Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A New Diagnosis: Post Election Stress Disorder

More Politics as HealthCare, please.

Kaiser Health News

By Jenny Gold February 22, 2017

Wally Pfingsten has always been a news junkie. But since President Donald Trump was elected, he’s been so anxious about the political tumult that even just having the TV news on in the background at home is unbearable.

“It’s been crippling,” said the 35-year-old San Mateo, Calif., resident and political moderate who has supported both Democratic and Republican candidates in the past. “I feel angry, really, really angry, far more angry than I expected to be.”

He’s tried hard to quell his anxiety. First, he shut down his Facebook page to limit his exposure to the daily soaking of news from Washington. But not knowing the goings-on made him anxious, too. He found himself sneaking onto the Facebook account he made for his dog. “I felt like I was cheating,” he said.

Pfingsten is not alone in his politics-induced anxiety — it’s so common it’s been given an unofficial name: Post-Election Stress Disorder. Mental health professionals around the country, especially those working in Democratic strongholds, report a stream of patients coming in with anxiety and depression related to — or worsened by — the blast of daily news on the new administration.
This KHN story also ran on CNN.com. It can be republished for free (details).

In the past, therapists say it’s been fairly uncommon for patients to bring up politics on the couch. “It is big money to talk about politics with me ― that is not what we do!” said Maria Lymberis, a psychiatrist in Santa Monica, Calif.

But that was before “fake news,” “alternative facts,” “repeal and replace,” contested confirmations, travel bans, protests and suits over travel bans, suspicions about Russian influence and the departures of the acting attorney general and the new national security adviser. Among other things.

Requests for therapy appointments to Talkspace, an online therapy portal based in New York City, tripled immediately following the election and have remained high through January, according to the company. In particular, Talkspace has seen a steady increase in requests from minorities, including Muslim-Americans, African-Americans, Jews, gays and lesbians.

“In my 28 years in practice, I’ve never seen anything like this level of stress,” said Nancy Molitor, a psychologist in the Chicago suburbs. She says the vast majority of her patients — from millennials to those in their 80s — are bringing up politics in their therapy sessions. “What we’re seeing now after the inauguration is a huge uptick in anxiety.”

Many of her patients say they are having trouble sleeping and focusing at work or are fighting more with family members, she said. 

Mental health professionals around the country, especially in Democratic strongholds, report a stream of patients coming in with anxiety and depression. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“I have people who’ve told me they’re in mourning, that they’ve lost their libido,” Molitor said. “I have people saying the anxiety is causing them to be so distracted that they’re blowing through stop signs or getting into fender benders.”

The anxiety appears to be widespread. Fifty-seven percent of Americans report that the current political climate is a very or somewhat significant source of stress, and 40 percent say the same about the outcome of the election, according to an online survey of 1,019 adults conducted by the American Psychological Association after the inauguration. Between August 2016 and January 2017, the overall average stress level increased significantly for the first time since the Stress in America survey began 10 years ago.

And it’s not Democrats: a quarter of Republicans report that the outcome of election is a significant source of stress for them.

“I’m seeing lot of anxiety and anger on both sides,” says Elaine DuCharme, a psychologist in Glastonbury, Conn. “People who are Republicans are afraid to tell anyone. They’re afraid that everybody thinks that every Republican thinks exactly as Trump does, and support every single thing he does.”

She says some of her patients are particularly concerned about maintaining civil relationships with friends and loved ones who have different political opinions. “People are walking on eggshells,” DuCharme said.

Karri King, 56, who lives in Buckeye, Ariz., and voted for Trump, says her experiences on social media have left her feeling sad and hopeless. “There’s so much negative from all these stupid Facebook posts acting like the world is going to end. And it’s false. And I can’t do a thing about it.”

King said she’s tried to engage civilly with people online who disagree with her, but “every time [Republicans] turn around, we’re bashed.”

When you say “a bunch of idiots” voted Trump in, “you’re talking about half of all Americans! We were hopeful at first, and now we’re angry and tired of being blamed,” said King. “Nobody wants to listen anymore, and that’s where my sadness comes from.”

Of course, in some parts of the country, especially those that are overwhelmingly Republican and outside big cities, people seem relieved if not uplifted by the new president’s flurry of executive orders and appointments.

Kristin Addison-Brown, a psychologist in rural Jonesboro, Ark., says before the election, some of her patients were voicing concerns about a possible Clinton victory. But since then, “it’s pretty much been crickets for my patients. They got their guy, so they’re not stressed anymore.”

Nancy Cottle, a Trump supporter in Mesa, Ariz., has been riding high since the election. “We got to go to the inauguration, and, oh, it was a wonderful experience! We got to go to the Trump hotel and have breakfast and then lunch there, and it was just great. The inauguration itself was very inspiring.”

Cottle, 64, has been struggling to understand the public outcry about Trump. “It’s like the sky is falling ― but a lot of that is just drama,” she said. “I feel encouraged, I feel hopeful. I can’t wait to wake up and see what the day’s going to bring and what else is going to happen.”

That same daily dose of news ― and the uncertainty of what will happen next ― rattles many Trump opponents. But, like Pfingsten, they can’t seem to quit their news consumption cold turkey.

