The Obama administration has abandoned a proposed change in Medicare after the plan was criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike.
The plan would have given health insurance companies more freedom to limit the number of drugs covered by Medicare. Those against the proposal said it would restrict seniors’ access to drugs they need.
Under current Medicare law, the majority of drugs across six classes are covered. The proposed plan would have limited that list to three classes — drugs that treat cancer, HIV and seizures.
“We will engage in further stakeholder input before advancing some or all of the changes in these areas in future years,” Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner wrote to lawmakers Monday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky responded by saying the Obama administration should not go forward with its proposed cut in Medicare Advantage, a program that helps seniors pay for select medical services — including prescription drugs, also known as Part D.
“We remain concerned about the impact of Obamacare’s looming cuts to Medicare Advantage, something that was not addressed in today’s announcement,” McConnell said in a statement. “Seniors need to know whether the president will stand by his word, and that they can keep the plans they have and like.”
As the administration tries to regulate the industry more under the Affordable Care Act, seniors’ access to drugs has become a hot-button issue. Several proposals have popped up, ranging from limiting certain drugs depending on where the patient lives to allowing all pharmacies to dispense medication, regardless of the patient’s plan or healthcare network.
“We plan to finalize proposals related to consumer protections, anti-fraud provisions that have bipartisan support and transparency after taking into consideration the comments received during the public comment period,” Tavenner wrote.
The Partnership for Part D Access, a coalition based in Washington that advocates for the right of seniors to continue to receive prescription drug coverage, was pleased with Monday’s decision to ax the proposal.
“We are thrilled that [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] has listened to the loud chorus of support for maintaining beneficiary access to the life-saving drugs provided under Medicare Part D,” said coalition member Chuck Ingoglia, senior vice president of the National Council for Behavioral Health.
“Although we need to remain vigilant on this issue, we commend today’s action by CMS, which will allow millions of seniors to continue to confidently rely upon Medicare to provide them the drugs they need.”
Some call it political spin, but others just say the world is being told lies. The epitome of the falsehoods being told about Fukushima comes from no less than the Japanese prime minister himself.
At the final International Olympic Committee meeting in Buenos Aires, the one deciding who would host the 2020 Summer Olympics, Shinzo Abe assured the IOC the “situation is under control.” Abe said there never was nor ever will be any damage to Tokyo as a result of the Fukushima disaster.
When pressed on the issue by Norwegian IOC Member Gerhard Heiberg, Abe doubled down and told the members, “It poses no problem whatsoever.” Abe went on to say that the contamination was limited to a small area and had been “completely blocked.”
The prime minister also stated, “There are no health-related problems until now, nor will there be in the future, I make the statement to you in the most emphatic and unequivocal way.” source – WND
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A historic earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, causing a nuclear power meltdown. The US Navy rushed in to help—but are those sailors now paying the price? Nearly 100 believe that mission ruined their health.
Vic Carter reports a Navy lieutenant from Maryland who can no longer walk is demanding someone take responsibility for what’s happened. On March 11, 2011, one of the largest earthquakes ever shook Japan. It triggered a tsunami. Waves more than 100 feet high slammed into the coast, killing thousands.
When the wall of water smashed into the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, an explosion spewed radiation into the air and water, creating yet another tragedy. The United States military sped into the disaster zone to help, not knowing it was headed into the path of a radiation plume.
Now, three years after that exposure, at least 100 of those first responders are suffering from unexplained illnesses like cancer, leukemia, bleeding and hair loss—and they’re blaming it on radiation poisoning from Fukushima.
“When you’ve got a nuclear power plant that’s melting down, how can you not expect health risks to come from that?” said Lt. Steve Simmons. Lt. Steve Simmons was on board the USS Ronald Reagan, the first ship to arrive for Operation Tomodachi—the Japanese word for friends.
“I don’t think anybody on board really knew the full scope of what was going on,” Simmons said.
