“Let’s Not Be Patient Patients”: Protecting the Future of Healthcare Under Trump

Author: Alli Jean, Current Events/Politics

Despite years of lamenting of the catastrophic affects of the Affordable HealthCare Act [ACA], the GOP and Trump yet again failed to repeal and replace it, thanks to a 51-49 vote.

While the ACA will continue protecting millions of Americans for now, there’s another aspect of the healthcare debate that’s been forgotten: the commitment by this administration to expand, and continue to expand, nationally funded research that has been responsible for the eradication and prevention of countless illnesses over the past few decades. The potential healthcare reforms will affect all of us, but the affects on medical research are not at the forefront of the story. Research departments could experience the potential affects of all the proposed budget cuts firsthand, and what happens on the national level has a trickle-down affect.

The impact of cutting funding in Trump’s proposed 2018 budget would affect the National Cancer Institute, which would be hit with a $1 billion cut compared to its 2017 budget. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute would see a $575 million cut. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases would see a reduction of $838 million. And to top it off, the administration would cut the overall National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget from $31.8 billion to $26 billion — affecting all aspects of its operation, including grant funding to research departments.

What’s more, these are just a few examples. Not only do these cuts threaten future research, but they could cut vital resources for the millions of patients every year, who now have a prospect of a life without a degenerative illness — and those who experience far less adverse drug reactions and other side effects due to the success of clinical trials. These budget cuts could eliminate the funding for current trial patients, because investigational medications are almost always covered by the sponsor of clinical trials. A funding cut could leave patients with either not getting medication, or waiting until drugs get approved and become commercially available, and then, they would pay astronomically higher prices.

As someone who works for a local Institutional Review Board (IRB) whose job it is to ensure the rules and research regulations are followed, and that investigation ensures that the rights, safety, and welfare of its subjects are protected, this would be devastating to patients who are already a vulnerable population due to their illness. A single treatment of some chemotherapy drugs, with good insurance, costs approximately $3,000; without insurance, that same one-time treatment can cost close to $20,000. From behavioral health, to HIV treatment and prevention, to cardiac devices, cutting this vital funding would be going backwards.

Luckily, the 21st Century Cures Act passed overwhelmingly in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate with strong bipartisan support, and was signed into law on December 13, 2016.  “This legislation provides the NIH with critical tools and resources to advance biomedical research across the spectrum, from foundational basic research studies to advanced clinical trials of promising new therapies,” the NIH explains. “One of the biggest affects of the Cures Act, will be allocating $1.8 billion dollars over seven years for The Cancer Moonshot to accelerate cancer research aims to make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving practitioner’s ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.”

While the 21st Century Cures Act is a step in the right direction, Trump is a ticking time bomb, who irradicably and unanimously makes decisions that directly oppose logic and progress. The legislation is only in place for now, and tomorrow is never guaranteed. Now is the time to educate yourself, and if you are able, donate to the NIH to help the life-saving efforts being conducted by nurses, physicians, and clinicians across the country. And be ready to call on Congress to act if research funding is threatened.

At some point, we and our loved ones will be the recipient of life-saving medicine in the specialties of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, oncology, mental health, and countless others. Our future is too important not to protect.


Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

Life is a Pre-Existing Condition

Author: Alli Jean, Current Events/Politics

After yesterday,  it’s a bit easier to imagine what the victims of the Titanic sinking must have felt in those final hours before the ship went down.

The lives of the privileged were seen as being more important, and while they were led to safety, thousands of middle and lower class passengers were sentenced to die. Thanks to the GOP Healthcare Vote in the House of Representatives yesterday, unless you’re a member of Congress who can afford to not be concerned, someone close to you will be negatively affected by this bill should it become law if passed by the Senate.

And while whether or not that happens is still up in the air, there are a number of truly chilling things to consider when analyzing today’s events, and the fact that 24 million people could lose their health insurance. Among the most frightening revelations from today…


Republicans Care About Their Family, But Not Yours
Proverbs 31:6-7: Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.

