To the Honorable United States Representative Tim Murphy of the Pennsylvania 18th District

Note: I was going to e-mail this to my congressman on his website as a way to express my righteous indignation at his voting for the monstrosity known the American Healthcare Act. But since it’s rather long and the language is so colorful and direct, I thought it would be better to publish this piece on my blog and open to the public. Of course, this is probably not a good way to treat a US Congressman. However, in my defense, he pretty much deserves to be humiliated as much as any of the 217 Republican Congress responsible for passing this morally reprehensible bill. Even more so if that particular congressman is none other than House Speaker Paul Ryan. As a citizen, I believe it is our duty to hold any Republican who supported the AHCA accountable. Since I can’t write 217 blog posts for each GOP congress member who did, then I hope my piece to Murphy sets an example. A legislator voting to deny Americans healthcare is inherently unacceptable and there is no justification for it. People’s lives are at stake depending on whether it becomes law and we cannot let that happen. The AHCA is an absolute moral disgrace and any legislator who supported it must never live it down.

Dear Congressman Murphy:

I am writing to you to express my seething moral outrage and disgust on your vote in favor of the American Healthcare Act on May 4, 2017. You claim you voted but repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act in order to save Southwestern Pennsylvania. But in reality, you voted for a bill casting tens of millions of people off their health insurance, slash hundreds of millions from Medicaid, and send premiums through the roof for older and poorer Americans. The AHCA is a bill of unspeakable cruelty as well as a policy depicting nothing but appalling disdain for the human dignity among the most vulnerable and a flagrant violation of this nation’s ideals.

Voting in favor of such morally indefensible legislation virtually destroys your credibility among your constituents as their US representative. Your support for this bill expresses that you would put the interests of your party, your donors, and your career over those of the very people you were elected to represent. It absolutely horrifying that you could even think your vote in favor of the AHCA was your way of rescuing Southwestern Pennsylvania from the ACA when the AHCA is significantly worse. The AHCA is not an important first step to fixing our nation’s broken healthcare system. But it breaks it down even further by making healthcare even more unaffordable and inaccessible for Americans. And it undoes many of the ACA regulations and consumer protections that have significantly improved and increased healthcare coverage for millions of Americans. I understand that the ACA needs fixed since it does not lower healthcare prices nor cover everyone. However, any ACA replacement bill that does away with these protections as well as deny and worsen coverage for Americans like the AHCA is absolutely unacceptable. Your vote for the AHCA did not rescue Southwestern Pennsylvania. But instead you condemned and sold out Southwestern Pennsylvania. If this bill is ever made into law, people will die and blood will be on your hands.

Looking at your website, I see headlines of articles regarding your advocacy for people suffering from disabilities, drug addiction, and the mentally ill. Under the AHCA, states can apply for waivers to opt out of ACA regulations and protections, allowing insurance companies to deny the very care these people need. They can eliminate required coverage for mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and prescription drugs. They can offer policies with annual and lifetime limits. They can deny coverage to those with preexisting conditions like mental illness and disability. It even sabotages Medicaid which a lot of the people you claim to champion depend on. It is a disgrace that the Schizophrenia & Related Disorders Alliance of America recognized you as “Exceptional Legislator.” It is an appalling shame that the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems recognized you as “Mental Health Champion.” Your vote for the AHCA was a profound betrayal to these people since they are among the most vulnerable in society. It is deeply cruel of you to call yourself their champion but are willing to throw them under the bus. Well, you can consider yourself their champion no longer. If you truly are, you would have vehemently opposed this legislative travesty in the first place. As a “Mental Health Champion,” you should have voted against it even at the expense of your career. Twenty-one of your fellow congressional Republicans were willing to do just that. Sure you may claim that you secured $15 billion for mental health and addiction treatment in the AHCA, but that is a very empty gesture. Nor does it shield anyone suffering from addiction or mental illness from being turned away from the very treatment they need. You have lost any semblance of credibility in order to be a “Mental Health Champion.” Now you are just another lapdog for the Trump administration.

I do not care what you believe in or why you voted for the American Health Care Act. What your views makes no difference to me, especially in matters of life or death. Even as a Republican congressman, your support for the American Healthcare Act is completely inexcusable on so many levels. As a lawmaker, you were charged with representing your constituents’ interests, which the AHCA completely goes against. Most Americans do not want it especially if it puts their healthcare access in jeopardy. Practically every organization in the medical establishment condemned it. The AHCA is a vicious piece of legislation threatening people’s access to healthcare which is irresponsible, inexcusable, and dangerous. This goes especially for an “Exceptional Legislator” and a “Mental Health Champion” like you, which you completely failed to live up to when voting for that morally indefensible bill. Twenty of your colleagues from your own party understood that, including four from Pennsylvania. They may not be in good shape in 2018 but they are significantly better people than you will ever be.

Whether you like it or not, your vote for the American Healthcare Act illustrates that you advocate a healthcare vision that demeans human life and is indifferent to human suffering. May you never be allowed to forget it and may you have to live with your vote for the AHCA for the rest of your days. I sincerely hope you are held responsible for what you have done, especially if the wretched bill becomes law. Let your name be dragged through the mud wherever you go. May the disabled, addicted, and mentally ill spit on you for selling them out. And may your constituents greet you with the anger and revulsion over your betrayal that you deserve. As my congressman, I have lost all respect for you and nothing else on your record could ever change that. There is nothing you can do to redeem yourself for not even Jesus could ever forgive what you did. If you have to support legislation threatening Americans’ access to affordable healthcare, then you are not worth the blood that flows in your veins.

A Letter on the American Health Care Act

The United States House of Representatives has just passed the phenomenally unpopular American Healthcare Act which is nothing but a complete travesty and a moral disgrace. The bill in question will repeal the Affordable Care Act as well as institute a healthcare policy that would take away or worsen coverage from millions of Americans, especially those on Medicaid and/or with preexisting conditions. In addition, the AHCA would allow states to apply for a waiver to opt out most of the regulations and consumer protections Obamacare gives. Under these waivers, states could allow insurance companies to charge older people 5 times more than the young for the same policy. They can eliminate required coverage called essential health benefits such as maternity care, mental health care, emergency services, hospitalization, preventive care, substance abuse treatment, and prescription drugs. And they can charge more or deny coverage to those with preexisting conditions like cancer, diabetes, or arthritis. Not to mention, these waivers can also impact those with employer-based health insurance because they’d allow insurers to offer policies with annual and lifetime limits that the ACA bans. And some companies may choose those policies for their workers to lower their premiums. Never have I seen any form of legislation emanating such disdain for the most vulnerable suffering among us. And what horrifies me more is that these 217 Republicans would proudly cast their vote for such appalling disrespect of human dignity. This is a moral outrage and there’s absolutely no justification for it. These 217 Republicans don’t deserve any respect or recognition as decent human beings. Because no principled legislator, Democrat or Republican, would vote for a horrendous bill like this or celebrate taking healthcare away from their constituents afterwards.

For Republicans to craft such policy in the first place is nothing but monstrous cruelty. So it goes without saying that the AHCA is a bill that nobody asked for and nobody wants. The whole healthcare industry and medical establishment virtually condemned it. Countless polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans hate it for very good reasons. Experts tore it to shreds. But 217 Republicans voted to pass this wretched AHCA anyway despite such strong objections, including from their own constituents who elected them. Congressional Republicans just moved this travesty to the floor with no Congressional Budget Office Score, no committee hearings, no studies, and very few public discussions. It was all put to the floor in secrecy and haste. And Republicans tried to sell this bill with a campaign of flat-out lies and deceit. Cheeto Head has promised to cover everyone, even those who can’t afford healthcare. Republicans repeatedly promised that the AHCA would give Americans more choice and lower premiums and deductibles. Even House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy swore that nobody would have their Medicaid taken away from them. But they’ve opposed any specific healthcare plan that does these things and refuse to defend their policy outcome their actual position would bring about. What’s in the AHCA clearly reflects this.

I can’t think of anyone in their right mind who’d support this nightmare bill that is nothing but a disaster to all Americans. The American Healthcare Act is just a $1 trillion tax cut scheme to benefit their selfish donors who don’t want to pay for someone else’s medical treatment. But it’s a scheme that would cause tens of millions to lose coverage, slash hundreds of millions of dollars from Medicaid, and send premiums skyrocketing for older and poorer Americans. If it becomes law, the consequences will be absolutely devastating. The AHCA will kill significant numbers of Americans. Some will lose their Medicaid, won’t go to the doctor, and will wind up finding out too late that they’re sick. There will also be some whose serious conditions will put up against lifetime limits or render them unable to afford what’s on offer in the high-risk pools and suddenly can’t get treatment. Families will go bankrupt due to high medical bills. Such notions aren’t abstractions or exaggerations but the reality. To millions of Americans, whether the AHCA became law isn’t just a matter of politics or even morality. It’s a matter of life or death.

What the AHCA vote to pass it shows that 217 congressional Republicans don’t think their lives matter and are indifferent to their suffering. And it’s even worse that they celebrate their morally abominable actions with carts of booze and liquor rolling in to the chambers. Now they have blood on their hands. These people must be held to account as well their decision can and should be a career-defining vote for every member of the House. No congressman voting for such vicious legislation should ever be allowed to forget it. Angry and betrayed constituents should make their intensity and revulsion of what their representatives had done clear. And these reps should be challenged about it at every townhall meeting, at every campaign debate, in every election, and every day with letters and phone calls. Even if this malicious bill never becomes law and its potential harm averted, it still doesn’t excuse its supporters’ moral responsibility. The AHCA is one of the most critical moments of American history and an act of unspeakable cruelty that should haunt those who supported it to the end of their days.

As a Catholic, liberal, and American, I believe that healthcare is a fundamental human right that should be guaranteed for all. To me, a for-profit market healthcare system the United States currently has simply shouldn’t exist. Nobody should be denied healthcare, especially when they need it. To deny a sick person needed care for whatever reason is nothing short of discrimination at best and a human rights violation at worst. Your access to healthcare shouldn’t be determined by what job you have or whether you got one, how much money you make, whether you have a preexisting condition, whatever health plan you have, how sick you are, who your parents are, where you live, or whatever else. All Americans are entitled to seek the medical treatment they need without breaking the bank. And nobody should die for being denied a medical treatment that would’ve saved their life.