Seven months after arriving home to his family in Maryland from his deployment, Simmons’ health started to deteriorate. “One day, I was coming out of the bathroom and my legs just buckled on me and that was pretty much it,” he said.
Simmons and more than 100 others from the Ronald Reagan are fighting back. They’re suing the Tokyo Electric power company, claiming it hid the truth about radiation leaks at Fukushima.
“The TEPCO people who ran the power plant never warned their government. Their government never warned the world. The command never got the order, `Don’t go ’cause you’re going to get cooked,’” said attorney Paul Garner.
WJZ contacted TEPCO at its offices here in Washington and in Tokyo and got a “No comment.” Clearly, Simmons’ health has taken a drastic turn for the worse, but the problem is linking the sailors’ many medical problems to the Fukushima leak.
At the Pentagon, the Department of Defense has been answering numerous questions from sick sailors about what happened at Fukushima, but government reports indicate that radiation levels on board the USS Ronald Reagan were well below what’s considered dangerous.
“Drawing a cause and effect for individuals is exceedingly difficult,” said Johns Hopkins University Prof. Wayne Biddle. Radiation exposure experts say even if there is a connection, it’s hard to prove.
“They’re suffering. Clearly these individuals are suffering but they have no way of showing necessarily that their symptoms are related to that instance of radiation exposure,” Biddle said. “The hardest part is the family because we have three children,” Simmons said. “Our oldest daughter struggles with `Dad’s going to die’ kind of thing.”
Congress is now asking the Department of Defense for information about the medical conditions of crew members who were aboard the Ronald Reagan and what’s being done to treat them. source – CBS News.
Belief can make the difference for a life in transition. During difficult times when an individual must prioritize their health, a spiritual or religious faith can ease tensions, boost attitude and support overall improved health. Research strongly suggests that individuals with religious and spiritual beliefs cope better during their battle with cancer.
Prayer also leads to optimism, reduces stress and can bolster the immune system, studies say. According to a Women’s Heath Initiative study conducted by the U.SNational Institute of Health, those who regularly attend religious services reduce their risk of death by 20 percent. In the book God Changes Your Brain, Dr. Andrew Newburg found that those who pray and meditate have a highly developed parietal lobe, which improves memory and improves wellbeing. An article in Critical Care Clinics states that prayer is the second most common form of pain management, next to oral medicine.
Because of these and other findings, increasingly, the medical community seeks to boost health by understanding and encouraging practices of belief. Tapping into strong spiritual practices and beliefs during a health care threat are the “X factor” in many cases of survival. Therefore, one cannot and must not ignore the profound opportunities that spiritual beliefs bring to the table of hope.
Part of my work with Our Journey of Hope (OJOH) is to encourage the use of faith or religious or spiritual practices to promote wellness and facilitate an infrastructure of clergy and others with strong spiritual beliefs to provide a network to help patients and their families to restore health.
OJOH is a seven-hour training session for pastors and lay members to equip them with the tools and ideology to empower them to address and respond to the needs of individuals who are dealing with cancer. We teach caretakers as well. They are empowered by the belief that they, too, have access to a source greater than themselves to call upon for strength and help.
Our program was created by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) largely because of a suggestion from a patient and her husband. They asked if I would be willing to meet with local clergy persons that they knew for an informal discussion on cancer care and support from a faith perspective.
The importance of OJOH to the treatment centers continues to position the organization as one of the leaders in the health care arena. We truly value and encourage the faith community to marshal the strength of its value system to fight back against cancer.
I have seen the power of faith and communities to change the lives of patients struggling with cancer. Thirteen years ago, Gloria fell into a coma. Family members asked if I would pray for her to regain consciousness. Soon after I prayed over her, Gloria opened her eyes and indeed regained consciousness. She is still living 13 years later.
A faith or spiritual belief assures cancer patients that it is possible to live through challenging health threats, regardless of the odds of long-term survival, and overcome the challenge. We don’t disavow science. However, those who rely on science alone often wrestle with the limitations of humanity’s knowledge. God has no limits. Faith and a spiritual belief are not rooted in limitation.
