July Timely Topics- Celebrations and Souvenirs

For July topics we’ll look at summer safety and wellness. We often call winter the cold and flu season, so we could call summer the poison ivy, sunburn, and blister season. Unfortunately, it’s also the season for drownings and water sport accidents.

Where I live, we just saw the first day of summer come and go. It was the longest day of the year and so far one of our hottest. Summer activities are in full swing. Many of the patients I see now are either just coming back from a vacation or getting ready to leave. I envy them because I am staying home since my husband is recovering from a broken ankle that dashed our plans for a summer trip.

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For July topics we’ll look at summer safety and wellness. We often call winter the cold and flu season, so we could call summer the poison ivy, sunburn, and blister season. Unfortunately, it’s also the season for drownings and water sport accidents.

Here in the United States we have our most important holiday of the year-Independence Day, or commonly called the 4th of July. On this day in 1776, the North American colonies of England declared political independence, and the rest, as they say, is history. Much has happened in the 243 years since, and the United Kingdom is now an ally; an American citizen, Meghan Markle, recently married into the British royal family. Friendship is worth pursuing between people and countries.

Statue of Liberty
Lady Liberty lifting her torch in New York harbor

Here are links to July’s Timely Topics, or just search for what interests you

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Healthcare

Don’t drink the water-how to avoid water related illness

Safe and healthy cruising-keys to an enjoyable vacation

5 insect repellents to keep you safe this summer

Christmas in July

Happy Campers

sharing the HEART of health

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.

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, links are on the left side bar here and the Home page. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

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Get active

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Let’s celebrate Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Health Care

We Americans may pride ourselves on not having “socialized” medicine or “national healthcare”, but we do have a health care system that is a combination of public and private funding and administration. And even private healthcare must comply with a myriad of local, state, and federal laws and regulations.

Every year on July 4th we celebrate Independence Day- the day the original 13 American colonies established an independent country.

They subsequently established a government, military, educational system, highway system, public works, and a healthcare system.

We Americans may pride ourselves on not having “socialized” medicine or “national healthcare”, but we do have  a health care system that is a combination of public and private funding and administration. And even private healthcare must comply with a myriad of local, state, and federal laws and regulations.

Celebrate healthcare professionals

I believe we have one of the best healthcare systems in the world  because of the people who work in healthcare- the people who devote years to education and training and who work tirelessly 365 days a year, 24 hours a day to make and keep us well.  Their commitment, compassion, dedication and competence benefits all of us and deserves our gratitude.

Statue of Liberty
Lady Liberty lifting her torch in New York harbor

According to recent statistics, the United States government accounts for-

40% of healthcare  spending , totalling $1.3 trillion yearly

United States government healthcare covers 100 million individuals through 4 federal agencies

  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Defense
  • Veterans Administration
  • Department of Homeland Security

(JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), June 21, 2016)

Government sponsored health care programs

The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare

The  United States Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 to guarantee basic health insurance to all citizens.  During the last presidential campaign, President Trump vowed to “repeal and replace” this law but although it has been modified, it is still active

Healthcare for military service member, veterans ,and their families

During the American Revolution the fledgling government extended health care benefits to the soldiers and veterans of that war; that system evolved into the current military health care system which covers service members and the Veterans’ Administration system for veterans.

a Veterans Administration clinic
a Veterans Administration clinic (photo by Dr. Aletha)
American soldiers serving in Afghanistan
American soldiers serving in Afghanistan

Medicare and Medicaid

Two other government healthcare programs- Medicare and Medicaid are over 50 years old. 

Medicaid provides insurance coverage for adults and children who are unemployed or low income.  

Medicare covers disabled children and adults  and persons 65 years and older.

  • Together these programs cover at least 30% of Americans.
  • Together they comprise 25% of all federal spending.
  • Together they pay 40% of total U.S. health care spending.

An infographic from the Kaiser Family Foundation and JAMA explains this further.

You may not be eligible for either of these programs now, but chances are eventually you or someone close to you will.

  • Anyone can become disabled from a serious illness or freak accident.
  • You or your spouse may lose your job and your employer sponsored health insurance.
  • Your child may have a disability that will prevent them from working when they grow up.
  • We may all live long enough to qualify for Medicare on the basis of age alone.  Your parents or grandparents are near or already at Medicare age.
ELDERLY COUPLE -189282_1280
Senior adults age 65 and older use Medicare.

It’s important to understand how Medicare works, since it’s not automatic; even if you qualify, you need to sign up to be covered (with a few exceptions). The rules are summarized here. Or consider an easy to understand book here. 

