The Ugly Truth About Sex Reassignment the Transgender Lobby Doesn’t Want You to Know [+video]

Sex reassignment is as natural as being born, some in the media tell us. And many Americans are buying it.

But a growing chorus of dissenters made up of physicians, researchers, and even transgender individuals is beginning to paint a far different picture of the truth.

These dissenters are now coming forward to expose just how harmful gender transition and reassignment are—both medically and sociologically speaking.

First, consider recent revelations about how problematic sex reassignment surgery is as a therapy for gender dysphoria.

In an interview with The Telegraph, world-renowned genital reconstructive surgeon Miroslav Djordjevic said his clinics are experiencing an increase in “reversal” surgeries for those who want their genitalia back. These people express crippling levels of depression and, in some instances, suicidal thoughts.

In male-to-female reassignment surgery, doctors such as Djordjevic transform the man’s genitals into the shape of a vagina, removing the testicles and inverting the penis.

In female-to-male reassignment surgery, doctors remove the woman’s breasts, uterus, and ovaries, and extend the urethra so that the woman-turned-man can urinate from the standing position.

A recent Newsweek article takes note of Djordjevic’s concerns, illustrating their legitimacy by pointing to the case of Charles Kane, a man who underwent male-to-female reassignment surgery.

In a BBC interview, Kane explains that he decided to have the initial surgery immediately after having a nervous breakdown. But after having the surgery and identifying as a female named “Sam Hashimi,” Kane soon regretted the decision and went for reversal surgery.

“When I was in the psychiatric hospital,” Kane said, “there was a man on one side of me who thought he was King George and another guy on the other side who thought he was Jesus Christ. I decided I was [a girl named] Sam.”

Similarly, Claudia MacLean, a transgender woman, is quoted as saying her psychiatrist referred her to a sex reassignment surgeon after having only a 45-minute consultation. “In my opinion,” MacLean said, “what happened to me was all about money.”

Given that clinics charge up to $50,000 for reassignment surgeries, Djordjevic says he fears that doctors are stuffing their bank accounts without concern for the physical and psychological well-being of their patients.

Physical and psychological well-being should be a concern, given that 41 percent of transgender people will attempt suicide at some point in their lives, and people who have had sex reassignment surgery are approximately 20 times more likely than the general population to die by suicide.

In addition to the problems inherent to sex reassignment surgery, we should recognize the troublesome nature of giving hormonal “treatments” to gender dysphoric children to delay puberty.

In a recent paper, “Growing Pains: Problems with Puberty Suppression in Treating Gender Dysphoria,” endocrinologist Paul Hruz, biostatistician Lawrence Mayer, and psychiatrist Paul McHugh challenge this practice.

They note that approximately 80 percent of gender dysphoric children grow comfortable in their bodies and no longer experience dysphoria, and conclude that there is “little evidence that puberty suppression is reversible, safe, or effective for treating gender dysphoria.”

Thus, scientific evidence suggests that hormone-induced puberty suppression is harmful and even abusive.

Finally, gender transitions are problematic for society at large, as revealed in recent debates about restroom usagemilitary realitieshousing policies, and sporting events.

What is often overlooked in these debates is the troublesome and even dangerous situation created when transgendered “females” compete in female athletic competitions.

Consider the 2014 women’s mixed martial arts bout between Tamikka Brents and Fallon Fox. During a two-minute beating, Brents suffered a concussion, an orbital bone fracture, and a head wound requiring seven staples.

“I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night,” said Brents.

As it turns out, her opponent, Fox, wasn’t born female. She is a biological male who identifies as transgender.

Brents thought Fox had an unfair advantage. “I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor,” said Brents. “I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right.”

Brents was right to consider Fox’s advantage unfair: The physical differences between men and women are significant enough that professional female fighters cannot compete effectively against other professional male fighters.

Given all this, why do we not see a more constructive and sustained public debate among surgeons, psychiatrists, and lawmakers about the ethics of sex reassignment?

The most significant reason is the power of the transgender lobby.

Consider psychotherapist James Caspian’s recent claim that Bath Spa University in the United Kingdom refused his application to conduct research on sex reversal surgeries because the topic was deemed “potentially politically incorrect.”

According to Caspian, the university initially approved his research proposal, but later rejected it because of the backlash it expected from powerful transgender lobbies.

Regardless of how politically incorrect the evidence may be, and even while we accommodate the privacy and safety concerns of those who identify as transgender, we must also draw a sober and honest conclusion about the human costs of sex reassignment.

The best medical science, social science, philosophy, and theology coalesce. As Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Ryan Anderson puts it, they reveal that sex is a biological reality, that gender is the social expression of that reality, and that sex reassignment surgeries and treatments are therefore not good remedies for the distress felt by people with gender dysphoria.

The most helpful therapies for gender dysphoria, therefore, will be ones that help people live in conformity with the biological truth about their bodies.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Bruce Ashford

Bruce Ashford is provost and professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the co-author of “One Nation Under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics,” and blogs at “Christianity for the Common Good. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: DNC Official Says She Doesn’t Want To Recruit ‘Cisgender Straight White Males’ | Daily Wire

RELATED VIDEO: The Hopeless Homosexual?

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

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Democrats in Meltdown Mode as Obamacare Individual Mandate Moves Toward Extinction

Democrats, of course, oppose the tax cuts moving through Congress. They believe government knows how to spend your money better than you do.

But what has really got their goat is eliminating the Obamacare tax—known as the individual mandate—that Americans have to pay to the IRS for simply choosing not to buy health insurance. This has thrown them into a tailspin of despair.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said eliminating the individual mandate would amount to the “destruction of the Affordable Care Act.” She said it would create no less than a “life-or-death struggle for millions of American families.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the floor Thursday that “[t]he number of middle-class families who would lose money from this bill may be even higher now considering the 10 percent increase in premiums that will occur as a result of the Republican plan to repeal the individual mandate.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was asked by Anderson Cooper on CNN about cutting the individual mandate. “It’s a bad idea,” replied the former Democratic presidential candidate. “This is going to throw 13 million Americans off the health insurance they currently have.”

No doubt the talking points that flew around Democratic offices on Capitol Hill were written to scare people into thinking the tax cut forces people off all health care. But it’s a big stretch to state that as fact.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the individual mandate would decrease the number of people with health insurance by 4 million in 2019 and 13 million in 2027. It also predicted average premiums in the individual market would increase by about 10 percent per year.

However, the Congressional Budget Office was extremely careful to explain the inexact science of its analysis. A whole section of the report is titled “Uncertainty Surrounding the Estimates.” To put it simply, economists can’t predict human behavior.

I don’t even know what health insurance I will pick to get the best bang for my buck in 2019. How would bureaucrats in D.C. know?

Nevertheless, Democrats grabbed that report and ran with it, trying to put on a horror movie through the halls of Congress.

Pelosi threatened that as the bill moves toward final passage in the Senate and a reconciled bill through both chambers, “outside mobilization” will be activated to stop it. She said the Senate Finance Committee’s decision to include repeal of the individual mandate “really electrified, energized the base even further … .”

