Staring Down the Coronavirus Pandemic

Since the Coronavirus outbreak has compelled us to retreat from our social lives and stay at home, I’ve mostly been confined to my house save for the occasional walk. Indeed, I’ve adjusted quite well to quarantine. But there are still things I miss. For instance, I miss going to church. I miss going to a library, Barnes & Noble, the movies, my grandma’s, and so many other places. However, I can be grateful that I could social distance and not worry about going out too much. Since aside from a morning walk, I usually stay indoors anyways. And I’m not the one in my house going out for groceries or visiting my grandma either.

Yet, what has occupied my mind since I started social distancing hasn’t been how I’ve been faring since I know if I come down with it, most of it pertains to how much our national embarrassment has epically fucked up. When it comes to Donald Trump’s presidency, rock bottom always appears to have a basement. But he is a man who’d rather blame God for his own misdeeds than take any responsibility for them. Yet, since that will get him in trouble with the Christian Right, he’ll blame literally anyone else that goes against him. Anyway, Trump has handled the Covid-19 situation about as abysmally as you’d expect. For God’s sake, the guy has had since January to do something about it. Actually he had plenty of time before that. Not to mention, he continues to incur massive damage in coronavirus response efforts because he’s more concerned with his own image and getting reelected.

The US problems in handling the coronavirus pandemic began in April 2018, when the Trump administration started disbanding the pandemic response team while repeatedly calling for CDC budget cuts. By the time the coronavirus came to the United States, officials had to rebuild a coordinated response team they had dismantled a couple years before. You don’t have to be psychic to realize that such actions are terrible ideas. After all, the Obama administration set up the pandemic response team in order to prepare for one, which experts said would be inevitable. Nonetheless, doing away with some regulation, agency, or any other government function, it doesn’t lead to anything good. Unless it deals with something that’s incredibly obsolete.

As early as November 2019, national security experts warned Donald Trump about Covid-19’s expected spread throughout the United States. In January, trade adviser Peter Navarro warned the White House that the novel coronavirus could kill half a million Americans, shortly after the cases began spreading through China. As time passed, Trump minimized the problem in his messaging, did little to address testing shortages, and delayed declaring a national emergency to unlock aid funding. Furthermore, Trump and the federal government repeatedly ignored opportunities to mitigate the virus’ spread through extensive testing. Hell, he’s even called the coronavirus a hoax on many occasions. And while his tune has changed in recent weeks (though I’m not so sure about that), experts say the early sluggish response will likely have lasting effects on the virus’ spread in communities and how deadly it’s become.

In January 2020, the Trump administration restricted travel to China, the day after the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency. Though Donald Trump often cites this as an early, decisive move on stopping virus, it was already spreading within US borders. And at best, the government only bought time it didn’t use particularly well. Given that we have a complete sociopath in the White House whose chief worry is mainly his own self-image. And beyond that decision, Trump has mostly downplayed the coronavirus’ severity from the beginning and largely failed to take early widespread actions that could’ve slowed the disease’s spread in the country. Instead, Covid-19 is now projected to kill tens of thousands of Americans. Yet, as US officials warned of major disruptions ahead by late February, Trump insisted that the virus was contained in the US and that, “it’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” Except that it totally did the opposite.

Even in March as people began dying in Washington state and elsewhere, Trump administration officials assured the public that the US was “way ahead of the curve” on preparing for the virus, saying that “the vast majority of Americans are not at risk for this virus,” and the Trump campaign refused to cancel campaign rallies. Finally, in mid-March, Donald Trump agreed to recommend social distancing around the country and declared a national emergency, which unlocked $42.6 billion in funding to help states get more resources as medical supplies in some states were already running thin (like he had any choice). Nonetheless, supplies are still difficult to come by, which experts have said is partly due to Trump’s dismantling of the pandemic preparedness team before the crisis. Nevertheless, Trump stated that “I don’t take responsibility at all,” in the nation’s slow response. So he’ll blame someone else whether it’s the Chinese, WHO, Democratic governors, Dr. Anthony Fauci, or anyone else that could serve as a convenient scapegoat.

Still, while social distancing has been official Trump administration policy, that hasn’t stopped Donald Trump from inciting chaos in the country. Tweeting sentiments like “Liberate Michigan,” and other states with governors he doesn’t like, he has encouraged anti-social distancing and anti-stay-at-home orders rallies in the United States calling the state-based measures too draconian. Fox News has also promoted these protests on air. Funded and organized by conservative groups like Freedom Works, these ill-advised events have somehow attracted thousands of people. Some of these have posted links and images on Facebook downplaying Covid-19’s seriousness. While other leaders have advocated against following CDC guidelines, like a ban on big gatherings and recommending face masks. While these protests draw some Tea Party parallels, some take the feel of 2016 Trump campaign rallies with participants wearing MAGA hats and waving flags emblazoned with Trump’s stupid face. Some may wear masks. While many do not nor do they stand 6 feet apart from each other. They’re also quite selfish since they complain about needing to buy fertilizer for their gardens, new furniture, or a haircut. Some want to go golfing, a massage, or their nails done. You’ think these protestors want businesses to open back up so they can go back to work. But it’s not the case. Rather they’re protesting to demand other workers to return to their jobs to endanger themselves in order to serve them and their nonessential desires. For these same people will never protest for better wages, or more worker protections. They’re just fighting to force poor people to go back to doing their hair and selling them makeup, furniture, and other fancy things. Let us note that these people are selfish and irresponsible assholes who don’t care if people die just as long as they get their stuff.

In any case, these anti-lockdown protests tap into Donald Trump’s main message on the coronavirus pandemic: Blame the governors for this crisis, not him. As Trump ratchets up his reelection efforts, his argument is an effort to put the brunt of responsibility for the coronavirus catastrophe on his political opponents’ shoulders while maintaining he has “total authority” over the pandemic and the states facing it. It’s an argument that resonates in rural, redder parts of the country, which the pandemic hasn’t hit as hard as blue, urban areas yet. It’s a message of division designed to pit Republican-voting areas against their Democratic-voting neighbors, even rural Republicans against urban Republicans. All this to activate the white rural Trump voters of 2016 and whom he’ll need again in 2020. For some on the right, the plan seems simple: vilify Democratic governors and agitate the end of shutdown orders. Then “reopen the economy” and spur a massive turnaround in the nation’s economic projects just in time for Donald Trump to cruise to reelection in November. Should the pandemic recede, he can claim entire responsibility. But if people keep dying, he can just blame Democratic governors.

