go with them from job to job.

Republicans  

propose to end tax discrimination against the individual purchase of insurance and allow consumers to buy insurance across state lines

propose repealing the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act which protects insurance companies from anti-trust litigation

look to the growth of Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Accounts that empower patients and advance choice in healthcare

make homecare (for senior adults)  a priority in public policy and will implement programs to protect against elder abuse

a large, ornate, brick church

Protecting Individual Conscience in Healthcare

“We respect the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and organizations, especially the faith-based groups which provide a major portion of care for the nation and the needy. ” 

Republicans

support the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral, or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty.  

support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children

support the right of parents to consent to medical treatment for their minor children and urge enactment of legislation that would require parental consent for their daughter to be transported across state lines for abortion

Providers should not be permitted to unilaterally withhold services because a patient’s life is deemed not worth living. American taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortion.

Republicans

call for a permanent ban on federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage

an ornate courthouse

Better Care and Lower Costs: Tort Reform

“Medical malpractice lawsuits have ballooned the cost of healthcare for everyone by forcing physicians to practice defensive medicine through tests and treatments which otherwise might be optional. “

Republicans

support state and federal legislation to cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, thereby relieving conscientious providers of burdens that are not rightly theirs and addressing a serious cause of higher medical bills.

Chanelle Case Borden, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the National Cancer Institute’s Experimental Immunology Branch, vortexing DNA samples for further study.
Source: National Cancer Institute (NCI)Creator: Daniel Sone (photographer)
Date Created: September 2014

Advancing Research and Development in Healthcare

“To continue our headway against breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, and other killers, research must consider the needs of formerly neglected demographic groups. “

Republicans

call for expanded support for the stem cell research that now offers the greatest hope for many afflictions — through adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells — without the destruction of embryonic human life

urge a ban on human cloning for research or reproduction, and a ban on the creation of, or experimentation on, human embryos for research 

support cutting federal and state funding for entities that endanger women’s health by performing abortions in a manner inconsistent with federal or state law

white capsules in front of a prescription bottle
Photo by Julie Viken on Pexels.com

Putting Patients First: Reforming the FDA

“The continuously increasing burden of governmental regulation and red tape is taking its toll on our innovative companies, and their pipeline of new life-saving devices and drugs to our nation’s patients is slowing and diminishing.  The FDA needs to return to its traditional emphasis on hard science and approving new breakthrough medicines, rather than divert its attention and consume its resources trying to overregulate electronic health records or vaping”.

Republicans

pledge to restore the FDA to its position as the premier scientific health agency, focused on both promoting and protecting the public health in equal measure 

allowing terminally ill patients the right to try investigational medicines not yet approved by the FDA.  

urge Congress to pass federal legislation to give all Americans with terminal illnesses the right to try

a man in a wheelchair

Advancing Americans with Disabilities

Under the last two Republican presidents, landmark civil rights legislation affirmed the inherent rights of persons with disabilities. Republicans want to support those rights by guaranteeing access to education and the tools necessary to compete in the mainstream of society.”

To encourage their entrepreneurship, it makes sense to include them in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) certification program, which opens up federal contracting for emerging businesses. Any restructuring of the tax code should consider ways in which companies can benefit from the talent and energy of their disabled employees.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has opened up unprecedented opportunities for many students. Congressional 

Republicans will 

lead in its reauthorization, as well as renewal of the Higher Education Act, which can offer students with disabilities increased access to the general curriculum. Our TIME Act (Transition to Integrated and Meaningful Employment) will modernize the Fair Labor Standards Act to encourage competitive employment for persons with disabilities

affirm our support for its goal of minimizing the separation of children with disabilities from their peers

endorse efforts like Employment First that replace dependency with jobs in the mainstream of the American workforce.

oppose the non-consensual withholding of care or treatment from people with disabilities, including newborns, the elderly, and infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, which endanger especially those on the margins of society

urge the Drug Enforcement Administration to restore its ban on the use of controlled substances for physician-assisted suicide.

Ensuring Safe Neighborhoods: Criminal Justice and Prison Reform 

The men and women of law enforcement — whether patrolling our neighborhoods or our borders, fighting organized crime or guarding against domestic terror — deserve our gratitude and support. Their jobs are never easy, especially in crisis situations, and should not be made more difficult by politicized second-guessing from federal officials. To honor their sacrifice, we

recommit ourselves, as individuals and as a party, to the rule of law and the pursuit of justice

A new administration

must ensure the immediate dismissal and, where appropriate, prosecution of any Department officials who have violated their oath of office.

