U.S. alone among Western countries on lack of paid maternity leave

Later On

The US is “special” (in the pejorative sense) in many ways: one of 3 nations in the world that refuse to use the metric system (the other two are Liberia and Myanmar), the nation that imprisons the highest proportion of its citizens (we really lead here: no other nation is even close), the only advanced nation that witnesses mass killings of its citizens as a part of daily life, and so on. Our healthcare system, though recently improved, lags far behind that of other advanced nations. And the US does not provide paid maternity leave. John Zarocostas reports in McClatchy:

The United States is the only Western country—and one of only three in the world—that does not provide some kind of monetary payment to new mothers who’ve taken maternity leave from their jobs, a new U.N. study reports.

Two other countries share the U.S. position of providing “no cash benefits during…

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Obamacare vs. The Affordable Care Act (Yeah, They’re The Same Thing)

Illuminate

 

Rachel Maddow talked about some bewildering results of a recent survey on people’s feelings about Obamacare on her news show. CNBC has reported about it as well:

29% of the public supports Obamacare compared with 22% who support the Affordable Care Act.

46% oppose Obamacare and 37% oppose Affordable Care Act.

So what’s going on? Well, it’s all in the name, of course!

The strange results are due to two things. The first is that the respondents didn’t know that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the same thing (Obamacare is simply a derisive nickname given to the Affordable Care Act by those who don’t support it, whereas the Affordable Care Act is its official name). The second is that the respondents were swayed by the name used in the survey. When the term “Obamacare” was used, the results were different than when the term “Affordable Care…

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10 Reasons to Love Obamacare

Photo courtesy of drexel.edu

Photo courtesy of drexel.edu

About Pres. Obama’s new health care plan, Care2 says:

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is called that for a reason. Otherwise known as Obamacare, it protects patients from HMOs’ common abusive tactics and makes health insurance more affordable.”

Here are 10 reasons why you should feel good about Obamacare (and not listen to Republicans) –

1) Everyone will have access to health care coverage

2) Pre-existing conditions will no longer affect your coverage

3) Sick patients will no longer be dropped by their insurance 

4) Young adults can stay on their parents’ plans

5) Free preventive care

6) Regular check-up with a gynecologist will be free for women

7) Free birth control

8) You will save money on medical bills

9) The whole country will save money (Obamacare will reduce the national deficit by two hundred billion dollars in its first ten years)

10) The Medicare “donut hole” will close (Seniors on Medicare  who experience this donut hole often pay up to $4,550 out of pocket for prescription medication. Obamacare will seal up the hole by 2020)

For more details, go to Care2.com.

The Uninsured Mentally Ill

Photo courtesy of caregiving.com

Photo courtesy of caregiving.com

Here’s a scary fact: A single hospital admission for a mentally ill patient paid for by the taxpayer-financed state medical-assistance program costs more than a year of private outpatient care. It makes little financial sense, yet it happens every single day in America.

Everyday, a mentally ill person is admitted to an ER in the throes of a psychiatric emergency, desperately needing care and having nowhere else to go. No psychiatrist, no therapist, no case manager, no nothing. So they rely on ER doctors and nurses- and tax payers. But after the patient gets emergency care, they are back on their own. Until it happens again.

So why do these patients lack proper, long term psychiatric care that could provide regular treatment? Why do they end up in this endless cycle? The answer is simple, yet still disturbing- they have no health insurance.

Psychiatrist Christine Montross wrote an article,”The Woman Who Ate Cutlery,” about this quandary that many mentally ill people who lack health insurance face on a regular basis. The article was featured in the New York Times on August 3, 2013.

From NYTimes.com:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — M is a 33-year old woman who swallowed silverware. Each time she ingested utensils, she went to the emergency room so that doctors could remove them from her esophagus and stomach.

Then the hospital transferred M to the psychiatric unit, where she was assigned to my care. When I met M she had already been hospitalized 72 times.

M’s case is dramatic. But she is one of countless psychiatric patients who have nowhere to turn for care, other than the E.R.

It is well known that millions of uninsured Americans, who can’t afford regular medical care, use the country’s emergency rooms for primary health care. The costs — to patients’ health, to their wallets, and to the health care system — are well documented. Less visible is the grievous effect this shift is having on psychiatric care and on the mentally ill.

How could this cycle of self-injury be disrupted? M and other psychiatric patients who turn to emergency rooms for care need regular outpatient appointments with a doctor they know and trust who can monitor their symptoms and assess the efficacy of their often complicated medication regimens.

Sadly, M’s history of recurrent hospital admissions is not uncommon. Recently I treated a 65-year-old man caught in a chronic cycle of homelessness and suicide attempts who had been in and out of the E.R. 246 times. If M had insurance, or enough money to pay out of pocket, she might see a therapist every week for an hour and a psychiatrist once or twice a month.

For full article, go to nytimes.com.