Fortunately, that strategy is more likely to blow in Donald Trump’s big orange face. The public (including a vast majority of Republicans), largely supports social distancing measures. While new polling suggests half of Republicans are concerned that stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures will be lifted too quickly. In fact, research shows that Americans began social distancing before their government urged them to do so. And they likely wouldn’t stop if they were lifted. Thus, the anti-shutdown protests don’t mirror public opinion. Not to mention, in order for Trump to benefit from their potential impact, the coronavirus needs to spare rural American (which it isn’t). Besides, in many rural areas, even a relatively small number of coronavirus cases can stretch rural hospitals and health networks to the limit. Not to mention, coronavirus rates in Idaho and South Dakota are also increasing.

Nonetheless, the coronavirus pandemic has revealed how messed up the United States really is. Though a virus doesn’t discriminate in who it infects or kills, black people, Latinos, low wage workers, the elderly poor (well, poor people in general), those our healthcare system has historically neglected, and those pummeled with our racism. Though we are all in this together, not everyone is exposed at an equal risk. If you live in a dense urban center, depend on public transportation, work in a low wage and unpredictable job without enough protections or adequate health insurance, you are undeniably most “in it.” Not because you didn’t shelter fast enough or washed your hands enough times. But because we live in a country with a story riddled with redlining, undervalued care, and the insidious legacy of slavery.

Yet, even worse, this pandemic has been absolutely crushing to low income workers who are either risking their lives to keep society going and feed their families or are unemployed. A recent survey from Pew reported that just over half of low-income adults in the US had someone in their household who had either lost their job or hours. Making matters worse, just 23% of low-income people had enough money saved to cover 3 months’ expenses in case of financial emergency. And as of April 2020, 22 million people have filed initial claims for unemployment insurance over the past several weeks. However, this Pew study suggests those already in difficult financial circumstances ahead of the pandemic are bearing the brunt of economic damage. And not surprisingly, many Americans weren’t in as strong financial position as they may have appeared. Thus, we shouldn’t be shocked that 53% of low-income workers reported that they’d have trouble paying some of their monthly bills. In addition to Covid-19 fatalities being disproportionately prevalent among people of color and those in poverty, all this puts additional pressure on family members who still have jobs to keep working and possibly fall ill themselves. Grocery stores have reported that employees have started to die from Covid-19. And so have public transit workers responsible for getting people to work.

So when the pandemic ends, should we go back to normal? Oh, hell, no. Because as the coronavirus has ravaged our country and overwhelmed our healthcare system, we are confronted with some stark realities of inequality and economic duress. We may call our “essential workers” heroes, but after it’s over, will we remember them and treat them as such? With that, I’m not so sure. After all, we’ve referred to first responders as such on 9/11 and it took 18 years to pass a law guaranteed to fund their medical care for their injuries. We’re often told to support our troops as they go off to war and remember their sacrifice whenever they die or march in a parade. Yet, the VA is an utter bureaucratic clusterfuck that might be run by 3 of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago friends behind the scenes, while veteran homelessness is a thing. And if they’re found undocumented, well, their service record won’t save them from possible deportation. Now we’re putting healthcare workers, maintenance workers, drivers, grocery, gas station, and pharmacy employees, garbage collectors, and other “essential” people on the heroic pedestal. Many of them work for low wages with no health benefits and no form of paid leave of any kind. They’re also spending considerable time away from their families and possibly exposing themselves to the virus that might eventually kill them. If we want to anything to honor these heroes’ sacrifice, perhaps we should remember what they did for us and maybe make sure they’re treated as valued members in our communities. Some ideas include at least establishing healthcare as a right and providing a single-payer public option for those earning below $1 million per year, raising the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour, mandating paid sick leave, safer conditions, and collective bargaining rights so they can organize regardless of their employer’s union stance. When it comes to crises like this, normal won’t save us. Rather let the coronavirus provide us the opportunity to build a better world and get Donald Trump out of the White House in November. Seriously, he’s a psychopath who’d willingly have people get sick and die for the economy and increase his reelection chances.

An Unconstitutional War on Preexisting Conditions

Since I am a Medicaid recipient due to having a pre-existing condition called Autism, the issue of healthcare is a very important to me. So much so that during the House of Representatives’ passage of the American Healthcare Act deeply troubled me that I was enraged, anxious, and inconsolable about the whole thing for a good part of 2017 summer. Anyway, one of the most important aspects in the Affordable Care Act are the protections for people with pre-existing conditions who consist of 130 million of the US population under 65. Because before the ACA’s 2010 passage, if a citizen had a pre-existing condition, insurance companies could reject them, charge them more, raise the rate once they’re enrolled, or even refuse to pay or cover for essential healthcare benefits treating that condition. And insurance companies often canceled coverage for people who became ill once the policy year ended. In fact, they often required applicants to fill out long questionnaires about their medical histories and made decisions based on people’s health and how much to charge. This led to so many Americans unable to purchase health insurance on the individual market at all. Obamacare outlawed all these practices and set limits on how much these insurers can charge.

On Thursday, June 7, 2018, the Trump administration filed a court brief arguing that Obamacare’s protections for preexisting conditions should be ruled unconstitutional. This opens another front in the White House’s crusade to roll back the law’s core insurance reforms and some of its most popular pillars. Not to mention, intensify the fight over healthcare just as mid-term elections are months away. Since Republicans and the Trump administration have been behind major efforts to sabotage the ACA, we can expect taking away protections for pre-existing conditions won’t do them any favors. For GOP ideas on healthcare have proven to be obviously and deeply unpopular among the American public. In fact, when the American Healthcare Act was up for debate last year, it faced strong opposition by the Democrats, the medical establishment, disability activists, celebrities, religious groups, civil rights organization, and most of the population in every state.

The brief was filed in a case brought by several conservative states arguing that because Republicans in Congress repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty in last year’s tax bill, rendering it unconstitutional along with the rest of the ACA law. The lawsuit argued that without an actual fine for being uninsured, the mandate should be considered illegal under Chief Justice John Roberts’ rationale used to uphold the law in the 2012 lawsuit. He claimed that Congress can’t order people to buy insurance but it could imposing an uninsurance penalty fee, allowing the rest of the law to stand and take effect. Without the financial penalty, the Republican-led argued the requirement to buy insurance can’t legally stand. And since it’s so crucial to Obamacare, the whole law should be found unconstitutional, too. If you don’t understand this convoluted construct, you aren’t alone since neither do I.

