The Emmy-winning star of Seinfeld and Veep shared a note on Twitter on Thursday to inform her followers while also reminding them of the importance of universal healthcare.
The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union, she wrote. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so lets fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality.
The 56-year-old has received support on Twitter from fellow actors Sarah Silverman, Debra Messing, Veep star Tony Hale, Christina Applegate and Michael McKean. According to a statement from HBO, she received the news the day after she won her record-breaking sixth Emmy for playing the lead in HBOs hit comedy Veep. The show is set to finish at the end of next season. That decision was not influenced by the diagnosis.
Our love and support go out to Julia and her family at this time, a statement from HBO reads. We have every confidence she will get through this with her usual tenacity and undaunted spirit, and look forward to her return to health and to HBO for the final season ofVeep.
Louis-Dreyfuss plea for universal healthcare comes after other political statements criticizing the decisions being made by the Republican party. My father fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France, Dreyfus said at the SAG awards earlier this tear. Im an American patriot, and I love this country. Because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes, and this immigrant ban is a blemish and its un-American.
Our patients depend on us for their care we must help them get it, whether that comes in the form of pill or policy
If all politics is local, then Washingtons healthcare debacle has brought politics to the front stoop of every healthcare provider in America. There is no escaping it debates taking place on Capitol Hill are set to affect the very survival of our patients. Irrespective of political leanings, doctors, nurses and providers of all stripes have ethical and professional obligations to speak up and become engaged in order to protect their patients.
While politics have always affected medicine obstetricians and gynecologists have long fought for womens health issues, for example current political events have pushed this into overdrive. In our current political climate, it no longer even makes sense to distinguish between events in Washington and my patient in front of me.
Politicians are speaking frankly even eagerly about stripping services away from patients who currently have them. Each patient I see becomes another example of someone whose life could be at risk should any of the measures debated in Congress pass into law.
My elderly patients infected bedsore, for example, could only worsen, leading to sepsis and even death if she could no longer fill her antibiotic prescription. My patient with breast cancer, if unable to obtain chemotherapy due to her preexisting condition, would inevitably die. And any pediatric patient I see could suddenly be at risk of entirely preventable illnesses if left unimmunized due to the elimination of their essential health benefits.
Suddenly, being a physician and ignoring politics has become a lot like being an airplane pilot and ignoring the fact we are flying with the cabin doors wide open. Patients are about to be whisked into the sky with no parachute it is just as unethical to ignore politics as it would be to continue flying that plane pretending everything was OK.
The truth is that avoiding politics is not only unethical, but also unprofessional. While many doctors, scientists at heart, find political advocacy uncomfortable, it is in fact a required part of the job.
In order to be allowed to practice independently, physicians must graduate from a residency training program and demonstrate proficiency in six core competencies. Most of them, such as medical knowledge and patient care and procedure skills, are well known. It is the sixth systems-based practice that is often overlooked, but equal in importance.
To quote the governing body that mandates these requirements: doctors must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of healthcare and are expected to advocate for quality patient care and optimal patient care systems.
In other words, to practice independently, we must not only know how to prescribe our medicines and perform our procedures, but also work toward improving our entire healthcare system. Our professional governing body makes no distinction between helping patients through syringes, scalpels or statutes.
As German physician Rudolph Virchow noted in 1848: Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale.
Importantly, as physicians, we advocate for our patients all the time. We feel completely at ease when we do this on the day-to-day level. If one of our patients cannot get an appropriate follow-up appointment with a specialist or their insurance company denies them a specific medication, for example, we eagerly take up arms. We fight a million reams of red tape on a daily basis to get that one patient what she needs.
We must now embrace this same ethos on a macro level by lobbying our representatives, joining activist groups and even running for office ourselves. The only difference is the outsize impact these efforts could have: working through a single ream of red tape in the form of legislation could positively affect the lives of millions of patients.
Laws affecting human lives should not be drawn along partisan lines, but by evidence-based policy thats best for constituents. As Washington fails this litmus test, citizens must step up. As healthcare providers, advocating for our patients is both an ethical imperative and a professional requirement. Our patients depend on us for their care we must help them get it, whether that comes in the form of pill or policy.
