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.

Support small business: Pass paid leave this year

As the owner of a small business in Colchester, I support paid family and medical leave as a critical safety net that will support workers during times of financial insecurity, when their last concern should be missing a paycheck. Contrary to the narrative spread by the big business lobby, a new poll shows that 77 percent of small business owners in Connecticut support paid family and medical leave. When respondents learn more about paid leave, including how a range of research has demonstrated its benefits for businesses, support for legislation climbs to 85 percent. And it’s easy to see why.

Online contact lens ban is protectionism, not patient protection

The Connecticut legislature is currently considering legislation HB 6012 that would radically restrict emerging telehealth technologies and would set a dangerous precedent by legislating standards of care. Physicians go through rigorous schooling, training, licensing, and certification, and ultimately, we trust doctors to make the best treatment decisions for their patients. In the case of HB 6012, optometrists, who are not medical doctors, are trying to use legislation to dictate how doctors treat their patients.

Prospero’s tale (about first-onset psychosis)

When I was 18, I lived in a Chelsea flophouse. There was one bathroom per floor, and I had the deluxe with a tiny sink and two-burner stove for $46 per week. To my right was a guy with advanced alcoholism. He’d scream in the night, “Oh God, not again.” I tacked blankets to the wall to muffle his cries. It helped. On the other side was my best friend, Mark. I’d been crashing with him illegally when a room came free. As the prior occupant vacated, I raced down three flights to face the building’s owner, Mrs. S, whose office was at the front.

Let’s eliminate the pharmaceutical ‘gag order’ that costs patients money

Connecticut lawmakers need to continue their history and proactive approach to patient-focused legislation by passing a bill that will ensure patient consumers are not paying too much for their medication. S.B.445 would put an end to an insurance industry secret—where pharmacists are contractually prohibited from telling customers if there is an option for them to pay less for their medically necessary, and sometimes life-saving, prescription treatment options. It seems crazy but it’s true.

Legalizing marijuana is irresponsible and will harm teens

Proposing that the state will potentially raise $200 million in new tax dollars from sales of retail marijuana is misguided and irresponsible, yet this is exactly what is being suggested in the Democrat’s version of the budget that was just released. … Even though I am still a high school student, I have checked some of the published scientific research on marijuana and I know that marijuana is a harmful substance. The scientific research is very clear that exposure to cannabinoids during adolescent brain development can negatively impact areas of the brain related to learning, memory, motivation and emotion even after use has ended.