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chronic disease

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

More Than Just An Injury: the impact of inflammation on the body

By Kristi Westphaln

April 14, 2016


Pain, redness, and swelling typically encompass the expected after-effect from an accidental injury. Might inflammation represent a grander health concern than just a local injury response?


A delve into the Merriam-Webster dictionary describes the process of inflammation as “a local response to cellular injury that is marked by capillary dilatation, leukocytic infiltration, redness, heat, and pain and that serves as a mechanism initiating the elimination of noxious agents and of damaged tissue.”


This complicated definition seems distant from the daily human experience, and prompted further investigation by Senior Fellow, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Kristi Westphaln. Ms. Westphaln continues her adventures at the 49th annual Western Institute of Nursing Conference as she interviews inflammation expert from the University of Arizona College of Nursing, Dr. Carrie Merkle. With a unique combination of undergraduate/graduate education in nursing and a PhD in Zoology, Dr. Merkle is gifted both in her research repertoire as well as in her ability to make the processes within advanced cell biology palatable and pertinent.


During her delivery of the esteemed Distinguished Researcher Lecture at WIN, Dr. Merkle explained how the complex mechanism of inflammation is so much more than a bump or bruise, and that it holds serious implications for many chronic health conditions.


Tune into HealthCetera Radio live on April 14, 2016 at 99.5FM or streamed at

or listen via free podcast on iTunes

to learn from an inflammation expert about how inflammation is linked to wound healing, heart health, cancer, diabetes, endometriosis, depression, and cognitive decline. Inflammation impacts our health, and the swell work of Dr. Carrie Merkle helps explain why.

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.