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., tweeted on Tuesday: “RED ALERT: Senate GOP just added provision to their tax plan that would gut ACA & kick 13M ppl off insurance.”

(Yes, Franken tweets blatant falsehoods when he’s not groping women.)

Schumer took to Twitter to put the blame on the White House: “.@POTUS’s absurd idea to repeal the individual mandate as a part of the #GOPTaxPlan would boot 13M ppl from the health insurance rolls and cause premiums to skyrocket – all to pay for an even bigger tax cut for the very rich, those who pay the top rate. What a toxic idea!”

President Donald Trump, however, is quite enthusiastic about taking a big whack at Obamacare through the tax bill. Reportedly, Trump encouraged Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., to get repeal into the committee bill text. This is what also infuriated the Democrats.

You can’t help but smile that Republicans are now using a 2015 ruling by the Supreme Court—which let the individual mandate stay in law, with the rationale that it was a tax and not a fine—as a way to ultimately kill the key provision that keeps Obamacare on life support.

Since the mandate is now considered a tax, its repeal will fit perfectly into the GOP tax reform plan.

Last week, a reporter asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders if the individual mandate repeal is a priority for the president. “That’s something the president obviously would love to see happen,” she responded.

The Obamacare mandate tax was always more of a “nanny tax” than a way to raise government funding. Democrats included it in the law in order to force the young and healthy to buy into the government-run health exchanges so as to offset the high cost of the old and very sick.

But the tax has ended up hitting lower-income and working-class families the hardest because it is much cheaper to pay the tax than to buy insurance on the Obamacare exchanges and pay the absurdly high insurance premiums and deductibles.

The hardest thing to do in Washington is to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. If the Obamacare tax can be repealed in the final bill that lands on Trump’s desk, Americans will get back a key individual liberty—the right to choose whether or not to buy government health insurance.

This would be the perfect early Christmas gift for hard-working families. Democrats should think twice before standing in the way of it.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Emily Miller

Emily Miller is an award-winning journalist and the author of the book “Emily Gets Her Gun” about gun control policies. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

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Physician-Assisted Suicide: A New Pascal’s Wager

Note: Amid all the worries of these days, it’s good to remember that there are also signs and figures of hope. The two young priests writing today – like many others of their generation – are not at all confused or ambiguous about what the Church teaches. And they’re not reticent about expressing it, even in difficult cases such as end-of-life decisions. We’ve made clear and firm expression a touchstone for this site. And from what I hear from many of you, that’s one of the main reasons why you come here everyday. There are risks in being truthful, even in the Church. But we are determined to tell the truth – charitably, but fully and candidly – wherever we find it. We believe that’s a mission that deserves report from like-minded Catholics. If you’re one of them, please, make your donation today. The future existence of our Catholic Thing depends on you. – Robert Royal

By Fr. Cameron Faller & Fr. Joseph Previtali

July 24, 2016 Amanda Friedland, left, surrounded by friends and family adjusts her friend Betsy Davis’s sash as she lays on a bed during her “Right To Die Party” in Ojai, Calif. (Niels Alpert via AP)

July of 2016, Betsy Davis sent an e-mail to her closest friends and relatives. It was an invitation to a two-day party at a beautiful house in Ojai, California. But this was not going to be your usual party, she explained: at the conclusion of the celebration, she was going to end her own life with a lethal combination of drugs provided by her physician.

“Dear rebirth participants you’re all very brave for sending me off on my journey,” Betsy wrote, “There are no rules. Wear what you want, speak your mind, dance, hop, chant, sing, pray, but do not cry in front of me. Oh, OK one rule.”

Betsy Davis died, by her own hand, on July 24, 2016.

One of the friends present at the party was her friend, Niels. “The idea to go and spend a beautiful weekend that culminates in their suicide – that is not a normal thing, not a normal, everyday occurrence. In the background of the lovely fun, smiles, and laughter that we had that weekend was the knowledge of what was coming. . . . What Betsy did gave her the most beautiful death that any person could ever wish for. By taking charge, she turned her departure into a work of art.”

Most of Betsy’s friends and relatives, including Niels, left the party before Betsy actually took the lethal dose.

Her sister, Kelly, who was one of the few present at her death, said she loved the idea of the gathering, but she admitted, “Obviously it was hard for me. It’s still hard for me. . . . the worst was needing to leave the room every now and then, because I would get choked up. But people got it. They understood how much she was suffering and that she was fine with her decision. They respected that. They knew she wanted it to be a joyous occasion.”

Niels called her suicide “beautiful” even though it loomed on the horizon as the dark cloud of “what was coming” at the end of the party. Kelly was trying to make the party “joyous” but she couldn’t hold back her tears. Betsy did not want to see them cry.

Understandably, there was deep sadness about Betsy’s illness and the separation of loved ones. That is a normal and good sadness that accompanies all illness and death. But the anxiety and conflict of heart written between the lines of Niels’ and Kelly’s testimony – and in Betsy’s desire to avoid the tears of her loved ones – touches a deeper darkness surrounding the choice to deal with illness by committing suicide.

At the heart of the matter is an inescapable question: How do we know that Betsy’s suicide ended her suffering? Note in her invitation quoted above that she called the event a “rebirth.” To what, then?

To be sure, we can observe that the current form of suffering from physical illness has ended for her. But do we know, without revelation from God, what happens after the death of our bodies?

[Photo: Justin McManus, The Age]

The truth is quite different: to hold that suicide ends all suffering is to depart from reason and science, and to take a leap of blind faith in one’s own power of conjecture about the state of the rational self after the death of the body. Indeed, no higher authority has revealed to us that suicide ends all suffering. It is, rather, a simple supposition on the part of people who have no access to the truth or falsehood of the claim. Critical minds normally would judge such blind and solipsistic faith foolhardy.Thus, physician-assisted suicide brings us to the precipice of a new version of Pascal’s wager: Are we going to take the chance, with no supporting evidence, that suicide ends all our suffering? Is it worth the risk that maybe there is more than our present suffering?

This wager is the end of the road for human reason facing the mystery of death.

Betsy had faith (in her own idea?) that her suicide would result in her “rebirth.” To have the Catholic faith means to believe in the authority of Jesus Christ; Almighty God made man for salvation.

Jesus Christ teaches us that there is no way to an eternal life free of suffering, except through participation in His Cross. He brings purpose and reason into our experience of suffering: it is precisely in freely accepting our suffering and God’s providential plan for our deaths that we prepare ourselves for perfect happiness with God. This is how our suffering loved ones, with our love and support, assistance and presence, will freely accept God’s sovereignty over life – suffering their death, when it comes, in union with Christ.

Ancient Christian art depicted the Cross of Jesus Christ not so much in its historical details, but rather as a fruitful and life-giving Tree. This is the power of the eyes of faith. With Jesus Christ, we can learn to see our suffering and death as transformed and made beautiful by Divine Love. His Cross was fruitful for the salvation of the whole world. He invites us to enter in to His fruitfulness and beauty in our own suffering and death. Our task, then, is not to encourage our suffering loved ones to commit suicide – a growing threat to human dignity – but rather to accompany them as they carry the Cross with Our Lord, filled with hope that He is making them fruitful and beautiful.

