Time for Connecticut lawmakers to do the right thing for the disabled

Connecticut’s legislature, on a bi-partisan basis, has so far failed to do its most important job — adopt a budget. In response, the Gov. Dannel Malloy implemented an executive order to keep the state running that minimized its impact on the State’s Department of Developmental Services employees while devastating our most vulnerable citizens. Leaders can attempt to minimize the amount of damage inflicted, but if you are an individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), this executive order is the shut off notice from the electric company.

Medicare for all: The best replacement for Obamacare

The only viable solution to our ongoing national healthcare crisis has waited in the wings for a long time.  Teddy Roosevelt included the idea in his 1912 platform. President Truman proposed it in 1945.  President Johnson succeeded —partly– with Medicare.  Now more than ever, single payer national health insurance needs to move to the national stage for serious consideration.

Executive order budget undermines long-term health savings

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s Executive Order calls for a 5-10 percent reimbursement cut to non-profits as well as eliminating “add-on” payments to Medicaid home health providers serving the State’s most vulnerable in our inner cities. The financial impact of this action hurts Connecticut, its taxpayers, and our Medicaid program by jeopardizing the viability of the cost-effective healthcare provider network that creates a state savings of more than $100-million each year for the CT Dept. of Social Services (DSS).

Let’s protect health care, not politicize it further

In a June 19, 2017 press release, Sens. Len Fasano and Kevin Kelly decried the partisan nature of Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy’s recent hearings on health care. Fasano and Kelly called for a bipartisan forum that includes insurance and healthcare professionals. Appropriate as that would be, the press release itself was a highly partisan statement that undercut the call for bipartisanship.

Budget solution: Change the way Connecticut provides services

Let’s start with the harsh reality: beginning the new fiscal year without a state budget will result in human services agencies across Connecticut cutting services and closing doors. Yet since January, leaders of community nonprofits have offered a way to save $300 million over the biennium while re-investing that savings to people in need, by shifting more services from more expensive state government agencies into the nonprofit sector.

American healthcare at the crossroads

So now we have health plan proposals from both Republican controlled houses of Congress. Let’s strip away for a moment the mountain of detail that defines these proposals and drill down to the core message; the federal government has no business ensuring that all its citizens have access to affordable, quality healthcare. The Democratic position is exactly the opposite, the federal government must work to ensure quality and affordable healthcare for all. This is an ideologic clash no less monumental than that which occurred over slavery in the mid 19th Century and its role in American Society.

People with bipolar illness are normal

Bipolar illness is a psychiatric condition that is frequently misunderstood. Also known as manic depression, bipolar disorder affects about 1 percent of the population in the United States, and the public must be educated to better understand the illness and to become more aware of the symptoms. Bipolar illness affects the mind through periods of depression and mania. Depending on the severity of the disorder, the levels of mania and depression can vary.

Men, testing for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases is important

June 12-18 was National Men’s Health Week, and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England encourages men to take charge of their sexual health with regular checkups, screenings, and testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. Regular checkups can keep a person healthy and can find health problems before they become serious. Free HIV testing will be available at PPSNE health centers in Connecticut on Tuesday, June 27, and in Rhode Island on Wednesday, June 28.

CT opioid crisis more deadly than guns, auto accidents combined

There were over 2,000 drug overdoses in Connecticut in a four-year span: 2012-2015. In just 2016 alone, opioids claimed the lives of 917 people from Connecticut. These alarming numbers constitute a full-blown epidemic. In Connecticut, opioid drugs and addiction are now more deadly than gunshots and car accidents combined.

A call to alternative action on health care

It is incumbent for the Democratic Caucus to act as urgently as possible to advance an alternative health care bill that has better chance of covering 23 million more of our fellow Americans than the current AHCA regardless of their emotional attachment and political allegiance to the Affordable Care Act. We must repudiate the secretive process that is being pursued by the Senate leadership and prevent the AHCA from becoming the law of the land. We must take the initiative away from the majority leader of the Senate to enact an affordable, sustainable, innovative and equitable Health Care law based on the Patient Freedom Act.

Descent into secrecy: Senate health talks retreat further from transparency

In three decades of reporting, I’ve had a front-row seat to Congress’ slow, stuttering retreat from such step-by-step transparency, a process known as “regular order.” It has now culminated in the Senate GOP leadership’s top-secret process to try to write a health bill that could change the formula for nearly one-fifth of the nation’s economy, with a vote they want to cast by July 4.

Protecting quality healthcare is an investment in our future

The recent high stakes drama in Washington about the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act has sparked much soul-searching among physicians about the importance of quality health care. Healthcare is intensely personal, and how we feel is defined by our energy, strength and sense of well-being. When we are healthy, life is good, but when we don’t feel well or suffer with the effects of a chronic illness, life is a daily struggle. Over the 30 years I’ve been practicing medicine, the world around us has changed dramatically: how we live, how we communicate, the technology we use and the availability of information has evolved exponentially.