Constituents heckle and boo Tom MacArthur, calling him a killer as 500 people gather for New Jersey event: I dont think Ill vote for him again
Tom MacArthur, the New Jersey congressman who has been celebrated in conservative circles for helping pass the Republican healthcare bill, came back down to earth with a bang on Wednesday night when he was booed, heckled and generally chastised during a nearly five-hour town hall meeting.
In Willingboro, hundreds showed up to lambast MacArthur, most fuelled by their congressmans intervention to revive the ailing American Health Care Act (AHCA).
MacArthur was branded a weasel, a killer and an idiot by constituents angry at his amendment to the bill, which would allow states to opt out of rules that protect individuals with pre-existing conditions from being charged more for healthcare coverage. This stipulation proved enough to satisfy the hard-right Freedom Caucus and the bill which would probably see millions of Americans lose their healthcare coverage passed the House on 4 May.
The majority of Republicans who voted for the bill are not holding public events this week, despite being on recess. Those who have dared face voters have been pilloried. Aware of this, MacArthur kicked off his town hall at 6.30pm with a promise to respond to every single question, for as long as it goes. He was still being quizzed by angry residents at 11.20pm.
More than 500 people had gathered outside the Kennedy Center in Willingboro, just across the Delaware river from Philadelphia. It was a lively and loud scene, a number of voters chanting, waving signs and generally causing a ruckus.
Our health matters more than Toms net worth, one banner read. A sign showed a picture of MacArthur with I took your healthcare written on his forehead. Another described MacArthur, a former insurance executive who was elected in 2014, as MacWeasel.
Claudia Storicks, a former nurse who has been on disability for the past two years, had travelled from Pemberton, New Jersey. She has diabetes and charcot foot a weakening of the bones caused by nerve damage and was using an electric scooter. She is insured under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama administration legislation the AHCA seeks to replace.
It was the only insurance that I could afford, she said. Ive been able to afford my medication and my doctors visits because Im on the ACA. Otherwise I probably would have lost my house and my foot.
Storicks voted for MacArthur in 2016 hes a businessman and I thought he had a good sense about taxes, she said but now described herself as very angry at the prospect of the ACA being repealed.
That would mean that my diabetes would get out of control, my foot would probably get worse, and Id probably end up in hospital and losing my house.
Medford, New Jersey, resident Jay Wilder, 72, was first in line. He arrived six hours early. Im really worried about pre-existing conditions because I dealt with it when I was going from my job before I had Medicare, he said.
Wilder had had a heart attack and said he couldnt afford healthcare. I just lived without healthcare, hoping that nothing would happen. It was very difficult because when youre 64 years old you start having health issues.
The anger outside the venue set the tone for the event itself. MacArthur walked out to Coldplays A Sky Full of Stars, and to a similarly tepid round of applause from the 250 people who had made it inside. The congressman smiled and offered his hand to a man wearing a green shirt, sitting in the front row. The man kept his arms folded and thrust his head away.
The four hours and 50 minutes that followed were no less hostile. MacArthur had asked constituents not to boo him but that proved to be in vain. People repeatedly told him he had blood on his hands.
A man who had received a kidney transplant feared what would happen to people like him under the AHCA. A resident whose wife had recovered from breast cancer was concerned that she would always have a pre-existing condition and did not want that to determine which state she lived in.
A woman had brought her two young children, one of whom had learning difficulties, and objected to them potentially being placed in a high-risk pool an aspect of MacArthurs amendment designed to assist people with pre-existing conditions, but which could lead to higher health insurance costs.
MacArthurs responses that only 7% of Americans were in the individual market, that people would not lose their insurance (the Congressional Budget Office, in its assessment of an earlier version of the bill, said 24 million would probably do so), and that there are loads of other people who dont agree with you did not placate the crowd.
Nor did his response to repeated chants calling for single-payer healthcare.
Government bureaucrats can be very dangerous when they have power to make decisions on peoples health, MacArthur said, prompting one woman to tell the congressman she would prefer that scenario than someone in an office of an insurance company making the same decisions.
For many transgender people, finding local clinics that provide medical services without bias can be near impossible, leaving thousands without basic care
Calvin Kasulke was living with his parents when he came out to them as a transgender man. All of a sudden, he recalled gingerly, I was disinvited from living at home.
