Trumps Physical Told Us Two Things: Hes Obese and Can Recognize a Rhino

On Tuesday afternoon, Physician to the President Ronny Jackson discussed how President Trumps physical examination went on Friday. For several minutes, Jackson ticked off statistics.

Vitals as follows, he began, and in one breath, spewed out numbers. Age, 71 years, 7 months at the time of the exam. Height 75 inches. Weight 239 pounds. Resting heart rate 68. Blood pressure 122/74. Pulse oximetry, 99 percent on room air. Temperature was 98.4. Eyes, presidents uncorrected visual acuity is 20/30 bilaterally with corrected visual acuity of 20/20 bilaterally.

After all the hullabaloo of the physical, Trumps numbers boil down to two facts. First, Trump is in crappy shape and could use a diet, or hes in danger of dying from heart disease or a stroke, whichever comes first. And second, as much as he might tout his stable genius, theres no clinical proof of it; only that he can pass a test whose questions involve identifying animals and sketching a clock. Trumps mental fitness remains fuzzy and unknown.

Jacksons appearance, which he importantly prefaced with the note that Trump had permitted him to release these numbers, showcased a medical briefing that told us some things, but also told us nothing at all.

Heres the one blaring thing we learned: With a height just over 6 feet 2 inches and clocking in at 239 pounds (three pounds more than last year when he was examined by his personal doctor, Harold Bornstein), Trump has officially entered the zone of obesity at 30.7, according to his BMI ratios.

Trumps cholesterol levels have also spiked. His cholesterol levels under Bornstein rang in at 169, but his cholesterol this year was 233, which experts would consider dangerous. Jackson said he had a sit-down with Trump about escalating the cholesterol-reducing drug with a low-dose Crestor and eating better to avoid clogging his arteries.

That Trumps specific health statistics makes him an obese individual despite having a height and weight comparable to a NFL player showcase the difference a little exercise (something else Jackson suggested for the president) make, as tweets illustrate.

Taken at Twitter-value, its a medical marvel: Look at what a difference muscle mass makes compared to fat! But the photos also make an excellent point about Trumps health: He is, after all, a very tall and broad man, so his weight will reflect that.

But the numbers that Jackson reported on behalf of Trump suggest that this is a man who has very little muscle mass and is essentially a walking glob. Trump is clinically obese. Hes not very different from his fellow American in this respect: 35 percent of Americans are obese, with another 34 percent considered overweight, according to the National Institute of Health. Trumps alleged favored diet of burgers and fries, coupled with a marked disdain for exercise, certainly dont help.

Does an obese president really matter, though? Trump can lift weights and run all he wants, but at the end of the day, the decisions he makes are going to be determined by his mental fitness.

Jacksons evaluation suggests that no matter his constant assurances throughout the briefing that Trump is in excellent health, the president has been chided to lose weight. Jackson has gone so far as to suggest Trump try to lose 10 to 15 pounds by the time his checkup next year, which comes out to about a pound a month. Its a doable goal, but one that Trump will have to actively engage in by eating more vegetables, cutting down on the fat content of his meals, and doing a little more physical activity beyond shuffling around and golfing at Mar-a-Lago.

Does an obese president really matter, though? Trump can lift weights and run all he wants, but at the end of the day, the decisions he makes are going to be determined by his mental fitness.

The weeks before the physical saw a call for the presidents mental health to be evaluated, despite his protests that such a test would be unnecessary; according to Jackson, Trump requested some sort of neurological examination. Jackson responded with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, a 10-minute, 30-question test that measures cognitive ability, on which trump scored a perfect 30.

Importantlyand this is very importantthe test is not a neurological one. MoCA, as its referred to, does not measure mental faculties nor does it quantify the decision-making power of Trumps brain. Instead, MoCA is often used as a preliminary indicator of mental impairment for those with attention disorders, learning disabilities, and memory problems, often being administered after a patient suffers from a brain injury.

