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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for some subsidies! The beauty of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) lies in its many subsidies, the majority of which are designed to help out low-income households. In fact, the ACA even offers subsidies to Middle Class individuals! So long as you make no more than $46,000 as an individual or $94,200 as a family of four, you can participate. Excited!?

How Do The Subsidies Work?

These ACA subsidies manifest themselves via tax credits that can be applied right away to drastically reduce your monthly premium. The value of the credit will differ based on numerous factors, including but not limited to your income, your assets and how much you “would pay for the second-least expensive ‘silver’ policy.” That policy, by the way, covers 70% of your expenses.

Obviously, the quantity of the tax credit goes up as your income levels go up. Simply put, somebody making $46,000 a year would get a lot smaller subsidy than someone just making $16,000 a year. Now, the stipulation is that you must purchase insurance through the Obamacare exchange site, obviously. But so long as you do that, the credits will be applied immediately to your required monthly premium.

What Subsidies Exist?

There are two primary forms of subsidies available. They include the premium assistance tax credit (briefly mentioned earlier) that lowers your premium. Then there is the cost sharing assistance. This affects your maximum out-of-pocket expenses.

Premium Assistance

The premium assistance is based on income, and it reduces your premium. It operates on a sliding scale. Individuals making less than 133% of the official poverty level, for instance, would wind up paying no more than 2% of what they make. Individuals making between 300% and 400% above of the poverty level, on the other hand, would wind up paying about 9.5%.

obamacare

Keep in mind that these calculations are based on the silver plan. However, the subsidies offered remain the same regardless of which plan you choose. So you downgraded to bronze, you’d pay less, while if you upgraded to gold, you’d pay more.

Cost Sharing Assistance

If you’re eligible for the premium assistance, you’re also eligible for cost sharing assistance as well. If you make between 100% and 200% of the poverty level, there would be a 2/3rd reduction to your out-of-pocket expenses, meaning you as an individual would never pay more than $3,967 within a single year. Theo the rates are ½ and 1/3, but which one you would get would be dependent on your income.

Just to note, yes, you must still pay things like deductibles and copayments. There is no way whatsoever to avoid these standard medical costs. What Obamacare mainly does is just lower your monthly rate, as well as the costs you would otherwise pay. So if you get a $30,000 heart bypass, for instance, you’d only be paying a sliver of that, which means you wouldn’t end up with thousands upon thousands of dollars of debt.

So What To Do Now?

Sign up with the Affordable Care Act as soon as possible! As of mid-November, the Obamacare site is still very malfunctional, so you might have to wait. It’s okay regardless, because there are months before you must sign up. However, try to get signed up as quickly as possible, because you won’t be able to see/know your subsidies until you do! Keep in mind that you can also sign up by dialing to the Obamacare line.

In the meantime, though, if you need anymore information, definitely check out the InsuranceHotline. It’s a great resource for folks with healthcare-related questions. Also stay abreast of the news, because more information about Obamacare is constantly seeping into the papers. And there is still a chance that the whole program will be delayed for several months.

Good luck, and we sincerely hope you get all the subsidies you need and deserve!

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders that is currently being diagnosed around the world with thousands of adults and, to a lesser extent, children. One of the most damning characteristics of the disorder is that it’s often extremely difficult to know there’s something wrong unless someone else points it out. Since the issues of sleep apnea happen only while you’re sleeping, you’re blatantly unaware of any issues there may be and might just think you haven’t been sleeping very well when you’re groggy or tired throughout the day.

One of the most common indicators of sleep apnea is snoring, but snoring doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea. Because the condition is impossible to detect in blood and might not be apparent during a routine check-up at the doctor, most people have to rely on the judgement of family members or their spouse in order to point out that there might be an issue. Since going off of snoring alone isn’t possible, there are some other symptoms of sleep apnea that you should keep an eye out for.

  • Chronic fatigue throughout the day.
  • Headaches upon waking up.
  • Troubles with memory or learning new material.
  • Out of the ordinary mood swings and irritability (connected to fatigue)
  • Needing to get out of bed frequently in order to urinate
  • Excessively dry mouth upon waking up.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • A preference for breathing through the mouth rather than the nose.

Sleep apnea

Living with Sleep Apnea

As you can tell, there are a bunch of different symptoms that may be innocent or curious on their own but can present a legitimate case for diagnosis if combined. Either way, living with the symptoms of sleep apnea can significantly influence how you live your life and can actually impact the opportunities that are available to you.

Untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk of a few things, such as obesity, heart attacks, and high blood pressure. Irregular heartbeats might plague you more often than they normally would and the chance of heart failure is increased. Not only that, but untreated sleep apnea can also increase the chances of an accident in your day to day life because of fatigue or hindered mental capacity. Sleep is essential to the way we function and having too little sleep or damaged sleep can take your capabilities down a few notches.

It’s undeniable, then, that severe sleep apnea can have a pretty big influence on your job, how you get from point A to point B, and the general quality of your life. For example, if you have a job that requires precise calculations or concentration, can you reasonably and reliably fit your responsibilities if you are consistently tired or missing sleep for either an unknown reason or a condition that isn’t being treated properly? If you need to be behind the wheel of a car often, are you sure that you can remain suitably conscious during the quiet moments in order to make it to your destination safely and not endanger your life and the lives of others?

Treatments for Sleep Apnea

These questions are all important to be answered, and sleep apnea has the opportunity to make the answer rest at ‘no’ unless something gets done about it. In more severe cases, sufferers of sleep apnea require something called a CPAP machine which is a neat little piece of technology that is constantly being updated and can resolve pretty much all issues that come from this disorder. However, utilizing a CPAP machine comes with the added expectation that you wear it each and every single night as you sleep and it’s rather common for people to not have the ability to sleep with a machine that is strapped to their face.

A CPAP machine, regardless of a patient’s willingness to use it, is usually kept for moderate to severe sufferers. What happens with the people who can’t use the machine or aren’t classified in the category that makes them eligible? Do they simply give up and deal with it? Luckily, no. While there are a ton of lifestyle changes that can be made that help with sleep apnea, there are also organizations such as WithoutSnoring.org that can provide oral appliances in the form of a mouthpiece or tongue retainer that can improve airflow and reduce a lot of the obstructions that come with sleep apnea. In the most severe cases, surgery is an option for those who cannot find relief with any of the previous options. This is relatively rare and the use of oral appliances and changing your lifestyle can be a great combination that mostly, if not completely, resolves the issues you face on a daily basis due to sleep apnea.

Dental healthcare throughout the world is involved in the assessment of dental health necessities and refining the dental health of populations rather than individuals. Dental problems can range from a simple toothache or an ulcer to a more serious oral cancer.
Despite great improvements of oral health treatments in certain countries, dental diseases still persist globally.

Around the globe, approximately 15-20% of adults, aged 35-44, have advanced gum disease, and approximately 30% of adults between the ages of 65-74 have none of their natural teeth intact. In addition, statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that approximately 60-90% of children and close to 100% of adults worldwide have cavities.

Most of the populations of both developing and developed countries do not enjoy the privilege of proper dental treatment, and hence are at a disadvantage, thereby lowering the overall percentage of healthy individuals. The major risk factors prevailing among majority of the people are unhealthy lifestyles and limited availability and access to oral health care services.

