Disclaimer: I am not a professional! If you want to find a professional sex educator please look at my "Resources" page. If you have any questions, feel free to ask on my ask site: FYsexeducationquestions, though check out my FAQ first!
Free Public Health Courses
I found this collection of free, online Public Health courses by well-known universities, such as John Hopkins University, Duke University, University of California, University of Toronto and many more.
The courses can be accessed through the Coursera catalog and are between 4 - 8 weeks long. Courses among the health categorie include:
- Community Change in Public Health
- Principles of Obesity Economics
- Health Care Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Health Informatics in the Cloud
- The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness
- Critical Thinking in Global Challenges
Free education rocks, enjoy it.
I’m taking a few of these courses, Community Change in Public Health, Principles of Public Health, The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness, and a lot of others. I’ve taken a few courses with Coursera already (and talked about it here a lot all ready) and could not promote it enough! It’s great.
I really need to learn more about health care systems in other countries, especially Canada and the UK as I have a lot of followers from there. Does anyone have any resources, especially when it comes to more affordable health care for people who don’t make a lot of money or ways to get birth control or other contraceptives for free?
The petition is asking the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to not enact new abortion reporting requirements.
I will personally be delivering the signatures to the TX HHS commission.
These new requirements are intended to make abortion more difficult to provide and harder to access for the Texas doctors who have a legal right to provide the procedure and Texans who have a legal right to undergo it.
The new proposed rules are Department of State Health Services and HHSC’s attempts at putting into statute that which Rep. Bill Zedler’s proposed legislation could not put into law with his proposed, but failed, HB 1602 (82nd Legislature) and HB 1131 (80th Legislature), as well as the unattached Zedler amendment to SB7 in 2011.
Throughout the public comment period that opened on this matter in April, DSHS has as yet been unable or unwilling to identify any existing problems that these new requirements solve, or give any reasoning for their inception beyond admitting that they are a direct response to Bill Zedler’s personal desire to see his own anti-woman, anti-choice beliefs put into legal statute by any means necessary.
HHSC, if it adopts these new abortion reporting requirements, is subverting Texas’ critical democratic process by bending to the wishes of one individual legislator.
As you can tell from the title, this brief is very obviously gendered. However, it goes over in great detail why reproductive health care is so important to young people in the United States. Here are some highlights:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that even though young people ages 15 to 24 represent only 25 percent of the sexually experienced population, they acquire nearly half of all new sexually transmitted infections.
- Of the approximately 19 million uninsured adult women in America, about 5.3 million—28 percent—are ages 19 to 25. Women in their 20s have been among the least likely to have health insurance either because they are no longer in school; no longer eligible to stay on their parent’s insurance policy; working part-time, temporary, or low-wage jobs that do not offer health benefits; or some combination of the above.
- For many young [people], their annual visit to their obstetrician/gynecologist may be their only consistent contact with a doctor, and it is often their primary interaction with the health care system. Young [people] use gynecological visits for a range of services, from checking their blood pressure to obtaining a breast exam, from receiving traditional gynecological services such as screening for sexually transmitted infections or birth control prescriptions to being screened for depression and mental health disorders.
It’s really weird to talk about reproductive healthcare because it’s all geared towards cis people. I will need to see a “womans” doctor the rest of my life, but I’m not a woman. My girlfriend will need to continue to see a “mans” doctor, in addition to a “womans” doctor, and seeing either is dangerous for her. All of the health stuff, like about how to tell if you’re having a heart attack, is written for cis people. So how can the trans* and non binary people know? We are missing out on a lot of basic health care because it’s written for cis people. I’m so tired of it. I’m tired of hearing “men can’t be part of abortion.” EXCUSE ME. I’m a man. I have a uterus. If I get pregnant, I have a heart condition that would force me to abort. Should I have no say in my own healthcare? It also makes women like my girlfriend feel left out, because abortion is an issue for “women only” because “all women have uteri”. Well she does not, and never will. It hurts her. It’s not an issue for her because she has no uterus.
FREE AND CHEAP DRUGS YA’LL
Hey Tumblr, if you’re poor, under-or-unemployed, and/or uninsured, you can probably get free drugs directly from the manufacturers.
Yeah, free. Like seriously all you pay for is maybe the doctor/nurse visit you’ll probably need to go to for the prescription.
The basics, because every program is different:
- to fill out a buttload of paperwork, which is a pain in the buns, but FREE MEDS
- a prescription for the medication(s) you’re trying to obtain, which means you’ll need to find a doctor or nurse practitioner (someone who can legally write scripts), whom you can also probably see for free at a community clinic if you’re willing to chill on a waiting list for three months.