MoCA includes memory recall tests, drawing a clock and a 3D cube, simple addition and subtraction, and recognizing low-familiarity animals, such as rhinoceroses, among other tasks. Its a test that is simple and meant to measure Trumps ability to comprehend simple tasks, not whether he is psychiatrically healthy. A person can perform cognitive tasks well all day long, but that does not prove mental health and psychiatric wellness, despite the 30/30 score the president will surely tout in the months to come.

His overall health? No matter what Jackson says, its not great. Trump is reflective of the run-of-the-mill white man in America, and while that might win him elections, it still means hes in terrible health.

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How does Donald Trump’s health compare with the average American?

As the president heads for his regular physical check-up on Friday, what clues are available to assess his fitness? An expert weighs in

Every so often, American presidents are expected to go to the doctor for their checkup and just to reassure the American public that everything is alright. On Friday, its Trumps turn.

A physician at Walter Reed medical center will run Trump through many of the same tests regular Americans receive, such as blood pressure and cholesterol screenings. Details about the presidents health are at his discretion to release, but with what clues are available so far, a natural question arises: how is Trump likely to compare with his fellow American?

If Trumps past exams hold true, surprisingly average.

Like many American men, the 71-year-old president enjoys fast food, and is overweight. He takes statins to keep cholesterol in check. He golfs but probably does not get enough exercise. He does not smoke.

In some ways Trump is in a much less risky position than the average American senior. He nearly predicted as much before the exam, saying: I think its going to go very well. In fact, he said he would be surprised if it doesnt.

He has reported only one serious medical problem, ever: an appendectomy at 11. He is shuttled around the country in an ultra-safe car, so unlikely to have an accident. He is a teetotaler. He takes statins without a history of heart disease, which could raise eyebrows, but is common.

Hes average in terms of health, said Steve Schroeder, a professor at the University of California at San Francisco and a public health expert. The most important thing hes done is never smoke in his lifetime, and that puts him ahead of most American men.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump grab some cookies. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

However, if a letter from Trumps doctor is accurate, hes nearly obese. In 2016, his campaign released a doctors letter which said the 6ft 3in candidate weighed 236 pounds. That puts his body mass index at 29, just shy of the medical definition of obese.

Further, despite the apparent openness of a public physical, the White House already ruled out releasing one test: a psychiatric exam.

Trumps mental competency has been on trial since the Guardian published excerpts of Fire and Fury, in which advisors questioned Trumps fitness for office.

In any case, Trump will have a high bar compared with his predecessor. President Obama, who is more than 10 years Trumps junior, actually got healthier toward the end of his second term in office, after he increased his lean body mass.

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John McCain had the chance to do the right thing on healthcare. He failed | Lucia Graves

There are many reasons to respect the Arizona senator, but his remarkable stoicism and service cant excuse his yes vote in the Senate

John McCain often gets cast as a truth-teller to Donald Trump, but his voting record says otherwise. And nowhere was that more clear than on Tuesday when, despite his own ill health, when it came to the decision of whether to take other peoples healthcare away, he cast a decisive vote in the wrong direction.

Addressing his fellow lawmakers, McCain called passionately for a return to regular order, and for senators to work constructively across the aisle. Why dont we try the old way of legislating in the Senate, the way our rules and customs encourage us to act, he said in his Tuesday speech. If this process ends in failure, which seems likely, then lets return to regular order!

Though he has often railed against Trump as if he cant actually affect what he is complaining about, McCain isnt a helpless observer hes an influential senator. And on Tuesday, as the country draws closer than ever before to the death of the Affordable Care Act, he was a pivotal one.

Had McCain simply voted no to the question of whether the Senate should begin debate on a repeal or replacement of Obamacare, which squeaked by in the Senate with a vote of 51-50, the chambers leader Mitch McConnell might well have been forced to do the very thing McCain claimed to want: restore the chamber to order.