Usually, a presidential administration defends the current law, but the Trump administration agreed with the states that the mandate and with it, the law’s rules prohibiting insurers from denying people health insurance or charging them higher rates should now be found unconstitutional. However, the Justice Department lawyers told the court that the rest of the law could stand, including the law’s massive expansion to millions of the nation’s poorest. Should the Trump administration’s argument prevail, insurers could once again be able to flat-out deny Americans insurance based on their health status. Since no amount of federal subsidies would protect them. Medicaid expansion will remain but the private insurance market would no longer guarantee coverage to every American willing to pay for it. Yet, according to a 2016 Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, a favorable ruling could result in 52 million Americans under 65 finding their access to health insurance at risk because of a wide range of pre-existing conditions like diabetes, cancer, autism, allergies, acne, toenail fungus, domestic violence, tonsillitis, bunions, hemorrhoids, pregnancy, and being a woman. Those who may be affected by pre-existing condition clauses may include police officers, firefighters, stunt people, test pilots, and circus workers. Striking down these provisions would be catastrophic and have dire consequences for many patients with serious illnesses. Not only would millions lose their coverage, but their ability to buy health insurance. If you have individual insurance and have suffered so much as a case of asthma, you have every right to freak out over the choices the Trump administration has made.

Of course, this argument makes absolutely no sense. When Congress adopted the individual mandate in 2010, it was an essential part of a broader scheme. But Congress is always free to amend and omit what they previously thought was essential, which is what they did when they nixed the uninsurance penalty. Sure the move was stupid since the individual mandate’s purpose is to get healthy people to buy insurance to spread the risk across a broader population and help keep prices lower for everyone. Get rid of the mandate, insurance premiums spike. But despite their idiocy to get rid of the mandate, they let the rest of the law stand. For a court to now reject that choice would be the worst kind of judicial activism. The Justice Department should’ve given an easy explanation and had a duty to do so. Since there’s a longstanding, bipartisan tradition defending acts of Congress whenever a non-frivolous argument can be made in their defense, which is certainly the case here. This brief squashes that commitment.

Nonetheless, the brief sends a strong signal that the Trump administration believes the central insurance reforms in the ACA should be totally undone. Already, the administration has taken regularly steps to undermine those rules such as expanding short-term plans that don’t have to comply with the reforms. But it’s now seeking a different avenue, outside Congress, to end them for good. Because we all know how congressional Republicans have failed to pass Obamacare repeal last year despite coming astonishingly close (only to be thwarted by 3 Republican senators). Of course, Donald Trump has promised he’d make sure all Americans get better, cheaper healthcare. Yet, he has done nothing to achieve that despite how his supporters give him credit when they benefit from ACA provisions. Still, we should know full well that Trump frequently makes promises to people to get what he wants only to frequently break them. Since he often has no intention to follow through to begin with.

Luckily, the litigation’s success is far from assured since many legal scholars have long thought the lawsuit is stupid. Because the higher courts who’ve upheld Obamacare against existential legal threats on several prior occasions won’t take it seriously. Besides, protections against pre-existing conditions remains one of ACA’s most popular provisions since 130 million Americans under 65 have them. Openly attacking them might lead to severe political backlash for Republicans during the mid-terms. Since it’s an election year Democrats already want to focus on healthcare. The Trump administration’s position doesn’t really change the legal ground much. Since the Democratic-led states had already stepped in to defend Obamacare in the case. Then there’s the fact several career federal lawyers withdrew from the case shortly before the brief was filed since they thought the Trump administration’s arguments were ridiculous. After all, they’re non-political civil servants whose job is to defend federal programs. These lawyers couldn’t sign the brief in good conscience or in consistent with their professional obligations. They defend programs they personally disagree with all the time.

Yet, health insurers are setting their Obamacare insurance rates for 2019. Some plans are already hiking premiums by 30% or more thanks to what Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration has done. This lawsuit and the administration engenders more uncertainty which won’t help. For any time there’s uncertainty about the future, insurers build an extra cushion into their premiums to make sure they get the profits while they can. In addition, removing those provisions will result in renewed uncertainty in the individual market, create a patchwork of requirements in the states, lead to higher rates for older Americans and sicker patients, and make it more difficult to introduce products and rates for next year. Some have even withdrawn from the business of selling individual insurance plans or may exit certain areas entirely. Such actions will harm millions of Americans, especially if they don’t qualify for Medicaid and don’t receive health benefits at work. Not to mention, throw the health insurance market further into chaos while eroding the massive ACA insurance gains.

Although the Affordable Care Act isn’t under immediate threat so far, the Justice Department brief represents a blow to its integrity and independence. Moreover, it also illustrates the Trump administration’s contempt for the rule of law, which isn’t surprising. Laws Congress passes and that presidents sign are the laws of the land. They’re neither negotiable or up for debate. If the Justice Department can just throw in the towel whenever a law is subject to a court challenge, it can effectively pick and choose which laws should remain on the books. That’s a flagrant violation of a president’s constitutional duty to make sure the laws are faithfully enforced. Do you want to live in a country where the Justice Department can use the flimsiest excuse to justify declining to defend or enforce a law? Sure there are cases where the DOJ has deviated from principle, they’re extremely rare.

Is there any precedent for this? I’m sure Donald Trump’s defenders will talk about the Obama administration’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. But with DOMA, the Justice Department faced a question about the meaning of the Constitution with deep resonance for the values we share as a nation. As we no longer believe it’s constitutional to deny interracial couples the right to marry, the Justice Department concluded that we as a nation, no longer think it’s constitutionally tenable to deny equal rights to LGBT people. Whether you agree or disagree with that decision, it was rooted in the public’s evolving sense on what the Constitution meant.

However, this case with the ACA pre-existing condition protections can’t be more different from DOMA. The question isn’t whether a penalty-free mandate is unconstitutional. This is a critical question on “severability” which doesn’t represent a clash of fundamental constitutional values or defines who we are as a nation. Besides, the conservative states’ argument is laughably weak. It’s unlikely that the Supreme Court will adopt such a flimsy argument these conservative states have advanced which they pulled from their own ass. For now, nobody needs to worry about losing their health insurance since the Trump administration will keep enforcing the ACA as litigation progresses. Yet, by declining to defend that law, the Trump administration has admitted it doesn’t care about a law passed by Congress and signed by the president. In fact, it has contempt for the law and has a baseless argument for casting it aside. A rule by whim should frighten you.

In any case, regardless of what these conservative states argue in this lawsuit, I sincerely believe invalidating protections for pre-existing conditions is cruel and inexcusable. The guarantee that people should be able to buy health insurance regardless of their health history is a popular provision in the divisive ACA with considerable support throughout the political spectrum. So there’s nothing controversial about them. To say that provisions protecting people with pre-existing medical conditions like myself are unconstitutional flies in the face of logic for me. Considering they protect over 130 million Americans, it’s more likely that revoking provisions on pre-existing conditions would be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, which provides that no state should deny any person within its jurisdiction equal protection under the law. I’m not sure if it means that insurance companies can’t discriminate against people on health status or gender. Yet, since this clause has been used to determine that businesses can’t discriminate against race or sexual identity, I don’t see why not. Because without these protections, over 130 million Americans would be uninsurable in the individual market. Thus, individual mandate or not, health insurance companies can and should be compelled to cover everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions. Again, I’m not sure if this is a sound legal argument. But since I see healthcare as a civil right the government should protect, I don’t see why attorneys shouldn’t argue that point in court. Since the federal government is supposed to protect Americans against discrimination, in which these pre-Obamacare pre-existing condition clauses certainly fall under that. I mean that’s discriminating against sick, old, and disabled people along with women and LGBT people, especially if they’re poor and unable to pay the costs out-of-pocket. And even if I can’t provide a sound legal argument, I can make a case of basic morality that no American should be denied health coverage for any reason whatsoever since I strongly believe that healthcare is a civil right the government should protect. Sure, this might mean that for-profit healthcare is a morally indefensible travesty like it does for me. But if we should determine that provisions protection those with pre-existing conditions are constitutional, shouldn’t an argument based on simple fairness and decency be enough?