Major Risk Factors That Curb Dental Health.
Poor nutrition and oral hygiene; and the use of tobacco and alcohol have been the supremest cannons in triggering off oral dental diseases throughout. These factors are constantly mistaken to exist only among the underprivileged lot, while actually, quite a large number of the higher-class populations also expose themselves to the risks of dental diseases.

The evidence of International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluated on the carcinogenic risks to humans includes various exposures like alcohol (also alcoholic beverages), tobacco in any form, X-radiations, Chinese style-salted fish and wood dust.
à Smokers have a 3 fold increased risk of oral cancer than non-smokers, stated a meta-analysis. Between one and four years of cessation, the risk of oral cavity cancer is 35% lower than that of a current smoker.

Dental Healthcare

à A meta-analysis by the IRAC showed that every 1.5 units of alcohol consumed per day increases the risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer by 35% in men and 9% in women.
à 40-50% of HIV-positive patients have oral fungal, bacterial or viral infections.
Further, the total consumption of sugar, as well as the frequency of intake, and improper brushing contributes to dental problems. Diet is a dominant variable in determining the onset of dental problems and it masks other factors. The whole socio-cultural environment surrounding an individual influences his/her susceptibility to oral health issues.

America’s Approach to Dental Care.

The American Dental Association (ADA) is an American professional association, established in 1859, comprising of more than 155,000 members. Being the oldest and largest national dental association, the ADA aims to promote good quality of life by improving the oral health of the public and encouraging optimal health behaviours.

The objectives of the ADA encapsulate various approaches to build an effective shield for oral health risks. The expertise of the ADA dentists in their continuous research of the causes, prevention and cure measures pertaining to oral diseases bring about potent results in upping public dental health.

One of the best honours by the National Consumer Advisory Board of America is “America’s Best Dentists”- http://www.todaysbestdentists.com/ will take you there.
ADA cites the barriers that hinder oral health care, further, strong efforts to spread awareness concerning dental health is one of the main strategies of this organization as prevention is better than cure any day. “Dental care is almost entirely preventable” state the professionals.

The whole society is encouraged to help the underprivileged understand the health risks associated with unhygienic habits and the simple measures that can undo them along with providing them with access to dental care.

What America Can Learn.
· The insufficient funds from dental sections in Medicaid and The State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP) that are supposed to provide health care to disadvantaged Americans is one of the prime reasons for the short-fall of American dental care.
àThe Federal Law can implement stronger forces on Medicaid to supply complete health provisions to the people.

· While most organizations focus more on child health care, adult health coverage is mostly ignored, thereby causing a decline in the health of this demographic section.
àA balanced system of treatment should be channelled throughout the population to avoid exposure of only a certain category of people to oral health risks.

· Even though fluoridation of water is one of the most indispensable key to the reduction of dental problems, one-third of the water systems remain non fluorinated.
à Along with the correction of that point, public awareness regarding the near-miraculous role of fluorine in preventing dental caries and boosting dental enamel formation should be spread. This catalyses the use of fluorinated tooth-products among the masses, thereby amplifying the results of better healthcare.

Dental Care in Australia

Australia’s National Oral Health Plan prepared by the National Advisory Committee on Oral Health is one of the most powerful tools of dental care in Australia.
“In the past 25 years fluoridation is estimated to have saved the Victorian community nearly $1 billion in avoided dental costs, lost productivity and saved leisure time”- Dental Health Services (DHS-Australia).
On the whole, Australia seeks to make best use of the resources, be it financial or human. Dental awareness programs have proved to be 100X more effective during the dental health week, as people were educated in precision with the various risk factors that one could be subjected to.
Dental treatments those are free or of reduced fee were introduced, taking into consideration low-income families. This is one efficient method to motivate the financially unstable masses to wrap themselves up in a healthier atmosphere.  Alan, a dentist at Art De Dente Dentists Melbourne, says that "all lower income families should be taking advantage of low cost dental treatments, especially for their children".
References: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15871771
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3063664
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs318/en/
http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/83/9/petersen0905abstract/en/
http://www.ada.org/1405.aspx

Organic products are those that are processed naturally and strictly kept away from petrochemicals.

 “Organic Shopping” often precipitates negative reactions in the minds of most families that are low on income. Now, the reason for this negative response mainly is the high cost of organic products.

Why Are Organic Products More Expensive Than The Rest?

Conventional growers use genetically engineered seeds and other chemical aids for their products and are benefited with financial assistance called “subsidies”; this fetches them a lot of marketing support and crop insurance, thereby reducing the net price of their products. On the other hand, organic farmers DO NOT adopt such means; hence creating a significant rise in the rates of their products. This price-elevation makes organic products unaffordable by low-income families, compelling them to resort to buying conventional products that are cheaper and considered to be more economical.

However, when this issue is given a deeper thought, the fact that organic shopping actually leads to a healthier environment, along with reducing the gross expenses of a family comes to light.
Low-income families can learn to shop smart and afford to encapsulate themselves in better health by switching to organic products.

How Organic Shopping Is Actually Economical.

So, when you’re on your grocery-shopping trip, you always have two options to choose from.
1. Conventional Food. This includes foods that are processed by saturation in chemicals, preservatives, pesticides and whatnot.

2. Organic food. This produce is reaped by using completely natural methods.
The former is comparatively cheaper, but if you look closely at the productive side of this option, you will find that the drawbacks outpace the advantages.
While, in the latter, the chances of illness and side effects are significantly reduced, and your over-all health is upped to a satisfactory level. This saves a lot on hospital bills.
Further, studies of the comparison of the energy efficiency of organic and conventional products have shown that the organic system is the winner in this case.
So families are at an advantage as they can cut down on additional energy supplements, thereby saving expenditure in that department.

Organic Food

Organic Food Versus Conventional Food

Here’s a list of differences between organic and conventional produce, in order to provide you with a clear picture of how organic food saves you from the risks that conventional food subjects you to:

ORGANIC FOOD CONVENTIONAL FOOD
Natural fertilizers like manure and compost are used as soil and plant feed. The soil is saturated in chemicals so as to promote faster growth of the plants.
Pesticides from natural sources are sprayed. Mating disruption, insect traps, beneficial birds and insects are used to eliminate pests. Synthetic insecticides are sprayed to control pests and other diseases.
Hand weeding tools and naturally procured mulch is used for weed removal. Synthetic herbicides are used to destroy weeds that obstruct crop growth.
Animals are given organic feed and allowed access to outdoors. Rotational grazing, clean housing and a balanced diet are used as preventive measures for diseases. Antibiotics, growth hormones and other medications are given to animals to spur growth.

So, as the variations are clearly demonstrated, it is evident that conventional foods suck up a whole lot of chemicals which can potentially trigger certain health risks which you will have to fix by meeting hospital charges.

No doubt organic food is expensive, but there is a really effective way in which it will reduce your budget, while ensuring that you eat healthy and shield your family from chemicals.
Although a research by UK’s Food Standards Agency concluded that the health risks created by conventional foods are few, the fact still holds strong that prevention is better than cure.