Instead, McCain, who was recently and tragically diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, and who returned to DC explicitly to help save the GOP healthcare bill, voted yes.

To put it another way, faced with a rare opportunity to make a real tangible difference, he risked traveling amid failing health to make possible the very thing he decried.

More damningly, he voted yes to take away healthcare from millions of Americans including an untold number of other cancer patients even as he continues to access benefits of the quality care afforded him as a senator, care subsidized by American taxpayers.

Never mind that at this point in time Republicans have little idea what the bill they would replace Obamacare with will contain. Never mind that we have arrived at this point through a secretive process devoid of public hearings, or even that Republicans would have the healthcare of millions of American women dreamed up entirely by men.

Politics appears to have triumphed over logic. Sadly, the politics that won out today are is not even a sort personally dear to John McCain that much was made clear in his floor speech. Its not even his own electoral politics that won out, either; after a tough re-election battle, he wont be up again until 2022, freeing him up as much as electorally possible to act solely with his moral compass as the guide.

Instead, McCain did the very thing he had just railed against, acting out of partisan loyalty.

There are many reasons to respect McCain, a former prisoner of war who endured torture in the five and a half years he spent captive in North Vietnam, and has campaigned against torture by the US. His 2008 campaign against Barack Obama now looks like the very model of civility in the wake of Trump.

But even his remarkable stoicism and service cant excuse what he just did.

The grim reality is that health insurance is of the utmost importance when it comes to surviving cancer, the second leading killer in America after heart disease. Put simply, the uninsured are much more likely to die than those with insurance and sooner.

A recent study in the journal Cancer found the uninsured were 88% more likely to die of testicular cancer than those with insurance. For patients with Medicaid, the number dropped to a 58% greater chance of dying than privately insured patients like McCain.

The study found the same trend held true for patients with glioblastoma, the malignant brain cancer McCain was recently diagnosed with. Its a terribly disease with a median life expectancy with his type of just 15 months, and thats as true for McCain as anyone, but the uninsured still die faster than anyone.

Voting to subject any one of millions of Americans to go to meet such a fate without even the benefit of the best tools medicine has to fight it is cruel, given McCains new-found appreciation of the benefit.

The estimated cost of McCains recent surgery to remove the cancer above his eye is a sum that would bankrupt many Americans, using the Medicare rates for which McCain qualifies.

Theres a way to fix the fact that many Americans under the age of 65 dont have access to any such care: let everyone under it buy in, a scheme for which many on the left have argued. But on Tuesday, McCain helped move the country in precisely the opposite direction.

We still dont know which of several bills Republicans will bring up for a vote, but all of them involve millions of Americans losing the very sort of health insurance upon which McCain depends.

The only question is whether its a matter of 22, 32, or just 15 million people who will lose access. What we can say with confidence is whatever version moves forward, McCains lost more than his good health hes lost his decency.

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Surrendering to fear brought us climate change denial and President Trump | John Abraham

John Abraham: I propose that people take indefensible positions like climate denial and Trump support simply out of fear

This story picks up where an earlier post left off a few weeks ago. Then, I discussed some of the political realities associated with inaction on climate change. In that post, I said I would revisit the question of why so many people deny the evidence of a changing climate. Now is the time for that discussion.

What continually befuddles people who work on climate change is the vehement and indefensible denial of evidence by a small segment of the population. I give many public talks on climate change, including radio and television interviews and public lectures. Nearly every event has a few people who, no matter what the evidence, stay in a state of denial. By listening to denialist arguments, I find they fall into a few broad categories. Some of them are just plain false. Examples in this category are ones like:

There was a halt to global warming starting 1998.

Humans are only responsible for a tiny fraction of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Scientists are colluding to create this fraud.

Others are not false but are completely irrelevant. For example:

Climate is always changing.

We didnt have thermometers a million years ago to measure global temperatures.

Cities are hotter than their surroundings.

