Trump’s Great Healthcare Insurance Idea

Here is Trump’s latest suggestion about the health care debacle: “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!” Now, first off, if you can’t get 50 Senators to vote on a reduction in publicly funded health care for low-income and elderly people (which most of us think is to harsh), how on Earth do you expect to get a majority to vote for pretty much no publicly funded health care for these folks. And what do you have in mind as that “later date!”? Many of the replies to the above Tweet were what I would expect. Things like: “They should repeal you.” “Then replace you at a later date.” That was my particular favorite. As you can see I loved it! But then there are people who agree with the Trumpster. Like this…

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American Horrible Health Care Act: The Mandate

What we hear from Republicans is that the Affordable Care Act is “a disaster” or “broken,” and that the new House version will provide more access to health care without that nasty mandate that everyone buy insurance, and that it will cost far, far less.  Pie in the sky.  That is NOT what the current bill passed by the House is about. We also hear people like Paul Ryan talking about the mandate that everyone buy health insurance: “We are not going to make an American do what they don’t want to do.”  (Quote from an interview on Face the Nation, 3/12/17).  This is reiterated frequently by Speaker Ryan, other Republican members of Congress, and Republican policy makers: “I like for Americans to choose the benefits they want… I’m not in the business of telling people what benefits they should and shouldn’t have.” (Quote from Lanhee Chen of the the…

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My Brain Made Me Do It? And Other Questions About Neuroscience

REVIEW:   Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience, Sally Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld,  NY: Basic Books, 2013. This book is short (156 pages of text) and easy to read while being well researched and documented (61 pages of interesting, helpful notes and citations – in a point size enough smaller than the text to make one believe that in the original draft there was as much space, time and effort devoted to this endeavor as there was to the writing of the text) The authors make it clear that they are nether opposed to or over-archingly critical of brain science in general or neuroimaging in specific.  They do, however, take the positions that (1)     Neuroscience is a brilliant development, but still young and at the very early stages of discovering what it has to discover. (2)     Some authors, enthusiasts and members of the media take small discoveries…

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Giving Guns to People with Mental Health Disabilities

There is news from Capitol Hill which underscores the notion that there is more to fear in Washington, DC than just the  the White House.  According to an article in the NY Times on February 15, 2017. Congress has acted to reverse and Obama administration rule requiring the Social Security Administration to add about 75,000 people, currently on disability support, to the national background check database and deny them gun purchases. These individuals suffer schizophrenia, psychotic disorders and other problems to such an extent that they are unable to manage their financial affairs and other basic tasks without help. An article from The Hill  reports a statement from House Speaker Paul Ryan after the shootings in Orlando.  Ryan stated  “that many of the shooters are mentally ill and therefore a reform of the mental health system is the right response.”I don’t want to keep saying the same thing over and…

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Chronic Politics Stress Disorder (CPSD)

As I talk to colleagues I hear virtually all of them saying that they themselves have been highly stressed  by recent political events, and that their clients are all talking about the presidential election and politics in an unprecedented way.  People talk about old, terrible feelings being stirred up which relate to past experiences of being marginalized or hurt by bigotry and prejudice — or harassed, raped or abused.  People talk about anxiety, fear and anger — and a determination to “not let things go back to the way they were before.”  People talk about feeling more stressed than usual, or more shaky, or having more headaches, or feeling kind of out of focus or overwhelmed.  Some of these friends, colleagues and clients are from immigrant families or are part of the first generation of their families to be born in the United States.  Some are Muslem or part of…

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Autism, Vaccines and the Trump Administration

“So what’s going on with autism? When you look at the tremendous increase, it’s really – it’s such an incredible – it’s really a horrible thing to watch, the tremendous amount of increase…”  (February 14, 2017, reported in the Washington Post) “When I was growing up, autism wasn’t really a factor,” Trump said. “And now all of a sudden, it’s an epidemic. Everybody has their theory. My theory, and I study it because I have young children, my theory is the shots. We’ve giving these massive injections at one time, and I really think it does something to the children.”  (Dec 28, 2007 reported in the Sun Sentinel of South Florida). These, like so many statements from Mr. Trump, leave one with a gaping mouth and not much idea of where to start.  And they, now coming from a man in a position of real power and influence, rise to…

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Review: Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

Dark Money:  The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right Author:  Jane Mayer NY:  Doubleday,  2016   This is a detailed, well-researched look into the monetary forces driving the far right, including movements like the Tea Party (and far, far more). The subjects of the investigative reporting are billionaires (the Koch brothers, the DeVos family and others) who, as Libertarians, believe that no government is pretty much the best government and so have used their money to methodically buy institutions and influence people to conform with their ideals. It is a clear answer to why it was so difficult for President Obama to get things done and why Hillary Clinton’s campaign failed.  The book is enlightening and frightening at the same time, and makes it all the more clear that we must be politically active in order to preserve social programs, stop climate change, protect…

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