Tips To Make Organic Shopping Affordable

·  Buy frozen. Frozen foods are cheaper than those that are delivered fresh. So, if the price tag on fresh food sends up recoiling signals, you can always move on to an affordable version of it- the frozen food aisle.
·  Eat with the season. Foods that are available locally are much more affordable than those flown in from another hemisphere. Now, if you want strawberries in the middle of winter you shouldn’t be complaining about the high price.
·  Ditch the packaging, grab the bulk. You could save a lot by shedding the packaging and buying in bulk instead. The food is what matters anyway, so slide on over to the bulk food section and pick out foods like brown rice, noodles, cereal, etc.
·  Comparison shopping. Before you head out the door, make sure that you compare the prices of organic foods from different retailers online. Also, quality can be compared online. One excellent Organic Healthcare Store to buy quality products online is http://www.purtrition.com  .
·  Grow one thing. Although there are null possibilities of feeding an entire family from home-grown harvest, we can always save in on atleast one component from the grocery shopping list by growing one fruit/vegetable at home. Choose something that doesn’t need much care incase you’re all that busy.

Foods That Are Better Organic Than Conventional.

grass fed beef

1. Brown Rice. Unpacked organic brown rice, when bought in bulk is extremely cheap, tasty and can be incorporated into any meal.
2. Assorted Seeds. Organic flax or organic sunflower seeds are highly nutritious and inexpensive especially when you bag them yourself.
3. Grass-Fed Meats. Buying high quality beef, bison, and buffalo meat directly from the farm would fetch you a good discount, while protecting you from the hormonal and antibiotic injection residues present in conventional meat.  Additionally grass fed meats have better nutrient profiles and higher levels of Omega 3 fats.
4. Olive Oil. Known for its actions against many medical conditions, you can find a great deal of USDA certified Organic Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil for very cheap rates.
5. Peanut Butter. A favourite among children is best organic, and can be yours for surprisingly low figures and can be combined with a couple of other food items to alter the flavour of the snack altogether.

So, all in all, by embracing a few simple tips, anyone can afford to go organic. There are also many food items that are more susceptible to contamination by chemicals and retain pesticides that are difficult to wash off. In these cases, where chemically loaded conventional products make one vulnerable to health issues, I would say, it is best to opt for organic food.

Natural disasters happen at a moment’s notice and wreak havoc in the neighborhoods, cities, states, and countries where they occur.  Turn on the news after a tornado, flood, tsunami, hurricane or earthquake and you’ll see nothing but mass destruction.  You’ll read heartbreaking stories about lives lost and lack of lifesaving supplies. 

Disaster Awareness and Preparedness Saves Lives

The one thing that can’t be stressed enough is disaster awareness and preparedness.  You can help your family survive in dire situations by knowing how to properly assess your level of danger and provide the necessary plan and supplies they will need to get through the days following a natural disaster successfully.  You must know what to do for any specific natural disaster that has the potential to occur in your area(i.e earthquakes in California, hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes in Oklahoma.

Typhoon Pat

Americans, especially those in vulnerable areas of the country can prepare for natural disasters in the following ways:

  • Talk about and practice your evacuation plan.  It’s very important for each and every family member to know how to get out of a dangerous situation.  Holding regular drills can acquaint your spouse and children with your evacuation plan.  Determine a meeting spot wherever can gather in the chance that someone is separated from your group.
  • Create a Basic Disaster Supplies Kit as recommended by FEMAYou’ll want to have enough food, water, and first aid supplies to see you through a few days until you and your family is able to receive outside assistance.  With this being said, it’s very important to rotate out your nonperishable food supply to ensure that you’ll always have fresh food to eat.  The same can be said about water.  Most bottle and jugs are labeled with expiration dates.  Make sure to use the oldest first and replace the supplies you have used with new ones whenever you have the chance.  Also, don’t forget a can opener!  How else are you going to open the cans in your emergency kit?
  • Prepare a Bug Out Bag for each member of your family including each one of your pets.  Keep in mind each individual’s needs.  For example, not everyone in your family takes medication but for those that do, it’s important to have a list of their medications laminated and put inside the bag.  Small children may find comfort knowing a teddy bear or game is available.  Adults can benefit from having a book to read as they wait for help.  Pets need food, water, a leash, collapsible dishes, and vaccination information included in their bags as well.
  • Know that you will need to be mentally prepared for what’s ahead for you and your family.  The more you talk about the different types of natural disasters that you and your family might face, the less scary they will seem in real life.  The key to survival is the right tools which includes a positive mental attitude.
  • Learn ways to do more with less.  Test your skill at getting the most out of every dollar you spend.  Be conscientious when using tools and supplies in your home.  Have them serve dual purposes.  Make it a challenge for you and your family to get the most use out of every single thing that you own.  If the time comes where you don’t have much, you may not even notice because you’ll be so used to doing with less.
  • Get your neighbors on board.  It’s best to share your natural disaster plan with others in your neighborhood.  This will give you the peace of mind that you can count on your neighbors for help whenever a tornado or hurricane strikes.  You’ll also be clued in on their evacuation plan and can assist their families if they need you to as well.

A natural disaster can occur at any time and with very little notice.  By preparing well in advance, you and your family are better equipped to deal with the fallout caused by a tornado, hurricane, flood or earthquake.  Having a solid plan can make the evacuation process smoother and keeping certain items like bottled water and nonperishable food items can ensure your survival in the harshest conditions.

Throughout all of human history and in every corner of the globe, hairstyles have been an indicator of the wearer’s age, wealth, politics, health, and social class. In many countries, those without proper access to water or nutrition tend to have unhealthy hair which can signal their lower income.  While hair's relationship to your health or social class may seem completely unrelated, it is a powerful status and health indicator.  Those people who have more time and money will show it because of the easier access to vitamins for the hair and the resulting better condition of their hair. Good grooming and hair health is one of the best indicators of social class.   The amount of care taken to the hair by the individual would also show how much time and money he or she had to devote to style. 

Marital Status

Marital status has always been part of the formula of most countries social classes. The length and the way that the style is worn generally changes after a woman come of age or marry and marriage will give a woman a higher social position within her community.

Healthy-Hair

Religious

Some religions have no preset standard of hairstyle and instead its practioners wear styles fashionable in the area and of the time. However, most religions do frown upon very extreme or overly demonstrative styles. On the other hand, some religions do set specific dictates on the hairstyles of its followers.

Because social class is often determined by the religion a group follows, the easily distinguishable religious haircuts may signify the social class of an individual. The clergy traditionally wore squared off hairstyles or wigs similar to the populations current fashion.  The women married to clergy wore simple twisted buns and the nuns of different religious orders wore their hair closely cut and covered.

Wealth

In past centuries, Noble ladies and Roman women spent considerable time on their hair and the styles that they wore needed several individuals to correctly dress it. The very wealthy displayed what they had in their hair by adorning it with jewels, silks, and other head dressings that might be interwoven into the hair.  Therefore, the women with the most money and who were at the highest rung of the social ladder had the most elaborate hairstyles.

The men of the higher classes also wore difficult to create hairstyles or wore intricate powdered or died and curled wigs. Often the upper classes emulated the style of their leaders and wore fashions and hairstyles in imitation.  The middle classes wore simpler hairstyles more suited to the workplace they were employed in.

You could see what a person did for a living by the way he wore his hair. Shorter hair or tightly pinned hair became standard as women moved into industrial jobs when the nation’s men went to war. The men would return and keep the closer cuts of the military and smaller mustaches or close shaves for their facial hair. Wigs often became a style of the past during war time.