Why would people think things or repeat statements that are known to be false or irrelevant? I am convinced that for the vast majority of people, they are not intentionally being incorrect. Something must be forcing them to be wrong. What could that be? Why are people so willing to believe and repeat lies?

That brings me to the connection with President Trump. His sheer number of falsehoods and flip-flops is so great, you lose track of them all. For instance, let us take the so-called wall to stop illegal immigration. First he said Mexico will pay for it and it will be so tall; now, he wants it to be paid by the US taxpayer. He falsely exaggerated the number of jobs that have been created since he came into office. He made false statements about the size of his electoral win. He made false statements about President Obamas birthplace. He has made false and unsupported claims about voter fraud. He has made false claims about climate scientists.

Finally, there is the current investigation into his and his administrations potential collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice. I could go on and on and likely will get complaints from readers that I forgot this or that falsehood, but I have to limit the length of this post.

In a sane world, everyone would understand the threat of climate change and our ability to take meaningful action to handle it. In a sane world, no one would believe a president who has misled them time and time again.

So that raises the question – what is the reason people still discount the incontrovertible climate change evidence? What is the reason a persistent minority still support this dishonest president? I think I have figured it out, and if Im right, it makes it much easier to reconcile the generally logical people I know with their seeming indefensible belief systems.

In a certain respect, this reason is something we as humans are nearly powerless to counteract. Before I give the reason, I want to be clear that I am sure others have noticed this too. I am sure others have written learned papers articulating this much more clearly than I can. My discovery is just a personal observation; something I should have recognized long ago. I am also not a psychologist so this is just my observations as a physical scientist.

The reason isnt religion, it isnt political ideology, it isnt lack of scientific knowledge, it isnt politics, it isnt tribal identification. Its none of those things.

The reason is fear.

Whether people are reciting a litany of falsehoods about climate change or whether they are contorting themselves to justify support for this president, they are doing so because they have to. They have to, because they are afraid of what happens if they accept reality.

With climate change, people are afraid for two reasons. First, they are afraid there is nothing they can do about it. Humans hate to have threats that are beyond our control. We are more afraid of Ebola than heart disease. We are more afraid of flying than driving, we are more afraid of sharks than toasters. We afraid of things we feel we cannot directly control.

Secondly, we are also afraid of bad news. How often have you not checked your bank account because you dont want the bad news? Have you ever known someone who didnt go to a doctor because they just didnt want to know what their ailment was? It is so much easier to pretend a problem doesnt exist. In fact, Ill go a step further and say that people like to be lied to when it quiets their fear.

So with respect to climate change, that puts the population into two groups. The first group (which I am part of) knows that there is a problem, wants to face it head on, and solve it together. The second group cannot bear to look the problem honestly in the face and finds it easier to deny its existence.

The same is true for Trump supporters. Many people are afraid. Afraid of change, afraid of the future, afraid of people who are not just like us, afraid of terrorism, just plain afraid. For those people it is so easy to buy the lie that the president will build a wall, bring the jobs back, stop the terrorism, and make everything perfect.

We know intellectually this is all false, but facts dont matter. Speaking to our fears is what matters. So, the psychological forces that bring people to deny climate change are, in my opinion, the same factors that bring people to support Trump. These factors dont mean climate deniers are stupid, nor are Trump supporters. It doesnt mean that they are bad people or immoral in any way. Rather, it tells me that their brain handles fear differently than mine and yours.

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Trumpcare isn’t about health. It’s a tax cut for the 1% | Robert Reich

If enacted, the bill would be the largest single transfer of wealth to the rich from the middle class and poor in American history

The Senates bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act is not a healthcare bill. Its a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, paid for by a dramatic reduction in healthcare funding for approximately 23 million poor, disabled, working and middle-class Americans.

Americas wealthiest taxpayers (earning more than $200,000 a year, $250,000 for couples) would get a tax cut totaling $346bn over 10 years, representing what they save from no longer financing healthcare for lower-income Americans.