Unfortunately, much of the country doesn’t see it that way since the for-profit healthcare is what dominates the US medical system which I strongly believe is discriminatory, costly, and unsustainable. Though Obamacare has significantly expanded coverage for millions of Americans as well as achieved significant progress, there’s still a long way to go. It may not cover everyone nor is it perfect, but the fact it has improved and increased healthcare coverage for millions of Americans who’d otherwise wouldn’t have makes it worthy to uphold for the time being. If Obamacare should be repealed and replaced, then it might as well be in favor of a single payer system or at a plan that at least fixes its problems. Any healthcare plan that provides anything less is unacceptable. Any plan that takes coverage away from any Americans and makes healthcare even more unaffordable is morally reprehensible. And anyone in Congress who supports a healthcare plan like the AHCA doesn’t stand for their constituents’ interests. Sure they may not believe healthy people shouldn’t pay for sick people’s care. But such constructs are utterly indefensible when American lives are at stake. Besides, the idea of healthy people paying for the sick is how health insurance works. It’s not anyone’s fault for getting sick, injured, mentally ill, or having a disability. So why should they be punished for not pulling their weight if they can’t afford treatment? There’s no reason for it because they certainly don’t deserve to die.

As the American Healthcare Act moves to the Senate, the lives and futures of Americans are now at stake. People are deeply terrified of this bill becoming law. Regardless of party affiliation, the US Senate must do everything it can to make sure the AHCA dies and never becomes law. The fight for affordable healthcare in America isn’t a matter of political football. It’s a matter of life or death. To support the AHCA is to defend the indefensible. To threaten access to people’s healthcare is irresponsible, inexcusable, and dangerous. And it flagrantly violates our nation’s values. Clearly, Americans deserve a better healthcare plan than this utter monstrosity. And they deserve better representatives with the 217 Republicans who just sold their souls. There’s nothing decent about the AHCA and no lawmaker should ever vote for it. And its passage in the House of Representatives doesn’t reflect the will of the American people at all nor brings credit to our nation’s ideals. The last thing the United States needs right now is to return to the horrors of the pre-Obamacare system which the AHCA seeks to bring back. For the love of God, I plead to my fellow Americans to not have us go through that hell again. And if it becomes law, I will absolutely not stand for it. Enough is enough and we can’t allow this catastrophe. The AHCA must die for the sake of the nation. These are the times that try men’s souls as now is the winter of our discontent. And we do what we can until the AHCA is completely dead before it ever gets to Trump’s desk. Because if it gets there, we’re all fucked.

The Deadly Infectious Vaccine Myths Needing Eradicated

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I often do my best to avoid telling parents how to raise their children. However, since it’s come to my attention that more US states are loosening their vaccination exemptions. And today a growing number of parents are refusing to vaccinate their children which I think is extremely irresponsible and dangerous to public health. Many of these parents refuse to get their kids vaccinated because internet misinformation such as the idea that vaccines cause autism promoted by Jenny McCarthy. Yet, these falling immunization rates correspond with recent resurgences of vaccine-preventable diseases. In 2010, an outbreak in California 9,120 cases of whooping cough, more than any year since the whooping cough vaccine was introduced in the 1940s. 10 babies too young to be vaccinated for the disease died during the outbreak. In some outbreaks, some children have been left severely and permanently injured or disabled. The New England Journal of Medicine said that anti-vaxxer activities resulted in a high cost to society “including damage to individual and community well-being from outbreaks of previously controlled diseases, withdrawal of vaccine manufacturers from the market, compromising of national security (in the case of anthrax and smallpox vaccines), and lost productivity.” A 2011 journal described the vaccine-autism connection as, “perhaps the most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years.” But despite that scientific studies have debunked the non-existent vaccine-autism link, hundreds of parents still believe in this fraudulent claim and don’t get their kids vaccinated, which continue to greatly damage public health.

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For all my readers on my blog and visitors, as a member of the autistic community, I sincerely plead with you not to listen to Jenny McCarthy. Sure she might have a child diagnosed with autism (or misdiagnosed), but she’s a prominent anti-vaxxer who promotes dangerous misinformation that have led to dangerous outbreaks as well as demonize a whole group of people. I may not be an expert in vaccines or autism. But I know a lot more about either than her. So listen to me instead.

I am on the autism spectrum. I have gone great lengths to avoid the subject of vaccines for as long as I could because I didn’t want people to see me as an autistic person. I didn’t want that fact to distract people from seeing me as the person I am who just happens to be autistic. Nor do I ever try to gain anything from except services I need so I can live independently from my parents someday. But since far too many people think the decision whether to get your kids vaccinated is like choosing whether you kid can have a puppy, I don’t see myself as having a choice. I may not be anywhere near as famous as Jenny McCarthy. But I consider myself more of an authority on autism than her since I am autistic though my experience doesn’t mirror everyone in the autistic community. And despite being diagnosed at 12, I’ve certainly had it long before receiving my shots like before birth. Personally, I see the anti-vaxxer idea of vaccines causing autism as resoundingly false and dangerous ideology that could lead to a public health crisis. I also find the frequently debunked autism-vaccine link deeply offensive and dehumanizing. I mean saying that vaccines cause autism is like saying that having autism is worse than contracting a potentially deadly communicable disease. Sorry, but as an autistic woman with a B.A. in history, it just doesn’t hold up for me. Have I had it hard living with autism, especially in getting a job and establishing social contacts? Yes, though I didn’t let it stop me from doing well in school and graduating from college or building up my blog and starting out as a writer. I may not be completely satisfied with my life right now and wish I had a better way to earn money than go on an exhaustive job search I see as a waste of time. But in some ways I have it better than a lot of other people in my age group. I have supportive parents and family members as well as a passion that gives me direction in life. Blogging on WordPress may not give me the money to pay my bills but at least I earn something from it and find the work more rewarding than trying to get a job.

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Here’s another anti-vaxxer who has no idea of how autism and vaccines work. Yes, I know he’s an entitled rich sociopath who regularly promotes conspiracy theories on his Twitter feed and lies all the time. But somehow the Conald managed to convince over 60 million Americans to elect him president (though he didn’t win the popular vote). I know he’s an utter embarrassment and I did what I could to not make this happen. I sincerely apologize.

Vaccines are a great pillar of modern medicine. Before vaccines, life was especially brutal for children with huge portions dying from diseases like measles, smallpox, whooping cough, or rubella, along with others. Today a single injection can completely prevent these ailments in a number of ways. Nevertheless, we should never forget how many deaths and illnesses vaccines have prevented and continue to do so. Vaccines have been so beneficial to society that it’s no wonder practically all jurisdictions make them mandatory. For parents, having one’s children vaccinated on schedule isn’t just a parental responsibility but also a community obligation. Not vaccinating your kids not only leaves them exposed to danger unprotected, but also other kids and adults who can’t be vaccinated. Now that we have an anti-vaxxer in the White House, a Health and Human Services Secretary who was once part of an organization that’s espoused anti-vaxxer views, and a bullshit anti-vaxxer documentary shown at a film festival, I feel that we must debunk the falsehoods as I have in this list.

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Here’s a poster with anti-vaxxer bullshit on how vaccines cause autism. Sorry, but just because vaccines and autism diagnostic rates have increased over the years doesn’t mean there’s a correlation between the two. Besides, autism was never an epidemic and its dramatic rise only indicates that it just happens to be far more common than we thought. Also, there are unvaccinated children who do have autism like those living in 3rd world countries.

  1. Vaccines cause autism.– Sorry, but that hypothesis has been completely discredited that 1997 Lancet article on the MMR vaccine by British surgeon Andrew Wakefield who now addressed as Mr. Wakefield these days. The Lancet eventually retracted that paper due to serious procedural errors, undisclosed financial conflicts, financial conflicts of interest, and ethical violations. Furthermore, no scientific study afterwards has found any link between vaccines and the likelihood developing autism. Oh, and the fact in 2011, a “vaccine court” ruled against over 5,000 families claiming vaccines caused their children’s autism. Though causes of autism remain a mystery, most scientists believe genetics are certainly involved and identified autistic symptoms in children well before receiving the MMR vaccine. Further research provides evidence that autism develops in utero well before the baby is born or receives vaccinations. At any rate, the most effective way to prevent your kid getting autism is avoiding sexual contact with an autistic adult. Even that’s not 100% effective due to congenital mutations, possibly environmental factors, higher paternal age, pregnancy-related conditions, and that there’s no foolproof way of knowing who’s autistic and who’s not. Hell, there’s a good chance you or someone you know might have autism and not even know it. Because while there’s been an increase of children being diagnosed with autism, there’s also been an increase in adults as well. Many times the adults are the kids’ parents who don’t find out until after their kid’s diagnosis. Also, more families are experiencing multiple members with autism than ever before. So if one kid has autism, there’s an extremely good chance their sibling will have it, too. This is especially if autistic child and their sibling are identical twins. So the cause of autism has many genetic paths sometimes through familial inheritance or congenital mutations. Let’s just say autism prevention isn’t worth it unless you either get yourself sterilized or try celibacy. If anything, it’s very likely that autism may be underdiagnosed in both kids and adults, especially among females, minorities, and the poor. As someone with autism, I find blaming vaccines for autism to be extremely offensive and irresponsible. It’s very clear that these anti-vaxxers don’t know a thing about autism and think it’s worse than having a child suffer and die from some communicable disease. Having autism wasn’t the worst thing that happened to me. But I concealed that fact for years from fellow classmates, friends, and students since I was diagnosed at 12 because I didn’t want to deal with the stigma and the fact I didn’t fit in with their idea of autism. A lot of the people I grew up with would find it almost impossible to believe that an autistic person could be substantially more intelligent and articulate than them. Yet, I also have my limitations such as sensitivity to loud noises and an inability to filter distractions which is a major reason why I still don’t have a driver’s license. While my social skills have drastically improved over the years thanks to a childhood of speech therapy at school and medications, many concepts of social interaction don’t come natural to me. And a lot of what I had to learn about social norms and communication I had to learn. When I was a little, I didn’t start talking until I was 4 years old and was a very hyperactive and curious toddler who’d often get into things I wasn’t supposed to. Oh, and I also exhibited obsessive and repetitive behaviors like lining my stuffed animals on the couch and giving them books to read. Nevertheless, it’s an integral part of who I am which I would never change though it doesn’t necessarily define me. But many anti-vaxxers and the general public don’t understand there are different recognized versions of autism along a spectrum so no two cases are the same. The rise in autism rates has more to do with the fact that scientists have redefine what constitutes it, which explains why I was diagnosed at 12 instead of 2 (though I had early intervention, medication, and speech therapy anyway). Because back in the early 1990s, autistic children were widely perceived as intellectually disabled while my toddler self could open child locks. So it was an ADHD diagnosis for me. But even when it was under the radar, I’ve always had it. There is no autism epidemic for it has always been there whether those with it have been diagnosed or not. Those autism rates don’t reflect on who has autism, they just indicate those known to have it. And most autistic people including myself don’t see their condition as a disease needing to be cured. Though they could use attention, support, and resources that all too often go to misguided efforts to find one devilish, monolithic cause of the alleged epidemic. So to say that vaccines cause autism is not only bad science that encourages parental irresponsibility, it also marginalizes people who live with a condition many people view as a disease that it’s not.
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This woman’s statement on Facebook really says a lot about what I think of anti-vaxxer parents. Having child with autism isn’t as bad as having a kid suffer from a deadly communicable disease people died from. Seriously, autism isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a person.