We pray for Betsy and we entrust her to Jesus Christ, her Merciful Lord. We pray for Niels and Kelly, that they will experience deep healing and peace in the Heart of Jesus Christ. We know that He is the only answer to the problem of suffering, especially in terminal illness. We know that only He sheds the Light that scatters the darkness of doubt about the fate of the human being after the death of the body.

Fr. Cameron Faller & Fr. Joseph Previtali

Fr. Cameron Faller & Fr. Joseph Previtali

Fr. Cameron Faller currently serves as the associate pastor of Church of the Epiphany in San Francisco as well as an assistant vocation director. Fr. Joseph Previtali is a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco; he is pursuing the Doctorate of Sacred Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

Here’s Why an Unborn Baby Was Counted as a Person in the Texas Massacre

The sheriff deputies who assessed the fatalities at the bloody crime scene at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, counted the death toll as 26 because one of the victims was a mother carrying an unborn child inside of her.

The federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 recognizes unborn children as separate victims for federal and military crimes. Texas law also defines a human being to include “an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth,” and recognizes an unborn baby as a potential crime victim.

dcnf-logo

“This has been a longstanding priority for us, and something we were instrumental in pushing,” said Jennifer Popik, a director for the National Right to Life, according to The New York Times. “The principle here is that there’s two victims. For a family already invested in the child, for the grandparents, this is a loss.”

Abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America defends harsher penalties for perpetrators who commit crimes against pregnant women, however, the group strongly opposes crime victim laws and “personhood” laws that give unborn babies separate legal status from the mother. These laws are an attempt to prevent women from getting abortions, according to NARAL.

“We need tougher laws on the books that increase criminal penalties for individuals who target pregnant women, and we stand with our allies in support of meaningful legislation to prevent future acts of gun violence,” said NARAL spokesperson Kaylie Long.

President Donald Trump’s administration has also defined life at conception. The Department of Health and Human Services “accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception,” according to a draft plan from the agency.

Even New York’s World Trade Center memorial includes the words “and her unborn child” after the names of the pregnant women who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Thirty-eight states currently have fetal homicide laws.

Grace Carr

Grace Carr is a reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation. Twitter: @gbcarr24

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

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Cast Your Obamacares, Says Hill GOP

House and Senate leaders may disagree on how to fix Obamacare, but they certainly don’t dispute why.

After seven years, the only thing higher than the costs of the Left’s health care law may be the mounds of evidence about its failures. Already, families are bracing themselves for January 1, when experts warn that most Americans will wake up with a headache — and not from a lack of sleep from the night before.When the Times Square ball drops, premiums won’t. In fact, the first day of 2018 may trigger one of the steepest rises in health care premiums the country has faced. For the 39 states that have stuck it out on the Obamacare exchange, they’ll ring in the New Year by wringing out their wallets — most facing a 34-percent spike in premiums, and climbing. Although the pain will be passed on to almost every customer, analysts say the middle class will be squeezed the most. Like most people, insurers understand that Obamacare is a sinking ship, and they’re doing everything they can, the Wall Street Journal points out, to “hedg[e] against broader uncertainty around other aspects of the Affordable Care Act, and my market conditions.”

Others have outright left the exchange, blowing a big hole in the number of plans consumers could pick from. “The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has estimated that 46 percent of Americans live in counties that will lose at least one exchange insurer next year.” Others are losing their plans entirely, news many of them are just getting in the mail. “Time to shop for new coverage,” their letters read. In some pockets of the country, like Virginia, people who had as many as 14 policy options last year are down to two (which also happen to cost $150 more a month).

So, while some may want to steer Congress away from the failed Obamacare debate into the greener pastures of tax reform, there are still Republicans who are trying to solve the looming crisis and give Americans some relief. Two of Congress’s key moneymen, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Senate Finance Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), are the latest to offer up a proposal that deals with some of the worst aspects of Obamacare — and, unlike the Lamar Alexander-Patty Murray deal, leaves no doubt about one of the biggest concerns: abortion. From its very first bullet point, Hatch and Brady explain that their “bicameral agreement” would fund cost savings reductions (CSRs) through 2019 “with pro-life protections.” That was a problem many of us had with the Alexander-Murray idea, since nothing in the plan addressed one of voters’ key priorities — ending the forced partnership between taxpayers and the abortion industry.

“What we’re proposing not only helps treat some of Obamacare’s symptoms: rising premiums, fewer choices, and uncertainty and instability,” Rep. Brady explained. “It takes steps to cure Obamacare’s underlying illness through patient-centered reforms that deliver relief from federal mandates, protect life, and increase choices in health care.” Like other bills, it would eliminate Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates, expand health savings accounts, and fund the cost-sharing program for two years, a move, Politico explains, “designed to appeal to Republicans who want to fund the Obamacare program but feel that Alexander didn’t get enough conservative concessions in his negotiations with Murray.”

Its biggest obstacle, apart from getting time on a busy congressional calendar, is that the duo will be introducing it as a standalone bill, meaning that it would need help from Democrats to pass. But if the Obamacare implosion continues, even they’ll have to concede that something needs to be done. And soon.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the October 26 Washington Update:

HHS Asks You: How Are We Doing?

Best Bye: Controversial Texas Speaker to Exit in ’18

VIDEO: Drug Companies Paid Doctors to Prescribe Opioids that Kill 33,000 Yearly

$46 million was paid to 68,000 Medical doctors for their opioid prescriptions as kick-backs, according to the CDC.

“This is outrageous and just the latest example of how drug companies are killing people with their products,” says Dr. Richard Ruhling, a retired physician who once relieved a doctor for a week in a pain clinic where everyone who came in was addicted to opioids or Xanax.

Ruhling cites his own experiences to indicate this problem shouldn’t have to exist. His solution? Doctors should quit prescribing those drugs that are so addictive.

Is it heartless not to prescribe strong drugs for patients who complain of pain?

Ruhling says in his office and emergency room practice, he never initiated a prescription for those substances now seen as the cause of deaths.

Darvon or Tylenol with Codeine are far less addictive and go a long ways to cutting pain, and there is nothing wrong with living with some pain while the body heals.

Ruhling was hit by a taxi in New York City. He woke up on the street with a crowd around him and they said lay still, an ambulance is coming. Ruhling stood up, almost fainted, but said he was ok and limped off with pain in his leg.

X-rays by an orthopedic friend showed a fractured fibula (non-weight bearing side bone in the lower leg) and Ruhling’s knee felt like a pumpkin. His leg turned purple from a broken artery but bleeding stopped from the pressure of the swelling.

He got phlebitis (inflammation of the leg vein) that throbbed and kept him awake at night. What he did to treat it is explained in a video, on this opioid problem…

Each night it got a little better. He used a cane and limped to take the weight off the leg while getting around as it healed. His leg healed without the need for surgery or habit-forming drugs that his orthopedic friend offered.