The lower class had little time and less regard for hair styles. Most of these people wore their hair very simply or unkempt. Men’s facial hair was also dictated by their employer or unkempt if there were no work standards.

Those on the outskirts of society would wear their hair in ways that would announce their occupation. Prostitutes would often wear their hair in elaborate configurations that were strongly stylized versions of the upper classes hairstyles. Slave’s hair was shorn close to their scalps.

Politics

Hair has always been used as one of society’s signals of a person’s politics. During the Vietnam War, men protesting the American war stood out when they adopted long, unkempt styles in direct rebellion against the military styles of traditional men. The women’s hairstyles were similar and not only showed their rebellion against the war but also blurred the line between men and women.

Wealth and Hair

George Villiers' stylish hair

Age

Age and the follies of youth have also always been a determining factor of a person’s social class. The young are more likely to follow trends and to ignore the established standards of their parent’s social class.

Hairstyles are distinct to their social class and are also recognizable from country to country. People use it as an indicator of the wealth, age, and the intelligence of the other person. It is used often to analyze an individual by interviewers, dates, and law enforcement.

It is a continuous portion of every day and has become so engrained in our daily activity that it is rare that you will notice when you are profiled or you profile another. Hair, its health, how well it is groomed, and its style are strong reference points used to predict another person’s social class.

The Affordable Care Act aka ACA or Obamacare will expand coverage and add treatment options for millions of Americans who had little or no choice in the past.  It will also take away some of the treatment options already in use.  There is a plus side and a negative side to the ACA.  To better understand your options, we will briefly address the advantages and disadvantages of Obamacare and how it affects therapy and mental services.

The Good and Not So Good

The mental benefits of Obamacare can be seen as better than what was previously available through other means in some ways. But, it also has it’s not so good sides as well.  Here are some of the implications about these services through Obamacare.

Mental Healthcare

More Accessible

The Good

This is seen as one of the more beneficiary parts of Obamacare.  The reason is because it opens up the private insurance market to more people and to those who weren’t eligible for that insurance.  This is actually a step that is being taken after another step that was taken back in 2008 called the Mental Health Parity Act.  This is basically here to ensure those who need psychiatric treatment can actually access it.

The Not So Good

Obamacare has actually created some problems because when implemented it was designed to be more accessible, but in some states they have set limitations.  Many people are on Medicaid and this was to help others be able to get onto Medicaid and to be able to use these enhanced services.  However, the Supreme Court gave the choice to expand Medicaid or not and some decided that expanding just to incorporate and add those who are wanting to join because of Obamacare would not happen.  This affects anywhere from 6 – 8 million people.

Better Care

The Good

When Obamacare was designed, it was to increase incentives to physicians and mental health professionals to take care of over an entire continuum of care.  It also focused on preventative care, which can keep someone out of a hospital.  This type of care has been shown to be beneficial to those who use therapy and mental services.  It can catch health issues before they become too serious and if a person has a serious life-threatening diagnosis, they can be seen by a professional.  Anna, a therapist at Baton Rouge Counseling had this to say, "Obamacare may have the positive effect of resulting in more lower income households being able to access urgent mental healthcare or therapy services, that they otherwise would not be able to ever have access to".

The Not So Good

The biggest negative to this is the fact that the U.S Department of Health and Human Services decided to leave the definitions of this essential health benefit package up to each state.  In doing this, the states can decide what services such as mental health screenings, prevention services, or other non-traditional services that are necessary for the treatment or care of mental health is or is not covered.

Mental Healthcare

Denied Coverage

The Good

This was probably one of the more refuted and argued points of Obamacare and still is today.  Prior to Obamacare, insurance companies could refuse a person based upon a pre-existing mental health condition or any other condition.  This was problematic because people who changed jobs or insurance companies had to basically hide these from them in order to get the insurance.

Now with this ruling, it’s a huge win for many Americans in that insurance companies can no longer discriminate against anyone with a pre-existing condition of any kind.  This not only means that people will have more access to insurance and be covered, but insurance cannot be cancelled as well.

The Not So Good

To date, the actual downsides to this aren’t known which shows many good things in and around itself.

The Final Thoughts

The changes that are being made by Obamacare in regards to therapy and mental health have been seen as some of the better ones.  However, most of these have been stepping stones to help people get more coverage and better chances at receiving the services they need.  This is a game changer for many and with the states really having a large say on what to include or cut from programs, this will play out on a state-to-state level. 

Your eyes are one of the most important features of your body. Imagine not being able to properly see? How much would it affect your ability to work; your quality of life; your overall happiness? Not being able to properly see can have a huge impact on every aspect of your life. Fortunately, for people who middle- and upper-class individuals who live in Australia, receiving proper eye care to correct any vision problems is not a difficult task. However, those who are in the lower class do have difficulties receiving the proper eye care treatment that they need. Please continue reading to find out how being in a lower income socioeconomic status can impact Australian’s vision.

Inability to Receive Eye Care

In order to receive proper eye care in Australia, individuals need one of two things; health insurance or a good bit of money. Health insurance does cover the expenses that are related to eye care in Australia. Unfortunately, those who are unemployed, or who work in jobs in which insurance is not offered, are not able to reap the benefits that health insurance provides, which includes proper eye care.

On the same token, those who are not employed or who do not receive health insurance from their employer, have to pay for the expense out of their own pockets. Eye care, as with all other forms of health care, is extremely expensive. Of course, this means that those who are in a lower socioeconomic status simply cannot afford to pay for the eye care that they require. But doesn’t everyone deserve proper eye care, despite their economic status?

Eye care in Australia

Types of Eye Problems

There are several types of issues that can occur within the eye. Common eye problems include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Far sightedness
  • Near sightedness
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Ocular damage
  • Nerve damage

As well as a wide range of other problems. These issues can cause a great deal of distress to the person who suffers from them. These issues can include, of course, the inability to properly see, pain and even blindness.

A Solution to the Problem?

There is no doubt that proper eye care is exceptionally important. It is just as important for those who are well-off as it is for those who are struggling economically. Does this mean that those who are of a lower financial status should go without proper eye care? Something can be done. The government of Australia can provide government-assisted vision care for those who qualify. This type of care will provide those in need with vision screenings and treatments, if needed. Patients would be able to receive proper treatment, such as corrective lenses, surgical procedures (in extreme cases), and eye drops to treat simple problems, like red, dry and irritated eyes.

Just because a person is suffering financial does not mean that he or she does not deserve proper eye care. Something can be done to support the proper eye care of low income Australians, we just need the help of the people and the government in order to make the necessary changes.

Approximately 36 percent of adults age 20 and over are considered obese. This is a growing problem in the United States as well as many other parts of the world.

Despite the fact that more than one of every three people in the United States is obese, it doesn’t mean that there are no options for treating this problem. It doesn’t mean that people have to consider living their life this way, hoping for the best but realizing that they may never make the progress they are looking for.

Those who are looking to change their life by shedding the necessary number of pounds must realize the importance of considering all their options. Believe it or not, one of the best ways of doing so is to simply improve your lifestyle choices.

Obesity Rates America

When you make better choices related to your day to day living, you will find yourself overcoming any obstacles that are thrown your way.