“Part of the brain wants to know what’s going on, and you’re drawn to watching CNN or reading the news. And then the other part of you is saying no, no, this isn’t good for me!” says Molitor, the Chicago psychologist. “It’s unfortunately like driving by a car accident ― they know it’s not good for them [to gawk], but it’s hard to stop.”

Molitor recommends patients stay engaged but limit the time they spend on Facebook or watching the news. Focus instead on other things you enjoy, she advises ― calling a friend, taking a walk or reading a book.

“I never read the Harry Potter books, so I’m reading Harry Potter,” says Matthew Leal, a 34-year-old San Francisco resident who found himself sinking into a depression after the election. “Someone could see this and say I’m being totally escapist right now, but I feel like it’s kind of what I need.”

Categories: 2016 Campaign, Mental Health, Public Health, Syndicate

Tags: Trump Administration
jgold@kff.org | @JennyAGold

Thank You Ms Gold and KHN. 

Deal with it snowflake. He's not going to be impeached to salve your anguish.

And even if he were to be impeached, then you'd be just as upset with President Pence. And after him President Speaker of The House.

Do you really think the Dems are serious about impeaching him? Or is it that they're Playing you, again?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Leaked Document Reveals Republican Plans To Replace ObamaCare

Careful Pubbies. You were elected to Repeal O'care, not give it a face lift. This could well cost you the next 3 election cycles.

Our Prediction? If Republicans put their names on Any part of this horror, the Democrat/MSM will have a field day with them.

"ObamaCare was Perfect. It would have worked if we'd just had More time and More money. And now those awful Republicans have ruined everything." 

"There they go, kicking Granny in her wheelchair off the cliff, just like we told you they would."



Posted: Feb 27, 2017 10:25 AM
Earlier in the month, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that Republicans would soon introduce tangible legislation to uproot the failing Obamacare status quo and replace it with a better system. GOP leadership released an outline in mid-February that hinted at the approach they were planning to adopt -- and now a more detailed draft proposal has leaked into the press. With all the necessary caveats in place about how the document is by no means a finalized piece of legislation, it provides the most comprehensive and specific glimpse to date at Republicans' long-awaited Obamacare alternative. Writing at CommentaryNoah Rothman sees a lot to like for conservatives:
[This would-be] bill eliminates most of the onerous, market-distorting provisions contained within the Leviathan ACA. It eliminates many of the subsidies that reduce the incentives for those who are currently outside the labor force to remain there, and it kills the individual mandate to purchase insurance. Based on age, not income, the plan would establish tax credits to help uninsured patients afford private insurance plans. The plan scales back or eliminates some of ObamaCare’s most burdensome tax provisions, including Medicare surtax on wages and self-employment income. It eliminates federal Medicaid expansion by 2020, but preserves capped payments to states based on the number of enrollees in states that expanded Medicaid already. Most encouragingly, the plan includes grants to states that would allow them to experiment with programs designed to increase coverage rates or reduce premiums.
Then again, he argues, other elements appear to partially mimic or tweak Obamacare's existing provisions. Conservative healthcare wonk Avik Roy also offers a 'mixed verdict' analysis of the roadmap laid out in the leaked document. He notes that Republicans appear to have abandoned the flawed "repeal and delay" strategy, which would have rolled back large swaths of Obamacare via reconciliation, then punted the replacement piece to an undetermined later date. The problem with this idea was that major Obamacare regulations would still have stayed in place even after the law's (admittedly faulty) structure to keep the entire system from rapidly collapsing had been gutted. The resulting market disruptions would have been catastrophic. The introduction and installation of a sustainable alternative plan to supplant Obamacare, as opposed to just creating a yawning Obamacare-less void, is both politically necessary and much more responsible from a public policy perspective. The GOP plan returns regulatory decisions about what viable coverage plans must cover back to the states (an important departure from Obamacare's federally-driven mandate bonanza), and gives insurers a wider berth for charging younger consumers lower premiums than older ones. These reforms would help create a wider array of available coverage, including cheaper options, and would help stabilize the risk pools that Obamacare is ruining.

In place of Obamacare's federal marketplace and direct taxpayer subsidies, the GOP solution implements a regime of tax credits to assist Americans afford insurance plans. Roy argues that the way in which the draft GOP plan structures the credits is flawed, and also analyzes the proposed dollar amounts -- which range from $2,000 to $4,000 annually for most people. The proposal also entails critical reforms to Medicaid (through a form of flexible block-granting) and Health Savings Accounts (roughly doubling the amount of money individuals and families can save for medical expenses tax-free). It also pumps billions into a modernized version of high risk pools, under which states can innovate and invest to help cover the medical expenses of their most vulnerable citizens. The new law would still prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, so long as those people have maintained continuous coverage. This strongly incentivizes consumers to obtain coverage without imposing an individual mandate tax (which is repealed under this plan), and while disincentivizing people to wait until they develop a health problem or injury before finally enrolling (by permitting insurers to charge substantially more to people who seek to sign up after a coverage gap).