A more common problem is men at work who hurt their low back by heavy lifting and instead of seeing a chiropractor (first choice in Europe), they go to an MD who takes back x-rays that rarely show anything and he recommends moist heat and bed rest and an Rx for pain.

But if his Rx is an opioid, it is very easy for that patient to become addicted because they often return to work too early because the Rx masks the pain so well, and when they try to stop it, they feel the pain and need to continue…a perfect setup for a failed recovery and opioid addiction, says Ruhling.

But we shouldn’t look for improvement anytime soon because drug companies spend $400 million a year on donations to congress for their re-election campaigns according to Marcia Angell, MD, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. She made that statement decades ago, it’s probably tripled by now, says Ruhling, adding that the FDA also gets millions from big pharma yearly.

Drug opioid overdose deaths by state in 2014.

Angell’s interview on 60 Minutes referenced her book, “The Truth About the Drug Companies.” She should have included a chapter on congress.

Every nation practicing western medicine is on the brink of bankruptcy because of pharmaceutical greed (drugs costing 10x more than 50 or 60 years ago).

Drug companies deceive MD’s as to the benefits of drugs while they fill the Physicians Desk Reference with 3500 pages of adverse drug reactions, contraindications, drug interactions, pregnancy warnings, carcinogenesis, etc.

Pharmacology evolved from toxicology which studied how much chemical killed half the lab rats. Not much has changed.

“In the widest sense of the word, every drug is by definition a poison. Pharmacology and toxicology are one, and the art of medicine is to use these poisons beneficially.” Drill’s Textbook of Pharmacology in Medicine, chapter 5, Mechanisms of Drug Action.

The last warning in the Bible is a call to come out of Babylon which includes our healthcare system as a leading cause of death. The Bible says, “for by her sorceries [Greek word is pharmakeia] were all nations deceived.” Rev 18:23.

Ruhling says he got a penicillin shot most winters as a child, but since he became a vegetarian in college, he’s had only one prescription (for intestinal flu) in 60 years and that’s in spite of high exposure to colds and flu in emergency rooms.

ABOUT DR. RICHARD RUHLING

Dr. Richard Ruhling is a retired physician. His website is http://RichardRuhling.com where he has information on personal healthcare summarized by NEW START and a video on How to Cut Drug Costs, Feel Better and Live Longer

RELATED ARTICLE: CDC: Daily 91 Americans Die from an Opioid Overdose

Obamacare Subsidies Are Unconstitutional

The subsidies for Obamacare were never constitutional, and we shouldn’t ignore that just because Trump got rid of them.

Gary M. Galles

by  Gary M. Galles

Last week, President Trump issued an executive order instructing the heads of Health and Human Services and the Treasury to stop making ACA subsidy payments to 6 million people who qualified for them.

Calumny and challenges quickly followed. Attorneys general in 18 states quickly sued that the order was unjustified. That same group has now also asked for a restraining order to stop it. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, one of the 18, called it irresponsible and illegal.

Blowing Constitutional Smoke

Trump’s challengers are blowing constitutional smoke. Every federal program requires two steps before it can spend money. Congress must authorize it and appropriate the money for it. Both steps are necessary. And the Constitution could not be clearer on the second step: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” However, the money for the ACA subsidy payments was never congressionally authorized.

So where did the subsidy money come from? President Obama simply ignored the constraints of the Constitution when it got in his way. He instructed the heads of Health and Human Services and the Treasury to divert money appropriated for other programs, but he left unspecified which programs were to be cut. Why leave that unspecified? If a specified program was raided, Congress and the beneficiaries of that program would have a clear cause of action to prevent it. It could be judicially enjoined immediately. But somehow, Obama’s failure to specify where funds would come from, even though every possible diversion would be unconstitutional, and delegation of the dirty work to cabinet members was supposed to shield the President and his signature legislation from constitutional scrutiny long enough (given the slow-grinding wheels of justice) to make it a fait accompli.After that, the bet was that the subsidies would be politically impossible to undo, even if the courts eventually ruled against them, because members of the House and Senate would then authorize the money to continue the subsidies, too afraid of the electoral consequences of taking away what millions of people had already been given unconstitutionally.

Supporters of that game plan to finalize getting around the Constitution also chimed in. For instance, law professor Nicolas Bagley (“Trump’s disastrous war on the ACA,” Los Angeles Times, 10/16) advocated that we should just ignore the violation of the Constitution. Even though the administrative decision to commit subsidy funds from other programs when Congress wouldn’t appropriate the money was known to be unconstitutional, he argued that we should ignore that, because he claimed Trump’s “constitutional rhetoric is pure pretext” to sabotage the ACA. That is, we should just fall in line with Obama’s illegal administrative commitments because Trump’s closer adherence to the Constitution than law lecturer Obama lines up with his belief ACA is a bad deal. In other words, Trump’s opposition to ACA justifies maintaining Obama’s constitutional violation in implementing the ACA.

Constraining Government

Such a conclusion may deserve a place in a “how not to interpret Constitutional law” illustration, but it does not deserve serious consideration. However, that argument, and the plan it supports, seems to be winning the day. The subsidies that millions have gotten used to having already hardened into a sense of entitlement, un-swayed by inconvenient Constitutional restraints, which, with the flames fanned by Democrats, have cowed many ACA opponents into proposals to provide the money (of course, “just temporarily,” even though, as Milton Friedman pointed out long ago about New York city’s “temporary” World War II rent controls, “there is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program”).What we are seeing is another lesson in the art of creating an end run around the Constitution’s protections for Americans against their government overstepping its enumerated powers. And it is hardly the first time, even for the ACA. Remember the penalties for not having insurance under the ACA plan? It was emphatically claimed to not be a tax, but a regulation (and hence not counted against the ACA in fiscal scoring), but Chief Justice Roberts’ 5-4 majority decision found the ACA constitutional only because it really was a tax, which Congress has the power to impose, when a regulation to mandate that Americans must purchase something would have been unconstitutional.

With such a vivid current illustration of the evisceration of the Constitution joining many more that we have already seen, Americans should be learning (or, perhaps better, re-, re-, re-, re-learning) a very important lesson on the importance of keeping government within its Constitutional powers to protect our freedoms from abuse at its hands. However, it remains to be seen whether we will.

Gary M. Galles

Gary M. Galles

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. His recent books include Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014) and Apostle of Peace (2013). He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.

Is it Really Our Job To Save The Addict?

The problem

“Drug overdose was the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., with 64,070 lethal drug overdoses in 2016. An estimated 53,332 have been linked to opioids of some type, which is an increase of 61% from 2015,” according to Nick Szubiak, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, National Council for Behavioral Health. He observes that the epidemic is partially being fueled by the early myth started by a letter published in New England Journal of Medicine in 1980 that opioids were non-addictive. In addition to that, there has been unrestricted prescribing of medications, and increase of availability and potency of less expensive heroin.