2. Infant immune systems can’t handle so many vaccines.-In reality, infant immune systems are much more resilient than we give them credit for. Why? Because babies are exposed to countless bacteria and viruses every day. Besides, most vaccines usually contain a weakened or dead form of the bacteria or virus in order to train the immune system to fight it. And since many of these diseases contributed to high infant and child mortality rates in the past, today’s baby immune systems actually have it easy thanks to vaccines. Based on the number of antibodies present in the blood, a baby could theoretically respond to around 10,000 vaccines at one time. Even if all 14 scheduled vaccines were given at once, it would only use up slightly more than 0.1% of their immune capacity. So vaccinating infants won’t tax their immune system since their grandparents had to handle much worse at their age or older.

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Yes, I know a lot of babies get a lot of shots as you can see from this graph. However, unlike what anti-vaxxers think, giving your baby a bunch of vaccines will only use up a very tiny fraction of their immune capacity. Also, before vaccines, then how do you think their unvaccinated ancestors survived infancy? I mean the days of pre-modern medicine had a lot of high infant mortality rates because of these bad germs.

3. Natural immunity is better than vaccine-acquired immunity.– In some cases, natural immunity like catching the disease and getting sick results in a stronger immunity to the disease than vaccination. Unfortunately, the dangers of this approach far outweigh the benefits. Of course, you could acquire a natural immunity from chicken pox with few ill effects. But contracting diseases like measles on the other hand, chances are you’d face a 1 in 500 chance of death from your symptoms. By contrast, the chance of you having a severe allergic reaction to the MMR vaccine is less than 1 in a million. Besides, even if vaccines aren’t natural so is a lot of modern medicine. So I’ll take my chances and go with the vaccine over natural immunity from deadly diseases any day of the week.

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Another anti-vaxxer myth is that vaccines contain toxins like mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde. While it may contain some truth, they are only in very trace amounts that are well within the most stringent EPA safety guidelines or not at all.

4. Vaccines contain unsafe toxins.- People have concerns about formaldehyde, mercury, and aluminum in vaccines. While these chemicals are toxic in certain levels, FDA approved vaccines only use trace amounts if any. In fact, according to the FDA and CDC, our own metabolic systems produce formaldehyde at higher rates (10 times as much in fact). There’s no scientific evidence that low levels of this chemical, mercury, or aluminum are harmful. If you’re still worried, remember that childhood vaccines haven’t contained any mercury since 1999. And when they did, the mercury levels were well below the EPA’s most stringent public safety limits. So even if your kid received a vaccine containing thimerosal, the overwhelming majority of data supports a lack of association between the substance and neurological problems. And that children are exposed to mercury from many environmental sources that according to Dr. Margaret Rennels, “The reality that a lot of people seem to miss is that the largest source of organic mercury is the environment: the air we breathe, the water we drink and the fish we eat. That’s due to the burning of coal.” As for aluminum, babies get more of that from food even in the first 6 months whether be from breast-feeding or formula.

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While better sanitation, nutrition, personal hygiene habits, and antibiotics have helped decrease infections, they don’t explain the whole story. I’ll let this graph from The Wall Street Journal speak for itself. Or you can just ask a celebrity polio survivor (they do exist).

5. Better hygiene and sanitation are actually responsible for decreased infections, not vaccines.- Sure better hygiene and sanitation have helped reduce or eliminate infectious disease rates. But so have better nutrition and the development of antibiotics as well. However, when we isolate these factors and scrutinize infectious disease rates, vaccines’ role can’t be denied. Because many infections can still spread regardless of how clean we are. For instance, when the first measles vaccine came out in 1963, infection rates had held steady at 400,000 cases a year. Hygienic and sanitation didn’t change much during the following decade, but measles infections dropped dramatically with only 25,000 cases by 1970. Another example is Hib disease. According to the CDC, its incidence rate plummeted from 20,000 in 1990 to around 1,500 in 1993 after the vaccine was introduced.

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As you see from this rag of lies, anti-vaxxers like to go out of their way to show that vaccines aren’t worth the risk. However, while vaccines do cause severe allergic reactions, the overall incident rate is like 1 in 2 million. Perhaps you should worry about bigger dangers to your children like meteors or lightning strikes.

6. Vaccines aren’t worth the risk.– Children have been successfully vaccinated for decades that there has never been a single credible study linking vaccines to long term health conditions. As for immediate danger like allergic reactions or severe side effects, the incidence of death is so rare they can’t ever truly be calculated. For example, the CDC reported only one death attributable to a vaccine between 1990 and 1992. The overall incident rate of severe allergic reactions to vaccines is usually placed around one case for every 2 million injections. Besides, vaccines are tested in more children over a longer period of time than any other drug. And when introducing a new vaccine, the FDA requires pharmaceutical companies to prove their product doesn’t pose a threat when added to the existing vaccine schedule. There’s even as special database called the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) which can help scientists monitor vaccine safety and anyone can use the system to report a suspected side effect. And in many cases, the side effects reported are mostly coincidences and of the people who reported to VAERS about vaccines causing autism, 80% were personal injury lawyers. Not to mention, vaccine makers often take a cautious approach when writing their warning labels, listing all possible side effects even if they occur at the same rate in unvaccinated people. So your child is more likely to die from being struck by a meteor than from a vaccination.

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Here’s a chart on the types of vaccine denialists. There’s Autism Andy, Poisonous Pete, Loony Lucy, Hygenic Helen, and Naturalist Nancy. Each is an unreliable steaming pile of shit who shouldn’t be trusted.

7. Vaccines can infect children with the disease it’s trying to prevent.– Vaccines can cause mild symptoms resembling those from the disease they’re protecting against. It’s a common misconception is that these symptoms signal infection. In reality, in the less than small percentage of (less than 1 million cases) where symptoms do occur, the vaccine recipients are experiencing a body’s immune response to the vaccine, not the disease itself. There’s only one recorded instance in which the vaccine was shown to cause disease. This was the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV), which is no longer used in the US. Since then, vaccines have been in safe use for decades and follow strict FDA regulations. Today, according to Kathryn Edwards, M.D., spokesperson for the National Network for Immunization Information, “Most vaccines we give today, such as meningitis and DTaP, contain killed vaccines—not live agents that could replicate.” Though there are some vaccines that do contain a live weakened virus to provoke an immune response such as the MMR and chicken pox immunizations.

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Here’s some more faces of vaccine denialism we’ll get to. There’s Libertarian Larry, Ruling Roger, Skeptical Sally, Prove-Me-Right Rita, Violet VAERS, and Everything Evelyn. Again, a bunch of wackjobs.

8. We don’t need to vaccinate because infection rates are already so low in the United States.- The fact infection rates are already so low in the US is because we’ve been vaccinating our kids for decades because the virus and bacteria responsible for these diseases don’t go away. Thanks to “herd immunity,” so long as a large majority of people are immunized in any population, even the unimmunized minority will be protected. With so many people resistant, an infectious disease will never get the chance to establish itself and spread. This is important because there will always be a portion of the population like infants, pregnant women, elderly, and those with weakened immune systems who can’t receive the vaccines. But if too many people don’t vaccinate themselves and their children, they contribute to collective danger and open up opportunities for viruses and bacteria to establish themselves and spread. Not to mention, since international travel is growing quickly, the CDC warn that even if a disease isn’t a threat to your country, it may be common elsewhere. If someone carries in a trip from abroad, an unvaccinated individual will be at far greater risk of getting sick if they’re exposed.

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Vaccines are very instrumental in the concept of “herd immunity.” This works when a large population gets vaccinated against a deadly virus, they can contain infectious individuals and protect those who can’t get vaccinated. If not enough people are unvaccinated, deadly diseases can come back. So for those who says as long as other kids get vaccinated that your kids don’t need to be, you totally do. Unless you’re Amish or live under a rock.

9. As long as other children are getting vaccinated, mine don’t need to be.- Sorry, but skipping your kid’s vaccinations puts your kids at greater risk for potentially life-threatening diseases. Besides, there’s the whole “herd immunity” thing you don’t understand in which according to Professor Thomas Saari, M.D., “The ability of immunizations to prevent the spread of infection depends on having a certain number of children immunized.” And the immunization level required to prevent most of these vaccinable diseases is very high. For instance, in order for the herd immunity to prevent measles from being spread from child to child, the 95% of kids have to be vaccinated against it. In 2003, the national vaccination rate in the US in children between 19-35 months was only about 80% despite that the number increases to the mid-90s when kids are starting school. Such rates may not be high enough to provide herd immunity, especially if exemptions from school vaccines are on the rise in some states. According to studies from Colorado where residents claim high numbers of vaccine exemptions for medical, personal or religious reasons, kids who aren’t immunized pose a greater risk for disease like 22 times to come down with measles.