- proof of residence, official ID, utility bill, something like that
- probably your most recent W-2 or paystub, to prove you need assistance. if you make a “decent” amount but maybe have tremendous bills or something, some companies will make exceptions if you take the time to write a letter explaining the situation, and maybe include a pile of copies of your bills. if you’ve been unemployed for a while or have never worked, they’ll probably ask you to explain how you get by, or to provide proof that you’re getting food stamps or something of the sort.
- that’s pretty much it.
- like i said, every company is different, so make sure you read every line of the requirements, because it’s a pain in the arse to send all your shit in and find out that whoops you forgot to draw a unicorn on the lower left-hand corner of your 2011 W-2 form or some ridic shit
Links to patient assistance programs; feel free to add your own:
Lilly (Byetta, Cymbalta, Glucagon, Humalog, Humulin, Livalo, Prozac, Quinidine, ReoPro, Strattera, Xigris, Sybyax, Zyprexa) : http://www.lillytruassist.com/pages/FindProgram.aspx
Sanofi-Aventis (Apidra, Lantus, Clolar, Jevtana, Elitek, Leukine, Eloxatin, Mozobil, Eligard, Lovenox, Rilutek, Multaq, Priftin) : https://patientassistanceprogram.sanofi-aventis.us/index.html
abbott (ANDROGEL, PROMETRIUM, Advicor, Creon, Depakote, Gengraf, Humira, Kaletra, Synthroid, Tarka, and several more) : http://www.abbottpatientassistancefoundation.org/pharmaceutical_products.asp
Pfizer (lots and lots of drugs; I have gotten free Zoloft from them in the past) : http://www.pfizerhelpfulanswers.com/pages/Application/Application.aspx
Basically, pretty much every major pharmaceutical company has some sort of free/discount drug program; you just have to dig around to find it because nobody tells us about them unless they’re those rare sorts of doctors who actually advocate for their patients.
Service-y! Healthcare reform doesn’t happen at lightning speed, sadly, so I’m sure this is relevant to lots of my readers.
On Birth Control & the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
I’ve been reading a lot about the ACA and I notice that not everyone is up to date on what’s going down with birth control now that SCOTUS has given their ruling. So here’s a bit of info on what to expect:
- Yes, birth control will be covered under the Affordable Care Act.
The regulations made under the act rely on the Institute of Medicine for recommendations. The IOM says that “birth control is medically necessary to ensure women’s health and well-being.”
- No, churches/houses of worship will be mandated to cover contraceptives. Christian hospitals, charities, universities and other religious enterprises will, however!
- Yes, birth control will come straight from the insurers. So if you are a religious enterprise, it’s out of your hands!
- No, you won’t have to co-pay for birth control. All of women’s preventive pay will be covered, including mammograms, domestic violence screenings and contraception.
Keep in mind that these affect trans* and non-binary folks as well, so this goes well beyond helping women!
big thanks to reddit user CaspianX2 for typing all this out!
What people call “Obamacare” is actually the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, people were calling it “Obamacare” before everyone even hammered out what it would be. It’s a term mostly used by people who don’t like the PPaACA, and it’s become popularized in part because PPaACA is a really long and awkward name, even when you turn it into an acronym like that.
Anyway, the PPaACA made a bunch of new rules regarding health care, with the purpose of making health care more affordable for everyone. Opponents of the PPaACA, on the other hand, feel that the rules it makes take away too many freedoms and force people (both individuals and businesses) to do things they shouldn’t have to.
So what does it do? Well, here is everything, in the order of when it goes into effect (because some of it happens later than other parts of it):
Already in effect:
It allows the Food and Drug Administration to approve more generic drugs (making for more competition in the market to drive down prices)
It increases the rebates on drugs people get through Medicare (so drugs cost less)
It establishes a non-profit group, that the government doesn’t directly control, to study different kinds of treatments to see what works better and is the best use of money.
It makes chain restaurants like McDonalds display how many calories are in all of their foods, so people can have an easier time making choices to eat healthy.
It makes a “high-risk pool” for people with pre-existing conditions. Basically, this is a way to slowly ease into getting rid of “pre-existing conditions” altogether. For now, people who already have health issues that would be considered “pre-existing conditions” can still get insurance, but at different rates than people without them.
It renews some old policies, and calls for the appointment of various positions.
It creates a new 10% tax on indoor tanning booths.