Thats not all. The bill would save an additional $400bn on Medicaid, which Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Donald Trump are intent on shrinking in order to cut even more taxes for the wealthy and for big corporations.

If enacted, it would be the largest single transfer of wealth to the rich from the middle class and poor in American history.

This disgrace is being proposed at a time when the countrys rich receive the highest percentage of Americas income since the era of the robber barons of the late nineteenth century.

Almost all of the transfer is hidden inside a bill thats supposed to be a kinder and gentler version of its House counterpart, which Trump called mean, mean, mean.

Look closely and its even meaner.

The Senate bill appears to retain the Affordable Care Acts subsidies for poorer Americans. But starting in 2020, the subsidies would no longer be available for many of the working poor who now receive them, nor for anyone whos not eligible for Medicaid.

Another illusion: the bill seems to keep the Affordable Care Acts Medicaid expansion. But the expansion is phased out, starting in 2021.

The core of the bill where its biggest savings come from is a huge reduction in Medicaid, Americas healthcare program for the poor, elderly and disabled.

This, too, is disguised. States would receive an amount of money per Medicaid recipient that appears to grow as healthcare costs rise.

But starting in 2025, the payments would be based on how fast costs rise in the economy as a whole.

Yet medical costs are rising faster than overall costs. Theyll almost surely continue to do so as Americas elderly population grows, and as new medical devices, technologies, and drugs prolong life. Which means that after 2025, Medicaid coverage will shrink.

The nonpartisan Urban Institute estimates that between 2025 and 2035, about $467bn less will be spent on Medicaid than would be spent than if Medicaid funding were to keep up with the expected rise in medical costs.

The states would have to make up the difference, but many wont want to or be able to.

One final major deception. Proponents of the bill say it would continue to protect people with pre-existing conditions. But the bill allows states to reduce insurance coverage for everyone, including people with pre-existing conditions.

So insurance companies could technically cover people with pre-existing conditions for the cost of, say, their visits to a doctor, but not hospitalization, drugs, or anything else they need.

The Senate bill only seems like a kinder, gentler version of the House repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but over time it would be even crueler.

Will the American public find out? Not if McConnell can help it.

He hasnt scheduled a single hearing on the bill.

Hes shut out major hospitals, physician groups, consumer advocates and organizations representing millions of patients with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other serious illnesses.

McConnell thinks hes found a quiet way not only to repeal the Affordable Care Act but also to unravel Medicaid and funnel the savings to the rich.

For years, Republicans have been looking for ways to undermine Americas three core social insurance programs Medicaid, Medicare and social security. The three constitute the major legacy of the Democrats, of Franklin D Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. All continue to be immensely popular.

Barack Obamas Affordable Care Act is almost part of that legacy. Its not on quite as solid a footing as the others because its still new, and some wrinkles need to be ironed out. But most Americans support it.

Now McConnell believes he can begin to undo the legacy, starting with the Affordable Care Act and, gradually, Medicaid.

But he knows he has to do it in secret if hes to be successful.

If this shameful bill is enacted, McConnell and Trump as well as every Republican senator who signs on will bear the burden of hundreds of thousands of deaths that could have been avoided, were they not so determined to make rich Americans even richer.

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Republican healthcare plan will cost 23 million people their coverage, CBO says

Hastily passed House bill which some members said they hadnt read before voting on it would improve on previous version by a mere 1 million people

The hastily redrawn Republican plan to overhaul Obamacare would leave an extra 23 million people without health insurance over the next decade, the first official independent analysis of the plan has found.

The health reforms, forced through the House earlier this month and exuberantly celebrated by Donald Trump and scores of Republicans in the White House rose garden, would reduce the federal budget deficit by $119bn over the same period, according to an estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday.

The new bill would cut premiums for the healthy but leave vulnerable people facing notable cost increases, if they can find insurance at all. Premiums would vary significantly according to health status and the types of benefits provided, and less healthy people would face extremely high premiums, the CBO concluded.