Overall, there are disputes and details that will undoubtedly still need to be ironed out.  That's what debates, negotiations and legislative mark-ups are for.  I'd be quite surprised if the eventual legislative language were identical to the draft document, which is a useful and important starting point.  Meanwhile, knee-jerk accusations from some conservatives that the plan amounts to "Obamacare lite" are unfair; the core of the troubled law is removed and replaced with a system that massively curtails burdensome federal mandates and taxes, and offers much more flexibility and discretion to the states. These changes, if adopted, would represent a welcome paradigm shift.  That said, it's not as if federal spending, mandates and revenue-raisers will all magically disappear.  Helping tens of millions of people have access to affordable coverage is a complex policy challenge.  Republicans' draft proposal seeks to end the current law, then provide needed solutions in a less intrusive and market-distorting way than the current sputtering reality under Democrats' failed scheme.  Finally, with media chatter about town hall meetings on healthcare all the rage these days (with appalling displays like this receiving scant attention), I'll leave you with a few points: (1) Conservatives should go out of their way to attend these events and make phone calls to their members' offices in order to help stiffen GOP spines in the face of intense, and sometimes coordinated, liberal opposition.  (2) Republicans ought to be prepared to defend their positions with compassion and confidence, as quite a few have been doing.  (3) Beware of  fake news stories about members "skipping" or "fleeing" town hall meetings that they'd never organized or committed to in the first place.  (4) How's this for a narrative disruptor?

UPDATE - Does President Trump have different plans -- that would leave much more of Obamacare unscathed -- being drawn up by...John Kasich? 

Thank You Mr Benson and Townhall.

Here's more from Kaiser Health Network.

Trump Team Takes 1st Step Toward Building Border Wall


SAN DIEGO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Friday that it plans to start awarding contracts by mid-April for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico, signaling that he is aggressively pursuing plans to erect “a great wall” along the 2,000-mile border.
The agency said it will request bids on or around March 6 and that companies would have to submit “concept papers” to design and build prototypes by March 10, according to a website for federal contractors. The field of candidates will be narrowed by March 20 and finalists must submit offers with their proposed costs by March 24.
The president told the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday that construction will start “very soon” and is “way, way, way ahead of schedule.”
Keep reading…

Thank You NY Post and Nick.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

2007 Study: Off-Label Use of Antipsychotic Medications In The Dept of Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

The last summary of the VA's patient population we had, from Ed at Pharmalot, put the total at 530,000 patients.

So, you do the math, and figure out your own percentage of VA consumers being poisoned with these drugs.

Off-Label Use of Antipsychotic Medications In The Dept of Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

And remember, we're not talking about One A Day Vitamins here, unlike the Quacks peddling them.


"This study aimed to determine the prevalence of prescribing antipsychotics to adults without schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and to identify factors associated with such off-label use. Patients with at least one prescription for an antipsychotic medication from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) during fiscal year (FY) 2007 were identified in national VA administrative databases. Rates of off-label antipsychotic use were determined along with average doses. Multivariate logistic regression models identified sociodemographic and clinical characteristics associated with off-label use. Of the 279,778 individuals in FY 2007 who received an antipsychotic medication, 168,442 (60.2%) had no record of a diagnosis for which these drugs are approved. The most common mental illness diagnoses among patients given prescriptions for antipsychotics off label were posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD, 41.8%), minor depression (39.5%), major depression (23.4%), and anxiety disorder (20.0%). Among VA patients with mental illness other than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, the proportion who received prescriptions for antipsychotic medications ranged from a low of 9.1% among patients with adjustment reaction; to about 20% for those with depression, dementia, or PTSD; and to a high of 40.7% among patients with other psychoses. Doses were low, with over half of patients who received off-label quetiapine, risperidone, or first-generation antipsychotics receiving doses below those recommended for schizophrenia. In logistic regression models, patients diagnosed as having other psychosis or dementia had the highest odds of receiving an antipsychotic medication off label. Off-label use of antipsychotic medications was common. Given that these drugs are expensive, have potentially severe side effects, and have limited evidence supporting their effectiveness for off-label usage, they should be used with greater caution."

Read the entire study or download a free pdf of it at the link. 

Ca. Senator Kamala Harris: "Outrageous" That Administration Says People Who Commit Crimes Qualify For Deportation


Former attorney general of California too and would like higher national office.

Hopefully, such attitudes would finish her…

So far as we've heard, this deportation for crimes only applies to illegal or sanctuary immigrants. There Was that quip about Flag Burners, but that has been deemed a Constitutionally Protected 1st Amendment Right, so, . . .

Thank You Dapandico.

New Hampshire Governor Signs Constitutional Carry Into Law: 2nd Amendment/Constitutional Win

And as readers here would expect, WE, can't access the original article thanks to being on Public/Government WIFI in a Totalitarian, Democrat Run State. 

Now, if it were only that easy to get gun owners and Constitutional Originalists to understand and get as worked up about Totalitarian Junk Medicine running roughshod over those same rights, . . . for Everyone, . . . 

Yeah, that's right, Crazy people live at Your address.

All of you.  Each and Every one of you.