Here are just a few things to consider:

  • What you eat
  • How much you exercise
  • Which products you can use to aid the weight loss process

When you focus on these types of lifestyle choices, you can then begin to formulate a plan that puts you in position to lose weight.

The Challenges

Let’s face it: losing weight is easier said than done. This is something that millions of Americans want to do, but many are unable to achieve for one reason or the next.

There are a variety of challenges associated with losing weight. For instance, some people don’t have enough will power to hold themselves accountable for what they eat and how much they exercise.

Others find themselves lost and looking for answers in terms of the approach they should take to lose weight. They realize they need to shed some pounds, but are unable to do so because they don’t know how to get started.

Overcoming Obstacles

The first thing you need to know about overcoming any weight related obstacle is this: there are going to be times when you are down and out. There are going to be time when you are frustrated. The best thing you can do is forge ahead, even when you are getting down on yourself.

Additionally, you can consider a variety of health supplements and products that can help aid the process of losing weight. When faced with an obstacle, it is often times something like this that can help you get over the hurdle and reach your next goal.

If you consider yourself obese or simply want to lose weight for health purposes, you need to think long and hard about the lifestyle choices you have made to this point and what you can do in the future to better yourself. From there, you will find that there is no challenge or obstacle too big to overcome. Instead, you will find yourself in position to lose weight and live a better life.

This is the 3rd in a 3 part series on why aid to Africa has been ineffective.  Read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

The Brain Drain

Despite the preceding success markers regarding the achievement of medical drug induced treatments, the real problem lies in the lack of medical staff available to dispense the life saving drugs. This Brain Drain is an enormous problem that derives from the rampant healthcare mismanagement and will affect all the worlds’ citizens in the near future. The brain drain is a dangerous problem that is difficult to cure. It is when the educated class in the third world immigrates to the first world for better opportunities. The “Brain drain of health professionals has resulted in an uneven distribution of health staff across the globe, with countries carrying the highest burden of diseases having the lowest numbers of health workers while those with relatively low need have the highest numbers. The greatest shortage of health workers is believed to be in South East Asia and the largest relative need to be in Sub-Saharan Africa where an increase of almost 140% is required to achieve adequate staffing levels” (Zimbudzi 1).

Brain Drain

 

The brain drain leaves the poverty stricken countries with an absence of educated professionals that are essential to the growth and maintenance of the country. The developed world’s growing aging class is consuming the developing worlds trained medical workers. It comes to no surprise that a licensed medical worker would migrate to the rich developed world. The immigration of the medical workers creates a vacuum for medical technicians and doctors in poverty stricken countries.  “The fact that the world is now short well over four million health-care workers, moreover, is all too often ignored. As the populations of the developed countries are aging and coming to require ever more medical attention, they are sucking away local health talent from developing countries. Already, one out of five practicing physicians in the United States is foreign-trained” (Garrett 1). The Aids epidemic that should be harshly eradicated through available treatments and abundant aids funding is not only killing off the poor but the doctors as well. “Mozambique's health minister says that AIDS is killing the country's health-care workers faster than they can be recruited and trained: by 2010, the country will have lost 6,000 lab technicians to the pandemic. A study by the International Labor Organization estimates that 18-41 percent of the health-care labor force in Africa is infected with HIV. If they do not receive ARV therapy, these doctors, nurses, and technicians will die”(Garrett 1).  There is not only a shortage of medical staff in the developing world but a growing deficiency is in the developed world. When the populous and troubled African aid countries have little to no healthcare programs then generations of potential medical workers are lost. In Ghana “Prenatal care, maternal health programs, the treatment of guinea worm, measles vaccination efforts -- all have declined as the country has shifted its health-care workers to the better-funded projects and lost physicians to jobs in the wealthy world. A survey of Ghana's health-care facilities in 2002 found that 72 percent of all clinics and hospitals were unable to provide the full range of expected services due to a lack of sufficient personnel”(Garrett 1).

The few healthcare workers that are willing and able to provide necessary care have a shortage of the essential equipment to delver the services needed. “Data from international migration-tracking organizations show that health professionals from poor countries worldwide are increasingly abandoning their homes and their professions to take menial jobs in wealthy countries. Morale is low all over the developing world, where doctors and nurses have the knowledge to save lives but lack the tools” (Garrett 1).  This mismanagement of resources can be seen in “Guinea-Bissau has plenty of donated ARV supplies for its people, but the drugs are cooking in a hot dockside warehouse because the country lacks doctors to distribute them” (Garrett 1). An abundance of funds is flooding the healthcare sector of African countries yet there is a severe drought in healthcare personnel and resources.

African Healthcare Aid

This deadly combination is a textbook snowball effect where improper use of aid money is causing a problematic situation to grow. ” Donors and those working on the ground must figure out how to build not only effective local health infrastructures but also local industries, franchises, and other profit centers that can sustain and thrive from increased health-related spending. For the day will come in every country when the charity eases off and programs collapse, and unless workable local institutions have already been established, little will remain to show for all of the current frenzied activity”(Garrett 1).  Running on a self-defeating system, it is vital that these crumbling African countries wane of the debilitating aid drug. The necessity of a corruption free bureaucracy willing and able to take charge and establish the dire infrastructure required to tackle such a devastating problem is unequivocally urgent.

Cooke, Jennifer G. "Public Health in Africa." Center for Strategic and International Studies. Center for Strategic and International Studies, 20 Apr. 2009. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

Garrett, Laurie. "Aid to Sub-Saharan Africa Fails – Corruption Means Money Does Not Get to the People." ProtectAfrica. Foreign Affairs, July 2007. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

Moyo, Dambisa. "Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa." The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal, 21 Mar. 2009. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

Musaccio, Jamie. "Corruption in the African Healthcare System: Where Is the Aid Money Really Going?" Global Health Policy at NYUWagner. Global Health Policy at NYU-Wagner, 15 Dec. 2011. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

"Myths About Aid." Giving What We Can. Giving What We Can, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

Zimbudzi, Edward. "Public Health in Africa." Center for Strategic and International Studies. Page Press, 5 July 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

This is the 2nd in a 3 part series.  For Part 1 Click here.

Funds Don't Reach Who They Need to

The fact that funds don't reach their intended philanthropic destinations is sickening. Literally the majority of funds are being siphoned away from the poor. “A 2006 World Bank report, meanwhile, estimated that about half of all funds donated for health efforts in sub-Saharan Africa never reach the clinics and hospitals at the end of the line. According to the bank, money leaks out in the form of payments to ghost employees, padded prices for transport and warehousing, the siphoning off of drugs to the black market, and the sale of counterfeit -- often dangerous -- medications.” (Garrett 1) In Ghana, for example, “where such corruption is particularly rampant, an amazing 80 percent of donor funds get diverted from their intended purposes”(Garrett 1). Although large quantities of aid fails to reach its respected location in healthcare the little that does make it into the medical field helps dramatically: “During the 50 years in which the $29 per person per year was spent, life expectancy in Sub-Saharan Africa has risen from 40.6 years to 50.0 years: people are now living more than 20% longer.12 This is even more amazing if you consider that the gains have been made even in the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic: the results were even more impressive before the outbreak of this disease. An extra 9.4 years of life per person is an incredible health gain in comparison to the cost (Musaccio 1)”.

