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What Does the Health Care Bill Mean to You?

By Kenya V Beard

July 6, 2017

Chronic Conditions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all adults are living with one or more chronic health conditions and the rate continues to climb. Chances are you or a family member has been diagnosed with a chronic condition that requires medical management. Over 20 million people have diabetes and eight million are unaware that they have this disease. Obesity, which affects one out of three adults, increases one’s risk for diabetes. Individuals with diabetes constitute the largest percentage of patients who experience kidney failure and subsequently require dialysis. Asthma, a more recognizable condition, affects one in twelve people. Asthma is not age specific and children who have asthma were more likely to seek medical attention three or more times in a 12-month period. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. To manage hypertension and reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, some individuals must take up to four medications. The rate of cancer is not too far behind heart disease and over ½ million cancer patients are treated with chemotherapy each year. The effects of chemotherapy beget a new set of health problems.

Chronic diseases are the leading cause of disability and account for most of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care expenditure. How will the health care bill affect you and your ability to manage chronic conditions? Do you know if your premiums will go up or if your pre-existing condition will be covered? Two months ago, the House narrowly passed their rendition of a new health care bill. Although the bill was touted as “political suicide” by

Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York, some were ecstatic about the win. Republican Pete Sessions calls the new health care plan  “The World’s Greatest Health Care Plan Act of 2017”. Initially, President Trump agreed with Mr. Sessions and stated that the bill was “incredibly well crafted”. More recently, CNN stated that Trump switched his position and referenced the House health care bill as “mean”.

With the ongoing polarizing debates about the new health care bill, many are wondering what the bill truly means. To help us better understand the implications of the House bill, Sonja Nesbit, the Senior Government Relations Director at Arent Fox, LLP in Washington DC, explains the basics of the bill. Sonja is well versed on the Affordable Care Act and what Americans stand to gain and lose following an ACA repeal.

Will you be placed in the high-risk group for health care coverage and have to pay higher health insurance premiums? Will you or a loved one have to choose between paying for health care coverage or housing? Or, will you represent one of the several millions who will lose health insurance altogether? Click on the link below to hear Sonja’s brief summary of the bill. She clears up many misconceptions about the bill, describes what it means on an individual level and discusses state implications.



Kenya V Beard

Preserving California’s precious resources with CA Assemblymember Todd Gloria

By Kristi Westphaln

July 5, 2017

The drive along the coastal California San Diego 5 freeway yields gorgeous ocean views, blue skies, and rolling hills. Additionally, a large brown sign greets travelers with the promise of “preserving California’s precious resources.” This iconic sign announces both the United States Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton and a very important promise. While recently driving past the sign with one of my favorite kindergarteners, he excitedly provided a fantastic Tolkien-esque Gollum impression followed by a simple question- what is precious?. After a tickle and a giggle, I happily hissed back to him, “you are my precious.” My answer was transparent and his reaction was golden.

As the Trump administration continues to support actions that will adversely impact families across America, it’s important to delve deeper into what America truly holds most precious. Federal actions such as gutting medicaid, defunding family planning services, disregarding the science behind climate change, and proposing cuts for coverage of essential health benefits and/or preexisting conditions hold both real time and generational consequences for the American people. Health policy conversations remain trapped in polarized partisan rhetoric and the question remains- what is America’s most precious resource and what is the best strategy to protect it?

The uncertainty of the federal political landscape has fostered many opportunities for state leaders to get local. Challenges may continue over the next few years, yet hope exists through the passion of persistence of our state leaders! As a champion of diversity in the state of California, Assemblymember Todd Gloria joins Healthcetera Radio to share his journey in preserving California’s most precious resources. Along with representing the 78th Assembly District of California, he also serves as the Assistant Majority Whip and Chair for the Assembly Committee on Housing Affordability. During his first year serving in the California Assembly, he has proven to be an amazing advocate for vulnerable and underserved populations in San Diego, California.  Tune in as Assemblymember Gloria and Senior Fellow Kristi Westphaln discuss transgender youth and the LGBTQ community, california’s housing crisis, HIV, health care, immigration, and more. Additionally, Todd shares strategies for citizens to become engaged in how to “get local” to support dignity and diversity for all Americans.


You listen to the interview on iTunes where the archives of other HealthCetera segments are also found:


Kristi Westphaln
Kristi Westphaln, RN MSN PNP-PC is a San Diego based Nurse Practitioner with a passion for pediatric clinical practice, child advocacy, and nursing education. She has over a decade of experience in pediatric emergency care, with a focus on trauma and abuse. She is pursuing a PhD, and as a senior fellow, produces frequent HealthCetera Radio segments.

More Health Policy Comics

By MK Czerwiec

July 4, 2017

Following on my earlier post about Health Policy Comics, I want to share more fantastic work. Cartoonists are responding strongly to the possibility of losing health coverage because, as Andrea Tsurmi points out in her recent comic, Trumpcare is Bad News for Freelancers, and most cartoonists are freelancers.

Read the whole comic “Trumpcare is Bad for Freelancers” on The Nib here.


Comic artist Nomi Kane has written previously about her life with diabetes. Her comics “Sugar Baby” and “Nomi Kane’s Quick Guide to Type One Diabetes” have been staples of Graphic Medicine since she published them. (Both comics available here.) This week The Nib published her comic connecting her diabetes to concerns about the repeal of Obamacare, and the fiction that pre-existing conditions are somehow the “fault” of the person experiencing health issues. As Kane points out in her comic, “My Life With a Pre-Existing Condition,” simply being alive is a pre-existing condition.

Read the full comic “My Life with a Pre-Existing Condition” on The Nib here.

MK Czerwiec