One State at a time.
Fairfax, Va. – Today was a great victory for gun owners in New Hampshire when Gov. Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 12 into law, allowing law-abiding New Hampshirites to carry their firearms in the manner that best suits their needs.
“New Hampshire now joins an ever-growing number of states in passing constitutional carry,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Despite the best efforts of Michael Bloomberg-funded groups to distort the truth, the New Hampshire legislature and governor stood strong for freedom.”
Sununu’s signature on SB 12 makes New Hampshire the 12th state to allow constitutional carry. New Hampshire joins its northern New England neighbors Maine and Vermont, both of which allow constitutional carry.
Sponsored by Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-3), Senate Bill 12 will repeal the license requirement to carry a concealed pistol or revolver, unless a person is otherwise prohibited. For those who choose to obtain licenses, SB 12 will also increase the length of time in which a license is valid from four years to five years.
Keep reading…
Thank You Dapandico and NRAILA.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Philly's Soda Tax, By Democrats, Causes Massive Job Losses


Who would have thought?
Via The Blaze:
There is little debate that America faces an epidemic of obesity and obesity-related diseases. In typical liberal fashion, the Democrat-dominated city of Philadelphia decided two months ago that this was a problem that could be solved by government regulation, and promptly passed an ordinance that imposed a massive tax on “sugary drinks.” Theoretically, this was supposed to not only punish people for having the gall to enjoy a Diet Coke (yes, artificially sweetened drinks are also taxed), but also to pay for a universal pre-K program in the city.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Wait, you can’t stop people from drinking sodas and also reap huge tax receipts on the sales of soda at the same time,” then you’re at least two steps ahead of the City of Philadelphia, and you probably know by now where the rest of this story is going, too.
Keep reading…

Thank You Nick and The Blaze

Household Brand Nestle Leaves California Due To Oppressive State Laws, Taxes

As California continues its leap into the abyss of socialism, businesses large and small are heading for the exits.

Via The Political Insider:

Nestle, a large company known for its food and drink products, is tired of doing business in far-left California. They are packing their bags and heading thousands of miles away to Virginia.

Nestle USA made the official announcement that their headquarters will move from a Los Angeles suburb to Rosslyn, Virginia and is taking more than 1,200 jobs with it.

California is just an awful place to do business, and the Republican-led state legislature in Virginia put together together an incentive package that would make President Trump proud:

The $26-billion-a-year food conglomerate is discreet, of course, about its reasons, citing a desire to be closer to its core customers and other bland corporate pabulum. But the fact is, Nestle and its corporate brethren in California that actually make things are overtaxed and overregulated, and elected officials treat them not as honored members of the community but as rapacious pirates.

A Glendale official, for instance, blithely insisted Nestle’s departure was no big deal, but rather an “opportunity.” Some opportunity.

Though Nestle has offered jobs to their affected California employees in far-off places like Missouri, Ohio and Virginia, the city seems to think it will be able to fill their own Nestle job void by growing the high-tech job base.

“We just completed a study two weeks ago, which shows that we have more than 1,000 businesses in Glendale that are tech-focused,” said Darlene Sanchez, Glendale’s deputy director of community development. “We’d like to see some more co-working space that would cater to this burgeoning technology industry that has organically grown here.”

Meanwhile, Virginia pulled out all the stops to get Nestle to come, offering tax incentives worth some $16 million. Glendale says it didn’t even find out about the move until Wednesday. But there were signs it wanted to leave. Glendale did nothing, as far as we can tell.

Occidental Petroleum and Toyota have recently left California for Texas. The state has lost as much as $68 billion in capital to other states in recent years, due to their unfriendly anti-business laws.

Keep reading…

Thank You Political Insider and Huck Funn

Risperdal (Lawsuits) Case Load Shows No Sign Of Slowing Down

. By

Philadelphia, PAWith Risperdal side effects lawsuits continuing to grow at a compelling rate within a mass tort in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the file is poised to move forward with a meeting planned for March 9 with regard to the centralized litigation (In Re: Risperdal Litigation, Case No. 100300296).

As reported by senior staff writer Jane Mundy last month, Risperdal saw the second-most compelling caseload growth for 2016 behind Xarelto, with a 39 percent increase in cases for 2016. That translates to 550 additional cases. While pundits noted in the Legal Intelligencer (01/27/17) that Xarelto may be hitting its plateau, Risperdal litigation is expected to continue spiking upwards.

This observation appears to be supported by Risperdal’s manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) reported in November of last year that there were no fewer than 15,400 product liability claims filed with regard to Risperdal side effects in various courts around the US. J&J also is reported to have acknowledged that such claims are continuing to rise.

Risperdal (risperidone), an antipsychotic indicated to treat Bipolar disorder (amongst other indications), was originally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993 to treat schizophrenia in adults – although that indication was widened to include children in 2007. Side effects of Risperdal can include Risperdal diabetes and related issues with Risperdal blood sugar, tardive dyskinesia (involuntary blinking, or movements of the tongue, mouth, face or limbs), and Risperdal stroke.

However, it remains Risperdal gynecomastia – the growing of male breasts – that has caught the majority of the attention. Various Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuits have alleged that adolescents and young males, with no history of weight issues or other factors exacerbated by an inactive lifestyle, are presenting with breast tissue following use of Risperdal for a period of time. In rare cases, the issue also includes secretion from the nipples.

Numerous plaintiffs have required surgery to have the male breast tissue removed, and have resorted to litigation in order to seek compensation for the emotional trauma that often accompanies the growth of male breast tissue. For them, Risperdal and growing male breasts is a life-altering problem.