Aid to Africa

If minute amounts of money used per person can have such a vivid result why don't we invest more? Where does the rest of our tax money go? “A sobering example is that in 2001 the secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, announced that the Defense Department was so bad at keeping track of its funds that there were $2.3 trillion that it could not account for — an amount equal to the entire international aid spending of the developed countries over fifty years. In addition, current estimates for the cost of the war in Iraq suggest that it will come to $3 trillion” (Myths 1). It might seem as though aid money is being poured down the drain but in fact great strides are being made specifically in the healthcare sector. We have seen an astounding increase health and life expectancy. This phenomenon directly correlates with the proper investment of aid money. ”Child mortality has decreased to 7.6 million preventable deaths in 2010 from around 12 million in 1990. That’s nearly 12,000 lives saved every day largely because of improved sanitation and water systems and significant increases in vaccination levels for measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough. We have also made big strides on malaria, decreasing deaths to fewer than 1 million per year.(Garrett 1)”

Lack of Sanitation Slowing Down Progress

One issue is that in order to maintain a stable health system within a country there needs to be public health standards not just vaccinations. This comes down to an effective infrastructure of sanitation. Sewage needs to be disposed of, Water needs to be sanitized, and food needs to be clean. “Despite the dramatic increases in resources devoted to HIV and other infectious diseases in Africa in the past decade, these resource investments clearly will quickly reach a point of diminishing marginal returns without stronger and more capable public health capacity in recipient countries. Today there is far greater awareness of the need to strengthen health systems, but gaining support for such programs is far more difficult than for rapid, disease-specific interventions that show quick, tangible results in numbers of lives saved. And defining precisely what is meant by strengthening health systems, devising effective measures of results, and minimizing waste are inherently difficult” (Cooke 8).

Sanitation in slums

Another aspect is that families need to be educated about sex and sexually transmitted diseases as well as female education on pregnancy and child bearing. “Africa has a tremendous unmet need for family planning education, access to contraceptives, programs to empower women and their partners to manage fertility and family size, and effective outreach to pregnant women. Programs to address these issues are vastly underfunded. Maternal death in childbirth is a silent epidemic in Africa, and the past decade, for all the new attention on public health in Africa, has seen little change in maternal death rates. One in seven women in Niger will ultimately die of pregnancy-related causes” (Cooke 6). Ultimately an extensive array of healthcare planning must be put into effect in order to combat the health insufficiency of the developing world. “Programs that focus on one disease of interest but fail to provide people with the full range of basic health services can have distorting effects, may be unsustainable over time, and may reinforce health inequities and undermine broader efforts” (Cooke 10). This kind of change does not happen over night; it is an accumulation of proper budget placement and active trustworthy management. “Few donors seem to understand that it will take at least a full generation (if not two or three) to substantially improve public health -- and that efforts should focus less on particular diseases than on broad measures that affect populations' general well-being” (Garrett 1). Although immediate solutions are valued for their statistics the healthcare problem can only be truly eliminated with a general public health revolution.

Cooke, Jennifer G. "Public Health in Africa." Center for Strategic and International Studies. Center for Strategic and International Studies, 20 Apr. 2009. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

Garrett, Laurie. "Aid to Sub-Saharan Africa Fails – Corruption Means Money Does Not Get to the People." ProtectAfrica. Foreign Affairs, July 2007. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

Moyo, Dambisa. "Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa." The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal, 21 Mar. 2009. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

Musaccio, Jamie. "Corruption in the African Healthcare System: Where Is the Aid Money Really Going?" Global Health Policy at NYUWagner. Global Health Policy at NYU-Wagner, 15 Dec. 2011. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

"Myths About Aid." Giving What We Can. Giving What We Can, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

Zimbudzi, Edward. "Public Health in Africa." Center for Strategic and International Studies. Page Press, 5 July 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

In debilitating African countries where billions of human beings are suffering from extreme hunger and crippling disease, trillions of dollars in foreign aid is being laundered into the hands of the corrupt. The inability of African citizens to receive the benefits offered by foreign aid is a multi-tier problem that stems from the aid itself.  Because of the extreme corruption of many African governments the valuable funds intended for the poor make it into the pockets of the greedy. By commandeering the aids reserves, the system is lead down an endless spiral of corruption and volatility. The limitless free handouts provided by foreign governments and large non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) primarily stifle the growth of the local economy and promote foreign products over local industries while providing menial improvements to the intended healthcare industry. Sickness is so rampant that “nowhere are global public health challenges more acute than in sub-Saharan Africa. With just 13 percent of the world’s population, this region carries 24 percent of the global burden of disease (Cooke 1)” yet nothing is being done. This is important because the trillions of dollars in aid that is intended to provide healthcare and economic stability to the improvised is being flushed down the drain.

Corruption and the Economy

At the base of the poverty epidemic is the aid itself. This problem stems from the nature of free handouts. When a country is flooded with billions of dollars in aid money it incentivizes a violent battle for power. “According to corruption watchdog agency Transparency International, Mobutu Sese Seko, Zaire's president from 1965 to 1997, is reputed to have stolen at least $5 billion from the country”(Moyo 1). With unlimited money available in the form of aid, the rat race for control is inevitable. This kind of profit causes bloody civil wars and pulls aid money even further away from those who truly need it. Such a large influx of money with no stipulations attached provides a “perfect way to keep an inefficient or simply bad government in power. As aid flows in, there is nothing more for the government to do -- it doesn't need to raise taxes, and as long as it pays the army, it doesn't have to take account of its disgruntled citizens.

African Healthcare

No matter that its citizens are disenfranchised (as with no taxation there can be no representation). All the government really needs to do is to court and cater to its foreign donors to stay in power”(Moyo 1). A common misconception is that aid should have its desired effect over time based off of The Marshall Plan enacted after World War two. The Marshal Plan helped to revive post war Europe from mass devastation.  Unlike the present day African aid programs the Marshall plan was short and finite which imbued a sense of innovation rather than entitlement. “We know that economies that rely on open-ended commitments of aid almost universally fail, and those that do not depend on aid succeed. The latter is true for economically successful countries such as China and India, and even closer to home, in South Africa and Botswana (Moyo 1)”. Although the aid handouts have positive intentions, the negative reality is that it fuels ongoing and unhealthy corruption.

Suffocation of Domestic Economic Activity

A major side effect of corruption is the suffocation of the domestic economic activity. Aid money that flows into the economy out competes local businesses. For example if large quantities of foreign aid food were flown in then the self-sustaining local farmers would have no incentive to continue production: “each year millions of dollars are used to buy American-grown food that has to then be shipped across oceans. One wonders how a system of flooding foreign markets with American food, which puts local farmers out of business, actually helps better Africa. A better strategy would be to use aid money to buy food from farmers within the country, and then distribute that food to the local citizens in need (Moyo 1)”.  A local business would not only provide wealth to the owner but would also distribute the wealth to all the employees, who would then distribute the wealth even further to their families. Local businesses stimulate the economy and promote national growth which would intern prevent poverty and stabilize the economy.  Even foreign investors are apathetic towards doing business with African countries because the overwhelming corruption leads to an inefficient business model: “To advance a country's economic prospects, governments need efficient civil service. But civil service is naturally prone to bureaucracy, and there is always the incipient danger of self-serving cronyism and the desire to bind citizens in endless, time-consuming red tape. What aid does is to make that danger a grim reality. This helps to explain why doing business across much of Africa is a nightmare. In Cameroon, it takes a potential investor around 426 days to perform 15 procedures to gain a business license. What entrepreneur wants to spend 119 days filling out forms to start a business in Angola? He's much more likely to consider the U.S. (Moyo 1)”. So aid drives corruption patrons that embezzle aid money but also suppresses self-sustainability of the African countries.