A Plea for Saving the Children’s Health Insurance Program

In 1993, the late Governor Robert P. Casey Sr. signed the first Children’s Health Insurance Program into law in Pennsylvania, which later served as a model for the federal program Congress would enact a few years later. Westmoreland County’s then State Senator Allen Kukovich was instrumental in enacting this state program that he’s considered its founding father. Since 1997, the Children’s Health Insurance Program has provided matching funds to states for health insurance to children from families who can’t afford marketplace or employer insurance but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. Sponsored by the late Senator Ted Kennedy in partnership with Senator Orrin Hatch and supported by then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, it was the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded health insurance coverage for children in the United States President Lyndon B. Johnson established Medicaid in 1968. Today CHIP is a critical government program providing health insurance for nearly 9 million low-income kids as well as remains one of our nation’s most vitally important and widely supported programs. Thanks to CHIP, the United States enjoys has the highest rate of insured children in our nation’s history at over 95%.

On September 30, 2017, CHIP expired when lawmakers couldn’t agree on a 5-year reauthorization of the program. This puts millions of kids at risk of becoming uninsured, and in some cases, being denied the critical care they need to survive and thrive. Though states have remaining funds to keep their programs running for varying lengths of time, it’s an administrative nightmare for states that can’t plan ahead. But they may have to prepare for a possible shutdown of their CHIP programs well before they run out of money. As Alabama CHIP director noted, “This whole situation is causing chaos. We are causing confusion to families, stress and turmoil.” On December 15, Alabama officials were forced to announce that they’d stop taking new enrollees on New Year’s Day and the 84,000 kids (1/8 of the state’s children) currently in the program could lose coverage February 1. In my home state of Pennsylvania, the families of 174,000 children currently enrolled in CHIP are about to receive notices informing them that their insurance may be canceled while Colorado already has sent a letter back in September that their CHIP coverage will be canceled by the end of January. Utah has already submitted a request to the federal government to freeze their program’s enrollment. Some states such as Nevada, already have laws that force officials to freeze enrollment if federal funds decrease at all. By the start of 2018, more than half the states are projected to have used up their available funding. Across the country, families depending on CHIP are running out of time.

On December 21, 2017, Congress passed short-term legislation to fund CHIP until the end of March, which is said to cover an estimated 1.9 million children across 24 states and Washington D.C. which stood to lose coverage care like doctor visits and hospitalizations in January. But this temporary relief still leaves CHIP and the families who rely on it in uncertainty since as of December of 2017, there is no long-term fix in sight. As George Washington University professor Sara Rosenbaum told Bloomberg, “You can’t run an insurance program this way.” Essentially, lawmakers are forcing health officials running the program, “to go month-to-month.” Still, even with these short-term fixes, “there will be relief that the funding has been extended, but it will be combined with a lot of anxiety,” as Kaiser Family Foundation executive vice president Diane Rowland claimed.

Health coverage is critical for children to get a healthy start in life and high coverage rates mean more children have an opportunity to meet their potential. It is well understood that covering kids is an investment in our future since a child’s health, school performance, and future success are all linked. So it goes without saying that unhealthy children are at higher risk for school problems, failing, or dropping out. Children who have health insurance through CHIP or Medicaid have better access to healthcare and do better in school than their uninsured counterparts. And better school performance provides a foundation for future success in life. Thus, investing in children’s coverage programs means investing in not only children’s health, but also academic success and success later in life. CHIP is especially important to children with special health needs, children of color, children in working families, and children in rural communities. Without CHIP, there would be more uninsured children, increased healthcare costs and less access for kids with insurance, and great financial devastation for families with special needs kids. At any rate, losing CHIP will devastating to millions of families, which will mean uncertainty surrounding their children’s health, much higher healthcare costs and added financial burdens, for some, a complete loss in their children’s coverage.

There is no question that Congress must vote to continue funding CHIP or else coverage for the 9 million kids whose families depend on CHIP will be in jeopardy. Should federal CHIP funding end, states would need to adjust their budgets, either ending or significantly cutting back on existing CHIP programs. Options available to a state may depend on whether it operates a separate CHIP program or has CHIP as an expanded Medicaid one. Either way, children’s health coverage will suffer. Nevertheless, failing to fund CHIP will undo 20 years of progress as well as undermine our nation’s values. If we want our children to live and succeed in this country, then funding CHIP should be a top priority. As Americans, we have a moral, ethical obligation to take care of our children. But if we can’t protect children’s health insurance, what does it say about our values?

Deliberate Sabotage

Since taking office, the Trump administration has already taken aim to sabotage the Obamacare marketplaces. First, they cut the Obamacare enrollment period from 90 days to 45. Second, they’ve cut the Obamacare advertising budget by 90% and reduced funding for in-person outreach by 40%. Nevertheless, this has caused Health and Human Services regional branches abruptly pulled out of outreach events they’ve participated in over the last 4 years. Third, they’ve shut down the Healthcare.gov website for maintenance. And finally, Trump has repeatedly threatened to end subsidies to insurance companies who cover the poor. Since Republicans have spent 7 years promising to repeal Obamacare, the healthcare law has become a political football. Recently Donald Trump has signed two executive orders sabotaging the Affordable Care Act. Both these executive orders could undermine President Obama’s signature domestic achievement sending insurance premiums skyrocketing and insurance companies fleeing from the ACA’s online marketplaces.

First, he ordered the government to allow associations of small employers or other membership groups band together and offer their own insurance that wouldn’t have to provide all the essential health benefits required under the law as well as be sold across state lines. The order also directed officials to loosen rules for low-cost, short-term health insurance. Trump claims these changes give consumers cheaper options. But health insurance (and basically everyone else) fear it could shift insurance markets back to their pre-ACA days when healthy people paid less but people with preexisting conditions often found coverage unaffordable.