Plaintiffs assert that risperidone can stimulate the pituitary gland to produce excessive amounts of prolactin, a hormone instrumental to female breast development and lactation. Abnormally high levels of prolactin have been linked to the development of female-like breasts, or gynecomastia, in men and boys.

Plaintiffs also hold that Janssen and J&J withheld data that associated Risperdal with gynecomastia, and accuse the manufacturer of failure to warn both the medical community and consumers, about the risk.

The most recent Risperdal bellwether trial ended with a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, a male teen who was prescribed Risperdal from age five and who is alleged to have experienced excessive growth of male breast tissue shortly after starting the drug. The jury award was valued at $70 million (Yount v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Case No. 130402094, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.)

Janssen and J&J have signaled they will continue to try, and defend cases. There are no plans to remove Risperdal from the market, as the manufacturer continues to reference Risperdal as safe and effective, with benefits outweighing the risks for the particular constituency of patients for whom Risperdal was, and is intended.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Jazz Break: Brand X, Masques

EUGENICS WATCH: Right To Die Fight Hits National Stage

Kaiser Health News

Opponents of aid-in-dying laws are claiming a small victory. They won the attention of Congress this week in their battle to stop a growing movement that allows terminally ill patients to get doctors’ prescriptions to end their lives.

The Republican-led effort on Capitol Hill to overturn the District of Columbia’s aid-in-dying law appeared to have died Friday. But advocates worry the campaign will catalyze a broader effort to fully ban the practice, which is legal in six states and being considered in 22 more.

“The D.C. legislation has catapulted the issue of medical aid in dying onto the federal agenda at a time when Congress has the power to enact a ban on this end-of-life care option nationwide — even criminalizing the practice in the six states where this option is currently authorized,” warned Jessica Grennan, national director of political affairs and advocacy for Compassion & Choices, which supports right-to-die laws.

“If that happens, it will set the end-of-life care movement back to the last century,” Grennan said.

Despite the apparent defeat this week, both sides agree that the debate on Capitol Hill, featuring a Republican moral protest, could be only a taste of what’s to come.
In a vote that hewed closely to party lines, the Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee on Monday approved a bill that would knock down D.C.’s law, which won approval from the mayor and City Council in December. While D.C.’s law mirrors those passed in other states, Congress has unique power to intervene in D.C.’s affairs. Under the Home Rule Act of 1973, Congress has 30 legislative days to overturn any law D.C. passes.

“It’s of deep, personal moral conviction that I stand in opposition” to D.C.’s law, said Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who chairs the committee, in Monday’s hearing.

Chaffetz appears to have lost round one. Republicans in the House and Senate introduced joint resolutions attempting to block D.C.’s law, but the bills needed to pass the full House and Senate and gain President Donald Trump’s signature by Friday. Trump has declined to take a public stance on the matter.

Because Congress didn’t complete those steps this week, D.C.’s law successfully passes the congressional review period, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s non-voting representative, announced in a press release Friday.

But “our defense of the Death with Dignity Act is only beginning,” Norton said.

That’s because Chaffetz has threatened to launch a second attack on the bill this spring, when Congress approves D.C.’s budget. The Death With Dignity Act calls for spending $125,000 in local money to build a database tracking the assisted-dying program. The law is set to take effect Oct. 1, at the beginning of the fiscal year, but only after the money is approved, according to D.C. mayoral spokeswoman Susana Castillo.

Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, which opposes medical aid in dying, said the Republicans’ effort to overturn D.C.’s law may still have broader impact.

“As representatives and senators become more educated about the dangers of physician-assisted suicide,” Stevens said, “I wouldn’t be surprised” if members of Congress introduce laws to “prohibit or at least more closely regulate” the practice.

If Congress passes such a law, the only hope for advocates such as Grennan “would be for the Supreme Court to intervene,” she said. But she noted that Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, a federal appellate judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, has published a book against aid-in-dying efforts. The book, she said, notes “the Supreme Court’s power to overturn the state medical aid-in-dying laws.”

Away from Capitol Hill, the aid-in-dying movement has gained steam: The practice is legal in Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Colorado, California and Montana.

Energized by victories in California and Colorado last year, aid-in-dying supporters are pushing ahead to battlegrounds nationwide. So far this year, 21 states have introduced aid-in-dying legislation, according to Compassion & Choices. And in South Dakota, proponents are trying to get the practice approved through a ballot initiative.

Hawaii, Maryland and Maine appear the most likely to pass new legislation this year, said Peg Sandeen, executive director of the Death With Dignity National Center, another national advocacy group.

But opponents have beaten back similar measures in many states in recent years. And in Alabama, South Dakota and New York, they have gone on the offensive, introducing bills to preemptively outlaw the practice or prohibit insurance from paying for the lethal drugs.

Chaffetz, who is leading the charge against D.C.’s law, has enraged Democrats and D.C. officials, who accuse him of overreaching his power by meddling in local affairs. But Chaffetz and fellow House Republicans at Monday’s vote said moral concerns trump local autonomy.

“Only God gets to decide” when a person’s life ends, declared Rep. Paul Mitchell, a Michigan Republican, during the debate.