The best part of my work is providing a platform for genuine discussion for a topic that typically is ignored. The church and faith community in general lacks health care-related ministries organized in a meaningful way to address the very relevant issues surrounding this community of people. OJOH has equipped thousands to broach the subject of cancer with confidence and fearlessness. We have the opportunity to provide a meaningful relationship with pastors and their members concerning health care.
Ultimately, faith and spiritual beliefs equip individuals with the mental and emotional fortitude to withstand the travails and challenges of treatment and forge ahead in the effort to keep cancer at bay by tapping into a “power source” greater than themselves.
With engaged spirituality and informed clergy, caretakers and family, we can support all patients as they brace themselves to live their lives, overcome obstacles and seek hope in their darkest hours.
Written by Percy McCray
Rev. Percy McCray is a national faith and wellness leader, ordained minister and the director of pastoral care at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Zion, Ill. He leads a dynamic program called Our Journey of Hope, which trains lay minsters and church members nationwide on how to implement faith and spirituality into care for cancer patients and their families to battle the debilitating effects of the disease.
When Make-A-Wish Foundation approached Peter Srsich, a stage 4 cancer patient, offering to make a dream of his come true, the 17-year-old boy had an unusual request: He wanted to meet the pope.
Two years later, the Colorado teen is in remission—and he has credited his encounter with Benedict XVI with helping him beat the cancer.
Srsich, a devout Catholic who is now studying for priesthood, is well aware that his cancer was cured thanks to decades of medical research and his doctors’ extensive training—but he believes that meeting the former pontiff in Rome has restored his faith and gave him strength to fight for his life.
Everybody knows that the key to surviving cancer is to catch it early when it is still treatable. But cancer signs are often subtle and may mimic other, less serious conditions.
The question is: Which symptoms can you ignore and which need to be checked by a doctor?
Oncologist Herman Kattlove, M.D., former spokesperson for the American Cancer Society, tells Newsmax Health that the most important step in cancer diagnosis is proper screening.
This means pap smears and mammograms at recommended intervals for women, regular prostate screening for men, colonoscopy beginning at age 50 for everyone, and chest CT scans for smokers.
But there are certain symptoms that people might notice that could be cancer and should never be ignored, says Dr. Kattlove.
1.Unexplained weight loss. Most people with cancer will lose weight at some point. If there is no known cause for weight loss of 10 pounds or more, it may be the first sign of cancer. This happens most often with cancers of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus, or lung.
2.Pain. See your doctor if you have a headache that does not go away or have persistent back pain that doesn’t go away with rest.
3. Skin changes. Aside from skin cancers, other malignancies can cause darker-looking skin, yellowish skin and eyes (indicating jaundice), reddened skin, and itching or excessive hair growth.
4. Sores that do not heal. Skin cancers may bleed and look like sores that don’t heal. A long-lasting sore in the mouth may indicate oral cancer and should be examined.
5. Unusual bleeding. Coughing up blood may be a sign of lung cancer. Dark colored blood in the stool may signal colon or rectal cancer. Cancer of the cervix or the lining of the uterus may cause abnormal vaginal bleeding. Blood in the urine may be a sign of bladder or kidney cancer. And blood discharge from the nipple can signal breast cancer. “The best advice is if you notice any major changes in the way your body works or how you feel, let a doctor know,” says Dr. Kattlove. “It’s best to err on the side of caution.”
Pastor Jeff Beacham, founder of Firepower Ministries International (FMI), has died after a long battle with esophageal cancer.
In the most recent update on FMI’s Facebook page, dated July 19, Beacham said he had just completed a round of radiation on his “upper and mid spine to reduce the pain and paralysis in [his] arms and back.”
“I am grateful to be relieved of most of the pain to the point where I can be comfortable sitting and sleeping,” he wrote. “This is a major relief and I thank God for the technology that has helped.”
Joshua Kennedy, an FMI governing board member, sent out an email alert on Thursday that said Beacham has gone to be with the Lord.