Dr. Lantie Jorandby, is board certified in addiction psychiatry. She is currently with the Amen Clinics in the Washington. DC area. Having been involved in Medical Assistance Treatment clinics providing suboxone and methadone within the VA system, Dr. Jorandby has observed, “egregious over-prescribing in the primary care setting in the VA system.” This over prescribing, she says, is usually done by “well-meaning” doctors, getting stuck in a cycle of prescribing dangerously high levels of opiates. She added “the system perpetuates when patients complain that their doctors want to stop their opiates, putting doctors in a bind with their jobs.” She has heard “reports of patients threatening doctors if they try to take them off of opiates, creating a perfect storm,” she says. Many people are prescribed a full 60 pill prescription, when a few pills would do the trick.

Perpetuating the problem

Explaining that the medical community has been trained to prescribe for longer periods of time like ten to thirty days, Carolyn Castro-Donlan, Ph.D. suggested that there might need to be a different type of training for prescribing medications. She has been working with addictions since the 80’s when she was a nurse. She is now a consultant, currently collaborating on Medical Assisted Treatment using suboxone for maintenance, detox or helping patients taper off opioids slowly.

She observes that one of the biggest problems is that prescription monitoring across states lines is inadequate and needs to be universal. Often, she says, this is how addictions can be perpetuated.

What we can agree on

They agree that there is way too much over prescribing of opioids, so perhaps we should find a way to train differently in this area and/or regulate how much can be prescribed and in what way. On this same issue, we should probably monitor prescriptions of opioids across state lines, as suggested by Castro-Donlan. It’s way too easy for people to drive from one doctor to the other to load up on pain meds with no way of tracking whether or not there’s an obvious problem.

Another thing most of the professionals agreed on was Medically Assisted Treatment using suboxone or methadone for people struggling with addiction. If we could develop treatment that involves time-limited withdrawal support, coupled with therapeutic support to address underlying issues, that there should be a way to do that. Carolyn Castro-Donlan, PhD emphasizes that the withdrawal symptoms won’t kill you, but she said it sure feels like they will when you are going through it, and it might just be the humane way to allow someone to quit.

We are bombarded with societal messages that we are not enough.

We need more money, a faster car, a slimmer figure, and stronger deodorant if we are to be acceptable and loved. We are sent messages that we should never be in pain or suffer in any way. Jorandby and Castro-Donlan also agreed that connecting to a spiritual source through meditation, prayer, and gratitude is an important place to begin to find our true worth as human beings. Mindfulness principles like meditation and gratitude have been shown through multiple studies to actually change the brain. So, while the addiction changes the brain and alters perception in one way, meditation and gratitude are scientifically proven strategies for emotional strength and growth. So instead of looking outside of ourselves for ways to escape from our problems and stressors, we build resilience from inside.

And more than anything else, they agreed that education for prevention should start early, and awareness for reducing stigma is vital. People do not seek treatment often due to fear and shame. We are not talking about the “dregs of society” if there is such a thing; we are talking about housewives who take their kids to soccer each week, high school students who get injured in sports, businessmen and women who work hard every day, who started out with pain meds and find themselves on that slippery slope, leading to hopelessness and destruction. “Addicts are not stupid. Neither are they weak, but rather highly intelligent,” says Rev. Dr. Wesley Shortridge of Bealeton, VA.

Where to start

I don’t necessarily think the conversation should focus on whether or not it’s a choice, or whether or not society is co-dependent, but rather what we can agree on.

We may not be able to save every person who struggles with substance abuse, but we can at least do what we can to lessen availability and move in a healthier direction. Reverend Shortridge says, “We need to build a society that doesn’t need it.” And beginning with the suggestions above, that most seem to agree on, might be a good place to start.

  1. Prevention by training in mindfulness principles, beginning with even very young students.
  2. Raising awareness and offering education to reduce stigma and enhance understanding.
  3. Putting some regulations around prescribing practices to limit availability.
  4. Offering limited and focused Medically Assisted Treatment, coupled with therapy, for the purpose of a better recovery.

Who Deserves the Drug Cartels’ MVP Award? The growing list of those feeding the opioid crisis.

There has been a long-standing debate as to whether or not marijuana is a “gateway drug” to hardcore drugs.  However, there is no such debate about whether abused prescription opiates are gateway drugs to heroin and fentanyl — they are.

Today America finds itself suffering from the worst heroin epidemic in history.

The unprecedented numbers of Americans who have become addicted to prescription opiates provide the drug cartels with more potential “customers” than ever before and, as I noted in an article awhile back, Obama’s border failures have only made their business easier.

There are other parties who bear blame for the creation of this crisis as well. On Sunday, October 15, 2017 the CBS News program, “60 Minutes” aired an infuriating report, “Ex-DEA agent: Opioid crisis fueled by drug industry and Congress.”

That “ex-DEA agent” is Joe Rannazzisi who headed the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control, the division that regulates and investigates the pharmaceutical industry. According to the 60 Minutes report, “Rannazzisi tells the inside story of how, he says, the opioid crisis was allowed to spread — aided by Congress, lobbyists, and a drug distribution industry that shipped, almost unchecked, hundreds of millions of pills to rogue pharmacies and pain clinics providing the rocket fuel for a crisis that, over the last two decades, has claimed 200,000 lives.”

A subsequent Washington Post editorial detailed how the situation unfolded:

A DEA effort was undertaken in the mid-2000s to target drug distribution companies that were shipping unusually large volumes of opioids. For example, one midsize distributor had shipped 20 million doses to pharmacies in West Virginia over five years; 11 million doses went to one county alone with a population of 25,000 people. Some pharmacies in Florida were nothing more than illicit drug dens, with streams of customers arriving in vans from Appalachia. “Back home, each 30-pill bottle of oxycodone was worth $900,” The Post reports. By going after the distributors, the DEA hoped to stanch this deadly trade. The DEA brought at least 17 enforcement cases against 13 drug distributors and one manufacturer under a hard-charging head of the Office of Diversion Control, Joseph T. Rannazzisi.

Then the rules changed. The DEA originally could freeze drug shipments that posed an “imminent danger” to the community, giving the agency broad authority to act. In 2014, the industry launched an effort to slow enforcement by changing the standard. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) and aided by former DEA officials who went through the revolving door to help the drug companies.

The 60 Minutes report and a parallel eye-opening investigative report published by the Washington Post sent shockwaves around the country and resulted in Pennsylvania  Congressman Tom Marino issuing a statement requesting that President Trump withdraw his name from consideration to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) as the so-called “Drug Czar.”

Although I was an INS special agent, I had a front row seat to America’s purported “War on Drugs.” In 1988 I became the first INS special agent to be assigned to DEA’s Unified Intelligence Division (UID) in New York City.  In 1991 I was promoted to the position of Senior Special Agent and assigned to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) where I remained for the balance of my career, working with the DEA, FBI and other federal and local law enforcement agencies and the law enforcement agencies of other governments.

I did not generally participate in DEA investigations into so-called “diversion” cases because those investigations rarely involved foreign nationals.  However, what the excellent 60 Minutes report did not discuss was how, all too often, hapless patients who became hooked on prescription opiates were either unable to get more prescriptions for those drugs or were unable to continue to pay for those expensive drugs and, consequently, some of these desperate addicts have resorted to committing violent robberies at local pharmacies. Others resorted to cheaper street drugs such as heroin.