According to the Brookings Institute, a version of these self-insured association plans first became widespread in the 1980s but they failed in droves because many were undercapitalized. Even worse, these earlier association plans had a history of becoming what the Labor Department referred to as, “scam artists.” And it’s known that some of these low-cost plans cover virtually nothing. The Government Accountability Office reported AHPs were “bogus entities [that] have exploited employers and individuals seeking affordable coverage.” In 1992, more than two dozen states found that these early association plans had committed fraud, embezzlement, and other criminal violations. AHPs also run a greater risk for insolvency when claims unexpectedly exceed their ability to pay and have a long history of financial instability. When a long-standing AHP covering 20,000 in New Jersey became insolvent in 2002, its outstanding medical bills totaled $15 million. Though employers paid their premiums, claims made by them and their workers remained unpaid. And it doesn’t help that even these plans’ strongest proponents want guardrails placed on what groups can qualify. For many associations offer health plans to just about anyone who needs insurance, not just small business owners. You don’t need to be a farmer to join the Farm Bureau and business associations can be open anyone filing a Schedule C tax form. Some even have skimpier qualifications that they’re criticized as “air breather” associations in which the only commonality among its members is need for air for breathing.

So it’s no surprise that insurers and state-based regulators have criticized Donald Trump’s provision as a counterproductive step that could pave way for a new batch of flimsy, poor regulated health plans. states are often well positioned with broad enforcement authority to protect their residents by preventing or quickly identifying and closing down scam health insurance operators, many of whom have long used association health plans to sell fraudulent coverage to hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting consumers. However, unlike large employer plans and Obamacare, Trump’s executive order exempts AHPs from state authority. Thus, severely hurting the states’ ability to protect consumers. Instead, the US Department of Labor would primarily enforce AHPs but without the tools, resources, and culture to protect against fraud. As a result, con artists can potentially use existence of federally approved AHPs to so regulatory confusion in order to avoid state detection and shield themselves from law enforcement. So if you work for a small business that has an association plan, you may not be able to get help from your state insurance department if claims aren’t paid.
Though association plans may work great for small businesses with younger healthier workers, those with older, sicker workers will be charged higher premiums. Should one of these younger healthier employees experience a medical emergency, their insurance may not cover the care they need. In addition, small business owners might be incentivized to fire more medically costly employees to avoid premium increases. At any rate, a medical crisis could be potentially ruinous for small business employees under these plans, particularly if they become uninsured in the process. Furthermore, association plans might give small employers more incentives to reject certain applicants based on medical needs. Meanwhile, those on the Obamacare marketplaces will find their coverage less stable and secure if they have preexisting conditions since their insurance will be more expensive and consist of fewer people. Nevertheless, though association health plans may seem like affordable insurance, they’re actually poorly regulated inferior products that are only low-cost to consumers until something goes horribly wrong. But they also destabilize the insurance market which makes more viable small group and individual insurance more expensive and less accessible to those who need it the most. Such destabilization can result in higher medical costs, fewer options, and less healthcare access in the individual market.

When less regulated association health plans compete with fully regulated markets, they create an uneven playing field that can disrupt markets. People who don’t need to cover preexisting conditions or don’t want to pay community rates gravitate toward the better deals association plans offer, leaving sicker people in the regulated markets and having to pay higher costs. Thus, regulated market insurance prices increase, sometimes causing a death spiral that crashes the market and puts consumers at risk. Kentucky experienced this in the 1990s when it reformed its individual market but exempted association plans from the reforms. Association plan enrollment shot up while regulated market insurers pulled out. Within 2 years the state’s reforms were repealed. Though association plans were only a part of Kentucky’s failed market reforms, they’re still a major reason why the state’s health disaster now serves as a lesson for other states to avoid similar reforms.

Second, Donald Trump signed an executive order ordered the government to stop paying insurance subsidies that allowed low-income people to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses that could be as high as $7,150 for individuals and $14,300 for families. Known as cost-sharing reductions or CSRs, these subsidies drawn from a $7 billion fund had been embroiled in legal and political battles between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans over whether Congress had authorized the president to pay for them. A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 60% of the public thought Congress should guarantee these payments continue. Most Republicans, however, consider them insurance company bailouts and wanted them to end.

Eliminating CSRs is an inherently unpopular policy does nothing but hurt people and waste money. Without subsidies, insurance markets could quickly unravel. Cutting them will result in insurers issuing premium increases as high as 20-25% by 2018-2020 for anyone using Obamacare. Furthermore, an already fragile Obamacare marketplace at greater risk of a last minute health plan exodus by those who assumed the government would pay these subsidies and feel they can’t take the significant financial losses. This can result in as many as 1 million Americans uninsured next year. As those insurance plans make double digit rate increases, the government will have to spend billions more on the other subsidies that 10 million Americans receive to purchase that coverage. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the move will ultimately cost the federal government $194 billion over the next decade. To put it this way, by eliminating CSRs, Donald Trump has enacting a policy where the government spends billions to insure fewer people. And therefore, one that helps nobody and hurts millions.

It’s very clear that Donald Trump’s presidential agenda is destroying Barack Obama’s legacy than trying to replace, fix, or improve his predecessor’s biggest accomplishments. Or perhaps help some of the very people who voted him into office. Though he and the Republicans see Obamacare as a political football, his actions will have immediate and very real consequences for Americans. Real people will be hurt by an administration that has actively decided to make a public benefits program function poorly. All these executive orders do is drain Obamacare of the resources it needs to deliver care to the many millions who’ve signed on to the program. Dividing the healthy from the sick in the name of allegedly expanding choice and driving up healthcare costs for sick people benefitting from Obamacare is an egregious idea that only ruins lives and helps nobody. Though the ACA isn’t a perfect and could use a few fixes, to let it fail simply out of spite is outright cruel.

Healthcare is a human right every American is entitled to and the federal government should guarantee access to all. Nobody should be turned away from the healthcare regardless if they can afford it or who has to pay for it. And if it’s taxpayers footing the bill, so be it. If a medical treatment should save a sick or injured person’s life, nothing else should matter. Because to deny medical care robs Americans of their dignity as well as their life, liberty, and their pursuit of happiness. The fact the United States has a for-profit healthcare system that discriminates against the poor is unconscionable for corporations, politicians, and employers shouldn’t decide who has access. It’s essentially indefensible that Donald Trump and the Republican Party not only think it’s okay to deny people medical care, but they’re also perfectly fine with throwing people off their health insurance. Furthermore, they don’t see any problem with letting the Children’s Health Insurance Program expire and jeopardizing healthcare coverage for 9 million kids. To believe only certain people should healthcare because you don’t want more government intrusion in your life and don’t want to pay for other people’s treatment is extremely selfish, degrading, and dehumanizing to the most vulnerable who need it. The fact the Republicans embrace such pathological ideology that government has no role to guarantee healthcare to its citizens is an absolute travesty. And it’s a viewpoint I find completely indefensible that I can’t respect it as an acceptable political opinion. In the United States, universal healthcare shouldn’t be controversial partisan issue but one every American should embrace wholeheartedly. After all, everyone needs healthcare and it’s the right thing to do. Because healthcare shouldn’t be about politics but people’s lives. Americans deserve a universal healthcare system that is of the people, by the people, and for the people. Not a pay to play system dominated by corporations.