It says that health insurance companies can no longer tell customers that they won’t get any more coverage because they have hit a “lifetime limit”. Basically, if someone has paid for life insurance, that company can’t tell that person that he’s used that insurance too much throughout his life so they won’t cover him any more. They can’t do this for lifetime spending, and they’re limited in how much they can do this for yearly spending.
Kids can continue to be covered by their parents’ health insurance until they’re 26.
No more “pre-existing conditions” for kids under the age of 19.
Insurers have less ability to change the amount customers have to pay for their plans.
People in a “Medicare Gap” get a rebate to make up for the extra money they would otherwise have to spend.
Insurers can’t just drop customers once they get sick.
Insurers have to tell customers what they’re spending money on. (Instead of just “administrative fee”, they have to be more specific).
Insurers need to have an appeals process for when they turn down a claim, so customers have some manner of recourse other than a lawsuit when they’re turned down.
New ways to stop fraud are created.
Medicare extends to smaller hospitals.
Medicare patients with chronic illnesses must be monitored more thoroughly.
Reduces the costs for some companies that handle benefits for the elderly.
A new website is made to give people insurance and health information.
A credit program is made that will make it easier for business to invest in new ways to treat illness.
A limit is placed on just how much of a percentage of the money an insurer makes can be profit, to make sure they’re not price-gouging customers.
A limit is placed on what type of insurance accounts can be used to pay for over-the-counter drugs without a prescription. Basically, your insurer isn’t paying for the Aspirin you bought for that hangover.
Employers need to list the benefits they provided to employees on their tax forms.
- Any health plans sold after this date must provide preventative care (mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.) without requiring any sort of co-pay or charge.
- If you make over $200,000 a year, your taxes go up a tiny bit (0.9%)
This is when a lot of the really big changes happen.
No more “pre-existing conditions”. At all. People will be charged the same regardless of their medical history.
If you can afford insurance but do not get it, you will be charged a fee. This is the “mandate” that people are talking about. Basically, it’s a trade-off for the “pre-existing conditions” bit, saying that since insurers now have to cover you regardless of what you have, you can’t just wait to buy insurance until you get sick. Otherwise no one would buy insurance until they needed it. You can opt not to get insurance, but you’ll have to pay the fee instead, unless of course you’re not buying insurance because you just can’t afford it.
Insurer’s now can’t do annual spending caps. Their customers can get as much health care in a given year as they need.
Make it so more poor people can get Medicare by making the low-income cut-off higher.
Small businesses get some tax credits for two years.
Businesses with over 50 employees must offer health insurance to full-time employees, or pay a penalty.
Limits how high of an annual deductible insurers can charge customers.
Cut some Medicare spending
Place a $2500 limit on tax-free spending on FSAs (accounts for medical spending). Basically, people using these accounts now have to pay taxes on any money over $2500 they put into them.
Establish health insurance exchanges and rebates for the lower-class, basically making it so poor people can get some medical coverage.
Congress and Congressional staff will only be offered the same insurance offered to people in the insurance exchanges, rather than Federal Insurance. Basically, we won’t be footing their health care bills any more than any other American citizen.
A new tax on pharmaceutical companies.
A new tax on the purchase of medical devices.
A new tax on insurance companies based on their market share. Basically, the more of the market they control, the more they’ll get taxed.
The amount you can deduct from your taxes for medical expenses increases.
- Doctors’ pay will be determined by the quality of their care, not how many people they treat.
- If any state can come up with their own plan, one which gives citizens the same level of care at the same price as the PPaACA, they can ask the Secretary of Health and Human Resources for permission to do their plan instead of the PPaACA. So if they can get the same results without, say, the mandate, they can be allowed to do so. Vermont, for example, has expressed a desire to just go straight to single-payer (in simple terms, everyone is covered, and medical expenses are paid by taxpayers).
All health care plans must now cover preventative care (not just the new ones).
A new tax on “Cadillac” health care plans (more expensive plans for rich people who want fancier coverage).
- The elimination of the “Medicare gap”
Aaaaand that’s it right there.
The biggest thing opponents of the bill have against it is the mandate. They claim that it forces people to buy insurance, and forcing people to buy something in unconstitutional. Personally, I take the opposite view, as it’s not telling people to buy a specific thing, just to have a specific type of thing, just like a part of the money we pay in taxes pays for the police and firemen who protect us, this would have us paying to ensure doctors can treat us for illness and injury.
Plus, as previously mentioned, it’s necessary if you’re doing away with “pre-existing conditions” because otherwise no one would get insurance until they needed to use it, which defeats the purpose of insurance.