The analysis comes almost three weeks after House Republicans took the unusual step of passing their healthcare plan before the agency had time to estimate how much it would cost and how many people would be affected.

The bill which some Republicans admitted they had not read was pushed through after a first attempt was cancelled at the last moment when it became clear that Republicans could not muster enough support in their own ranks to pass it.

An analysis of the first attempt at a healthcare overhaul estimated that the bill would throw 24 million people off their insurance over the next decade while reducing the deficit by $337bn in the same period.

Republicans have faced a tremendous backlash at town hall meetings in their districts as it became clear that the poor and sickest people would either lose insurance or see premiums rise.

The report out Wednesday makes clear that the revised bill, which passed the House on 4 May, would be better value in terms of reducing the deficit, but is barely improved, with 23 million people forecast to lose coverage instead of 24 million.

For those who retain insurance, while premiums would decline on average, people living in states that allow insurers to drop so-called essential health benefits would face hikes of thousands of dollars a year for services including maternity care, mental health and substance abuse benefits, rehabilitative and habilitative services, and pediatric dental benefits.

The CBO estimates that one-sixth of the US population (about 51.3m people) live in states that are likely to drop requirements for essential health benefits and that in these states unhealthy people may well find insurance unaffordable under the new bill.

Trumps changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would also mean that people who are less healthy (including those with pre-existing or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all, the CBO found.

Republicans failed to gain enough support on their first attempt to overhaul the healthcare system in March, when the House speaker, Paul Ryan declared the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare, would remain law for the foreseeable future. Weeks later, under mounting pressure from a White House in search of a legislative victory ahead of Trumps 100th day in office, talks between moderate and conservative House Republicans gave way to a compromise proposal.

The amendment would allow states to opt out of coverage for pre-existing conditions, a move conservatives argue would lower overall premiums by removing sick people from the market. An estimated 27% of Americans under 65 have pre-existing conditions, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes, that were not covered prior to the ACA.

To attract support from moderate Republicans who balked at the plan, an additional $8bn was included over five years to fund so-called high-risk pools that would help subsidize costs for people with pre-existing conditions. Some health experts have argued that this is insufficient.

The bill is expected to undergo significant changes in the Senate, where it has already received a cool reception. A working group of 13 Republican senators which has drawn criticism for being entirely male and conservative has already set about adjusting the Republican plan. If the Senate approves a plan that differs significantly from the House bill, the legislation will go to a conference committee, where representatives from both chambers will iron out the differences.

The House speaker, Paul Ryan, welcomed the assessments finding that the plan would lower premiums on average, although he did not acknowledge that they would go up for millions of vulnerable Americans.

This CBO report again confirms that the American Health Care Act achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit. It is another positive step toward keeping our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, Ryan said in a statement.

In a statement, the health and human services secretary, Tom Price, dismissed the analysis in the report and questioned the budget agencys ability to forecast the impact of the healthcare plan.

The CBO was wrong when they analyzed Obamacares effect on cost and coverage, and they are wrong again, Price said. In reality, Americans are paying more for fewer healthcare choices because of Obamacare, and thats why the Trump administration is committed to reforming healthcare.

Democrats denounced the bill as a humanitarian catastrophe and a moral monstrosity.

For the good of the country, Republicans in the Senate should reject this path and work with Democrats to fix our healthcare system instead of pulling the plug on it, the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, said at a press conference with fellow Democratic senators after the report was published.

Senator Bernie Sanders raised the possibility that the bill may not comply with the Senates guidelines on budget reconciliation, a special process that would allow Republicans to pass the plan with a simple majority.

On the reconciliation, the Help committee is required to save at least $1bn, Sanders, the ranking member of the Senate budget committee, said at the press conference. It is very possible that the new bill does not meet that basic requirement because of the high risk-pool and stabilization amendments that were added to the bill … and if that is the case, reconciliation is not a process they can use.