The Scourge of Graham-Cassidy

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You’d think that Republican politicians at Capitol Hill would know by now that taking people’s healthcare away for whatever reason is as morally reprehensible as it is unpopular. But as soon as Congress is back in session, a group of Republican US Senators introduce this Graham-Cassidy legislation which is seen as the last Obamacare repeal bill left standing. The US Senate has until the end of the month to vote on this bill. In many ways, Graham-Cassidy is strikingly similar to earlier Trumpcare bills. But it’s also could be the most radical plan yet, drafted in secrecy without the usual committee hearings and markups. Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy are rushing this legislation to the floor under the special “budget reconciliation which allows the bill to advance with only 51 votes instead of the usual 60. So far, it faces long odds that some of its backers said it would be almost impossible to get a massive rewrite of the healthcare system through the Senate within that period of time. And even if it passes, it could take the Congressional Budget Office could take several weeks to estimate Graham-Cassidy’s impact. That means we may have no idea how many Americans will lose their health insurance, how much premiums would increase, how much the deficit will increase, how much it will increase costs, and other impacts on the US economy. Still, keep in mind that it took only took 3 Republican US Senators to kill Obamacare repeal in July so anything’s possible. Even worse is that US Senator John McCain is open to supporting it. And remember, he was the deciding vote to sink Trumpcare back in July. Nonetheless, Graham-Cassidy’s impact can be potentially devastating to 1/6 of the US economy as well as millions of Americans.

Regardless of you think, it is morally unconscionable to introduce legislation designed to take away people’s healthcare for any reason, especially politics. Every Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has meant higher costs, millions of hard-working Americans losing their insurance, and key protections gutted with devastating consequences for anyone with pre-existing conditions. Should Graham-Cassidy be made law, millions will lose their insurance, thousands will face bankruptcy and loss in quality of life, hundreds of jobs will be lost, hospitals and medical facilities will close, costs will rise, and many will die from not getting the treatment they needed to save their lives. There will be more abortions, more maternal and infant deaths, more deaths and disabilities from gun violence, more ravaged communities, and more opioid overdose deaths. Most of all, it will threaten the health security for every American. This isn’t the kind of healthcare future most Americans want to live in and I will absolutely not stand for it.

The fact my access to Medicaid in the next decade may depend a few GOP Senators’ votes just scares the living shit out of me. It’s appalling enough that I have to live under a for-profit healthcare system I strongly believe has no moral right to exist. If I lose my Medicaid coverage, it’s very likely I may never be able to get health coverage that’s just as good or at all. Why the hell should I have my healthcare taken away from me just so some rich guy can enjoy some massive tax cut he doesn’t even need? I can’t live with that. I shouldn’t have to live with that. I shouldn’t have to lose my healthcare just so the Republican Party can satisfy their donors and voters. My healthcare shouldn’t be sacrificed to fulfill some market-based conservative vision that won’t benefit me. My autism shouldn’t reduce my own humanity to a financial risk. I’d rather pay taxes for someone else’s healthcare treatment I may not even need than be dropped from my coverage due politicians’ selfish interests.

As I’ve said before, the Republicans’ war on Obamacare must end. Graham-Cassidy is just mere malicious cruelty that robs Americans of their dignity and possibly their life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Healthcare is a fundamental right the federal government should protect for all Americans. Corporations, politicians, and employers shouldn’t decide who has access to healthcare, especially Republicans on Capitol Hill. Nobody should be denied treatment if they’re sick or injured regardless of whether they can afford it or who has to pay for it. If a medical treatment can save someone’s life, then nothing else should matter. If you believe otherwise, then you can just go to hell for all I care.

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What Graham-Cassidy does:

1. Shift Medicaid funding and insurance subsidies to a block grant system: Instead of determining the federal government’s share of funding for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and individual insurance subsidies, states would receive large chunks of money up front and determine what to do with it. For instance, they could spend it on providing insurance, fund high risk pools, or pay bills for patients with high medical needs. But there is no accountability for how this money is spent, won’t adjust based on need or higher costs, nor requires offering low and moderate income individuals coverage or financial assistance. Nevertheless, this system literally takes money from states that expanded Medicaid and gives it to states that didn’t. For those that did, their block grant funding could be anywhere from 35-60% below what they’d receive in the Medicaid expansion and/or marketplace subsidy funding under the current law. It would also would make it much more expensive for states to continue Obamacare if they like it. In fact, most states if not all would have to use the bill’s so-called “flexibility” to eliminate or cut coverage and financial assistance to low or moderate income people. Many states would likely do one or more of the following: cap enrollment; offer very limited benefits; charge unaffordable premiums, deductibles, and co-payments; redirect federal funding from providing coverage to other purposes, like reimbursing hospitals for uncompensated care; and limit assistance to fixed dollar amounts that put coverage out of reach for most low- to moderate- income people. Millions would lose coverage. Rural hospitals that receive more of their income from the ACA and Medicaid will be disproportionately hurt. In addition, to get this money, states would have to kick in some of their funds, too. And that block grant funding will end in 2026.

2. Convert Medicaid’s current federal-state partnership to a per-capita cap: This could cut Medicaid per-beneficiary funding for seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children. This could result in states having to raise taxes, cut other budget priorities like education, or make severe cuts to eligibility, benefits, and provider payments. Home- and community- based services allowing people needing long term services and supports to remain in their homes rather than move to an assisted living facilities could be cut in many states. These and other “optional” benefits to states under federal law could be at greatest risk. Moreover, the gap between federal funding under the per-capita cap and states’ actual funding needs would grow even larger if Medicaid costs grow more quickly than expected in ways the cap doesn’t account for. Over time, this will not only leave Medicaid underfunded and way less responsive to low-income people’s health needs.

3. Allow states to adjust the essential health benefits: Currently the federal government mandates that all plans sold on the Obamacare exchanges cover 10 basic types of care, including maternity care, emergency room visits, prescription drugs, mental health coverage, rehabilitative services, and substance abuse treatment. Under this proposal, states could significantly pare back their insurance coverage to cover less expensive benefits. We should not that before the ACA, 75% of all individual market plans excluded maternity coverage, 45% excluded substance abuse treatment, and 38% excluded mental health care. This could lead many people without access to the healthcare they need, especially if they have a pre-existing condition. According to the CBO, states accounting for half of the nation’s population would choose to let insurers exclude essential health benefits. People needing these services could face increased out of pocket costs that could amount to thousands of dollars per year.