“Jeff will be forever missed and never forgotten,” wrote Kennedy, a reverend at Praise Tabernacle in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. “He has touched all our lives, pushing us forward into our high calling, in which we are eternally grateful.
“Jeff ran the race to win the prize and is now enjoying the reward of his labor. Let us look at his example of perseverance and follow suit.”
Beacham spearheaded an awakening campaign in the northeast region of the U.S. under the banner of Firepower Ministries International. Even throughout his battle with cancer, he continued his work in ministry.
“Twice I’ve been given a death sentence from doctors concerning my struggle,” the Australian preachertold Charisma earlier this year. “But I’m still here, so somebody was wrong.”
Arriving stateside 14 years ago, Beacham walked away from a flourishing ministry with Sydney Christian Life Centre, now part of Hillsong Church. Beacham, his wife, Melva, and their five children landed with only a few suitcases, meager possessions and some furniture.
“God showed me a vision of a great wheel of reawakening rolling into the northeast of America,” he said of this new work. “There were four giant spokes connecting the outer rim to the inner hub. On each of the spokes was a word beginning with the letter ‘P.’”
Beacham believed one spoke was for prayer, meant to capture the attention of God; one for purpose, attained from hearing God’s heart; another for power, which enables the outworking of God’s purposes; and a fourth for passion, meant to move people from apathy to activity. Beacham said everything revolved around the inner hub, on which was the word unity, which counteracts the spirit of independence.
“Let us take Jeff’s baton of carrying the vision of the ‘wheel of reawakening’ forward,” Kennedy said. “Yes, a mighty warrior has left this earth, yet the legacy of this great man will live on through those he inspired.
“Please keep Melva and the rest of Jeff’s family in prayer. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund is being established. Details to come.”
At age 17, my life was full, and my dreams were coming true. I had been selected to sing in the Florida All-State Chorus conference in January 2009, and I was going to China for spring break!
Inexplicably, I started getting awkward nosebleeds. They began that January with a weird, random cold and then subsided for the rest of the month. But throughout the entire month of February, they never stopped, even in my sleep.
I had to stuff something inside my nose to stop the bleeding. I began falling asleep during class. Finally, my math teacher, Ms. Walters, one of my favorites, called my mom. Ms. Walters wondered if my sleepiness was because of my losing so much blood.
Then I noticed the lymph nodes under my chin were swollen. We were supposed to leave for China on April 4, and I wanted to know what was going on. I had been saving for my trip for two years.
Toward the end of March, we saw an ear, nose and throat doctor, who scheduled a CT scan. We received the results the first week in April, and they were not good.
The day before we were supposed to leave for China, the emergency doctor said, “I cannot let you go.”
It really hurt. I spent the next week in the hospital doing biopsy after scan after biopsy. On April 8, my dad, my mom, Ms. Walters and my best friend were with me when I received the test results: “What you have is a malignant tumor, polyps in your nose … ”
My uncle bought me a pink teddy bear. I strongly dislike pink, but immediately after my diagnosis I clung to that teddy bear and drifted into a daze. As we walked through the cancer wing I saw kids of all ages—some playing, some smiling, some crying, some numb. I was numb. I don’t remember anything except clinging to that pink bear.
Interestingly, it never crossed my mind that I could die. In fact, it stunned me when someone asked, “How long do you have?”
Shocked by the question, I replied, “Why would you ask me that? Ma’am, I am not going to die,” and walked away.
I knew I was going to face the toughest time of my life, but I never doubted I would live.
And tough it was. The very next day, I woke to a finger prick and a “Good morning!”—in that order.
Though only in my junior year of high school, I had to withdraw. Hospital staff ran every scan and test they could think of. My cancer was labeled rhabdomyosarcoma.
It was exciting to start fighting the disease, but also scary and unreal. I felt like a test subject. I didn’t start treatment right away because there was a national shortage of chemotherapy.