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When enough parents listen to Jenny McCarthy instead of get their kids vaccinated like they’re supposed to, the disease causing agents weasle their way back and cause outbreaks with a vengeance. Look at the map of the 2015 measles outbreak from the CDC, people.

10. Now that major illnesses have largely disappeared, we really don’t need vaccines anymore.- That analogy is similar to what Republicans and libertarians say now that working conditions have improved, we no longer need unions and regulations. Or how some say now that the Civil Rights Movement did away with social discrimination, we no longer need civil rights protections on certain demographics. Or how some say that now that we have clean air and water thanks to the EPA, we no longer need environmental protections. Except you do because the propensity to commit such social injustice still lingers on as we know by the election of President Pussygrabber. The same logic applies to vaccines because despite relatively high vaccination rates in the US, many American communities still have outbreaks of diseases like measles and pertussis, a respiratory illness characterized by spasms of coughing that can last for weeks or even months. In 2003, 13 kids died from the infection. Unvaccinated children can also spread infection to vulnerable family members. According to Dr. Saari in Parenting Magazine, “Those children are more likely to give a disease to those who can’t fight it off, such as a six-month-old or a grandparent living at home.” One case is the incidence of whooping cough which has been increasing since the 1980s, and the CDC has recommended a pertussis booster shot for 11-year-olds because the risk of passing the disease to a vulnerable relative is so high. Also, if you remember reports about panics involving Zika and Ebola, diseases are spread by people from foreign countries who travel here. As Dr. Saari said, “Air travel has extended the range of diseases from countries where people aren’t immunized. We’re no more than one airplane ride from being exposed to many diseases.” Thus, if people aren’t vaccinated, these supposedly uncommon diseases can come back.

11. You shouldn’t give a vaccine to a child who has a cold.– You might think that a sick child would be more likely to have a bad reaction to a vaccine or that it might present and added burden to their immune systems if they’re fighting a cold. However, studies show that a mild illness doesn’t affect a child’s ability to react appropriately to the vaccine. As Dr. Rennels says, “Certainly if a child comes in with a fever of 102 and a rip-snorting ear infection, it’s not the best time for a vaccine. But a low-grade fever, mild respiratory infection or a little diarrhea shouldn’t be reasons to delay one, especially if the illness is on the way out.” Of course, vaccines can trigger side effects such as a fever and rash as well as soreness at the injection site, but these are rarely cause for alarm. The 5-in-1 Pediarix is more likely to cause a low fever than the individual shots are, but many moms say the fewer injections for their child, the better. But if your child has hives (which can indicate an allergic reaction), a fever of 105 degrees or higher, or convulsions, call your doctor right away.

12. I had chicken pox when I was a kid and it isn’t a big deal.– So did I and so did my sister. But my parents tried to get us vaccinated for it anyway before there was no longer any need to. Sure chicken pox may not be a big deal for most kids but on rare occasions, children can die from it. Before the vaccine was introduced, many children were hospitalized each year with serious complications, including pneumonia and dangerous skin infections. According to Dr. Rennels, “Chicken pox lesions can become infected with staph, including necrotizing fasciitis—the ‘flesh-eating’ bacteria.” Getting the chicken pox vaccine is especially important now that less of the virus is in circulation. And as Dr. Rennels adds, “Children who don’t get chicken pox or the vaccine are at risk of getting it as an adult, which is a much more serious illness.” Besides, I had a kid in my class who had chicken pox during our junior year in high school and he was out for days.

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Vaccines may not be 100% effective. But they’re effective enough that you won’t need get well gifts like these when you get the diseases vaccines are supposed to prevent.

13. Vaccines can provide 100 percent disease protection.- Vaccines may not be 100% effective (though the effect rate can range from 75-95% which still very good) and it’s possible you can be vaccinated against a disease and still get it. But if all children are vaccinated against an organism, it’s less likely to hang around. Again, we have herd immunity kicking in, which is why vaccinating an entire population is crucial. As Dr. Edwards says, “Not getting vaccinated is like failing to stop at a four-way stop. If three people get vaccinated but one doesn’t, the risk is not bad. But if two people don’t get vaccinated, the burden of risk is greater on everyone.”

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Some anti-vaxxer parents think it’s better to wait until their kids are older to get the vaccinations. However, the reason why vaccine schedules are designed the way they are is that small children are the most vulnerable to contracting them. Remember how historical times witnessed high infant mortality rates.

14. It’s best to wait until children are older before starting to give them vaccines.- The best time to get your kids vaccinated against the disease, is at the earliest possible moment they can get it. Immunization schedules are designed to protect the most vulnerable patients from disease. If you wait to give the vaccine, you might miss the window when a child is most vulnerable. We should also remember that many of these infectious diseases we vaccinated against have killed high numbers of infants and small children. So you get off the schedule, you put your child at risk. One instance in Wisconsin had 300 children under the age of 1 come down with whooping cough with 177 less than 6 months old. Half of these babies were hospitalized and 3 died. For a kid to die of whooping cough nowadays is criminal.

15. It’s safe to space out vaccinations.- Spacing out vaccines may actually cause children more distress. Sure kids don’t like getting several shots at once. But studies show that a child’s stress hormones peak after one shot while additional needlesticks doesn’t increase their distress. So it’s better to get several shots out of the way in one doctor’s visit than once a month. Besides, postponing shots leave babies at risk and none of the alternative schedules has been clinically tested. As Ari Brown says, “There is absolutely no research that says delaying certain shots is safer. Doctors who promote these schedules are simply guessing when to give which shots. What we know for certain is that delaying your child’s shots is playing Russian roulette.”

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When anti-vaxxers say that vaccine-preventable diseases aren’t that dangerous, they’re usually thinking about relatively less severe ones like chicken pox. This picture depicts a polio ward with kids being encased in iron lungs. Polio was a menace because it could kill or leave its victims permanently disabled. Dr. Salk’s discovery of the polio vaccine in the 1950s was seen as a medical miracle. Let that sink in.

16. Vaccine-preventable diseases aren’t that dangerous. – Sorry, but as a history major, I think anyone who believes this bullshit have absolutely no fucking idea. Sure they may have had chicken pox as a kid which is usually not very dangerous. But if you think that most vaccine-preventable diseases are like chicken pox, you’re a fucking moron. Vaccines have eliminated diseases that have once sickened, disabled, or killed hundreds of thousands of people. Because few young parents have encountered any of these diseases and possibly not know a thing about science or history, they don’t realize how dangerous they are. Whooping cough once sickened 300,000 people a year and killed 7,000 mostly young children. A better example would be polio which ravaged the country so much that when Dr. Jonas Salk discovered the vaccine and gave it away for free, he was seen as nothing less than a miracle worker. But before that, polio was a nightmare virus that parents and children feared because it was contagious disease that paralyzed and killed people. Surviving the disease could be a life changing experience leaving some permanently physically disabled to varying degrees while remember the fear and isolation. It crippled Franklin Delano Roosevelt that he nearly ended his political career over it, which could’ve shaped the US quite differently had he not ran for Governor of New York and later president during the Great Depression. Hell, we have plenty of celebrities who’ve survived polio and are still alive like Alan Alda, Donald Sutherland, Mia Farrow, Donovan, Joni Mitchell, Itzhak Perlman, Neil Young, and Sir Ken Robinson.

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This is US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1921, he came down with polio during vacation at Campobello that would leave him crippled from the waist down. He would be confined to wheelchair and walk with braces for the rest of his life. And he nearly ended his political career of this. Nevertheless, he’s an example what vaccine preventable diseases did to people.

17. Only sick people need flu shots and other vaccines.- As with herd immunity when healthy people get vaccinated, it can help protect the weak, including cancer patients, anyone with compromised immune systems, and newborns too young to get the shot. Because babies can’t begin common vaccinations until they’re 2 months old, they depend on those around them for disease protection whether they be family, hospital staff, or babysitters.

18. Vaccines contain tissue from aborted fetuses.- No they don’t. And even if they did, the National Catholic Bioethics Center has said that Catholics are, “morally free to use the vaccine, regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them. … It is important to note that descendant cells are not the cells of the aborted child. They never, themselves, formed a part of the victim’s body.” Anyway, fetal tissue has been used in the development of some vaccines like hepatitis A, chicken pox, and rabies. But the best example is in rubella during the 1960s since it involved isolating the virus from the tissue of fetuses whose mothers have had it. The women chose abortion due to concerns about birth defects caused by rubella which include deafness, heart disease, mental retardation, a devastating brain inflammation called encephalitis and pneumonia. Though in any case, the viruses were often purified before being used in vaccines and no human cells remain in the final shots given to children.

19. Vaccinated children can shed virus and infect others.- Only one vaccine has been known to do this which was the liquid OPV and it was one time. Even then children vaccinated with OPV could shed the virus through their feces and spread it to other kids who didn’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom. In the process, they could protect those kids against the virus. Doctors call this phenomenon, “contact immunity,” and it was a useful trait in the 1950s, when the country was ravaged by polio, because vaccinating one child against polio could help to indirectly vaccinate others. After polio had been eliminated in the US by 2000, American doctors stopped using the live virus and have resorted to killed polio vaccines from then on. No other vaccine has been known to shed so kids vaccinated against measles won’t spread the disease to other kids spreading the virus. In fact, measles can only spread when people are actually sick with the disease and showing symptoms.

20. Vaccines cause autoimmune disease.- According to Medscape, “The role of vaccination in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases (presumably by triggering autoimmunity) has long been a matter of debate. Although the cause of these diseases is still unclear, several factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and infectious diseases, may play a role. The relationship between vaccines and autoimmunity is still under study; however, no definitive evidence supporting a causative association exists to date. Most of the data linking vaccines with autoimmunity comes from case studies, which are considered to offer a low level of evidence. So far, no large epidemiologic studies have been conducted to provide us with relevant compelling clinical evidence. Given the nature and heterogeneity of autoimmune disorders, such studies are very difficult to be performed.”

