I’ve been seeing psychiatrists — doctors whose purpose is primarily to examine and diagnose an emotional disorder or condition, then prescribe a plan of treatment, whether therapeutic or pharmaceutical — on and off for over half my life. The ratio of good to mediocre to bad experiences I’ve had with psychiatrists is roughly equal — the best psychiatrist I ever had listened to me when I disputed my diagnosis and insisted that I really didn’t want to take medications. He brainstormed with me about how to treat not a diagnosis, which is broad and can border on stereotyping a patient, but rather the actual, specific emotional experiences that I was having. He suggested a therapist in his practice who specialized in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and it was a godsend. It is a nigh-perfect treatment for me and has had significant positive effects that have served as a better long-term solution than medication. Keep reading »
President Obama is urging Congress to pass legislation today that would improve on America’s sparse and globally uncompetitive sick pay laws. It would require six weeks of sick pay for new parents for federal employees and an additional six weeks of parental leave, as well as obligating employers with more than 15 employees to provide seven sick days a year.
The latter is an expansion on the Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires employers to let eligible employees take up to 12 unpaid weeks off of work. But they’re unpaid, so low-income Americans can’t practically take advantage of that benefit. Keep reading »
I stopped taking birth control in 2011. I find it not-ha-ha-funny that when I tell people this, the most common reaction I get is that it’s “dangerous” not taking birth control — and yet, so many people are willing to look the other way or not get angry when the highest court in our country denies women easy access to birth control. But wait! some people are saying. They can just buy birth control out of pocket! And my answer is yes, they could, except that it’s insanely expensive. And that’s reason #1 (not in order of priority) why I stopped taking birth control: I could no longer afford it. Keep reading »
Apparently, when it comes to maternity care costs in this country, I lucked out big time. Seven years ago, when I found myself pregnant for the first time, I had just switched from my own insurance to my husband’s much better one, and had only one, $25 co-payment for the entirety of my pregnancy — including the delivery. That’s it. Twenty-five dollars got me multiple visits with my midwife and a hospital birth (albeit a short one — I was in and out of the hospital in 10 hours, my choice).
Yet, my experience is certainly not the norm when it comes to maternity care costs in this country. The New York Times recently looked into why the U.S. has the most expensive maternity care in the world … despite not necessarily being at the top when it comes to quality of care. The facts are both absolutely terrifying and downright maddening. According to the Times article, prenatal and delivery charges can cost upwards of $50,000, depending on whether the mom-to-be has insurance or needs a C-section. Even for those with insurance, there is still the possibility of a costly birth, especially if your policy does not include maternity care coverage. Keep reading »
In this unpredictable and ever-changing world we live in, at least we can always count on Fox News to provide a consistent stream of ignorance. The latest example comes from Fox Nation, a “news” website that chose to illustrate a story about transgender healthcare with a photo of Robin Williams from the movie “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Because, obviously, every serious trans issue can totally be summed up by a male comedian in a dress putting out a fire on his fake boobs. Sigh. After sparking outrage and petitions to remove it, the ridiculous movie shot has been replaced by a generic stock photo. And just in case anyone was misled by Fox’s story, Village Voice blogger Alan Scherstuhl explains, “For the record, the number of transgender Americans asking insurance to cover boobfires each year is minuscule.” [Village Voice, Basic Rights Oregon]