He needed a new place to stay. And Ithaca, New York, where he had gone to college, was the obvious choice. He would have friends there, he figured, and a place to live.
And also, he said, Planned Parenthood was there.
Unbeknown to many, Planned Parenthood is one of the largest sources in the US of transgender healthcare. The embattled provider offers hormone replacement therapy, which helps a persons body appear more masculine or feminine, at dozens of its locations, and a growing share of its staff are trained to perform routine sexual health exams for trans patients.
They are one of the most important providers of trans healthcare in the country, said Harper Jean Tobin, the director of policy for the National Center for Transgender Equality, adding that their clinics are some of the few transgender healthcare providers located outside major cities. Many of their clinics are the only places for miles around that trans people can go to for hormone therapy, HIV tests, and pap smears, and not face discrimination.
With Congress on the brink of attempting to defund Planned Parenthood because of its role as an abortion provider, those services could easily be caught in the crossfire. Each year, Planned Parenthood is reimbursed hundreds of millions of dollars for family planning services it provides at little or no cost to low-income Americans. If Congress were to freeze Planned Parenthood out of those funding streams, it could force an unknown number of health centers to close. Health providers have long warned that this would have a detrimental impact on womens health. But, Tobin said, the cuts could be particularly disastrous for trans people.
As it is getting more real, in the back of my head I said, Oh shit. What am I going to do now? said Raven Green, a patient of Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes. I dont know where else I would go.
The state of transgender healthcare in the US is already a fragile one. In one survey after another, large numbers of transgender people report difficulty accessing both basic and specialized services because of biased providers or the distance to the nearest provider with adequate knowledge of trans health issues. Only about two-thirds of trans people who want hormone replacement therapy, a common treatment during gender transition, have actually received it, according to a major survey of transgender adults taken in 2015, and 23% have avoided getting essential care out of fear of harassment. Thirty-three percent have had a negative experience with a healthcare provider, like needing to teach their doctor the fundamentals of transgender care. And 29% reported having to travel at least 25 miles for transition-related care.
The result is that thousands go without care every year.
Everything is stacked against trans people in the healthcare system, said Kasulke, who now volunteers with Planned Parenthood part-time. Theres always an extra layer of, am I going to have to educate my own provider? Is it safe to come out to this person? Youre having to advocate for yourself in a really vulnerable situation.
Planned Parenthood in recent years has sought to address that problem. And it has made its clinics a magnet for thousands with few other options. Starting with Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, in upstate New York, a growing number of its health centers have become places where trans people can begin to transition medically, as well as get basic reproductive services. Its centers use a newer model for gender transitioning that gives the patient input on whether to start their transition, rather than turning the decision over entirely to a psychiatrist. Some clinics have staff with detailed knowledge of how to update drivers licenses, passports and social security cards to reflect someones name and gender.
Its this little oasis in the middle of nowhere, said Luca Maurer, the program director for Ithaca Colleges LGBT center. His center has a partnership with Planned Parenthood. Previously, he said, many trans students and locals would drive to Manhattan or Philadelphia, at least four hours each way, for prescriptions and the routine checkups that accompany gender transition. A handful even crossed the Canadian border for treatment in Toronto.
The longtime Obamacare critic slammed the current system but did not provide details on what a replacement might look like under Trump
Health and human services secretary
Representative Tom Price has spent his political career as a penny-pinching, ideologically driven physician who has rarely crossed party lines on key votes. He is one of Donald Trumps most controversial cabinet picks, because of his hardline stances against abortion, same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare). The medical community is split on Prices appointment.
Before his career in politics, Price was an orthopedic surgeon in a well-heeled suburb north of Atlanta, Georgia. His wife, Betty, also a doctor, serves as a Republican member of the Georgia house of representatives.
If confirmed, Price would head the sprawling $1.1tn Department of Health and Human Services, overseeing everything from food safety to epidemic crisis management. He would also be in charge of administering the countrys largest public insurance programs, which he has spent his career attempting to downsize.
This is Prices second hearing, and its the one that matters. Appearing before the finance committee, which holds the power to approve his nomination, Price was diplomatic and respectful, without revealing much about his views or what the new administrations healthcare plans will look like.
