On January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States, giving control of the White House, the House and the Senate to the Republican Party. Congress is expected to move quickly on President Trump’s agenda: one of the top priorities is the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
On a late March day in 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. For many Americans, it was a day of celebration as they would finally be able to get the healthcare they needed at a price they could afford. For others it was a day of frustration and confusion, because even from the beginning it was apparent that this plan was not perfect. Over the past six years we have watched the success and failures of the bill as it was slowly put into action. In that time more than 20 million people have gained health insurance.
My friend sat dutifully by my side in the squeaky plastic chairs of the emergency department waiting room. She tried her best to subtly come up with conversation ideas to keep me talking; our misguided belief in the old wives’ tale about keeping a person with a concussion awake showed how much more we had to learn.
A digital illustration by medical student David Yu.
Debate about some of the most pressing issues facing our country were lost in the horse race of the 2016 presidential campaign. Among those issues was healthcare. While millions of Americans received health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 30 million remain uninsured and medical bills continue to be the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States.
I only realized that I was an optimist on November 9. Crushing disbelief is cliche, and yet — as I walked home, hot-cheeked, through rain and yolk-colored streetlights just after midnight, past a dive bar where neighbors tallied states and feverishly refreshed fivethirtyeight — I felt trampled.
Gun violence as a public health issue is not a new phenomenon. In 2014 alone, there were 81,034 injuries and 33,599 deaths due to gun violence in the United States,which equate to 222 Americans injured, and 92 killed, by firearms every day.
It’s been a hard week. Hard, of course, because this election has caused an unprecedented wave of fear across our nation. Hard because those whose lives have been invalidated by our newest president elect are already exhausted by the daily struggle of living in a hostile country. And — not to be discounted — hard because bad days in medical school seem to hunt in packs and pounce all at once.
With the 2016 presidential election just days away, debates on the personalities and as well as the policy agendas of the respective candidates have become increasingly fierce. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton may both be moderates at heart, but their official policy platforms represent near-extremes of the political spectrum. This holds especially true in their proposals regarding healthcare: Trump’s proposal, entitled “Health Care Reform to Make America Great Again,” and Clinton’s, “Universal, Quality, Affordable Health Care for Everyone in America” together paint a picture of the spectrum of opinions and debates surrounding healthcare.
2016 has been a turbulent year for health care in the United Kingdom. Aside from repeated strikes held by junior doctors in light of the government’s decision to enforce a new employment contract, the more recent widespread political discord resulting from Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) — now notoriously known as “Brexit.” These changes have left the National Health Service (NHS) in a questionable position.
Major sporting events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl are often surrounded with excitement and drama. This year’s Olympics in Brazil is buzzing with talk of the Zika virus. The Super Bowl was fraught with drama surrounding Beyoncé’s half-time performance. It seems like everyone has something to say about these topics. But, one thing spectators don’t talk about is an unseen drama that often surrounds major sporting events: sex trafficking.
In today’s America, it is well documented that each year, more of our GDP is being devoted to healthcare spending, and a disproportionate amount of that healthcare spending is towards end-of-life care. According to a 2013 report from The Medicare NewsGroup, Medicare spending reached about $554 billion in 2011. This was 21 percent of the total spent on health care in the US that year. About 28 percent of that $554 billion — $170 billion — was spent on patients’ last six months of life.