4. Eliminate or weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions by allowing states to waive the ACA’s underwriting prohibition: Underwriting allows insurance plans to charge premiums to expected health costs of a specific patient. Thus, resulting in low premiums for the young and healthy and high premiums for those sicker or older. Obamacare bans varying premiums by health status and required all individuals to be charged the same. Because before the ACA, insurers could charge unaffordable premiums to those with pre-existing conditions which effectively resulted in coverage denial. In the US, 52% of adults under 65 have a pre-existing condition. According to the CBO, states accounting for 1/6 of the nation’s population would let insurers charge higher premiums based on health status. In those states, less healthy individuals and people with pre-existing conditions would be unable to purchase comprehensive coverage with premiums close to those under the current law and might not be able to purchase coverage at all.

5. Eliminate the individual and employer mandate: People who don’t sign up for insurance won’t face a tax under the plan and companies can’t be compelled to offer coverage. This can result in hundreds of Americans losing their employee health benefits at work. Not to mention, destabilize and risk collapse of the individual market.

6. Creates a state reinsurance fund: Allocates a certain amount of money to insurers to offset greater losses from insuring a sicker pool of people. This is known as a high-risk pool which will most likely be underfunded, charge expensive coverage, and provide terrible coverage for low-income people with pre-existing conditions.

7. Bars states from reimbursing Planned Parenthood for Medicaid enrollees for a year: Thus, preventing Medicaid recipients from accessing preventative health and family planning services. This will leave millions of Americans without access to critical services, particularly low-income women. Of course, you probably saw this coming since many Republicans are staunchly anti-abortion. Still, one’s abortion stance shouldn’t prevent women from getting a pap smear, breast cancer screening, or contraceptives, especially if Planned Parenthood is the only provider in town.

8. Lifts prohibition against annual and lifetime limits on benefits: This can be particularly devastating to premature babies, those with disabilities, the rare disease community, and cancer patients.

9. Allows states to institute work requirements for Medicaid: Studies have shown instituting work requirements for benefits doesn’t alleviate poverty. In fact, work requirements exacerbated it. Stable employment among recipients subject to work requirements proved the exception, not the norm. In addition, most recipients with significant barriers to employment never found work even after participating in work programs otherwise deemed successful. This is especially the case when such programs don’t support efforts to boost beneficiaries’ efforts and skills. Nevertheless, voluntary employment programs could significantly increase employment without the negative impacts ending basic assistance for individuals unable to meet mandatory work requirements.

10. Nearly doubles maximum contributions to Health Savings Accounts: Called HSAs, these are tax advantaged accounts for those enrolled in a high deductible healthcare plan. Proponents think HSAs encourage consumers to make more cost-effective and responsible healthcare decisions. However, they may actually worsen healthcare in the US since people may hold back spending that would be covered, or spend it unnecessarily just because it has accumulated to avoid the penalty taxes for withdrawing it. Not to mention, it’s widely believed they only benefit young, healthy people with money and make healthcare more expensive for everyone else. They’re particularly bad for those with chronic health problems with predictable costs. Besides, low-income people often don’t enough to from the tax breaks HSAs offer. To make matters worse, the FDIC doesn’t insure them since HSAs are subject to market risk. And a lot of surveys found that HSAs recipients are significantly less satisfied with most of its aspects than those with more comprehensive health plans.

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.

Talk to Your Doctor about These Vintage Pharmaceutical Ads

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Disclaimer: The following article contains vintage medical advice that has been proven bunk by posterity as well as depict drugs that have since been seen as illegal or unavailable due to the damage they did or still do to people. Besides, it doesn’t help that a lot of these vintage ads are based on dubious medical claims thanks to the lack of oversight on medicine at the time. If you’re here for actual medical tips to solve your medical problems, this is not the site for you. Thank you.

Unless you live under a rock, you might notice that Pharma ads are everywhere whether you watch TV, go on the Internet, or open a magazine. After all, medicine is a stable of healthcare to treat various ailments whether they be through a doctor’s prescription or over the counter. You might see listings for various side effects that might scare you. But at least you have the FDA requiring drug companies to address them as well as go through a long testing process to see if the drug is safe and lives up to its claims. Still, remember that medicines aren’t miracle cures for what you’re suffering. And it’s been known in the world of pharmaceuticals that one person’s life saver can be another person’s poison. However, back in the good ol’ days, you didn’t have an agency like the FDA, clinical trials, or other stuff like that to see that the drugs on the market won’t kill you. Sure it might lead to a lot of drugs on the market that might help people, but more often than not, it created an ideal environment for your local snake oil salesman along with so many other substances marketed as pharmaceuticals under dubious medical claims. And many of these drugs led to all kinds of harm such as addiction and/or death. Not that drugs were less harmful once the US had the FDA back then. Because a lot of drugs that you might have sold over the counter in the early 1900s have become the illegal street drugs that have caused a menace to society, with the possible exception of marijuana. So for your reading pleasure, here I give you a treasury of vintage pharma ads from the not so good old days of medicine.

 

  1. For dysepsia and blood, take some Quaker Bitters.
Why is that girl in a barrel? Seriously, that's just crazy for God's sake.

Why is that girl in a barrel? Seriously, that’s just crazy for God’s sake.

2. For upset stomach, take some 7 Up Lithiated Soda.

Yes, soft drinks were once used as medicines before they became regular beverage. And yes, the original 7 Up did contain lithium which is today used to treat manic depression.

Yes, soft drinks were once used as medicines before they became regular beverage. And yes, the original 7 Up did contain lithium which is today used to treat manic depression.

3. To relieve all kinds of pain, you might want to try some St. Jacobs Oil.

According to the Center for Inquiry, it's said to contain chloroform, turpentine, camphor, ether, alcohol, Carbolic acid, capsicum, and aconite. Aconite, by the way is a deadly poison from the Monk's Hood flower that's also known as Wolfsbane and Jacob's Chariot.

According to the Center for Inquiry, it’s said to contain chloroform, turpentine, camphor, ether, alcohol, Carbolic acid, capsicum, and aconite. Aconite, by the way is a deadly poison from the Monk’s Hood flower that’s also known as Wolfsbane and Jacob’s Chariot.

4. Cigares de Joy are said to bring immediate relief for all kinds of respiratory problems.

In 1875, these were ‘very useful little agents for inhaling the smoke of stramonium.’ A common remedy for asthma, Datura stramonium is a hallucinogenic. Also, smoking is very bad for your lungs.

In 1875, these were ‘very useful little agents for inhaling the smoke of stramonium.’ A common remedy for asthma, Datura stramonium is a hallucinogenic. Also, smoking is very bad for your lungs.

5. Got menstrual problems, try some Ergoapiol.

Sold in the early 1900s, this drug contains the ergot fungus and Apiol. One can reduce blood flow that gangrene sets in as well as cause hallucinations. The other can damage your liver and kidneys.

