September 2020-back to school, not back to normal

One of the darkest days in United States history, as well as the rest of the world is September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked by terrorists. A possible attack on the White House was averted when private citizens caused their hijacked plane to crash in rural Pennsylvania. The country and the world have not been the same since.

September usually feels like we’re in the home stretch of the year, two thirds of the way through. Where I live, the first day of autumn happens. Vacations end, school resumes, and life settles down into a routine.

Life feels anything but routine this year, 2020. We’re digging our way out of a viral pandemic that continues to sicken and kill. Continued outbreaks threaten to keep kids and teachers home from school and stop sports. Most large events are cancelled or scaled way down.

In this podcast, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, medical journalist for CNN, discusses issues surrounding the dilemma of opening schools while the coronavirus continues to spread.

Back-To-School Jitters

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graphic from LIGHTSTOCK.COM, resource for stock photos and other media

Labor Day

In the United States we observe a holiday called Labor Day, although most people get the day off work. Not much happens on Labor Day except in a book and a movie by that name, and I reviewed both in this post.

Labor Day, a book more interesting than the holiday

Henry, who narrates the story, lives with his divorced mom in a small town. At 13, Henry seems more mature than he should need to be, while his mother Adele seems childish and naive for a grown woman. As the story unfolds, you begin to wonder  if Adele’s eccentric behavior is due to something more…

Grandparents’ Day

Another un-holiday is Grandparents’ Day, usually the second Sunday after Labor Day in the U.S. I think the only people who observe it are grandparents. I shared my grand-parenting journey in this post.

Exploring the HEART of grandparenthood

Why would I talk about grandparenting on a medical blog? Health professionals consider the family a vital factor in health, both positive and negative. You probably know that family medical history contributes to physical health, but family interactions also play an important role in child development, learning, and emotional health.

Remembering history

Although not as well known or observed as Independence Day (USA), Constitution Day, September 17, is probably more important. This day celebrates the creation of the United States’ government in 1787 as outlined in the Constitution.

If you listen to the news or follow social media, you know that what is and what isn’t “constitutional” creates heated debate, but that very debate is protected by the Constitution-and that’s something to celebrate. The day is also called Citizenship Day, an event I celebrated in a post about attending a naturalization ceremony.


One of the darkest days in United States history, as well as the rest of the world is September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked by terrorists. A possible attack on the White House was averted when private citizens caused their hijacked plane to crash in rural Pennsylvania. The country and the world have not been the same since. Read about that historic day here.

Remembering and reading about September 11, 2001

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…

Election 2020

The contentious presidential campaign will hold our attention for another two months, culminating on Election Day November 3. Both parties have completed their conventions,having nominated their candidates who are ramping up their appeals to voters- the incumbent Republican Donald Trump and the challenging Democrat Joe Biden. Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris are their parties’ choices for Vice President.

exploring the HEART of health

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Get active

Summer is the perfect time to start or increase physical activity. I’ve been using a fitness app on my phone, Aaptiv. Consider trying it. I’d appreciate you using this affiliate link through which you can help fund this blog. Thanks and enjoy.

How the Republicans want to fix your healthcare

The Republican National Committee chose to defer writing a platform for 2020. Instead they issued a RESOLUTION REGARDING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM . It concludes with the following resolutions: That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda;

update September 27, 2022

This post was published in 2020 when the Republican Party reaffirmed its 2016 party platform and nominated Donald Trump to run for reelection. In 2022 I have published a series of posts reviewing the Republican platform healthcare policies and proposals. I suggest you review them in addition to this older one. Here’s a link to one of them.

What do the political parties say about healthcare?

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

The Republican Platform on health

The Republican National Committee chose to defer writing a platform for 2020. Instead they issued a RESOLUTION REGARDING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM . It concludes with the following resolutions:

RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda;

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention;

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention calls on the media to engage in accurate and unbiased reporting, especially as it relates to the strong support of the RNC for President Trump and his Administration; and

RESOLVED, That any motion to amend the 2016 Platform or to adopt a new platform, including any motion to suspend the procedures that will allow doing so, will be ruled out of order.

the introduction to the 2016 platform on health.

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.”


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


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.”


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.”


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.


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. ” 


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.


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. “


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. “


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

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”.


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.”


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

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.”


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

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.

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