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Here’s a good poster of why every kid should be vaccinated. And yes a lot of myths are listed on here. Yeah, it’s that simple.

21. Influenza is a harmless illness, so vaccination is unnecessary.- According to Medscape, “Although influenza is commonly considered to be a mild illness, this is certainly not always the case. Influenza is a large threat to public health, with three pandemics and millions of deaths from influenza in the 20th century. During the last pandemic period of the H1N1 virus (June 11, 2009 to August 1, 2010), 18,449 deaths were attributed to influenza, although the global death rate was certainly higher. Influenza can have serious complications, including severe pneumonia, and extrarespiratory complications, such as encephalopathy and myocarditis. In addition, a considerable number of deaths related to cardiac and pulmonary complications typically follow influenza epidemics. Particularly among the elderly, people with underlying medical conditions, and pregnant women, the risk for influenza-associated complications is higher and flu vaccination is strongly recommended.”

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Most vaccines aren’t only safe for pregnant women, two are also recommended. One of these is the flu shot while the other is the TDaP vaccine taken in the third trimester. Not only does this protect the mother, but the baby, too. Which is great because many newborns can’t be vaccinated.

22. Vaccines shouldn’t be administered to pregnant women.- Most vaccines aren’t only safe during pregnancy, but highly recommended. Two vaccines are especially important such as the flu vaccine and the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) given between 27 and 36 weeks. According to Medscape, “Tetanus, pertussis, and influenza are diseases with potentially severe consequences for the child and/or the mother that can be prevented through vaccination. The vaccination of a pregnant woman against pertussis offers substantial protection of the newborn against this infection.” Medscape adds, “An evaluation of the available data suggests that vaccines containing inactivated microorganisms are safe for administration during any week of pregnancy. Influenza, in particular, can be very severe during pregnancy, thus it is recommended that pregnant women receive flu vaccination during flu season.” There has been no evidence that the flu vaccine has contributed to any congenital malformations. Same goes for any other vaccines.

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Many Anti-vaxxers think vaccinating their children should be a personal choice instead of mandatory, claiming that mandatory vaccinations violate their civil rights. Sure it’s only a personal decision if it only affects themselves. But unfortunately, with herd immunity involved, vaccines don’t work that way.

23. Mandatory vaccination violate civil rights.- Sorry, but this has no basis in reality. Massachusetts enacted the first mandatory vaccination law in the US in 1809. Nearly 100 years the Supreme Court ruled mandatory vaccination laws constitutional with the case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts. Though all states do offer medical exemptions. Nevertheless, parents need to be aware that if don’t vaccinate their kids, they’re putting them and their contacts at risk of serious disease. And unvaccinated children often have to stay home from school or daycare during outbreaks. Besides, what about those who can’t get vaccinated? Don’t they have a right to not contract a serious vaccine-preventable disease that won’t kill them? Don’t they have a right to herd immunity protection?

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VAERS is a reporting system on vaccine reactions from the US federal government. Anyone can report anything on it. Nevertheless, despite what Anti-Vaxxer testify, VAERS data doesn’t prove anything. Nevertheless, here’s a VAERS form.

24. VAERS data proves that vaccines are dangerous.- VAERS data actually can’t “prove” anything. On VAERS anyone can report anything as “no proof of causality is required” while only reports of special interests like hospitalizations are verified. Even when checked, many reports aren’t accurate while many include non-serious reactions. The number of reported to adverse events is usually influenced by publicity. Besides, VAERS just exists to properly detect early warning signals and to generate hypotheses. It’s not meant to inform people about vaccine since it’s more of a suggestion box open to the public.

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There’s an anti-vaxxer children’s book out there I had on one of my book cover posts called Melanie’s Marvelous Measles. Here are some other anti-vaxxer follow ups. Enjoy.

25. More people die from the vaccine than from measles.- For God’s sake, this is utter bullshit. In reality, according to the World Health Organization, measles kills 140,000 people a year globally while the measles vaccine saves 1 million lives annually. By contrast, there have only been 57 deaths due to measles vaccines filed through the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which is a no-fault system set up to compensate people injured by vaccines. The program doesn’t say how many of these claims are allowed. Nevertheless, while vaccines aren’t 100% safe, a person’s chance of dying from the vaccine are miniscule compared to their astronomical chance of being saved.

26. Existence of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program proves that vaccines are harmful.- Sure vaccines aren’t 100% safe as with any product since there are people who are allergic to it. However, vaccines are so safe that your chances of dying from one are less than being struck by a meteor. Nevertheless, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was launched in 1986 because vaccine makers were dropping out of the business out of fear of pricey lawsuits. Public health officials feared that the US would suffer a vaccine shortage. Nevertheless, under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, if people can prove they suffered an injury known to be caused by a vaccine, they could be compensated without having to prove the vaccine caused the problem. And it’s paid for by a tax on vaccines.

27. Foreigners, especially undocumented immigrants, are bringing measles to the US. – It’s true that measles was eliminated from the US in 2000 and that all outbreaks now begin with an imported case. But in 2014 which was the worst year for measles since 1994, 635 out of 644 cases involved US citizens. And out of them 77% were unvaccinated people. What’s happening is that unvaccinated Americans are going to countries where measles is more common and bringing the virus back. Unless they live in a community where many people aren’t vaccinated like Amish country, usually they don’t infect very many people. But when measles happens anywhere in the world, it can come here on a plane pretty quick. And it’s not coming over land borders because high vaccination rates in the Americas has eliminated measles there. Rather it’s more likely coming from Europe, Asia, and the Philippines.

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This Natural News graph shows the often debunked anti-vaxxer myth that Big Pharma profits from them. In reality, doctors, drug makers, and insurance companies actually lose money from vaccines since they’re so labor intensive. Also, you shouldn’t trust Natural News as a viable news site. Since it’s full of conspiracy theories like this one.

28. Doctors and insurance companies promote vaccination to drive profits.- Actually doctors and insurers don’t profit from vaccination in any way. Some insurers pay the cost of vaccination to prevent having to pay more later if a patient gets sick. And a 2009 study found that 1 out of 3 doctors actually lose money when giving vaccines. Also, big Pharma only makes 1.5% of their income on vaccines anyway and only 5 companies make 80% of them that there have been problems in vaccine supply and fact making them is so labor intensive.

29. The DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) and the polio vaccines cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). – There’s no evidence these vaccines cause SIDS. 90% of SIDS cases occur before the infant is 6 months old with the highest rates between 1 and 4 months of age. Unfortunately, this is the age group when children are scheduled to be vaccinated against DTaP and polio. The SIDS deaths are co-incidental to vaccination and would’ve occurred even if the child hadn’t been given the vaccines. This is especially if the infant didn’t sleep in a crib with proper bedding, wasn’t in a proper sleeping arrangement or position, or had parent who smokes. Not to mention, these vaccines have been linked to a 50% lower risk of SIDS.

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Some people may believe that one shot is enough protection. However, some vaccines take multiple doses since one shot isn’t enough like the whooping cough one you see here.

30. One vaccine in a series gives a child enough protection.- Getting the recommended dose of each recommended vaccine provides a child with the best protection possible. Depending on the vaccine, more than one dose is needed to build high enough immunity to prevent disease, boost immunity that fades over time, make sure people who did not get immunity from a first dose are protected, or protect against germs that change over time, like flu. Every vaccine dose is important because they all protect against infectious diseases that are threats today and can be especially serious for infants and very young children. Skipping vaccines puts children at risk for contracting the diseases, especially measles and pertussis. Thus, if the recommendations are for a series of shots, make sure your child receives all of them so they’re not left unprotected.

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Of course, nobody likes receiving a shot from the doctor, especially babies who are likely to scream and cry. However, while giving them a TDaP shot today might your little one cry, it’ll keep them from constantly screaming in agony from diphtheria later.

31. Shots are very painful to a baby. – Indeed they are but the pain is only momentary and not significant. Besides, studies show there are ways to minimizing the pain your baby feels such as being breastfed before or afterwards as well as being held and distracted by their parents. The doctor could even give the baby numbing cream or a sugar solution. Yet, even if you don’t resort to any of this, at worst a small prick of a needle will only cause enough pain that might instill a lifelong fear of shots. Yet, this is a small price for protecting them against a world of pain from the serious diseases the vaccine protects against.

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Contrary to anti-vaxxer logic, vaccines don’t weaken immune systems. If anything, they usually strengthen the immune system from diseases that can compromise it and leave people more vulnerable to other infections as well as serious health problems.

32. Vaccines weaken the immune system. – Vaccines usually contain a weakened if not dead form of the virus so they can train the immune system in to fighting them without causing infection. Natural infections on the other hand, can weaken the immune system by preventing some people from fighting off other viruses and bacteria easily. This happens most notably in children during a natural infection like chicken pox or measles. And the fact so many small children died of serious diseases before we had vaccines for them illustrates why we have them in the first place.

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While vaccinations aren’t 100% effective, they are certainly necessary as this graph certainly shows. And because of vaccines, these infectious disease rates have plummeted. But if at least 95% of the American public don’t receive their shots, these germs could infect with a vengeance. So yes, vaccines are necessary and if you haven’t already, vaccinate your kids.

33. Since most vaccines are not 100% effective, there’s really no need to get them. – Just because something doesn’t work 100% of the time doesn’t mean there’s no real need to have it, especially if it could save your life. For instance, wearing seatbelt may not guarantee my survival in a car crash. But I’d have to be an idiot not to wear one every time I ride in a car. Sure vaccines aren’t 100% effective but most have an 85-99% protection rate which makes it the best way to avoid these diseases. In addition, for some vaccine-preventable diseases, the serious effects of the disease may be less for someone who’s received the vaccine. And the more people who get the vaccine, the less likely the disease will be present in the community where it can spread to people unable to get the vaccine either due to being too young or having certain medical conditions. This is known as “herd immunity.” So yes, getting the vaccine is worth it.