The next president

must restore the public’s trust in law enforcement and civil order by first adhering to the rule of law himself

must not sow seeds of division and distrust between the police and the people they have sworn to serve and protect.

The Republican Party

must make clear in words and action that every human life matters

Drugs and alcohol use can impair driving

Combatting Drug Abuse

“The progress made over the last three decades against drug abuse is eroding, whether for cultural reasons or for lack of national leadership.  Congress and a new administration should consider the long-range implications of these trends for public health and safety and prepare to deal with the problematic consequences.”

Republicans

look for expeditious agreement between the House and Senate on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which addresses the opioid epidemic from both the demand and supply sides of the problem.

.

Preserving Medicare and Medicaid

(This is in a section titled Government Reform)

“We intend to save Medicare by modernizing it, empowering its participants, and putting it on a secure financial footing. We will preserve the promise of Medicaid as well by making that program, designed for 1965 medicine, a vehicle for good health in an entirely new era.”

Republicans propose

Impose no changes for persons 55 or older.

Give others the option of traditional Medicare or transition to a premium-support model designed to strengthen patient choice, promote cost-saving competition among providers, and better guard against the fraud and abuse that now diverts billions of dollars every year away from patient care.

Guarantee to every enrollee an income-adjusted contribution toward a plan of their choice, with catastrophic protection.

Without disadvantaging present retirees or those nearing retirement, set a more realistic age for eligibility in light of today’s longer life span.

We applaud the Republican governors and state legislators who have undertaken the hard work of modernizing Medicaid. We will give them a free hand to do so by block-granting the program without strings. Using block grants would allow states to experiment with different systems to address mental health and develop successful models to be replicated in states across the nation.

We respect the states’ authority and flexibility to exclude abortion providers from federal programs such as Medicaid and other healthcare and family planning programs so long as they continue to perform or refer for elective abortions or sell the body parts of aborted children.

black and silver semi automatic pistol on brown wooden table
Photo by Derwin Edwards on Pexels.com

The Second Amendment:Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms

(This is in a section  titled A Rebirth of Constitutional Government)

“We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution and is secured by the Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self-defense for the safety of their homes, their loved ones, and their communities.”

Republicans

support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states

support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them

oppose any effort to deprive individuals of their right to keep and bear arms without due process of law.

condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the (past)Administration’s illegal harassment of firearm dealers

oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners, registration of ammunition, and restoration of the ill-fated Clinton gun ban.

call for a thorough investigation — by a new Republican administration — of the deadly “Fast and Furious” operation perpetrated by Department of Justice officials who approved and allowed illegal sales of guns to known violent criminals

Here is the link to the 2016 Republican Party Platform on Health

exploring the HEART of healthcare change

I appreciate your interest in the politics of healthcare, an issue that is vital to all of us every day. These proposals will become more focussed and debated as election day approaches; the national election is Tuesday November 3, 2020. Please exericse your right to vote, I plan to.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

How the Democrats want to fix your healthcare- a review of the party platform

“Democrats have been fighting to secure universal health care for the American people for generations, and we are proud to be the party that passed Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Being stronger together means finally achieving that goal. We are going to fight to make sure every American has access to quality, affordable health care.” quote from the Democratic party platform

If you consider health care an important issue for the upcoming presidential election this year, you are in good company. In a Gallup poll December 2019, 81% of those surveyed considered it very or extremely important. Following closely in importance were terrorism/national security , gun policy, and education.

As of March 5, two candidates have survived the caucuses and primaries- former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders. They both have health care plans which reflect the basic position of the Democratic party.

What do the political parties say about healthcare?

So we’ll focus on the two major party platforms and see what they say about health care. My intent is to present a non-partisan review since this blog does not endorse any party or candidate. If my reviews seem biased toward any specific viewpoint, that is unintentional.

I’ll summarize what I consider the highlights but encourage you to read the entire documents. I’ll include points that express the party’s positions as well as its proposals.

The Democratic Platform on health

Since they are the challengers this year, I will start with the Democratic party platform; the Republican position will be in a separate post.

The photos are for illustration only and are not associated with the platform or the party.

This party platform was voted on and passed by the membership at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in 2016. The platform will be updated and re-approved at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

First, let’s read the introduction to the platform on health.

