Tag Archives: Department of Health and Human Services

Trump Pardons Martin Shkreli: Shkreli to Head Department of Health and Human Services

18 Sep

I have conflicted feelings regarding the seemingly united sense of schadenfreude that Shkreli is doing jail time for his sociopathic behavior. In the wake of the Presidential pardon of the law-breaking racist Joe Arpaio, it does not seem like that big of a leap for 45 to pardon Shkreli and then appoint him as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, given the composition of the rest of the appointments — Betsy DeVos, Rick Perry, Ben Carson, Scott Pruitt, Jeff Session and the rest of the Basket of Deplorables. The common denominator for all of his appointments is racism, homophobia, and misogyny.

Action we can take now is to keep trying to contact your senators and representatives and start looking at the 2018 midterm elections.

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Hero of the Week: February 8, Kathleen Sebelius and the Dept. of Health and Human Services

8 Feb
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

In the wake of the tragic shootings in Newton, national attention centered on the issue of guns. One frequent sidebar, however, was mental illness. The NRA seized on this, insisting, ironically, on a national registry of the mentally ill. For a while it seemed that shrill voices and fear would capitalize on the existing stigma and further marginalize those with mental health issues, making care for the mentally ill even more challenging. Fortunately, calmer voices are prevailing.

In a wonderful editorial this week, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius outlines the recent history of mental health care and what her agency intends to do to improve things. Like too many caring, common sense aspects of government, inclusive approaches to mental health started nearly 50 years ago and have been undermined by the Reaganite approach to strangling government programs. Sebelius intends to reverse that trend.

She rightly identified the main problems as stigma, early diagnosis and care, and well-funded and accessible programs. Building on the fundamentals already rolling out thanks to the Affordable Care Act, HHS will be working on new programs to ensure people get the care they need and encourage people  seek timely, meaningful help. Thank you, Madam Secretary, for taking this growing problem seriously and treating it with humanity and dignity.

Thanks to my friend Jennifer Carey for this week’s honorable mention. In another welcome move from the Obama administration, the Department of Defense has announced plans to begin implementing benefits for same-sex partners of military personnel. Sadly, because of DOMA, many of the more than 1100 benefits provided to heterosexual couples are blocked. With the dismantling of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, however, gay and lesbian military personnel can be open about their families and the government can provide some basic benefits for them. It is delightful to see another agency taking the mandate of the President’s second term seriously and moving forward — with or without Congress — to do the right thing for the American people.

Parity in Healthcare? Let’s Hope So

20 Jul

I’m sure most of TSM readers remember when the George W. Bush administration approved Viagra prescriptions to be covered by health insurance.  The bitter irony was that health insurance companies were paying to make sure men could have an erection, but would not cover birth control for women.  Was I the only one that thought this smacked of misogyny?

Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services received the formal report finding that birth control should be included in health plans for women, if prescribed.  The report found (none of this is a surprise) ” eight additional services as necessary to support women’s optimal health and well-being. The most contentious of these appears to be the free contraception service.”

The report also confirmed what most of us already knew: ( save for a few misogynists in the House of Representatives)

because of gaps in the current guidelines, womens needs for preventive services are not being met and this results in them suffering a disproportionate rate of chronic disease and disability. And, because they need more preventive care than men, due to “reproductive and gender-specific conditions”, they end up paying more out of their own pockets.

Now all we have to do is wait for Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to do the right thing and put into place the tools to implement the recommendations from the Institute of Medicine.  Click here to see the  report.

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