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In recent years, the rate of nonmedical exemptions from vaccines has risen thanks to the rise of anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories. Along with that comes a higher prevalence of outbreaks pertaining to vaccine-preventable infections. And these endanger the most vulnerable such as newborn babies. We need to understand that vaccine shouldn’t be a choice most of the time.

34. More vaccinated people get the disease than the unvaccinated. – Yes, but that’s because vaccines aren’t 100% effective so it’s still possible to get the disease being vaccinated against. However, if you do get the disease, you’ll only suffer fewer complications and long term effects than those who are unprotected. For instance, with pertussis (whooping cough), severe complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (brain inflammation) occur almost exclusively in the unvaccinated. Both of these could either cause permanent damage in small children or kill them. However, the fact vaccines aren’t 100% effective don’t mean that they don’t work.

35. There are “hot lots” of vaccine that have been associated with more adverse events and deaths than others. Parents should find the numbers of these lots and not allow their children to receive vaccines from them.- This gets a lot of publicity but the concept of “hot lot” used in this context is wrong. This is based on the presumption that the more reports of adverse events a vaccine lot is associated with, the more dangerous the vaccine is in that lot. And that by consulting a list of reports per lot, a parent can identify which ones to avoid. According to WHO, this is misleading for 2 reasons. First, and adverse report following vaccination doesn’t mean that the vaccine caused the event. In fact, statistically, a certain number of serious illnesses, even deaths, can be expected to occur by chance alone among kids recently vaccinated. Besides, no scientific study has ever linked vaccines to any serious long-term health problems. Second, vaccine lots aren’t all the same with sizes varying from several hundred thousand to several million. According to WHO, “Naturally a larger lot or one that is in distribution for a longer period will be associated with more adverse events, simply by chance. Also, more coincidental deaths are associated with vaccines given in infancy than later in childhood, since the background death rates for children are highest during the first year of life. So knowing that lot A has been associated with x number of adverse events while lot B has been associated with y number would not necessarily say anything about the relative safety of the two lots, even if the vaccine did cause the event.”

36. Only children need vaccinations.- Look, I may not always get the flu shot every year even though I know I need it. But vaccine-preventable diseases continue to be a threat throughout our lives. According to the California Department of Public Health, “Adolescents need boosters for many childhood diseases, some college age students need protection from meningitis, adults need vaccines for shingles and pneumonia, and everyone needs the flu vaccine and, especially for those around infants, the pertussis vaccine.” We should also acknowledge that Franklin Delano Roosevelt contracted polio as an adult in the 1920s. So while infants and young children are the most vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases, they can and have killed adults. Just look at history or old timey literature.

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Yeah, this pretty much sums up anti-vaxxers in a nutshell. Pretty much people with dangerous ideas. So if you’re skeptical about vaccinating your kids, just do it. Believe me, don’t listen to anti-vaxxer celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, Robert DeNiro, or Jim Carrey. Instead, listen to the medical community who know what they’re talking about. Sure some may be anti-vaxxers, but most of them aren’t.

Reasons to Support Universal Healthcare in the United States

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The cause of universal healthcare is one that’s close to my heart and one that’s subject to so much controversy in the United States. I mean whenever Obamacare was still in the bill phase, it was under such intense opposition that it formed the Tea Party. Now Obamacare doesn’t provide universal healthcare nor was it intended to. Yet, I supported the legislation anyway because I felt that it offered the kind of healthcare reform my country greatly needed despite that I didn’t think the ACA went far enough. Nevertheless, it disgusts me that there are some people in the United States who vehemently oppose universal healthcare so much that they go to great lengths to extinguish any attempt to reform an already broken healthcare system that comes on the congressional docket. So far, Obamacare is now the subject of another Supreme Court case, this time on federal subsidies to states on the federal exchange. Of course, hearing the ads on federal subsidies from the UPMC commercials on the radio, I think it’s very unlikely that the libertarian lawyers of King v. Burwell will have their way, but I could be wrong. Not only that, but since Republicans have taken control of Congress in 2011, the US House has tried to repeal Obamacare over 40 times, which I think is a shame.

I know that a lot of Americans think about universal healthcare and I don’t expect anyone to change their minds. I know that this post will be filled with points that may spark outrage or perhaps inflammatory comments but I think they need to be said nonetheless. Yet, understand that what I mean by “universal healthcare” I mean a non-profit healthcare system providing quality affordable service to all Americans. Now I don’t think a universal healthcare will solve all the US health system’s problems (and there are lots), but I think it would be a system the American people would be much happier with than the one we have now. While the number of uninsured has declined from 50 million since the late 2000s, I still think that even one uninsured American is far too many. However, here I list several of the reasons why I support universal healthcare in the United States. I insist that anybody who reads this take a lot of thought into these points to see why I believe in what I do and that my support for universal healthcare doesn’t just stand on my liberal ideology alone.

1. Healthcare is a basic human right and there’s no reason why medical treatment should be denied to anyone too poor to pay for it– to me the issue of universal healthcare isn’t about giving social entitlements to poor people. Rather it’s a moral issue of human rights and I’ve always believed that a for-profit healthcare system doesn’t adhere to this and has a history of discriminating against the poor and ill. I believe that every American should have a right to healthcare even if they are lazy unemployed moochers on welfare or undocumented immigrants because it’s the simply right thing to do. No sick person deserves to be turned away from medical treatment for any reason. Even though the US doesn’t recognize healthcare as a human right, the international community does and so do most religious groups. So yes, I do believe I’m entitled to healthcare just because I’m a human being as well as to everyone else.

This is a 2011 infographic from Amnesty International pertaining to the maternity care situation in the United States, especially when it comes to infant and maternal mortality. Now if there's any reason why someone who's pro-life should support universal healthcare, it's this. The findings are disturbing.

This is a 2011 infographic from Amnesty International pertaining to the maternity care situation in the United States, especially when it comes to infant and maternal mortality. Now if there’s any reason why someone who’s pro-life should support universal healthcare, it’s this. The findings are disturbing.

2. The Abortion Issue– now as a Catholic feminist, I may not consider myself as wholly pro-life or pro-choice (though this position is consistent with most Americans if you really think about it, but let’s not go there). However, whether you believe in an unborn child’s right to life or a woman’s right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy, we should all get on board with the idea that all pregnant women who choose life should have access to pre-natal care regardless of their ability to pay as I fervently do. There is nothing pro-life or pro-choice about denying pregnant women access to affordable healthcare, especially it could save her unborn child’s life as well as prevent her from seeking an abortion in the first place. The fact many pro-lifers tend to be conservatives who’ve been fighting to deny pregnant women access to affordable healthcare which is completely inexcusable (and the fact pro-choicers tend to be less vocal about it as well). Whenever a pregnant woman is denied access to affordable pre-natal care due to being too poor or uninsured, her unborn child’s right to life is denied as well. When a woman seeks an abortion because she can’t afford to seek medical treatment for possible life-threatening complications also denies her right to choose as well. In many ways, denying affordable healthcare access is simply an unforgivable crime against humanity that should never be acceptable and perhaps even less justifiable than abortion. Add to that the fact that the US has a high infant and maternal mortality rate compared to other First World nations while nations with universal healthcare have lower abortion rates. Thus, whatever side you’re on in the abortion issue, guaranteed healthcare access to all should be non-negotiable.

3. Getting a job with employee based health insurance is no longer a guarantee– say what you want about Obamacare, but this is a good reason why it’s worth protecting. Since the Recession, the chances of someone finding a job with employee based health benefits is no longer a guarantee, especially if you’re a Millennial whose chances of getting a job with health benefits by 26 are slim (as well as the fact that most people uninsured usually live in a situation in which they or a member of their families have a job that either offer no health benefits or aren’t eligible for their employee plan). This can never be more apparent since the future of work is in the service sector which mostly consist of low-income jobs that don’t offer healthcare benefits or at least an adequate healthcare package. And even if you do have a job with benefits, this doesn’t mean you’re quite out of the woods. After all,  losing your job might result in you losing your health insurance. This can happen more often than you think since it’s very likely you’ll need to switch jobs more than a few times in your adult life. And you don’t always know how long it would before you can get another job. At least Obamacare provides a viable option for affordable healthcare for those facing an unpredictable economic future like myself since it stays with you after you sign up (or it’s supposed to). As a Millennial, living without health insurance is one of my deepest fears. I pray to God that the Supreme Court at least has the decency to rule in favor of the federal subsidies for King v. Burwell since I live in a state that doesn’t have a state exchange nor a Medicaid expansion as far as I know as of 2015. And, yes, I do plan to sign up for Obamacare when I reach that age since the federal exchange is now my only option for affordable healthcare once I reach my 26th birthday.

Here are some statistics from the National Research Center detailing what services the uninsured do without because of the cost whether it's getting a test, skipping a prescription, or putting off a doctor's visit.

Here are some statistics from the National Research Center detailing what services the uninsured do without because of the cost whether it’s getting a test, skipping a prescription, or putting off a doctor’s visit.

4. Everyone needs healthcare and being uninsured has devastating consequences– since we’re all human beings, we all need healthcare since we’re not invincible and you never know when you’ll be facing a medical emergency. Being uninsured can lead to a lot of devastating consequences individuals and families alike, which nobody wants to face. When uninsured, people are just one serious illness or injury away from losing their homes, their life savings and income, as well as their lives. Uninsurance also leads to high medical bills as well as possible denial of treatment, too. Thus, having an individual mandate should be a no brainer.

Here are some statistics from the US Department of Health and Human Services measuring healthcare spending from 2009. The pie on the left shows where the money comes from while the pie on the right shows where the money goes.

Here are some statistics from the US Department of Health and Human Services measuring healthcare spending from 2009. The pie on the left shows where the money comes from while the pie on the right shows where the money goes.

5. Conditions in the healthcare system were complete hell before Obamacare– Whether you love or hate Obamacare, most Americans would agree that our healthcare system may not be ideal, but it’s still better than under the Bush Administration. We should all remember that before Obamacare, it wasn’t uncommon for people to be denied health insurance because of a preexisting condition (at least legally). It was also common for people to lose their insurance (and/or job) when faced with a medical emergency or at least be faced with paying an exorbitant amount of money. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s just say, while Americans may not see eye to eye on Obamacare, most wouldn’t want to return to the US healthcare system under the Bush years.