ENSURE THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF ALL AMERICANS

“Democrats have been fighting to secure universal health care for the American people for generations, and we are proud to be the party that passed Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Being stronger together means finally achieving that goal. We are going to fight to make sure every American has access to quality, affordable health care.

We will tackle the problems that remain in our health care system, including cracking down on runaway prescription drug prices and addressing mental health with the same seriousness that we treat physical health. We will fight Republican efforts to roll back the clock on women’s health and reproductive rights, and stand up for Planned Parenthood. And we will tackle the epidemics of substance abuse and gun violence, which each claim tens of thousands of lives every year.”

EMERGENCY-sign
Photo by Pixabay

Securing Universal Health Care

Democrats believe that health care is a right, not a privilege, and our health care system should put people before profits.

Americans should be able to access public coverage through a public option and those over 55 should be able to opt in to Medicare.

Democrats will

empower the states to use innovation waivers under the ACA to develop unique locally tailored approaches to health coverage

work to end other practices that lead to out-of-control medical debt , repeal the excise tax on high-cost health insurance, reducing out-of-pocket expenses, and capping prescription drug costs

fight against insurers trying to impose excessive premium increases

fight any attempts by Republicans to privatize, voucherize, or phase out Medicare as we know it

oppose Republican plans to slash funding and block grant Medicaid and SNAP

keep fighting until the ACA’s Medicaid expansion has been adopted in every state

Supporting Community Health Centers

We must renew and expand our commitment to Community Health Centers, as well as community mental health centers and family planning centers.

Democrats will

double funding for federally qualified community health centers over the next decade, to include primary care, mental health care, dental care, and low cost prescription drugs

fight to train and support public health workforce

encourage providers to work with underserved populations

create a comprehensive strategy to increase the pool of primary health care professionals

white capsules in front of a prescription bottle
Photo by Julie Viken on Pexels.com

Reducing Prescription Drug Costs

Democrats are committed to investing in the research, development, and innovation that creates lifesaving drugs and lowers overall health costs, but the profiteering of pharmaceutical companies is simply unacceptable.

Democrats will

crack down on price gouging by drug companies 

cap the amount Americans have to pay out-of-pocket every month on prescription drugs

prohibit anti-competitive “pay for delay” deals that keep generic drugs off the market

allow individuals, pharmacists, and wholesalers to import prescription drugs from licensed pharmacies in Canada and other countries with appropriate safety protections. 

Chanelle Case Borden, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the National Cancer Institute’s Experimental Immunology Branch, vortexing DNA samples for further study.
Source: National Cancer Institute (NCI)Creator: Daniel Sone (photographer)
Date Created: September 2014

Cutting-Edge Medical Research

Democrats believe we must

accelerate the pace of medical progress, ensuring that we invest more in our scientists and give them the resources they need to invigorate our fundamental studies in the life sciences in a growing, stable, and predictable way

make progress against the full range of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, HIV and AIDS, cancer, and other diseases, especially chronic ones

recognize the critical importance of a fully-funded National Institutes of Health to accelerate the pace of medical progress

Combating Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Democrats want to

confront the epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction, specifically the opioid crisis and other drugs plaguing our communities

expand access to prevention and treatment, supporting recovery

help community organizations, and promoting better practices by prescribers

encourage full recovery and integration into society of those struggling with addiction  working to remove common barriers to gainful employment, housing, and education

fight to expand access to care for addiction services, and ensure that insurance coverage is equal to that for any other health conditions 

do more to educate our youth, as well as their families, teachers, coaches, mentors, and friends, to intervene early to prevent drug and alcohol abuse and addiction

help state and local leaders establish evidence-based, age-appropriate, and locally-tailored prevention programs

NIH IMAGE GALLERY

Treating Mental Health

We must treat mental health issues with the same care and seriousness that we treat issues of physical health, support a robust mental health workforce, and promote better integration of the behavioral and general health care systems. Recognizing that maintaining good mental health is critical to all people, including young people’s health and development.

Democrats will

work with health professionals to ensure that all children have access to mental health care

expand community-based treatment for substance abuse disorders and mental health conditions and fully enforce our parity law

create a national initiative around suicide prevention across the lifespan—to move toward the HHS-promoted Zero Suicide commitment

Supporting Those Living with Autism and their Families

Democrats believe that our country must make supporting the millions of individuals with autism and those diagnosed in the future and their families a priority.