African Aid

The Donation Effect

Aid money does do a profound amount of good to the African people when used for its intended purposes. Aid spent on medicines has dramatically increased the life span of the average person and the livelihood of said persons. The dilemma is that the corrupted leaders stealing from the healthcare fund are crippling the healthcare system. Hospitals are not receiving sufficient funding, healthcare workers are not being paid, medical deliveries are not being made, and the sick cannot afford care. “Africans know that once they get to the hospital or clinic, they will have to pay out of pocket for the services rendered, when in reality there was aid money given to the country for this specific cause. Thousands of deaths could be prevented if these people were able to access the type of healthcare donors intend on providing”(Musaccio 1). One way to fix this deep-rooted problem is to transfer the donations from the corrupt public bureaucracy to the private sector. If the funds were handled by industries there would be more incentive to aid the sick because of the basic economic laws of competition. “If aid was allotted more to the private sector, the money can be directly distributed to the healthcare facility, instead of going through bureaucrats.  The private sector would also need to take accountability more seriously because the donors could just as easily give the money to another non-governmental aid organization” (Musaccio 1). Although the private sector would have more encouragement to up keep standards and produce a revenue stream; African run businesses suffer from deep level corruption and it naïve to think that the funds would be used for their intended purposes. “Market incentives could motivate investment in better quality service and outcomes as a way to potentially improve customer ‘experience’ and hence future revenue streams. However, in markets where private sector health companies are nascent, and patterns of corruption are deeply embedded within society, politics, and business”(Musaccio 1).

Cooke, Jennifer G. "Public Health in Africa." Center for Strategic and International Studies. Center for Strategic and International Studies, 20 Apr. 2009. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

Garrett, Laurie. "Aid to Sub-Saharan Africa Fails – Corruption Means Money Does Not Get to the People." ProtectAfrica. Foreign Affairs, July 2007. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

Moyo, Dambisa. "Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa." The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal, 21 Mar. 2009. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

Musaccio, Jamie. "Corruption in the African Healthcare System: Where Is the Aid Money Really Going?" Global Health Policy at NYUWagner. Global Health Policy at NYU-Wagner, 15 Dec. 2011. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

"Myths About Aid." Giving What We Can. Giving What We Can, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

Zimbudzi, Edward. "Public Health in Africa." Center for Strategic and International Studies. Page Press, 5 July 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

 

A healthy diet is more important than ever in the United States. Americans are infamous for poor health choices, giving rise to detrimental conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure. A key ingredient that plays a significant role in general health is the Omega 6 and Omega 3 content that is ingested into the body. Omega 6 and Omega 3 are essential fatty acids that the body needs but cannot produce. Together, they can promote brain activity and body growth among other things. However, what’s been commonly called into question is the content ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3. If done in incorrect portions, this can have very harmful effects to one’s health.

omegapills

Omega 6 Basics

Omega 6, as stated before, is a special type of fatty acid that has been commonly associated with many beneficial effects. This includes:

  • Reducing risk of heart disease
  • Reducing cholesterol
  • Reducing bad cholesterol or LDL
  • Increasing good cholesterol or HDL
  • Reducing the risk of cancer

Omega 6 is commonly found in many different varieties of vegetable oils including corn, primrose seed, safflower, soybean, black currant seed, and borage seed. This particular type of fatty acid is said to improve mental development and growth of infants, which is the reason why arachidonic acid, a type of Omega 6 fatty acid, is commonly found in infant formulas. However, the reality is that there is simply not enough evidence to concretely prove that Omega 6 by itself can provide the above list of benefits. More research must be done to prove otherwise. There are some side effects from Omega 6. Pregnant and breast feeding mothers should generally avoid Omega 6 usage as the effects on them is relatively unknown and may have detrimental factors. What is known is that it can increase levels of triglyceride, which is a type of cholesterol. Use with caution.

(http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-496-OMEGA-6%20FATTY%20ACIDS.aspx?activeIngredientId=496&activeIngredientName=OMEGA-6%20FATTY%20ACIDS)

Omega 3 Basics

Omega 3, like 6, also has many health benefits. They include:

  • Triglycerides: Unlike Omega 6, Omega 3 can reduce triglyceride levels in the blood, thus decreasing the risk of having heart disease.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: EPA and DHA can dramatically reduce stiffness and joint pain. They can also boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory medicine.
  • Depression: There are some studies that show evidence of Omega 3 reducing signs of depression as they can augment anti-depressants and reduce symptoms of bipolar disorder.
  • Prenatal health: While relatively unknown, DHA appears to have positive impacts on visual and neurological development in infants.
  • Asthma: Omega 3 can reduce inflammation which is a key component in asthma.
  • ADHD: Omega 3 can reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children and improve cognitive function.
  • Alzheimer's disease and dementia: While still being tested, there is some evidence that shows that Omega 3 may protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia as it can slow the decline of the brain.

Omega 3, like Omega 6, is found in common types of foods and ingredients. Incorporating these foods into one’s diet is essential. They include:

  • anchovies
  • bluefish
  • herring
  • mackerel
  • salmon
  • sardines
  • sturgeon
  • lake trout
  • tuna
  • walnuts
  • flax and flaxseed oil
  • fish oil
  • canola oil
  • olive oil
  • soybean oil

(http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/omega-3-fatty-acids-fact-sheet?page=3)

omegapills2

Omega 6 to Omega 3 Ratio

While both Omega 6 and Omega 3 have beneficial properties, there are some differences that should be taken into account. Having too large of a quantity of Omega 6 can have very harmful side effects despite what many would claim. However, having an abundance of Omega 3 is extremely beneficial and ingestion should be encouraged. Both non-fatal myocardial infarction and death from heart disease were significantly reduced by 22 percent from having a mixed diet of both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. However, a diet with high contents of Omega 6 fats and low contents of Omega 3 fats yielded a 13 percent increase in risk (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/01/12/aha-position-on-omega-6-fats.aspx).

Studies have shown that large amounts of Omega 6 increased confused behavior and symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Surprisingly, by decreasing the amount of Omega 6, the body’s cells actually functioned normally. Omega 6 is a fatty acid that is pro inflammatory while Omega 3 is neutral. Thus, having an excess amount of Omega 6 can result in the increase of inflammatory diseases such as:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • obesity
  • metabolic syndrome
  • irritable bowel syndrome & inflammatory bowel disease
  • macular degeneration
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • asthma
  • cancer
  • psychiatric disorders
  • autoimmune diseases

The two fatty acids are related to one another. They both compete to convert the same types of enzymes. What this means is that the increase of one fatty acid decreases the other. A healthy balance, like in all factors of diet and health, must be had between the two (http://chriskresser.com/how-too-much-omega-6-and-not-enough-omega-3-is-making-us-sick).