That’s right, the solution Republican lawmakers have spent seven years writing is not good enough for themselves, as there’s a provision in the repeal that exempts members of Congress from the law. Let that sink in.. we elected these people and the best they can come up with isn’t good enough for themselves?

Also, tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans were included. Not to mention the fact that in several interviews with House Republicans today, many admitted to not even reading the bill in its entirety. If our elected officials have the work ethic of a high school English student hoping to fake their way through a Shakespeare quiz, they don’t deserve to be in office, and certainly shouldn’t have the audacity to put the lives of 99% of the population in jeopardy.

And while I should point out that there were several Republicans who voted against the bill today, the face that a leading political group voted to legalize blocking preventative healthcare should have us very, very worried.

The GOP and Trump Lied About the Repeal.. Over and Over Again
Jeremiah 30:17: For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast.

How many times did we hear Trump say that he would come up with the biggest, Hugest replacement for the “disaster” of Obamacare?

While the Affordable Care Act was far from perfect, this repeal will cause 24 million Americans to lose coverage, while opening the door for millions more who will, due to the provisions surrounding pre-existing conditions and the state by state market places that would be set up. Even this week, Trump proclaimed that his bill would keep the provision to prevent insurance companies from discriminating patients based on pre-existing conditions, but as evidenced by today’s vote and the beer-fest by Republicans afterwards, Paul Ryan and Trump celebrated at and toasted their “victory.”

Perhaps the most tragic part about today is that there are millions of hard-working Trump supporters who were promised protection and cheaper insurance premiums, only to be tricked by Trump, who cares about no one but the wealthy cronies he can rely on to perpetuate his brand and image as a success.

Let’s Talk About Pre-Existing ConditionsC_BqOshXYAAN18F.jpg
Matthew 14:14: When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

The list of “pre-existing” conditions is truly sickening (no pun intended). Many are hereditary and completely un-preventable (including hemophilia, high cholesterol, asthma, celiac disease, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s). Other pre-existing conditions are directly related to mental health, including eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia, schizophrenia, anxiety, OCD, panic disorders and seasonal affective disorder.

This decision is a death sentence for anyone who develops chronic illness, including a multitude of cancers, heart disease, diabetes, HIV, asthma, gout, cardiac issues, and the list goes on and on.

How can a group of people who preach family values require pregnant women to pay more for health insurance? How can a largely Christian group of men prey on individuals that are already marginalized due to their socioeconomic status, mental state, race, sexual orientation/gender identity and how are victims of domestic assault and rape being punished?

Essentially, Congress has made being a woman a pre-existing condition. And as Jimmy Kimmel shared this week, a baby born with a heart disorder or other chronic disease faces the possibility of never getting health insurance. Explain how that is “pro-life.”

Let me say it again. Unless you are a member of Congress, you WILL be affected if this repeal is enacted by the Senate. Depending on where you live, if you or your loved ones experience any of these conditions, your healthcare will skyrocket. And remember, getting laid off or becoming unable to work could become a death sentence.

Our lives depend on fighting this together.


Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

“On Thin Ice”: Has Thin-Skinned Trump Met His Match in Kim Jong Un?

Author: Alli Jean, Current Events/Politics

From the schoolyard to the highest office in the land, it has long been advised that bullies and those that oppress others can be halted when you cut off their resources, isolate them and limit their influence.

Perhaps this is why the mounting tensions with North Korea are so foreboding; this is a nation that has prided itself on its isolation. Its leader, Kim Jung Un, has few allies and has no interest in compromise, specifically concerning its growing nuclear program. Many politicians are urging that China, North Korea’s closest ally, should handle the negotiations.