Democrats will

conduct a nationwide early screening outreach campaign to ensure that all children, and in particular children from underserved backgrounds, can get screened for autism

expand services and support for adults and individuals transitioning into adulthood, including employment and housing assistance

push states to require health insurance coverage for autism services in private insurance plans as well as state marketplaces so that people with autism are not denied care

NIH IMAGE GALLERY-Credit: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health

Securing Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

Democrats are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice. We believe unequivocally that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion.

.

Democrats will

stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people 

continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment

combat any acts of violence, harassment, and intimidation of reproductive health providers, patients, and staff

defend the ACA, which extends affordable preventive health care to women, including no-cost contraception, and prohibits discrimination in health care based on gender

address the discrimination and barriers that inhibit meaningful access to reproductive health care services, including those based on gender, sexuality, race, income, disability, and other factors

support a woman’s decision to have a child, including by ensuring a safe and healthy pregnancy and childbirth, and by providing services during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including adoption and social support services, as well as protections for women against pregnancy discrimination

We are committed to creating a society where children are safe and can thrive physically, emotionally, educationally, and spiritually. We recognize and support the importance of civil structures that are essential to creating this for every child

a man in a wheelchair

Ensuring Long-Term Care, Services, and Supports

Our country faces a long-term care crisis that prevents too many seniors and people with disabilities from being able to live with dignity at home or in their communities. The vast majority of people who are aging or living with a disability want to do so at home, but face challenges finding and affording the support they need to do so.

Democrats will

take steps to strengthen and expand the home care workforce

give seniors and people with disabilities access to quality, affordable long-term care, services, and supports

ensure that all of these resources are readily available at home or in the community

Entitled, “Adding Solution to an ELISA Plate”, this image was created by CDC Microbiologist, Pamela Cassiday, MS, of the Pertussis and Diphtheria Laboratory. Since 2010, members of the CDC Pertussis and Diphtheria Laboratory have conducted training courses in Latin America on laboratory diagnosis of pertussis. This photograph of pertussis serology training, was taken during a training course in Chile, and shows a student adding a solution to an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) plate, causing the change in color from blue to yellow. This photo earned Pamela the Second Place award in the 2013 CDC Connects Annual Public Health in Action Photo Contest, in the category of International Programs.This image is in the public domain and thus free of any copyright restrictions. As a matter of courtesy we request that the content provider be credited and notified in any public or private usage of this image.

Protecting and Promoting Public Health

Investment in our nation’s crumbling public health infrastructure is critical to ensuring preparedness for emerging threats; for preventing disease, illness, and injury in communities; and for promoting good health and wellbeing.

Democrats will

continue to oppose Republican attempts to cut public health services and funding

ensure adequate funding of public health education at the undergraduate, graduate, and medical school levels as well as adequate funding of residency training programs in public health, preventive medicine, and its subspecialties

fight for increased investments and coordination in public health to better address emerging threats as well as persistent needs across our country

pursue policies addressing these social factors (that cause poor health)  and empowering communities to respond to their most pressing health needs

women standing with arms around each other

Ending Violence Against Women

Democrats are committed to ending the scourge of violence against women wherever it occurs —whether in our homes, streets, schools, military, or elsewhere.

Democrats will

continue to support the Violence Against Women Act to provide law enforcement with the tools it needs to combat this problem

support comprehensive services for survivors of violence and increase prevention efforts in our communities and on our campuses

provide comprehensive support to survivors, and ensure a fair process for all on-campus disciplinary proceedings and in the criminal justice system

increase sexual violence prevention education programs that cover issues like consent and bystander intervention, not only in college, but also in secondary school

black and silver semi automatic pistol on brown wooden table
Photo by Derwin Edwards on Pexels.com

Preventing Gun Violence

Democrats believe that we must finally take sensible action to address gun violence. While responsible gun ownership is part of the fabric of many communities, too many families in America have suffered from gun violence.

Democrats will

 expand and strengthen background checks and close dangerous loopholes in our current laws

repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) to revoke the dangerous legal immunity protections gun makers and sellers now enjoy; and 

keep weapons of war—such as assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines (LCAM’s)—off our streets

fight back against attempts to make it harder for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to revoke federal licenses from law breaking gun dealers, and ensure guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists, intimate partner abusers, other violent criminals, and those with severe mental health issues

Here is the link to the party platform which I encourage you to read for yourself.