The recent wave of health reform has changed America’s approach to providing health care in many ways. The Obama administration introduced the Affordable Care Act and reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Program in order to reach out to American families living in low income households. This also extends to the many health care charities in the United States. The purpose of these charities is to provide health care for free or at a much reduced cost for low income patients. However, with so many new changes being enforced by the current presidency, does a health care charity still have a role today in improving health care standards? The answer is that the future of health care charities seems to be gradually diminishing.

healthcare charities

How Health Care Charities Work and Limitations Associated with them

Health care charities, as mentioned before, function to offer health care to those living in poverty and in low income households at very low costs. The design of these programs is to be as comprehensive as possible, but services can be limited by funding as it is non-profit work. These services can include:

  • Primary care
  • Specialty care
  • Prescriptions
  • Lab tests
  • Most of inpatient care
  • Emergency room use
  • Links to social services

However, while these services are covered by health care charities, there are many limitations. The health care providers, especially specialists, are less willing to be part of this charity program because of financial set-backs. These low cost services means hospital faculty, nurses, and doctors are being paid less, meaning they are not as willing to provide these services when they cannot afford to do so.

In terms of eligibility and outreach, none of these programs require a US citizenship. However, there is either a limit on coverage in a specific geographic area or a requirement of legal residency. There have been recent demands for charity care programs due to the fact that many Americans have a reduced ability to afford coverage. This increased capacity adds stress to these charities as they lack the resources to provide for these numbers. As a result, long waiting lists and difficulties in enrolling members may occur from insufficient funding. These charity programs serve the purpose of creating permanent coverage plans for low income patients. However, the majority of these members are in charity programs because they are not eligible for other options, meaning once their current eligibility expires, they will be without coverage.

All health care charities give their members some form of a medical home that coordinates services. This includes:

  • Patient navigation (Nurse care or social worker that assists patients in day to day activities, something that is not always offered by commercial health plans or Medicaid)
  • Social services
  • Community resources
  • Support to improve patient self-dependency and ability to be employed

Health care charity managers assist members both financially and non-financially in order to give them access to the appropriate level of care with minimal problems.

(http://www.academyhealth.org/files/publications/FutureofCharityCarePrograms.pdf)

healthcare charities2

Health Care Charities and the Affordable Care Act

As previously discussed, there have been many recent changes to health care reform by President Obama, the most important of which is the enactment of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. While there many problems that critics associate ACA with, some of the most overlooked and important of which is the effects it will have on hospitals across the nation. The common claim that Obamacare has on health care in America is that it causes consolidation or merging of the industry. This can be applied to profit and nonprofit hospitals.

Approximately, 60% of the hospitals in the US are nonprofit and 25% are government run, leaving the remaining 15% for-profit. There is a reason for these numbers. Many religious organizations are in charge of charitable institutions that operate non-profit hospitals. In addition, during the post-World War II economic boom the federal government gave increased funding to cities in order to build hospitals. This would later include tax exemptions, which would allow nonprofit hospitals to avoid large costs. However, this may change for the worse with the arrival of the ACA.

This is largely due to the majority of hospitals not taking care of uninsured patients. Nonprofit hospitals only spend about 3.5% of expenses for uninsured patients while for-profit hospitals spend about 3.2%. Since the ACA provides wider health care coverage for Americans, these expenses will actually fall, threatening tax exemption. This will leave the nation with only two real options: convert all hospitals for-profit or to have a national standard that did not require for hospitals to treat patients for free. It is becoming increasingly more evident that the non-profit approach of providing free health care is detrimental to the country as a whole as health care providers are given almost no incentive to treat patients when they themselves cannot afford to do so. By having all hospitals fall into either one of these options, this country can avoid the many pit falls that are sure to come.

(http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidwhelan/2012/09/17/obamacare-could-cause-nonprofit-hospitals-to-lose-their-tax-exempt-status-heres-how/)

 

For years, if not decades, wealthy nations around the world have been supplying continual aid for developing countries in need. This is especially true when providing health care aid to African countries. The continent is rife with civil wars, tyrannical dictators, poverty, and illnesses, making it often necessary for outside aid. However, now we've stepped into the 21st century and the question begs: Is outside health care aid provided to Africa being used wisely? Or could we do better? The focus of this article will explain just that.

Does Africa need Trade, not Aid?

In recent years, Africa as a whole is actually decreasing in poverty levels, much thanks to the continent’s mineral resources that generate large amounts of revenue. It is now estimated that this increase in revenue now surpasses that of international aid. With this in mind, some experts argue that providing international aid is an out of date concept and that rather the world should be providing increased trade. While there is some truth to this claim, the reality remains that Africa needs both trade and aid.

It should be noted that Africa has the world’s fastest growing population, estimated to be more than 20 million people every year. This means that jobs have to be provided for such a vast population in order to prevent widespread unemployment. For any community, high unemployment means increased political, social, and economic instability. By increasing trade, jobs can be created in the process. In order to do so, African leaders must recognize the areas of their countries’ industries that need the jobs the most such as agriculture, manufacturing, and hospitality. Here are some notable examples of how trade can greatly benefit the African continent:

  • Together, the Mali people built infrastructure for the purpose of delivering mangos from landlocked Africa to Europe. The time it took to transport these items decreased from 25 days to a mere 12 days, allowing for mango exports to increase more than 1,000 percent over 15 years. This brought many jobs and increased income to Malian farmers.
  • In Cape Verde, tax breaks were given to foreign investors, thus allowing for tourism to increase. Revenues would reach to an estimated $540 million in 2008.
  • The Nigerian government deregulated the telecoms sector which in turn created three million jobs while also preventing a state monopoly in the industry.

Africa today has experienced an extremely fast rate of growth economically, becoming a hotspot for foreign investors. About two dozen African nations have reached middle income status and this number will only increase with time.

Aid to Africa is still a Necessity

Despite this recent increase in economic power, Africa still experiences some major setbacks. Poverty is still very much a reality. About 40 percent of the one billion people living in the continent still live on a meager $1.25 a day or less. The quality of life for the everyday people is still at a low, with some 19,000 children dying a day from preventable deaths such as immunization from common diseases. It is estimated that 1 in every 39 women are at risk of dying from childbirth problems in sub-Saharan Africa alone.

While many would not agree at first, but there exist such a thing as “bad aid” or aid that is provided that fails to effectively solve the problem entirely. For example, a giant fridge was once constructed in a remote region of Kenya in order for the people to store their food for longer periods of time. However, the region, being remote, lacked electricity which negated the use of the fridge entirely. Thankfully, aid is improving:

  • The GAVI Alliance, one of many organizations, uses economic incentives to lower prices on goods and to produce vaccines.
  • These vaccinations have been so effective that 100 million people in West Africa have been immunized from a common disease that’s riddle this region for centuries, meningitis A.
  • The United Kingdom has recently dedicated .7 percent of its gross national income on overseas aid to nations including those in the African continent.

Indeed, assisting the African continent is in the best interest of the international community. Given time, Africa will be the world’s largest consumer market, surpassing that of even India and China. By helping them grow and become stable, Africa can in turn provide valuable services and goods to the rest of the world and help economies flourish together. However, much of this growth will have to come from the African people themselves not just the international community. Many issues still plague the continent such as immense wealth gaps, government corruption, and general instability. But with the combination of foreign aid and increased trade, these problems can be minimized for the good of the continent and in return, the world.  (http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/05/why-africa-still-needs-aid/)