The staff taught me how to help my family and taught my family how they could help me. My sister, a cosmetologist, came to cut my hair. That was exciting, too, because I didn’t like my hair. I had always used a relaxer and was more than ready to go au natural.
Then came the day I started chemo. I thought, “This isn’t so bad,” but the next day it hit me. I couldn’t get to the toilet bowl. I couldn’t even move. My mother had to hold me and walk me to the bathroom. Chemo drains you of everything: good cells, bad cells, and even your appetite.
My doctors wouldn’t let me leave the hospital until I ate, so even though I had no desire to eat, I finally did. I had already been there about two weeks and didn’t want to be there any longer. A cup of applesauce was my ticket out, so I forced it down and held it down until someone walked in with the discharge papers.
Finally I could go home. Fourteen days before, I had walked into the hospital feeling totally healthy, but I walked out of the hospital with cancer. We may feel like we are invincible, but each of us is as susceptible as the next person.
When I got home, I was delighted to see my family had redone my room. (The doctors said I shouldn’t have carpet because chemo shuts down your immune system, and carpet can hide things.) My walls had been painted two shades of my favorite color: purple. I would spend many days in my “purple palace,” as I called it. In fact, within those four walls, I finished my schooling online so I could graduate with my friends. I refused to let them graduate without me!
About a month later, I started radiation. They tried to prepare me by saying it wasn’t as bad as chemo, but it was the worst. Because the cancer was in my sinuses, I smelled everything. The beam caused mouth sores. I didn’t talk for two weeks. I couldn’t eat or brush my teeth. I didn’t even want to talk to the doctors. One really nice doctor brought in a dry erase board, and they learned I had a lot to say! (This same doctor later took me out with her family for ice cream.)
My last day of radiation, which lasted about a month and a half, was June 20. After my last dose under the beam, it only felt fitting to give the radiation machine a piece of my mind, so I did.
I forgot the nurses could see me through a window, and one of the nurses, who called me Cookie, said, “Cookie, did you just kick the machine?” and I said, “Yes, I did.”
She said, “Don’t try to break our machine.”
“It tried to break me first,” I replied. (There was no damage done. I was far from a lethal weapon. I didn’t have the strength to kick it hard enough.)
By August, I was borderline anorexic. I lost 50 pounds in three months. At 5 feet, 8 inches tall, I weighed only 126 pounds and looked like a walking stick. The doctors said, “You are way too small.”
I was determined I wouldn’t let another condition add to my problems, so I drank a lot of protein drinks and ate pudding. I couldn’t eat anything spicy. Even now, I cannot eat spicy foods. My pastors, Karl and Dyrie Francis, brought me Gatorade. I love Gatorade—and I’m a [Florida] “Gator”! When Pastor Dyrie noticed I wasn’t eating, she pureed food for me. It wasn’t bad at all—it was my first steps toward eating again.
My church was amazing. People who didn’t even know me talked to me. Members called and prayed for me. One member, Grace Brown, was there with me the entire time. She was like my own personal nurse. A lot of other church sisters helped me as well. They raised funds to help me get started in college and never stopped praying. Even to this day, some still pray for me.
Janette Smith Manderson posted a call to prayer on Facebook Saturday for her father, who is 84. She asked that supporters engage in what she called a “spiritual battle.”
“It is time to put on your armor and fight in the spiritual arena. Dad’s doctors just upgraded his lung cancer from Stage 3 to Stage 4, due to the fluid in his lung. This fluid contains cancer cells,” she said.
Though the fluid has already been removed for a second time, Manderson said her father will enter the hospital on July 1 for continual draining.
Doctors should be able to detect whether his lung is expanding after the fluid removal and a CAT scan. The process will take about two days, she said.
“If his lung does not expand, he will have to have a catheter installed in the lung area to help him to empty the fluid at home,” she explained. “They will put talc into his lung to keep the fluid from forming. The talc procedure is simpler and preferable for various reasons.”
Smith first announced his diagnosis to his church New Years day 2012.