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, who introduced the Senate resolution blocking the bill, also made a legal argument, citing a 1997 law passed under President Clinton that bans the use of federal money for physician-assisted death. Because of that law, Medicare and the Department of Veterans Affairs do not pay for the lethal drugs, so patients must pay out-of-pocket or use private or state-funded insurance. Lankford challenged D.C. to show that its assisted-dying program wouldn’t conflict with that law.

Advocates dismissed that argument. Sandeen, of the Death With Dignity National Center, said D.C.’s program will not use any federal money to help people die. She called the legal argument a “red herring effort,” aimed at distracting attention from politicians’ true reasons for trying to strike down D.C.’s law.

“I’d rather that they said, ‘For religious purposes, I disapprove of this law,'” she said.

This story has been updated to reflect the end of Congress’s review period.

KHN’s coverage of end-of-life and serious illness issues is supported by The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Thank You Ms Baily and KHN.

EUGENICS WATCH: House Votes To Roll Back Obama's Ban On States Defunding Planned Parenthood

Kaiser Health Network

Democrats are calling the move a "backdoor attempt to restrict access" to abortion. 

The Wall Street Journal: House Votes To Let States Strip Money From Planned Parenthood
House Republicans took the first step Thursday to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, starting what will become a broader battle over funding for the women’s health-services agency. The House voted 230-188 to rescind a regulation that bans states from denying certain funds to health-care providers that perform abortions, in essence freeing states to refuse to give the funds to Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. and similar organizations. (Andrews and Hackman, 2/16) 

CQ Roll Call: House Passes Resolution On Family Planning Funds
Congress appropriated about $286 million in fiscal 2016 for what’s known as Title X funding, which is supposed to be spent on family planning and reproductive health. The Obama administration finalized its rule in December after 13 states passed laws to redistribute the funding away from reproductive health providers, such as Planned Parenthood, and spend it at more general community health centers. (Siddons, 2/16) 

The Hill: House Votes To Let States Deny Federal Funds To Abortion Providers
Democrats argued the GOP's effort was aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood, even though the organization is legally prohibited from using federal funds for abortions. "It's no surprise that, once again, congressional Republicans are trying to undermine access to healthcare and basic family services," Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said on the floor Thursday. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) called the resolution a "backdoor attempt to restrict access" to abortion. (Hellmann, 2/16) 

Politico Pro: House Backs Bill Overturning Protections For Planned Parenthood
House Republicans argued that the measure upholds states' rights and is not an attack on Planned Parenthood. “We are not voting to defund Planned Parenthood or reduced funding for Title X programs,” sponsor Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said on the floor ahead of the vote. “We are voting to affirm the rights of states to fund health care providers that best suit their needs.” (Ehley, 2/16) 

KCUR: In The Face Of More Missouri Abortion Restrictions, One Woman Tells Her Story
Anti-abortion groups in Missouri helped boost many Republican candidates to victory in November, and they’re now eagerly waiting to see how those lawmakers advance their cause. Missouri legislators have filed dozens of restrictive abortion bills, including two that would outlaw abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy rather than the current 21-weeks and six days. Supporters say late-term abortion bans protect the unborn, but opponents say they create undue hardships for women. One such opponent is a Missouri woman who had to leave the state to end her fraught pregnancy. (Smith, 2/16) 

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription

Thank You KHN. 

EPA Approved GMO Reliance On Toxic Chemicals Spawned A Profusion of Super Weeds

by Vera Sharav | Monday, February 6, 2017 

GMO reliance on toxic chemicals spawned a profusion of Super Weeds

How much herbicide is safe for human consumption? How much is safe for young children?

How much will Americans wind up consuming? Since the 1990s, when a National Research Council (NRC) panel warned lawmakers that exposing fetuses and young kids to these compounds can cause lifelong damage at doses that wouldn’t hurt their parent, federal law has required the EPA to protect children from pesticides — chemicals that kill weeds, insects or other harmful organisms.

EPA spiked the amount of 2,4-D deemed it “safe” for children by an increase of 41 times 
Under the Obama administration, the EPA radically lowered its safety standards for pesticide/herbicide exposure. In 2005, under the Bush administration, the EPA set the acceptable “safe” daily intake of 2,4-D at 0.005 mg/kg.  Under EPA’s new safety standards U.S. children ages 1 to 12 could consume 2,4-D (Agent Orange) “safely” at levels 41 times higher.

That amount of 2,4-D is deemed unsafe by the World Health Organization, Russia, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Brazil and China. For decades the EPA had considered that exposure level dangerous. Agent Orange is the defoliant used in Vietnam which has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, hypothyroidism and other health problems.
Over the years, federal and university researchers showed 2,4-D was worrisome on its own. Studies found increased odds of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, hypothyroidism and Parkinson’s disease among people who used the chemical as part of their jobs… the WHO’s cancer research agency ruled that 2,4-D is a possible carcinogen.”
Even some scientists who have spent their professional lives eradicating weeds oppose the new genetically modified crops and the chemical future they foreshadow. “Those herbicide increases are not OK,” said David Mortensen, a professor of weed and applied plant ecology at Pennsylvania State University. “To me, that is unconscionable that we can be OK with that, and I’m not an anti-chemical radical.”
“But the Obama administration’s EPA now says it is safe to allow 41 times more 2,4-D into the American diet than before he took office. To reach that conclusion, the Tribune found, the agency’s scientists changed their analysis of a pivotal rat study by Dow, tossing aside signs of kidney trouble that Dow researchers said were caused by 2,4-D.” (Chicago Tribune)
GE produce depends on high volume use of herbicides

The essential element in the production of genetically engineered crops is poison in the form of pesticides and herbicides. Initially Monsanto promised that GE crops that have been bred to tolerate glyphosate, widely known as Roundup, will reduce the use of herbicides. Glyphosate has served as the linchpin of Monsanto’s GMO business: Roundup is used as a weed killer in 80% of 120 million acres of GMO crops globally. Roundup Ready seeds are infused with glyphosate which is absorbed into the plant’s cellular structure – its DNA – in order to kill weeds and unwanted plants. The chemical cannot be removed from GMO crops and other plants by washing, peeling, baking or brewing grains.