Where we stand

exploring the HEART of healthcare change

I appreciate your interest in the politics of healthcare, an issue that is vital to all of us every day. These proposals will become more focussed and debated as election day approaches; the national election is Tuesday November 3, 2020. Please exercise your right to vote, I intend to.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Health lessons from Martin Luther King, Jr.

African-Americans frequently suffer health disparities and are more susceptible to certain disorders than other races. We doctors know our black patients experience more difficulty with these conditions in particular-diabetes, asthma, sarcoidosis, hypertension, stroke, and cancers.  

 

The Reverend Dr. King led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968.

His famous “I have a dream” speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. is  remembered, read, and recited by people all over the country if not the world on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day every year.

The  United States observes the third Monday of January as a federal holiday in honor and memory of the birthday of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929)

 Health effects of violence

Dr. King’s life reminds us of the  tragic effects of interpersonal violence. His life ended suddenly and prematurely when, on April 4, 1968, an assailant shot him as he stood on a hotel balcony. He had delivered his last speech just the day before. The shooter was apprehended, and after confessing to the murder, sentenced to life in prison where he died.

Most people know of Dr. King’s assassination, but don’t know his mother, Alberta Williams King, also died violently. At age 69, sitting at the organ of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Mrs. King was shot and killed on June 30, 1974. Her  23-year-old assailant received a life sentence and died in prison.

Violence between persons creates social, economic and political problems, and serious medical consequences. It is a leading cause of death, especially in children, adolescents and young adults.

Non-fatal injuries often cause severe and permanent disability that changes lives, burdens families and increases medical costs astronomically. These include

  • TBI, traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries leading to paraplegia, quadriplegia, ventilator dependence
  • Amputations of limbs
  • PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder; other forms of anxiety; depression
  • Chronic pain, often leading to opiate dependence

Here is a previous post  about  why and how we need to address violence in our society .

Why we need to end violence and how to stop it

Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.

Dr. King

Effects of health disparities

This observance also reminds us of the problem of health disparity. Health disparities are

preventable differences in illness, injury, violence, or access to health care that happen to  socially disadvantaged populations.

These populations can be defined by factors such as

  • race or ethnicity,
  • gender,
  • education or income,
  • disability,
  • geographic location (e.g., rural or urban),
  • sexual orientation.

Health disparities are directly related to the past and present  unequal distribution of social, political, economic, and environmental resources.

African-Americans frequently suffer health disparities and are more susceptible to certain disorders than other races. We doctors know our black patients experience more difficulty with these conditions in particular-diabetes, asthma, sarcoidosis, hypertension, stroke, and cancers.  Dr. King’s father, Martin Sr. ,died of a heart attack. His widow, Coretta Scott King, died of ovarian cancer.

Learn Why 7 Deadly Diseases Strike Blacks Most  from WebMD

You can learn more about Dr. King and listen to part of his famous speech at

Biography.com

"I have a dream" by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Plaque honoring “I have a dream” speech by Dr. King , in Washington D.C. looking toward the Washington Monument

You can read the full text of the speech at

I Have A Dream….

I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies,

education and culture for their minds,

and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.

Dr. King

The following book suggestions lead to affiliate links which may pay a commission to this blog at no extra cost to you. These commissions help me fund this blog.

a biography about Dr. King written for children

I Am Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am Martin Luther King book
Martin Luther King Jr.

sharing the dream of HEALTH equality

Thank you for joining me to remember the late Dr. King.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Christmas Day

Christian tradition believes that St. Luke, the writer of this gospel, was a physician. Perhaps that’s why this Bible book speaks so much about Christ’s compassion and concern for the sick, the poor, widows, orphans, the abused and oppressed. He tells the stories of the lost (prodigal) son and the good Samaritan.

Luke chapter 1

28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

photo from the LIGHTSTOCK.COM collection, stock photo site, an affiliate

 

Mary’s Song

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.”

Christian tradition believes that St. Luke, the writer of this gospel, was a physician. Perhaps that’s why this Bible book speaks so much about Christ’s compassion and concern for the sick, the poor, widows, orphans, the abused and oppressed. He tells the stories of the lost (prodigal) son and the good Samaritan.

This video shows Mark Lowry as a serious and talented singer. However, he is also a gifted comedienne. He attributes his love and talent for humor to his childhood diagnosis of ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Rather than try to suppress it, he developed it into an asset to entertain and bless others.

 sharing the HEART of Christmas

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

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