Several government agencies regulate, monitor,  promote and/or support both public and private healthcare including-

Food and Drug Administration- FDA

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- CDC

National Institutes of Health- NIH

Occupational Safety and Health administration-OSHA

Drug Enforcement Agency-DEA

medication capsules
The FDA regulates the development and sale of medications and medical devices and the DEA regulates dangerous and controlled drugs.

LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HEALTHCARE

Congress enacted several important laws that administer and regulate both private and public healthcare.

The Affordable Care Act- ACA

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-HIPPA

Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act- EMTALA

Health Information Technology  for Economic and Clinical Health- HITECH

Americans with Disabilities Act-ADA

Family Medical Leave Act-FMLA

Liberty Bell -replica
replica of the Liberty Bell at Disney World, Florida

Let Freedom Ring

In the Declaration of Independence, the founders of the United States created a nation based on the “self-evident truths”  of  “Life ,Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” and to promote “Safety and Happiness” . 

In the Constitution they vowed to “promote the general Welfare” .

I wonder if they envisioned their new government would spend so much time and money providing and regulating health care –

most of which was not available or even imagined at that time? 

Let’s celebrate!

woman holding a sprakler
Let’s celebrate ! This photo and featured image from stock photo site- Lightstock.com (affiliate)

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.

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, links are on the left side bar here and the Home page. Thanks so much.

Dr. Aletha 

a woman in a red, white, and blue shirt
Me, a few years ago, showing my patriotic spirit by posing in red, white, and blue

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Remembering Independence Day, July 4, 1776

On Independence Day, celebrated on July 4th, Americans celebrate our country’s freedom with fireworks, family, and friends. Amidst the fun and hoopla, let’s pause to remember the supreme price of freedom.

On Independence Day, celebrated on July 4th, Americans celebrate our country’s freedom with fireworks, family, and friends. Amidst the fun and hoopla, let’s pause to remember the supreme price of freedom.

Freedom is our most revered right as citizens of the United States

The United States flag displayed at Grand Central Station, New York City, NY
The United States flag displayed at Grand Central Station, New York City, NY

 

Let’s hoist up our American flags, prominently wear our red, white, and blue, and proudly show our dedication to those to whom we owe this weekend: our nation’s veterans and U.S. military.

 

Our country is great because of them. In their honor, I want to invite everyone to take a moment with me today and pause in honor of those who have fought and those who continue to fight for our freedom.

statue of General George Washington, first President of the United States of America - New York City
statue of General George Washington, first President of the United States of America – New York City

 

As the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization, the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) thanks the brave men and women who fought – and continue to fight – at home and abroad, along with their families who sacrificed along with them, to allow us the privilege to live in the Land of the Free because of the brave.

(message courtesy of ALA leadership)

 

 May God bless America and our friends around the world.

The Statue of Liberty
“Liberty Enlightening the World” on Liberty Island, New York City, gift to the United States from France

 

I am proud to be a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

Have a happy, healthy, and safe Independence Holiday.    Dr. Aletha 

Independence Day, July 4, 1776

As part of the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization, American Legion Auxiliary volunteers across the country also step up to honor veterans and military through annual scholarships and with ALA Girls State programs, teaching high school juniors to be leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism.

Today we celebrate the birth of the United States of America “one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

The United States flag displayed at Grand Central Station, New York City, NY
The United States flag displayed at Grand Central Station, New York City, NY

As a member of The American Legion Auxiliary I thank all service members of the Armed Forces of the United States of America for their innumerable contributions to protecting our freedoms and keeping our nation safe. I also want to thank the families of deployed service members for their strength and their sacrifice.

Our country is great because of you. In your honor, I want to invite everyone to take a moment with me today and pause in honor of those who have fought and those who continue to fight for our freedom.

statue of General George Washington, first President of the United States of America - New York City
statue of General George Washington, first President of the United States of America – New York City

American Legion Auxiliary members have dedicated themselves for nearly a century to meeting the needs of our nation’s veterans, military and their families both here and abroad. They volunteer millions of hours yearly, with a value of nearly $2 billion.

As part of the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization, Auxiliary volunteers across the country also step up to honor veterans and military through annual scholarships and with ALA Girls State programs, teaching high school juniors to be leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism.

To learn more about the Auxiliary’s mission or to volunteer, donate or join, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org.

May God bless America and our friends around the world.

The Statue of Liberty
“Liberty Enlightening the World” statue on Liberty Island, New York City

sharing the HEART of liberty

I hope you enjoyed these patriotic photos I took during my trip to New York City.

Did you know, the first woman to graduate from a medical school in the United States, established a hospital in New York City? Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell and her sister Dr. Emily Blackwell established the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in 1857. That facility eventually became the New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital .

                              Dr. Aletha