Pigweed, glyphosate-resistant “super weed” a farmer’s nightmare
The weed killer, Roundup has spawned the proliferation of super weeds.

Inasmuch as Mother Nature does not take kindly to efforts aimed at suppressing natural evolution, the intensive use of glyphosate in biotech agriculture has resulted in the proliferation of “super weeds” which are also resistant to Roundup spraying; they grow 8 feet tall with stems as thick as baseball bats. Super Weeds have become farmers’ nightmare as a vicious cycle has taken root in biotech agriculture. Farmers are encouraged to use increased quantities of ever more toxic chemical combinations on food crops.

In the US, where approximately 90 percent or more of all cotton, soy, and corn plantings are of glyphosate-tolerant GMO varieties, the acres of farmland harboring glyphosate-resistant weeds nearly doubled between 2010 and 2012, from 32.6 million acres to 61.2 million acres.” (Modern Farmer, 2016)
Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops created an environmental disaster by causing infestation of tens of millions of acres of farmland with herbicide-resistant weeds and spurring an enormous increase in pesticide use.” (Attorney Paul Achifoff, Sustainable Pulse, 2017)
EPA approved increasingly toxic chemical weapons for use in GMO food crops

During Obama’s presidency the EPA approved two especially controversial herbicides are: Monsanto’s XtendMax, a repackaged old chemical, Dicamba; and Enlist Duo, Dow Chemical’s combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D; the primary component of Agent Orange (which also contained the lethal chemical dioxin; and became infamous  during the Vietnam War). In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) an independent panel of the World Health Organization classified each of these poisonous chemicals – glyphosate and 2,4-D –as “probably” and “possibly” carcinogenic in humans. (Read AHRP post: Scientific review of pesticide cancer risk ignites war against scientists)

“The EPA quietly approved Monsanto’s XtendiMax on November 11, 2016, when all news outlets were focused on the presidential election outcome.
One of the major disadvantages of dicamba compared to glyphosate is that it is much more “volatile,” meaning it easily becomes airborne and drifts away from where it is applied. Historically, dicamba has been used in agriculture primarily as a pre-emergent (applied to the soil to kill weed seeds prior to planting a crop), since it could not be applied directly to crop plants.”(Modern Farmer, 2016)
 The volatility of dicamba drifts between farmers’ fields has caused massive damage to crops not targeted by the poison – soybeans, tomatoes, cantaloupes, watermelons, rice, peas, peanuts, cotton, alfalfa even peaches. Dicamba drifts have led to shootings that left one farmer dead. (EPA Challenged in Court over Approval of Monsanto’s New Toxic Pesticide, Sustainable Pulse, Jan 23 2017)
Monsanto invested $1 billion in producing its new dicamba formula, and expects 15 million acres to be planted with dicamba-resistant seeds in 2017 and 55 million acres by 2019. Monsanto distributed its dicamba-resistant seeds before it marketed the supposedly “less volatile” spray. The long-term consequences are unclear, though it is more than likely that many weeds will develop resistance to dicamba as it is sprayed on a wider scale. Indeed, a recent University of Arkansas study (2016) found that the dreaded pigweed weed, when sprayed with low doses of dicamba became resistant to the full legal dose after just three generations.
The research [ ] was conducted in the greenhouse [ ] resulted in a dicamba-resistant pigweed [it] illustrates how multiple resistances have developed. One pesticide quits working and so we replace it with another, and so on and so on, until you are left with a weed population or insects for that matter that can tolerant multiple modes of action. This is the inevitable result of using a single effective mode of action to control a given pest…the finding strongly suggests that there will be sizeable evolutionary consequences.” (Arkansas Agriculture study)

Center for Biological Diversity Scientists: Science is Real. Extinction is Forever

“We can’t spray our way out of this problem. We need to get off the pesticide treadmill. Pesticide resistant superweeds are a serious threat to our farmers, and piling on more pesticides will just result in superweeds resistant to more pesticides. We can’t fight evolution—it’s a losing strategy.” Nathan Donley, senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity (EcoWatch, Jan 2017)
In Jaunary 2017, Farmers and conservation groups filed a federal lawsuit on Friday challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of Monsanto’s new “XtendiMax” pesticide. They objected to the approval as it ushers a massive increase in use of the toxic pesticide. The suit charges that it will increase risks to farmers, community health, and the environment. Because these same crops are also engineered to withstand applications of Monsanto’s Roundup, the overuse of that glyphosate-based pesticide  will continue at current high levels. (Read: Sustainable Pulse, Jan. 23, 2017)

In 2014 and 2016, EPA approved registration of Dow Chemical’s herbicide Enlist Duo, composed of a combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D (Agent Orange).
an herbicide product containing 2,4-D and glyphosate, was first registered in 2014 for use on genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybean crops in 6 states, and later in an additional 9 states. At this time [2016], EPA is amending the registration to allow use on GE cotton in those 15 states and extend the use of Enlist Duo on GE corn, soybean and cotton to an additional 19 states.” (EPA Registration of Enlist Duo)
So how did the EPA make the determination that it was safe to increase U.S. children’s exposure to 2,4-D at levels 41 times higher than previously considered safe?