“I wanted them to hear it from me and know the confidence that I have in the Lord,” he told journalist Dan Wooding then.
In May, doctors advised him against surgery. The family publicly asked for prayer that God would give them wisdom in choosing an alternative treatment.
With her father’s latest setback, Manderson requested that those praying join her in asking the Lord, “for His perfect plan for Dad to be accomplished.”
“We trust our Heavenly Father to know best. Thank you eternally for praying,” she said on behalf of the family.
Pastor Smith is well-known for fathering the Jesus People Revolution in Southern California. He’s also founded Calvary Chapel, which has grown from 25 to 10,000 members.
Most sexually active people in the United States engage in oral sex. Matter-of-factly, to many, oral sex is more pleasurable than genital penetration. In America, different slangs have been coined for oral sex – Blow Job, Go-Down-South, Go-Down, Get-A-Head, 69-Position and the list goes on. For those who care about medical terminology, Cunnilingus refers to oral sex performed on females while fellatio refers to oral sex performed on males.
For the most part, majority of Africans (especially African men) shun oral sex either for religious, cultural or traditional reasons. The few that engage in it will deny it vehemently in public because they see it as a disdainful “girly-man” sexual activity. A real man should be able to give a woman the same pleasure using his sex organ, they will argue. In Nigeria for example, there are different denigrating words for describing men that perform oral sex on women.
Some years ago, a young American lady once confided that she broke up with her “African Boyfriend” because he refused to perform oral sex on her even though he wants her to perform oral sex on him. “It is not right. It is very selfish of him. When I asked him why, he said he’s a prince and it is forbidden for a Nigerian prince to do such things”, she complained.
However, many African men who are married to Westerners would tell you they have no choice performing oral sex on their partners. Some African women on the other hand who will like to have oral sex with their partner shy away from saying it because they do not want to be labeled as being “spoilt” or sexually perverted which might lead to the ruin of their relationship.
Maybe not the younger Africans; but the middle-aged and older Africans (male and female alike) in the Western World have given reasons (real or fabricated) for refusing to engage in oral sex. Many will tell you it is bad (without any scientific proof) but based on what they heard from their parents or other adults in Africa.
In recent weeks, the claim by Michael Douglas’ (America famous actor) that oral sex might be the cause of his throat cancer has shed light on the “safety” of oral sex. In a candid interview with the Guardian newspaper, the actor said that he didn’t regret his years of smoking and drinking, which were thought to be the cause of his cancer when he was diagnosed three years ago. “No. Because without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV [Human Papillomavirus], which actually comes about from cunnilingus,” he said.
Although it is known in some circles for years now that HPV contracted from oral sex along with smoking, could indeed bring on some types of oral cancers but not many people are informed about it, especially young people. It is believed that HPV infections usually don’t cause any signs or symptoms in either sex, but some types can cause genital warts. High-risk types of HPV can cause persistent infection, which can gradually turn into cancer, and usually only cervical cancer.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control, about 79 million Americans are currently infected with the disease and HPV is so common that nearly all sexually-active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives.
One is tempted to think that Micheal Douglas’ public outcry on oral sex as probable cause of his cancer and the recent studies on Cunnilingus diseases vindicate the wisdom behind majority of Africans shunning oral sex. Could it be that the great ancestors of Africa knew about these diseases thousands of years ago and as such abstained from such acts?
For many African men in the Diaspora, it is a recurring relationship challenge especially for those that are married or in a relationship with none-Africans. Studies show that it is easier for an African-African partner to understandably deal with it if one partner is interested in oral sex and the other does not than for an African and a none-African relationship.
Like the American lady insinuated, many people have come to argue that reciprocity exists in sex, specifically oral sex, because if one wants to receive it, they also have to give it. So they perform oral sex simply as a condition for receiving it.
The question is: As an African, will you perform oral sex on your partner if he or she request or indicate interest in it with or without the latest revelation about oral sex? Write me and let me know your opinion on this issue. May God bless Africans and all those in the Diaspora!