Heroin is not produced in the United States.  Every gram of heroin present in the United States provides unequivocal evidence of a failure of border security because every gram of heroin was smuggled into the United States. Indeed, this is precisely a point that Attorney General Jeff Sessions made during his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on October 18, 2017 when he again raised the need to secure the U.S./Mexican border to protect American lives.

Immigration laws provide important weapons that can and must be used against transnational gangs, drug trafficking organizations and international terrorists and their organizations.  This was made abundantly clear to me during my assignments with UID and then OCDETF.  Yet this commonsense fact is willfully discounted and denied by politicians from both political parties and at all levels of government.

Smugglers are smugglers.  Brutal human traffickers often engage in drug smuggling and, in fact, often force smuggled aliens to carry drugs on them, earning such aliens the nickname “mules.”  They are literally used as beasts of burden.  This is not only the case along the violent and porous U.S./Mexican border but at our nation’s international airports and seaports as well.

Because the smugglers are engaged in moving contraband into the United States from foreign countries, most of the smugglers are aliens, as are those who hold the highest positions within the drug trafficking organizations.  Immigration laws could be brought to bear with great success against these smugglers, yet the number of immigration law enforcement officers has always been very low, further hampering efforts to use immigration laws to maximum advantage.

I began my career with the INS in 1971 as an Immigration Inspector at JFK Airport.  Back then I became aware of individuals who attempted to smuggle narcotics into the United States by swallowing balloons and condoms which had been stuffed with narcotics.  A ruptured balloon or condom would almost always cost the life of the person who had swallowed it.

Drug money enriches the coffers of the banks and money remitters that transmit the proceeds of narcotics transactions.  They are the “silent partners” in this hugely profitable criminal enterprise.  Yet while banks often pay huge fines, few bankers are ever prosecuted.

Furthermore, drug money washes through Wall Street, the real estate industry and permeates our economy.

On September 10, 2012 the New York Times reported that HSBC was forced to pay $1.92 billion to settle charges of money laundering.  No one could argue that they paid a huge fine, until you consider the final paragraphs in the report:

Congressional hearings exposed weaknesses at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the national bank regulator. In 2010, the regulator found that HSBC had severe deficiencies in its anti-money laundering controls, including $60 trillion in transactions and 17,000 accounts flagged as potentially suspicious, activities that were not reviewed. Despite the findings, the regulator did not fine the bank.

During the hearings this summer, lawmakers assailed the regulator. At one point, Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, called the comptroller “a lap dog, not a watchdog.”

The July 11, 2016 report by the House Republican Staff of the Committee on Financial Services on the topic, “Too Big To Jail:  Inside the Obama Justice Department’s Decision Not To Hold Wall Street Accountable” focused on failures of the Obama Justice Department to effectively deal with massive violations of laws pertaining to money laundering and other crimes that have national security implications.

It is my contention that not unlike the way that DEA lost its authority to block the shipments of opiates when it is apparent that community safety is jeopardized, we have seen, for decades, parallel efforts to prevent the effective enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws and the securing of our nation’s borders in, what I have come to refer to as, Immigration Failure – By Design.

“Sanctuary cities” and now “sanctuary states” have crippled efforts to use immigration laws to combat violent transnational gangs, drug trafficking and human smuggling and even undermining national security.

On August 11, 2017 Fox News posted the incredible article, “Los Angeles Targets Contractors Who Might Work on Border Wall.”  The city of Los Angeles and the state of California have become sanctuaries and are now seeking to “blacklist” American companies that accept contracts from the federal government — particularly when such companies have worked to help stem the flood of heroin and other dangerous drugs into the United States along with aliens engaged in criminal and/or terror-related activities.

The drug trade and drug addiction are synonymous with death and violence.  Drug money is “blood money” funding criminal and terrorist organizations.  Our leaders must be made to accept that effective immigration law enforcement is a vital element of the “War on Drugs.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.

The Scandalous Truth about Obamacare Is Laid Bare

A government program that is ruined by permitting more choice is not sustainable.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

by  Jeffrey A. Tucker

It’s not just that Obamacare is financially unsustainable. More seriously, it is intellectually unsustainable, even though this truth has been slow to emerge. This has come to an end with President Trump’s executive order.

What does it do? It cuts subsidies to failing providers, yes. It also redefines the meaning of “short term” policies from one year to 90 days. But more importantly–and this is what has the pundit class in total meltdown–it liberalizes the rules for providers to serve health-coverage consumers.

In the words of USA Today: the executive order permits a greater range of choice “by allowing more consumers to buy health insurance through association health plans across state lines.”

The key word here is “allowing” – not forcing, not compelling, not coercing. Allowing. Why would this be a problem? Because allowing choice defeats the core feature of Obamacare, which is about forcing risk pools to exist that the market would otherwise never have chosen. If you were to summarize the change in a phrase it is this: it allows more freedom.

The tenor of the critics’ comments on this move is that it is some sort of despotic act. But let’s be clear: no one is coerced by this executive order. It is exactly the reverse: it removes one source of coercion. It liberalizes, just slightly, the market for insurance carriers.

Here’s a good principle: a government program that is ruined by permitting more choice is not sustainable.

The New York Times predicts:

Employers that remain in the A.C.A. small-group market will offer plans that are more expensive than average, and they will see premiums increase. Only the sickest groups would remain in the A.C.A. regulated risk pool after several enrollment cycles.

Vox puts it this way:

The individuals likely to flee the Obamacare markets for association plans would probably be younger and healthier, leaving behind an older, sicker pool for the remaining ACA market. That has the makings of a death spiral, with ever-increasing premiums and insurers deciding to leave the market altogether.

The Atlantic makes the same point:

Both short-term and associated plans would likely be less costly than the more robust plans sold on Obamacare’s state-based insurance exchanges. But the concern, among critics, is that the plans would cherry-pick the healthiest customers out of the individual market, leaving those with serious health conditions stuck on the Obamacare exchanges. There, prices would rise, because the pool of people on the exchanges would be sicker. Small businesses who keep the more robust plans—perhaps because they have employees with serious health conditions—would also likely face higher costs.

CNBC puts the point about plan duration in the starkest and most ironic terms.

If the administration liberalizes rules about the duration of short-term health plans, and then also makes it easier for people to get hardship exemptions from Obamacare’s mandate, it could lead healthy people who don’t need comprehensive benefits to sign up in large numbers for short-term coverage.

Can you imagine? Letting people do things that are personally beneficial? Horror!

Once you break all this down, the ugly truth about Obamacare is laid bare. Obamacare didn’t create a market. It destroyed the market. Even the slightest bit of freedom wrecks the whole point.

Under the existing rules, healthy people were being forced (effectively taxed) to pay the premiums for unhealthy people, young people forced to pay for old people, anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle required to cough up for those who do not.This is the great hidden truth about Obamacare. It was never a program for improved medical coverage. It was a program for redistributing wealth by force from the healthy to the sick. It did this by forcing nonmarket risk pools, countering the whole logic of insurance in the first place, which is supposed to calibrate premiums, risks, and payouts toward mutual profitability. Obamacare imagined that it would be easy to use coercion to undermine the whole point of insurance. It didn’t work.