Chicago Tribune investigation uncovered evidence documenting EPA scientific misconduct

The investigation by Patricia Callahan uncovered documented evidence of corrupted science by EPA scientists who “paved the way” for the agency to reduce safety standards – in particular standards to protect children from ingesting harmful levels of poison.

Dow’s own scientists’ findings in a 2005 animal feeding study were altered by EPA scientists. Dow’s scientist reported that ingestion of 2,4-D at a high dose showed that rats fed 2,4-D experienced thyroid hormone changes, reproductive effects in male rats, and kidney lesions. The kidney problems occurred even at lower doses. The Tribune reports that in a poster presentation in 2010, Dow scientists acknowledged that “exposure-related kidney lesions occurred at a lower dose in male rat offspring than in their parents.”

EPA scientists who reviewed the data, at first agreed with Dow’s interpretation; but then EPA scientists embraced “an alternative interpretation of the data.” They discarded (“tossed aside”) evidence of adverse biological data documented by Dow scientists. They subsequently described in their report, that the kidney damage was “not treatment related.”  They did so, even though kidney damage at low doses had been confirmed by at least five studies submitted to the EPA in the 1980s.

Furthermore, EPA scientists also violated standard scientific practice by altering the way safe toxicity levels in humans is extrapolated from the animal toxic levels to determine the dose at which “there was no statistically or biologically significant indication of a toxic effect.” It is the most important measure in a pesticide toxicity study, called NOEL (“no observed adverse effect level“)  EPA dropped the mandatory calculation safeguarding children since the 1990s; and chose as their no-adverse-effect level a dose at which rats actually suffered toxic effects. EPA disregarded the toxic effects and determined that the “safe” level for 2,4-D could be spiked from a NOEL dose of 0.005 mg/kg to a dose of 0.007 mg/kg. The actions taken by the EPA researchers were to facilitate EPA approval of Dow Chemical’s herbicide Enlist Duo, a combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D.

Dr. Philip Landrigan, the pediatrician who chaired the NRC panel is so alarmed by the potential increase in children’s exposure to 2,4-D that he is calling for the federal National Toxicology Program to assess the safety of the mix of weedkillers that would be used on new genetically modified crops. His year long entreaties to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to reject the “notoriously toxic herbicide” fell on deaf ears. [Dr. Landrigan’s research showing the damaging effects of lead in children, resulted in its removal from paint and gasoline.]

petition to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was filed by a coalition of environmental protection advocacy groups, including Environmental Working Group and Natural Resources Defense Council (Oct. 2015) In the course of the litigation, a document Dow had submitted to the U.S. Patent Office revealed that
“Dow made contradictory claims to different parts of the U.S. government.” Dow had misinformed the EPA by claiming the combination herbicides in Enlist Duo was no more toxic than each separately. But in its patent application, Dow stated that the mixture of chemicals offers “synergistic herbicidal weed control.” (Busted: National Public Radio, Nov. 2015)
In light of the information subsequently submitted by Dow to the EPA about the synergistic effects, the EPA rescinded its approval of Enlist Duo (Nov 2015) acknowledging that:
“EPA is in receipt of new information regarding potential synergistic effects between the two ingredients on non-target plants, EPA seeks a voluntary remand in order to reconsider the Enlist Duo registration in light of the new information… specifically, Dow did not submit to EPA during the registration process the extensive information relating to potential synergism it cited (in applications) to the Patent Office; EPA only learned of the existence of that information after the registrations were issued and only recently obtained the information. EPA can no longer be confident that Enlist Duo will not cause risks of concern to non-target organisms, including those listed as endangered..” 
When the EPA approved Enlist Duo, officials ignored more than 400,000 comments on the Federal Register against the marketing of Enlist Duo, and ignored the objections by 35 members of Congress:
“We were concerned to learn that, during this process, EPA dismissed a key study linking 2,4-D to kidney abnormalities based on one scientist’s analysis, and in doing so, effectively gave the green light for 41 times more of the chemical to enter the America diet than was previously allowed.
 “Given the widely-known adverse impacts of 2,4-D on human health and the environment, and with little understood about the implications of combining 2,4-D and glyphosate, EPA should use the utmost caution in assessing the safety of Enlist Duo before approving it for continued use…. The public deserves to know how EPA intends to address all of these concerns.” (Chicago TribuneFebruary 2016)
In January 2016, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Dow and rejected EPA’s request to vacate its 2014 approval of Enlist Duo.The three-sentence order did not elaborate on the judges’ reasoning.

Thank You Ms Sharav and AHRP.