Key points and takeaways
Obamacare repeal plan: Price helped author Republicans most comprehensive ACA replacement plans, and Democrats will look for clues about what Republicans new plan will include (as well as its weaknesses).
A term that will likely be heard again and again is access. Where Democrats strived for all Americans to have insurance, Republican alternatives have strived for all Americans to have access to coverage. In other words, Republicans want people to have the option, but not the requirement, to buy insurance.
That imperils many of the ACAs most popular provisions, such as a guarantee that young adults can stay on their parents insurance until they are 26 years old, or a requirement that insurance be sold to people even if they have had previous illnesses.
Trump has also contradicted his nominee, promising insurance for everybody in an interview with the Washington Post.
During Tuesdays hearing, Senate Democrats repeatedly pressed Price on what the replacement plan for Obamacare would look like under Trump, but he declined to provide any specifics. Ohio senator Sherrod Brown asked if it was true that Price and Trump were working together on a plan, to be revealed after Prices confirmation. Its true that he said that, yes, Price said, to laughs from the room. After Brown asked if Trump lied, Price said, I have had conversations with the president about healthcare, yes.
Price, a longtime ACA critic, slammed the current healthcare system. Many individuals have coverage, they have a card, but they dont have any care … Its imperative we have a system that is accessible for every American, affordable for every American, he said, without providing any additional detail on what that might look like.
Stocks, docs and devices: In his first hearing, Price was pressed on his purchase of health stocks while he was a leading voice on health policy in the House of Representatives, and the subject is likely to come up again.
His most notable purchase was for an Australian company called Innate Immunotherapeutics, where he bought between $50,000 and $100,000 of stock at a discount(it is now worth around $500,000). The company holds no patents, but has one drug in development to treat an advanced form of multiple sclerosis. Its largest investor is the New York Republican congressman Chris Collins, who was part of Trumps transition team, and other investors are connected to Collins. The deal occurred during negotiations on the 21st Century Cures Act.
Prices other investments include $15,000 of stock in Zimmer Biomet, a producer of joint replacement devices. It was purchased less than a week before he introduced the HIP Act, which would have delayed reforms that would have cost the device company money, though the legislation died in committee. An aide told CNN that Price was unaware of the transaction because a broker managed his account.
During Tuesdays hearing, Democratic senator Ron Wyden quizzed Price repeatedly on his Immunotherapeutics stocks, asking him if his purchases of stocks while sitting on committees responsible for healthcare policy shows bad judgment. Price responded that everything I did was above board, ethical, legal and transparent, noting that there wasnt any maliciousness involved in saying his stocks were worth between $50,000 and $100,000 when in reality they are worth nearly half a million dollars, as I thought it meant the time at which I purchased the stock.
Republicans jumped in to defend Prices financial investments. Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina noted that he believed the nominee made his financial disclosures public as asked and yet was getting criticized by the Democrats: Does it burn you that they want to hold you to a different standard? he asked. Price replied: We know whats going on here. And I understand. And as my wife tells me, I volunteered for this.
Despite the benefits of Obamacare many still find themselves falling through the cracks of the health insurance system and things could be about to get worse
Before she goes to bed each night, Aldona Kudirka prays her daughter Maggie will still have health insurance in 2018. Her fears have only grown worse now that Donald Trump is officially in office.
Kudirkas family has been plagued by the issues that currently dog the US health insurance system and highlight the failures of Barack Obamas landmark health reform, the Affordable Care Act: Aldona and her husband own a small business and make too much money to qualify for subsidies meant to help cover high health insurance costs, but nor can they easily cover their $1,200 monthly premiums.
When Maggie, a dancer who trained at the Joffrey ballet school, was diagnosed with aggressive stage 4 breast cancer in June 2014 at age 23, they had to turn to family, friends and strangers on the internet to ask for $45,000 to help them pay for her treatment.
Turning to strangers on the internet to cover medical costs may seem drastic, but the Kudirkas and others like them are even more afraid of what will happen if Donald Trump successfully repeals Obamas health plan. I worry about it every day because we have a bunch of lunatics running the show in every house of government, Kudirka said.