Despite the activity in recent weeks by North Korea of testing of nuclear weapons, the threat of this nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal is anything but new, but that hasn’t stopped the current administration from declaring that “the era of strategic patience is over.” Not similarly to North Korea, the Trump administration has expressed that he would rather act alone than cooperate with others if he does not agree

Now, what does this mean for us?
President Trump, over what is apparently the most amazing chocolate cake in the world, told China’s President Xi Jinping in no uncertain terms, that they must deal with the situation in North Korea, or the United States will intervene. Vice President Pence echoed these sentiments when he traveled to South Korea over the holiday weekend. However, many warn that mishandling of this situation will cause Kim Jong Un to bomb South Korea, our ally, in retaliation.

Many have noted that unlike ISIS and other enemies the United States has faced, air strikes and sending in troops is not an option. Based on its leadership and past history, North Korea is an enemy that requires effective cooperation with South Korea, China, Russia, etc., in order to halt the expansion of their nuclear operations, and the inevitable worldwide destruction if their arsenal is expanded.

Does President Trump have the foreign policy experience to encourage effective cooperation with these countries before the eventuality of the United States’ intervention? Or should we be more focused on the realities here at home and not intervene at all?

In facing Kim Jong Un, a paranoid and isolationist dictator, has President Trump met his match? Is he capable of cooperating with allies, or in a late-night Twitter rant, will President Trump bring us into even greater conflict that has been thus-far avoided by diplomacy and careful negotiations?

Surely, this could be a turning point for President Trump as a leader; let’s hope his ego won’t get in the way of diplomacy.


Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

The Boy Who Lived and Saved Us All: The Continued Magic and Influence of Harry Potter on Millennials

Author: Alli Jean, Entertainment

“Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Dursley of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

Although we didn’t know it yet, for many millennials (myself included), reading that sentence would change our lives forever. That sentence, for anyone who does not know, was the first sentence of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the international best-seller written by the incomparable J.K. Rowling.

In the years that followed, this franchise would grow to include movies, games, toys, a spin-off dating site and even a theme park — but the true magic lies in the story, the camaraderie of Harry, Ron and Hermione and in the vivid descriptions of Hogwarts castle and its inhabitants. While there are countless reasons why so many love these stories, here are a few of the ways the magic of the Wizarding World continues to inspire us, even as adults.


Inspiring Friendship
Like Hermione, many of us first met Harry Potter when we were in the most awkward phases of young adulthood, and reading these books provided many millennials a world to escape to. After all, Harry grew up feeling like he didn’t belong, and more so when learning he was a wizard. But his life was forever improved by becoming friends with Ron and Hermione.

As we grew up, we watched the “the trio” navigate how to deal with bullies, learning to play Quidditch, find a balance between managing their mischief, having their first crush… all while fighting Lord Voldemort. I hope others my age were lucky enough to see their friends in Harry’s classmates; I know I am.

Overcoming Adversity and Promoting Social Justice
There’s a reason those that read Harry Potter are described as being less biased and prejudiced against minority groups. J.K. Rowling’s world is filled with parallels of the disenfranchised that are all too easy for us to relate to. One of the most prominent is the treatment of House Elves, and Hermione’s crusade to establish living wages and fair treatment of the elves that spend their lives serving the wizarding community. Like any crusader for a group that is seen as less than human by others, Hermione received criticism, but as Sirius Black once said, “if you want to know what a man’s like, look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

The question of “blood status,” which I’ve already spoken about, was also a means of demonizing others within the Wizarding World. Some pure blood wizards felt that half-blood wizards, as well as those with no magical ability were inferior and often referred to them as “mudbloods.” As Voldemort rose to power, “purebloods” fought to irradiate and destroy those of inferior blood status in frightening similarity to the actions of Hitler towards the Jews and President Trump to Muslims.

Finally, the societal rejection of the werewolves, and especially the discrimination faced by Remus Lupin was described by J.K. Rowling as a metaphor for those afflicted with AIDS and the prejudice they faced.