And so the Trump executive order introduces a slight bit of liberality and choice. And the critics are screaming that this is a disaster in the making. You can’t allow choice! You can’t allow more freedom! You can’t allow producers and consumers to cobble together their own plans! After all, this defeats the point of Obamacare, which is all about forcing people to do things they otherwise would not do!

Freedom or coercion: these are the two paths.

This revelation is, as they say, somewhat awkward.What we should have learned from the failure of Obamacare is that no amount of coercion can substitute for the rationality and productivity of the competitive marketplace.

Even if the executive order successfully liberalizes the sector just a bit, we have a very long way to go. The entire medical marketplace needs massive liberalization. It needs government to play even less of a role, from insurance to prescriptions to all choice, over what is permitted to be called health care and who administers it.

Freedom or coercion: these are the two paths. The first works; the second doesn’t.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, economics adviser to FreeSociety.com, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books, most recently Right-Wing Collectivism: The Other Threat to Liberty, with a preface by Deirdre McCloskey (FEE 2017). He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

Department of Health and Human Services: ‘Life Begins at Conception’

In a stunning turn of events President Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has declared that life begins at conception.

The 2018-2022 DHHS draft strategic plan reads:

Mission Statement

The mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of Americans, by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.

Organizational Structure

HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.

Readers may share their thoughts on each part of the draft strategic plan.

Download the HHS DRAFT Strategic Plan FY 2018 – 2022 – PDF

The Federalist’s Harvest Prude reports:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just released their 2018-2022 plan, which unequivocally states that life begins at conception and deserves protection. In the introduction it says,

“HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.”

The draft mentions conception five times total. The overwhelmingly pro-life stance in the draft is welcome news to many.

The debate over the personhood of unborn children has been a central issue of the abortion debate. Ever since Roe v. Wade in 1973, pro-life advocates have been trying to establish constitutionally protected rights for the unborn. In the ruling’s majority opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote that Roe v. Wade would collapse if “the fetus is a person.”

In support of the HHS’s draft, author and bioethics expert Wesley J. Smith wrote, “life ‘beginning at conception’ … is a fact of basic biological science.”

Read more.

Watch what happened at Values Voter Summit 2017 today…

It’s time for Americans to seize the moment.

Opening day of the 2017 Values Voter Summit gave attendees a window into the opportunity before us to make America a place in which all human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives. If you missed today’s sessions, you can watch all the action, including President Trump’s address, at the VVS website here.

My Fourth Health Care Plan Just Died Thanks to Obamacare by Michelle Malkin

Cue the funeral bagpipes. My fourth health insurance plan is dead.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I received yet another cancellation notice for our private, individual health insurance coverage. It’s our fourth Obamacare-induced obituary in four years.

Our first death notice, from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, arrived in the fall of 2013. The insurer informed us that because of “changes from health care reform (also called the Affordable Care Act or ACA),” our plan no longer met the federal government’s requirements.

Never mind our needs and desires as consumers who were quite satisfied with a high-deductible preferred provider organization that included a wide network of doctors for ourselves and our two children.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can’t be done alone. Find out more >>

Our second death knell, from Rocky Mountain Health Plans, tolled in August 2015. That notice signaled the end of a plan we didn’t want in the first place that didn’t cover our kids’ dental care and wasn’t accepted at our local urgent care clinic.

The insurer pulled out of the individual market in all but one county in Colorado, following the complete withdrawal from that sector by Humana and UnitedHealthcare.

Our third “notice of plan discontinuation,” again from Anthem, informed us that the insurer would “no longer offer your current health plan in the state of Colorado” in August 2016.

With fewer and fewer choices as know-it-all Obamacare bureaucrats decimated the individual market here and across the country, we enrolled in a high-deductible Bronze HSA EPO (Health Savings Account Exclusive Provider Organization) offered by Minneapolis-based startup Bright Health.

Now, here we are barely a year later: Deja screwed times four. Our current plan will be discontinued on Jan. 1, 2018.

“But don’t worry,” Bright Health’s eulogy writer chirped, “we have similar plans to address your needs.”

Riiiiight. Where have I heard those pie-in-the-sky promises before? Oh, yeah. Straight out of the socialized medicine Trojan horse’s mouth.

“If you like your doctor,” President Barack Obama promised, “you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”

Is pathological lying covered under the Affordable Care Act?

Speaking of Affordable Care Act whoppers, so much for “affordable.” Our current deductible is $6,550 per person—$13,100 for our family of four. Assuming we can find a new plan at the bottom of the individual market barrel, our current monthly premium, $944.86, will rise to more than $1,300 a month.

“What’s taking place is a market correction; the free market is at work,” says Colorado’s state insurance commissioner, Marguerite Salazar. “[T]his could be an indication that there were too many options for the market to support.”

This presumptuous central planner called federal intervention to eliminate “too many” options for consumers the free market at work. Yes, friends, the Rocky Mountain High is real.

This isn’t a “market correction.” It’s a government catastrophe.

Premiums for individual health plans in Virginia are set to skyrocket nearly 60 percent in 2018. In New Hampshire, those rates will rise 52 percent.

In South Carolina, individual market consumers will face an average 31.3 percent hike. In Tennessee, they’ll see rates jump between 20-40 percent.

Private, flexible preferred provider organizations for self-sufficient, self-employed people are vanishing by design. The social-engineered future—healthy, full-paying consumers being herded into government-run Obamacare exchanges and severely regulated regional health maintenance organizations—is a bipartisan big government health bureaucracy’s dream come true.

These choice-wreckers had the arrogant audacity to denigrate our pre-Obamacare plans as “substandard” (Obama), “crappy” (MSNBC big mouth Ed Schultz), and “junk policies” (Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa).

When I first called attention to the cancellation notice tsunami in 2013, liberal Mother Jones magazine sneered that the phenomenon was “phony.” And they’re still denying the Obamacare death spiral. Liberal Vox Media recently called the crisis “a lie.”

I don’t have enough four-letter words for these propagandists. There are an estimated 450,000 consumers like us in Colorado and 17 million of us nationwide—small business owners, independent contractors, and others who don’t get their plans through group coverage, big companies, or government employers.

The costs, headaches, and disruption in our lives caused by Obamacare’s meddling meddlers are real and massive.

But we’re puzzles to corporate media journalists who’ve never had to meet a payroll and don’t even know what is the individual market.

We’re invisible to late night TV clowns who get their Obamacare-at-all-costs talking points from Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

We’re pariahs to social justice health care activists and Democrats who want us to just shut up and subsidize everyone else’s insurance.

And we’re expendables to establishment Republicans who hoovered up campaign donations on the empty promise to repeal Obamacare—and now consider amnesty for immigrants here illegally and gun control higher legislative priorities than keeping their damned word.