This is a graph from that National Business Group on Health explaining the rate of medical cost increases from 1999 to 2014. Note how it's dropped at its lowest rate in 15 years.

This is a graph from that National Business Group on Health explaining the rate of medical cost increases from 1999 to 2014. Note how it’s dropped at its lowest rate in 15 years.

6. Like education, individuals with healthcare are able to contribute more productively to the workforce than those who don’t– there may be a lot of complaints from conservatives that universal healthcare will only make the hardworking rich pay for the lazy poor on welfare. However, like education, individuals with healthcare contribute more productively to the workforce because they’re more likely to lead healthier lives and miss work much less. Besides, in the event of an injury or illness, the sooner a person receives medical treatment the more likely he or she will be able to work again. If an illness or injury goes untreated, the more likely a person will end up disabled with a chronic health condition or untimely dead. Those who are poor and disabled usually seek out public assistance because nobody’s going to hire them anytime soon. The fact the vast majority of people on welfare are either disabled or under 18 should illustrate this. Not only that, but their chronic condition could also limit their ability to lead a healthier lifestyle. Thus, while healthy individuals with health insurance usually can find work, unhealthy people without insurance are usually stuck in poverty because their chronic health conditions simply make them unemployable.

Here's an infographic from Atlanta Health showing the costs of the uninsured to hospitals, doctors, and other providers in 2012 according to state.

Here’s an infographic from Atlanta Health showing the costs of the uninsured to hospitals, doctors, and other providers in 2012 according to state.

7. Taxpayers spend a lot of money on treating the poor already– while those living in poverty are more likely to be uninsured, they’re also more prone to adverse life threatening health conditions or injuries, seek medical treatment when it’s too late, and receive care in the emergency room when things go from bad to worse. Whenever an uninsured person is treated in the ER, it’s likely to cause healthcare costs and premiums to rise for the insured as well by $922 for families (this before Obamacare). Not to mention, poorer people are more likely to work jobs in adverse conditions as well as have worse health habits and be victims of gun violence. And when it comes to gun violence, taxpayers shoulder about 80% of the medical costs mostly because victims are more likely to be from a group that’s heavily uninsured or on Medicaid. This amounts to billions of dollars. Still, while critics say that universal healthcare will lead to poor people mooching off taxpayers, Americans are basically paying for poor people’s medical treatment now as we speak. And the fact that many of them don’t have insurance is part of the reason. Oh, and when these people go on Medicare, taxpayers pay the bill for those who may be suffering a lot of chronic health conditions brought by illness and injury that could’ve been treated years ago.

This is from a 2011 infographic on the consequences of being uninsured in the United States and shows what could happen to those people such as an undetected serious condition, disability, and early death.

This is from a 2011 infographic on the consequences of being uninsured in the United States and shows what could happen to those people such as an undetected serious condition, disability, and early death.

8. If a poor homeless bum can be uninsured, then so can you– whether it’s being unable to afford insurance, dropped coverage from the insurance company, or job loss, if a poor person is uninsured, then it affects your access to affordable healthcare. This is especially true, when poor people visit the emergency room because it’s the only place in the hospital that would take them. And it’s usually the insured who pay for their treatment as well as contributes to high healthcare costs since emergency care is extremely expensive and with unpredictable cost. The higher healthcare prices rise, the more likely people are going to end up uninsured. If the healthcare system treated the poor in the way it treats the insured (like regular checkups, follow-up visits, etc.), healthcare costs may not have gotten this bad.

Here are even some more statistics from the 2011 infographic on the costs of being uninsured in America such as early death, multiple ER visits, and unpaid medical bills.

Here are even some more statistics from the 2011 infographic on the costs of being uninsured in America such as early death, multiple ER visits, and unpaid medical bills.

9. Treating the poor in the Emergency Room makes hospitals less likely to adequately treat patients in truly emergency situations– all too often in the United States, Emergency Rooms usually serve as places that treat the uninsured since they can’t turn anyone away. Most of the time when the uninsured have a serious condition, they will simply not seek any medical attention until it gets substantially worse. Not to mention, there are some patients who aren’t experiencing actual emergencies and those who’d be better served in a non-acute setting. These patients are usually there because they’re uninsured. This leaves ERs basically overused, overcrowded, and with an overstressed staff which would inhibit their effectiveness in treating ER patients with real life threatening conditions, insured or not. Thus, when uninsured flood the emergency room, quality emergency care is compromised.

This is a chart from Forbes magazine comparing the quality of US healthcare to that of 10 other countries as well as the costs. By the way, the US is the only country on this chart that doesn't have Universal Healthcare. Not to mention, this magazine isn't run by liberals.

This is a chart from Forbes magazine comparing the quality of US healthcare to that of 10 other countries as well as the costs. By the way, the US is the only country on this chart that doesn’t have Universal Healthcare. Not to mention, this magazine isn’t run by liberals.

10. A lot of other industrialized countries have Universal Healthcare, most of which have better health systems than the United States– the US doesn’t have the best healthcare system in the world and one of the few industrialized countries that doesn’t have a universal healthcare system. Meanwhile, other countries have managed to have ways to guarantee universal affordable health care to all their citizens and their people are much healthier (though their systems may have their share of unique problems and challenges). The British have a National Health Service which is a point of national pride in the UK and spend half as much on healthcare as we do. While Japan is known for a high cost of living, their health services are comparatively cheap and you always know what you’re paying for. Taiwan and Canada have government run health systems while France, Germany, and Switzerland don’t (though their systems are non-profit while Switzerland’s healthcare plan is modeled after Hillary Clinton’s 1994 healthcare plan that didn’t pass Congress). Still, even the most conservative people in those countries are much more satisfied with their healthcare system than even Obamacare’s harshest critics are with ours. The United States spends more on healthcare than any other industrialized nation and affordable access is still denied. When tourists get sick in the country, they often find themselves getting medical bills that cost an extraordinary amount of money such as the Canadian woman slapped with a million dollars for having a child in Hawaii. This is unacceptable.

11. The United States provides a lot of taxpayer funded services– these include free public education, highways, fire department, police, national parks, historical preservation, national defense, public libraries, banking protections, postal service, water utilities, mass transit, emergency services in environmental and national disasters, and so many more. So why should paying for healthcare be any different? Thus, there should be no reason why universal healthcare isn’t unconstitutional.

This graph is from the Huffington Post pertaining to how much health care costs have increased since the 1960s, which they say is a staggering 818% while the GDP and wages not so much. This might be biased but it helps show why the US health system was in dire need of reform by Obamacare.

This graph is from the Huffington Post pertaining to how much health care costs have increased since the 1960s, which they say is a staggering 818% while the GDP and wages not so much. This might be biased but it helps show why the US health system was in dire need of reform by Obamacare.

12. For-profit healthcare isn’t what it’s cracked up to be– sure you may hear libertarians say that an unregulated free market helps everyone. However, while health insurance companies may give some people choice in their own health plans, it only extends to those who are able to afford it or the wealthy. Those who aren’t rich may be compelled to choose a different plan which doesn’t allow them good access to services as well as charges exorbitantly high premiums. Before Obamacare, many health insurance companies dropped sick people or denied sick people insurance due to preexisting conditions. Those insured would have to pick the providers from those the insurance company would cover and would accept your policy (this is still the case, by the way). Those with employee health insurance plans usually have to go with the option the employer provides and are usually one lay off away from losing it. Then there’s the lifetime and annual limits insurance companies would impose on people as well as charging women more than men. Not what I call consumer choice.

13. Nobody wants to get rid of Medicare and Tricare– Tricare and Medicare are single payer healthcare programs that provide services for people over 65 and military veterans. And though both may have their problems, we have to understand that they are very popular. Even people who don’t believe in universal healthcare would admit that government should take care of our veterans and elderly. In fact, many of Obamacare’s opponents might even be on them.

This pie chart from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows why some uninsured adults in America go without health insurance with not being able to afford it the main reason at 32%.

This pie chart from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows why some uninsured adults in America go without health insurance with not being able to afford it the main reason at 32%.

14. For-profit healthcare is discriminatory, costly, and unsustainable– we need to face that a for-profit health care not only costs Americans and the government billions, but also excludes a lot of Americans from accessing healthcare as well as makes it unaffordable for even those with insurance. The very fact that healthcare has become so expensive has led to most personal bankruptcies as well as is leading more companies to drop their employee healthcare plans. Furthermore, it’s also the main reason why it’s so hard to start a business and why small businesses have a hard time hiring workers. And while for-profit healthcare may have competition, it’s now the main reason for higher health prices because the insurance companies are focused on higher short term profits and administrative costs. Thus, for-profit healthcare is economically unsustainable.

15. Opposition to universal healthcare is mostly on ideological grounds– now while there is tremendous opposition against universal healthcare in the United States, it has absolutely nothing to do with how they feel about the healthcare system nor how they feel about services like Medicare and Tricare. I did a poll once on the US healthcare system for my high school civics class and found out that even those who opposed universal healthcare were just as likely to be unsatisfied with the US healthcare system as those who supported it (this, back in 2008). People who oppose universal healthcare usually try to make the issue about social entitlements to the poor as well as an issue of free market capitalism, equating it with “socialized medicine,” and big government “nanny state.” However, if you ask whether the government should provide healthcare to our veterans and senior citizens, even the most hardened conservatives would find it difficult to say no. This is especially true if you consider the fact a lot of senior citizens and veterans make up the conservative base and watch Fox News. So most of the opposition against universal healthcare is strictly ideological.