For millennials, Harry Potter was the fantasy-adventure that previous generations had discovered by reading Tolkien and Lewis. For a generation that experienced one of the fastest periods of technological growth of any previous generation, there was something refreshing about having to be patient and wait for the next books to be released.

Do you remember holding in screaming in horror when you first learned it was Voldemort under Quirrell’s turban? Can you imagine sitting under the table in the Three Broomsticks with Harry, and the sinking feeling you felt when you learned his parents had been killed due to the betrayal of one of their best friends? We were there as Harry snatched the Golden Egg from the dragon in the Triwizard Tournament, we fought the Death Eaters in the Ministry, cried as Dumbledore fell to his death and cheered as the trio escaped Gringotts on the back of the dragon who was now free. From fighting the Basilisk to being on the run in search of Horcruxes and Hallows, and finally to the Battle of Hogwarts, these books opened our imagination to a world of action and adventure — and ultimately taught our generation the joys of reading.

Remember, no matter if you were a Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, Slytherin or Hufflepuff, any millennial fan of Harry Potter can agree on two universal truths: that Umbridge is the ultimate villain, and no matter how old you get, Hogwarts will be there to welcome us home. And of course, Harry Potter changed lives too.

Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz

Trumpcare…The Uncertain Future of America’s Healthcare System

Author: Alli Jean, Current Events/Politics

“What did I do? I did my job. I slashed benefits to the bone; I saved this company money. Was I too harsh? Maybe. I don’t believe in coddling people.”

No, that wasn’t from a U.S. Congress member discussing whether or not to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That was from a 2005 episode of The Office, when Dwight Schrute is given the responsibility of picking a healthcare plan for Dunder Mifflin’s employees. It sounds like something that politicians — especially lately — would actually say though, right?

The recent healthcare debate that’s permeated the American political landscape has not felt far away from the antics of Dwight — matters of life and death have been used as polarizing political pawns in an era of great uncertainty for not only the future of the Affordable Care Act, but for our identity as a nation.

The ideological differences between those both for and against the Affordable Care Act (ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare, which was based on Romneycare in Massachusetts), could not have been more clean than in Wednesday night’s CNN-sponsored debate, entitled “The Future of Healthcare.”

The debate featured 2016 presidential runner-ups Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, who spoke for over an hour and a half on policy and the heart of the divide when it comes to healthcare. To their credit, that was all they talked about — there were no personal jabs, mention of grabbing genitalia, or enhancement of body parts. It sadly was a refreshing reminder of how a political debate is supposed to be.


There were even instances of compromise — an almost forgotten concept recently — with both men agreeing that there is no reason prescriptions that can be purchased cheaper from other countries can’t be brought to America, and that wait-time for drug approval by the FDA can be cut down. They also expressed their joint disdain of insurance companies who care more about profits than patients.

Now to their differences, and to the divide amongst many Americans.

Ted Cruz wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and give Americans choices when it comes to their healthcare by providing an open marketplace amongst private insurance companies. Bernie Sanders argued for as single-payer system, similar to those in Canada and much of Europe, where healthcare is a right of every person, regardless of income and preexisting conditions.

Sanders was challenged on the struggle small businesses face to provide insurance for their employees, while Cruz had to answer to what Republicans plan to replace the ACA with, what happens to people with preexisting conditions, and whether or not birth control will be covered.

Turns out, a single-payer system, while it would cause increased taxes, would allow people with current and unknown preexisting conditions to maintain coverage, would not label all women as having a preexisting condition because of their potential to have a baby, and would promise that all Americans have access to decent care.

While promising to be a friend to small businesses and provide a wider variety of healthcare plans, private-based insurance — at least in the plans set out thus far by this Congress as a replacement of the ACA — fail to guarantee that average Americans will be able to afford them. And the lack of a solid plan is what is frightening.

Bottom line: healthcare is personal. No system is perfect. But surely, having no plan is deadly, for all of us.


Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.