Schumer added: If thats true, we dont know yet, but theres a real possibility that it just doesnt meet reconciliation. That means that the House has to come back with a new bill and vote again it just doesnt work.

Before the reports release, Senate Democrats held a press conference with the parents of children who spent their earliest years in the hospital fighting cancer and other people with a history of illness who may have to pay more for coverage as a result of their conditions, under the Republican plan.

Christine Remy of Virginia, whose young daughter, Sabrina, survived neuroblastoma, an aggressive type of childhood cancer, said: If the AHCA becomes law, Sabrina and millions of other children and families may face a future where they cannot obtain quality health insurance and where they will constantly have to worry about whether they will be denied insurance if they change jobs or move to another state.

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Depression Is My Pre-Existing Condition, And I Could Die Under The AHCA

The American Health Care Act, a bill recently passed by the House of Representatives, has a lengthy list of pre-existing conditions that could be subject to excessive insurance premiums.This list includes terminal illnesses like cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

But theres another terminal condition thats getting a lot less attention and, if left untreated, can be just as deadly as any of those diseases.

Its called depression, or major depressive disorder.

According to theMayo Clinic,

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to- day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isntworth living.

Depression is also associated with an increase in physical pain, somatic symptoms, and it often goes hand-in-hand with stress and anxiety.

Since I was 10 years old, Ive relied on mental health treatment to keep me alive.

I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder as a child, spent several months in psychiatric hospitals as a teen, and I continue to attend regular therapy sessions and psychiatrist visits to maintain my mental health as an adult.

Ive had a few periods in my life where I stopped attending therapy and went off my medications. Those periods inevitably ended with an increase in suicidal thoughts, consideration of psychiatric hospitalization for my safety and emergency therapy and psychiatry sessions.

Depression is a difficult condition to explain. I can make a list of all the symptoms, but no words can truly capture the intense feelings of hopelessness and helplessness I feel, the way things that used to matter so much suddenly seem pointless and the persistent thoughts that pop into my mind about how theres no point doing anything because life is horrible, Im worthless and stupid, and I should just give up and stop trying.

Sometimes depressive episodes last a few days or weeks. Sometimes it can go on for years without a break.

Obamacare made it so that insurers had to accept people with pre-existing conditions and charge them the same premiums as anyone else.

The AHCA lets states decide if theyre going to keep that rule or not.

Under the AHCA, if a statetakes away those protections, the average premium for people with depression would increase by$8,370. This cost could make treatment unaffordable for many people, including myself. Without treatment, I face a very real and serious risk of increased suicidal thoughts and ideation.

Depression is an illness, a disease like any other. It affects the way my brain functions, and its not something I can simply stop or control without professional help. Believe me, Ive tried.

Suicide rates are already at a 30-year high, which researchers suspect is associated with lower incomes and a worsening economy. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the secondleading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 34. For young people, its beat out only by unintentional injury, and its the only cause of death linked to a medical condition in the top three.

For millennials struggling to make ends meet in a difficult and unpredictable economy, this type of premium is likely to make treatment for depression and suicidal thoughts completely out of the question.

When people dont have access to adequate mental health treatment, they tend to turn to self-destructive coping mechanisms, so problems like alcohol and drug addiction would likelysurge and take their toll as well.

Depression is a treatable, manageable condition that doesnt have to lead to death. Prevention through therapy and psychiatric medication is incredibly effective for most people, and suicide is much more likely to happen when access to that treatment is cut off.

The passage of AHCA makes me fear for my life and the lives of so many people I love.

No one should be denied the health care they need because theyre unable to afford it, and those with mental health issues like depression will be the first to fall through the cracks.

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Laci Green Trump Hating

Unsurprisingly Laci Green's upset about Trump's presidential victory and she's crying like a spoiled child that she didn't get her way.

Outro: Beef by KRS-One
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