16. Money driven medicine doesn’t equal good quality care-In the United States, the healthcare system is arranged in a “fee for service” model which doctors get paid for providing services regardless of treatment outcome. It’s not unusual in the United States for doctors to prescribe treatments to patients that could possibly do nothing or be harmful and could hurt their quality of life. We need to understand that what makes a good business model doesn’t always translate into the quality a business has to offer, especially if it pertains to a business that’s supposed to save lives. Sure the insurance company makes money from treatments but so do the drug companies, hospitals, as well as those who make medical instruments and devices. But the fact medical malpractice in America is so common that medical errors kill more Americans per year than car wrecks that it’s big business as well. The people who the healthcare industry makes the most money off of isn’t the richest patients, but the sickest ones, which is why many seniors suffer greatly as they approach the end of their lives. In fact, said that 30,000 Americans die due to “overtreatment” each year as well. Add to that Americans spend more on healthcare than anyone else in the world on a system that discriminates the poor, you can see why nobody in the United States is satisfied with the healthcare they receive.

17. Free market economics don’t lead to greater cost control and effectiveness– despite what many universal healthcare opponents, conservatives, and libertarians may say, free market economics doesn’t necessarily make goods and services any cheaper. Now the healthcare system is driven by two market forces known as demand and the need to make greater profits than the previous year. This is the main reason why healthcare prices increase in the first place. Despite the economic recession that took hold in 2008, health insurance companies increased their profits by 56% in 2009 alone while between 2000-2006 as workers’ wages increased 3.8%, healthcare premiums rose 87%. In 2009, the top 5 health insurance companies in America ended up with a combined profit of $12.2 billion with their executives receiving as much as $200 million in total compensation. While the healthcare system operates on profit motives and competition, we still have people uninsured and costs are out of control as we speak. So much for free market economics.

18. The ER and medical services designed to help the poor are no substitute for having a PCP– a common myth about healthcare in America cited by many universal healthcare opponents is that being uninsured doesn’t mean they can’t receive healthcare for they can go to the ER and that there are plenty of government and private medical practices helping the uninsured. Sure it may be illegal to turn away people from the ER but such care doesn’t provide adequate care to most serious conditions, especially if they were previously undiagnosed. If the uninsured are unable to pay for care in full (which is 2.5 times more than what people with insurance pay), they’re often turned away when they seek follow-up care for urgent medical conditions. Treating a chronic condition requires much more medical care than an Emergency Room visit and lack of follow-ups attributed to being uninsured can delay detection of certain cancers that lead to adverse outcomes. As for the medical providers who do treat the uninsured, how in the hell is an uninsured person supposed to find them? In the US, the term “non-profit hospital” is basically a joke. Besides, free and discounted health services aren’t a common thing. In the US, if you can’t afford a regular source of healthcare like a PCP, then you’re medically screwed.

A 2013 survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation show that 2/3 of Americans regardless of coverage status are worried about being unable to pay their medical bills in the event of a serious accident/illness. Even being insured doesn't provide that security from medical bill troubles.

A 2013 survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation show that 2/3 of Americans regardless of coverage status are worried about being unable to pay their medical bills in the event of a serious accident/illness. Even being insured doesn’t provide that security from medical bill troubles.

19. There’s nothing more stressful in America as unpaid medical bills-in the United States, being concerned with how much you’ll have to pay for medical treatments for serious illnesses, injuries, and/or childbirth isn’t an unusual thing, even if you have health insurance. Since uninsured patients are charged 2.5 times more for care than their insured counterparts, it’s particularly scary for them to think that they’re once serious illness away from death, disability, or financial ruin. Most uninsured usually postpone needed care because they’re simply not confident they could pay for it. 2004 statistics say that they’re over twice as likely to report problems paying medical bills and are almost 3 times as likely to be contacted by a collection agency about them. Even if you have insurance, there’s no guarantee that your coverage will cover the costs that your medical bills demand, even if you’re on an employee-based plan. The fact that more Americans are becoming, “underinsured” really shows that healthcare is becoming less affordable by the year. No sick person in America should worry about paying medical bills once they get better. Add to the fact that more personal bankruptcies in America are caused by medical bills.

A 2014 stat by Vox that says about 201,000 Americans are killed every year due to medical errors that most healthcare providers try to avoid.

A 2014 stat by Vox that says about 201,000 Americans are killed every year due to medical errors that most healthcare providers try to avoid.

20. Medical treatment is more focused on insurance procedures and malpractice liability– as a for-profit system insurance procedures and malpractice liability have a lot of influence on how doctors treat patients. Forbes has reported that 92% of clinicians admit to making some medical decisions based on avoiding lawsuits, as opposed to the best interests of their patients. Patients put a lot of trust in their doctors for a lot of understandable reasons. Most patients want to feel that doctors will think of their best interests and make recommendations to their well-being accordingly. In money driven medicine (a.k.a. for-profit healthcare), you can’t always be sure that caregivers and patients will decide what’s best for the patient’s health. Sometimes decisions are made due to insurance procedures and perhaps on avoiding malpractice lawsuits, which cost lots of money as well as could possibly lead to a doctor losing his or her medical license. Sometimes doctors suggests the treatment that would get the most money, not what the patient needs. In fact, much of the healthcare industry makes its money by having patients spend exorbitant amounts on tests and scans they don’t actually need. Regardless of what doctors think about universal healthcare, most would rather just treat people without having to worry about interference from the medical billing department or the insurance company.

A 2012 infographic from NPR shows that while 56% of Americans have health insurance through their employers, 1 in 3 Americans are in a family that has trouble paying medical bills. Let that sink in.

A 2012 infographic from NPR shows that while 56% of Americans have health insurance through their employers, 1 in 3 Americans are in a family that has trouble paying medical bills. Let that sink in.

21. Most Americans are unsatisfied with the US healthcare system– despite what many people on Fox News may tell you, even the most diehard opponents of Obamacare can admit that the US healthcare system isn’t the best in the world. There are tons of healthcare horror stories in America such as people being charged high bills for cancer treatment, people meeting untimely ends due to not having insurance or the insurance not paying for treatment, dying due to receiving too much treatment, being denied for a preexisting condition, and so much more. About all the documentaries on the US healthcare system I’ve seen, Michael Moore’s Sicko was about the easiest to watch while the Bill Moyers Journal feature of “Money Driven Medicine” during the Obamacare debates was about the hardest. Now these documentaries may have varying degrees of accuracy but there are many Americans have or know someone who’s been screwed the US healthcare system which may range from frustrating to downright devastating. While there may be great contention on whether to have universal healthcare or reform healthcare at all, most Americans can agree that the for-profit healthcare system right now simply isn’t working.

22. Even healthy people can develop serious problems that need treatment– another argument against universal healthcare is that it would make healthy people who take care of themselves pay for burden of those with unhealthy lifestyles. However, while a healthy lifestyle can add years to your life, it’s no guarantee that you’ll live a long and healthy life, which may have more to do with family history and environmental hazards neither of which people have control over. You might also get injured in an accident or get shot at, which also needs serious medical attention. And even some people’s unhealthy lifestyles might also have a lot to do with factors beyond their control like having to work more than one job, occupational hazards, living in a poor neighborhood without a grocery store, bad upbringing, poverty, inadequate education, genetics, and others. Also, there are plenty of children who have serious health conditions as well as disabilities that need medical attention. Should they be denied? Not to mention, seniors and veterans aren’t the healthiest individuals in American society, so should we not pay taxes for their healthcare? I know this may be a bit extreme but we need to understand that there are times when bad health has very little to do with bad lifestyle choices alone. We try not to let natural disasters ruin people’s lives. Why should healthcare be any different?

23. We pay more of a price for not treating people when they should be– I know plenty of people complain about the healthcare system and think that we’ll pay more if we let poor people receive adequate medical treatment. For the uninsured the only outlet of medical care is basically the ER and a visit there is much more expensive than a routine visit to the PCP. Yet, since most PCPs only take insured patients, most uninsured don’t have this option and will postpone necessary treatment for serious illnesses because they simply can’t afford it. As a result, uninsured patients are more likely to be admitted into the ER with an undiagnosed late stage illness than an insured person would. Since an uninsured patient will probably be turned down for follow up, he or she will likely end up readmitted into the Emergency Room multiple times until they die prematurely. The costs add up as well as passed to consumers and insurance companies to foot. People who see a regular care provider are more likely to have any serious illness detected in the early stages as well as be treated for it as soon as possible. When it comes to serious illnesses or injuries, having a regular care provider can result in fewer hospital stays as well as Emergency Room visits, which can save a lot of money in the long term. In addition, providing preventative care to all Americans also saves a lot of costs down the line as well.

24. Most Americans support universal healthcare-despite how vocal Obamacare opponents could get, two thirds of Americans support a universal healthcare system while 90% at least believe that our healthcare system should be reformed. While it’s seen as a mostly Democratic issue, it has support among health care officials, religious leaders, and other major organizations. So this is an issue with a large amount of popular support. The fact that the United States is one of the few industrialized countries without universal healthcare is more due to party politics, healthcare being a multi-billion dollar business, and special interest lobbying. Still, if that’s not a reason for universal healthcare, then I don’t know what is.

Graph on hospital openings and closures between 2000 to 2012. Of course, these numbers only pertain to those participating in Medicare. But then again, most US hospitals do anyway.

Graph on hospital openings and closures between 2000 to 2012. Of course, these numbers only pertain to those participating in Medicare. But then again, most US hospitals do anyway. Yet, while they still happen not that it was a much bigger problem before Obamacare as this graph shows.

25. High medical costs have led to hospitals being shut down and less services to access-Now  I know that hospitals are big players in the healthcare system. Yet, in recent years, the rise of healthcare costs and uninsured during the Bush years has led to a lot of medical establishments being shut down since they can’t measure up to their competitors or couldn’t get enough patients. This has not only created less available healthcare services, it’s also led to job loss and economically devastated communities, especially if it’s the establishment that keeps the town going. This results in people having to travel further for services and longer lines. A for-profit healthcare system may seem like a good business plan in theory, but it also gives hospitals more of an incentive to make profits, which shouldn’t be its main priority. This is why medical costs rise, which makes healthcare less affordable. When healthcare is less affordable, then hospitals receive less patients. This leads many hospitals into a financial loss and eventual shut down. What’s even worse is that many hospital shutdowns happen in the poorest communities with the sickest patients, which is a terrible shame. When there are less services, it’s another reason for high health care costs and more limited availability.