We’re the canaries in the Obamacare coal mine. Ignore us at your peril, America. You’re next.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is the senior editor of Conservative Review. She is a New York Times best-selling author and a FOX News Channel contributor. Twitter: 

RELATED ARTICLES: 

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New Report on Impact of Legal Pot in Colorado Schools

This week, the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area released its fifth annual report titled The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 5. We devote today’s issue of The Marijuana Report newsletter to highlighting a few of many significant findings the report contains.

National Families in Action has remade some of the graphs and charts in the report to emphasize key findings. This one shows how many of Colorado’s students were expelled, referred to law enforcement, or suspended in the 2015-2016 school year. This is the first year the Colorado Department of Education differentiated marijuana violations from all drug violations, and this year’s report will serve as a baseline to determine whether marijuana violations increase, decrease, or stay fundamentally the same.

Read The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 5 here. This information appears on page 41 (PDF page 49).

The new report explains that although Colorado created its own Healthy Kids Survey, the combination of a poor response rate and the fact that several major counties with large populations had low or no participation rendered the 2015 survey’s results invalid. For a discussion of this see page 33 (PDF page 41). Volume 5 relies on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to compare Colorado marijuana use with the national average for ages 12-17, 18-25, and 26 & older over a ten year period (2005-2006 to 2014-2015).

See data for these graphs on the following pages:

  • Ages 12-17, page 36 (PDF page 44)
  • Ages 18-25, page 56 (PDF page 64)
  • Ages 26 & Older, page 60 (PDF page 68)

Read The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 5 here.


The report notes that data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2006-2011 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), and 2012-2016 Colorado Department of Transportation show that drivers testing positive for marijuana who were killed in traffic crashes rose from 6 percent of all traffic deaths in 2006 to 20 percent eleven years later. Marijuana-related traffic deaths jumped from 9 percent to 14 percent once the state commercialized marijuana for medical use and from 11 percent to 20 percent after legalizing the drug for recreational use.

Read more about marijuana-related driving in Colorado here starting on page 13 (PDF page 21).


In 2016, more than one-third of Colorado drivers who tested positive for marijuana had marijuana only in their systems. Another 36 percent had marijuana and alcohol. Slightly over one-fifth tested positive for marijuana and other drugs but no alcohol, while 7 percent had marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs on board.

See page 18 (PDF page 26) in The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 5 here.

Obamacare Failed Breastfeeding Mothers

In a classic case of unintended consequences, what was meant to help new mothers actually made things more expensive and difficult.

Lauren K. Hall

by  Lauren K. Hall

I recently had a conversation with my health insurance company that gave me some interesting perspective on the current US health care system. I’m pregnant, so I called to figure out whether my insurance covered a new breast pump for when I return to work while nursing. There was good news and bad news.

Good news: insurance covers (most of) a new breast pump!

Bad news: Due to federal regulations and insurance bureaucracy, I cannot simply order the pump I want from Amazon, where prices are clearly laid out, the pump I want is in stock, and I know what I am getting. Instead, my insurance gave me a list of 10 different medical supply companies, all of which provide different pumps and half of which do not list prices. This is a problem since my insurance only covers $178 of the pump’s price.

So rather than spending two minutes ordering a pump from Amazon, I will spend at least an entire morning sifting through websites mostly designed circa 2004 and filling out various information request forms to find out whether the company carries the pump I want and how much the same pump costs at these different websites. I will also need to get a prescription from my doctor, which will require another appointment and more paperwork.

All in all, a process that should take two minutes will now take at least a week of back and forth, many emails, multiple phone calls, and shipping that will definitely take longer than two-day Prime shipping.

So what’s going on here?

The Unintended Consequences of Health Insurance Mandates

The breast pump example is a classic case of unintended consequences. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, one much-lauded goal was to provide better support for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. The requirement was touted as a way mothers could nurse longer (a major public health goal that may or may not make a lot of sense), particularly once they re-entered the workforce.

The requirement, as many have noted, turned a normal consumer good into a medical device that all women could get for “free,” regardless of income level. Some four million American women give birth every year, and some large percentage of those at least attempt to breastfeed. Many, if not most, nursing mothers will need a breast pump at some point, so the costs of this mandate are not small.

Insurance companies, predictably, did not respond altruistically and absorb the costs of an expensive new mandate. They passed some of these costs on to consumers in the form of higher premiums but also sought to control costs by limiting the kinds of pumps mothers had access to. My insurance, for example, only covers a single electric pump, which is ironic because the last time I checked, most women have two breasts. But insurers’ rationale is understandable: they’ve been ordered to provide a free thing — not necessarily the best free thing out there, nor the free thing that actually would meet women’s wants and needs for pumping.Companies also, predictably, increased the red tape associated with ordering a breast pump, both to ensure they can prove their compliance to the federal government, and also probably in part to make it harder for women to access the benefit. I didn’t bother getting an insurance-covered breast pump for my second child (the ACA wasn’t fully in effect when I had my first) because I had an old breast pump a friend had given me and I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of getting a new pump while wrangling a newborn.

Without government interference in my insurance plan, where would I be today? I probably would have taken some of the money I would have saved in slightly lower premiums and bought myself the breast pump I really wanted. Instead, I’m faced with both paying higher premiums and being forced to choose a product that does not fit my needs. As FEE’s Pamela Hobart discussed, lower-income women already had access to low-cost breast pumps through the supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Why did the government believe it necessary to mandate coverage for all women, when most women not on WIC would have been better served simply buying the breast pump they really wanted out of pocket? Obviously, the answer is political, but it makes little to no economic sense.

Government Micromanagement and Insurance Bureaucracy

My breast pump saga is merely one example of a much broader lesson that goes well beyond nursing mothers. The more government micromanages what insurance companies are required to do, the more insurance companies will respond with red tape and hurdles to lower their own costs and prevent being taken advantage of.The breast pump saga is also an important reminder of what insurance was originally not meant to do. Health insurance was meant to help cover the catastrophic costs of medical care that an average person could not have foreseen: getting hit by a bus, developing cancer, or needing a liver transplant. Health insurance was never meant to provide people with basic consumer goods they can and should be saving for themselves. It also was never meant to pay for regular checkups, physicals, and the foreseeable and moderate expenses of being a human being with a fallible body.

Now we use health insurance to pay for everything from yearly physicals to breast pumps to blood pressure screenings, and the government continues to mandate more and more covered items and procedures. The result has not been better care, but escalating costs and more restrictions on consumer choice. None of that seems like much of a “benefit” to me.

So how did my pump saga ultimately end? After a few hours of wasted time Googling and talking to medical supply companies on the phone, I ended up ordering the pump I wanted from a local medical supply company. That pump, available for $174.98 on Amazon, ended up costing my insurance $178.00 and me another $70, while the sticker price on the receipt inexplicably totaled $318.00. Total extra bureaucratic costs: a few hours of my time, my insurance company’s time, the medical supply company’s time, and an extra $70 to $140, depending on which price you hold to be the “real” price.

But yes, by all means, let’s get MORE government involvement in healthcare.

Reprinted from Learn Liberty

Lauren K. Hall

Lauren K. Hall

Lauren has is Associate Professor of Political Science at the College of Liberal Arts, Rochester Institute of Technology. She is also a member of the FEE Faculty Network.