Sold in the early 1900s, this drug contains the ergot fungus and Apiol. One can reduce blood flow that gangrene sets in as well as cause hallucinations. The other can damage your liver and kidneys.

6. “Midol helps me forget my time of the month wherever I am.”

Except in the bathroom. Or when you have change your pad or tampon at regular intervals. Or when you find blood stains on your underwear. Seriously, this isn't an accurate representation of a woman during her "time of the month."

Except in the bathroom. Or when you have change your pad or tampon at regular intervals. Or when you find blood stains on your underwear. Seriously, this isn’t an accurate representation of a woman during her “time of the month.”

7. Whether it’s menstruation or men, always count on Midol.

If your guy is your No. 1 reason for Midol, ladies, you might want to reevaluate your relationship. Because Midol is mainly used for menstrual cramps.

If your guy is your No. 1 reason for Midol, ladies, you might want to reevaluate your relationship. Because Midol is mainly used for menstrual cramps.

8. For obese and cranky patients, give them Ambar.

For one, these people don't seem "obese" in the modern sense of the term. More like overweight. Also, this ad really gets obesity wrong. Yes, stress and overeating may be factors. But so are genetics, not having time to exercise, and unhealthy food choices.

For one, these people don’t seem “obese” in the modern sense of the term. More like overweight. Also, this ad really gets obesity wrong. Yes, stress and overeating may be factors. But so are genetics, not having time to exercise, and unhealthy food choices.

9. For relief from coughs, try Heroin-Hydrochloride from Bayer.

On second thought, don't or you'll get instantly addicted for a certain period of time before dying of an overdose. There's a reason why the US is suffering a terrible heroin problem of epidemic proportions. Thanks for fucking up everything, Bayer.

On second thought, don’t or you’ll get instantly addicted for a certain period of time before dying from an overdose if you don’t seek treatment. There’s a reason why the US is suffering a terrible heroin problem of epidemic proportions. Thanks for fucking up everything, Bayer.

10. Is housework making your life a prison, take some Serax.

Sorry, but I don't think medication will solve this woman's problem. Maybe having her husband pick up the slack would. Or hiring a maid.

Sorry, but I don’t think medication will solve this woman’s problem. Maybe having her husband pick up the slack would. Or hiring a maid.

11. Hamlin’s Wizard Oil will cure your rheumatism.

Contains 50-70% alcohol along with camphor, ammonia, chloroform, sassafras, cloves, and turpentine. In other words, it's a quack medicine but it was quite popular.

Contains 50-70% alcohol along with camphor, ammonia, chloroform, sassafras, cloves, and turpentine. In other words, it’s a quack medicine but it was quite popular.

12. Hall’s Wine brings the bloom of perfect health.

Tonic wines were also common at the time. This one was known to contain cocaine. However, initial criticism of this drug had nothing to do with the infamous white substance.

Tonic wines were also common at the time. This one was known to contain cocaine. However, initial criticism of this drug had nothing to do with the infamous white substance. Also, I don’t think that woman is smiling.

13. For hay fever and other woes, try Allen’s Cocaine tablets.

Side effects may include seriously disrupted eating and sleeping patterns, psychotic delusions and hallucinations, and severe depression upon withdrawal. Also addiction and death. So if you're smart, walk it off.

Side effects may include seriously disrupted eating and sleeping patterns, psychotic delusions and hallucinations, and severe depression upon withdrawal. Also addiction and death. So if you’re smart, walk it off.

14. Enjoy relief with the great taste of Coca Cola.

Yes, this was seen as a medicine, too. But initially contained cocaine in its early years. Not kidding on that one.

Yes, this was seen as a medicine, too. But initially contained cocaine in its early years. Not kidding on that one.

15. Dr. Hart’s Pain Conqueror relieves all pains.

I'm sure this is ineffective as medicine. But, man, those little gnomes in this ad are so creepy. Possible cocaine hallucination? Maybe.

I’m sure this is ineffective as medicine. But, man, those little gnomes in this ad are so creepy. Possible cocaine hallucination? Maybe.

16. With Midol, Sally’s gay.

I know what they're trying to get at here. And no, ladies, Midol does not turn women into lesbians unlike how some might interpret it.

I know what they’re trying to get at here. And no, ladies, Midol does not turn women into lesbians unlike how some might interpret it.

17. Tyrant in the house? Calm him down with Thorazine.

Thorozine: the drug for when your angry old folks get out of hand. Also posted another one similar to this last year, by the way.

Thorozine: the drug for when your angry old folks get out of hand. Also posted another one similar to this last year, by the way.

18. For the ills of life, take some Peruna tonic.

So what if it's a Prohibition era medicine that just happens to contain 18% alcohol? It was apparently popular at the time.

So what if it’s a Prohibition era medicine that just happens to contain 18% alcohol? It was apparently popular at the time.

19. For women’s minor ills, take Dr. Caldwell’s Syrup Pepsin, the Family Laxative.

Because if a woman is cranky all day, she's probably constipated. After all, women must be angry all the time due to irregular bowel movements. What a load of sexist bullshit.

Because if a woman is cranky all day, she’s probably constipated. After all, women must be angry all the time due to irregular bowel movements. What a load of sexist bullshit.

20. For pain relief, take a dose of Methadone.

Methadone is an opioid that's used to detoxify people from heroin addiction. However, while it may not be as bad, it's said to contribute to 26% of opioid related deaths. So it can be a very harmful drug in its own right.

Methadone is an opioid that’s used to detoxify people from heroin addiction. However, while it may not be as bad, it’s said to contribute to 26% of opioid related deaths. So it can be a very harmful drug in its own right.

21. Depressed? Try Methadrine.

Contains methamphetamine. You know, the kind of drug that prematurely ages you and rots your teeth. Or what Walter White made in Breaking Bad. Yes, that drug.

Contains methamphetamine. You know, the kind of drug that prematurely ages you and rots your teeth. Or what Walter White made in Breaking Bad. Yes, that drug.

22. For over stressed housewives, try some Meprospan 400.

It's a tranquilizer. You know something we use to treat people with psychological problems. Not something for ordinary housewives.

It’s a tranquilizer. You know something we use to treat people with psychological problems. Not something for ordinary housewives.

23. For anxious kids, Nembutal is guaranteed to give relief.

From: Best Medical Degrees: "Although pentobarbital is an FDA-approved sedative and is used to treat seizures and insomnia, it would seem dangerous to utilize it to treat nervous children (by inserting it as a suppository). Not only can pentobarbital impede thinking and slow reactions, it can also be addictive, while overdoses may be fatal." Also, that kid is as creepy as hell.

From: Best Medical Degrees: “Although pentobarbital is an FDA-approved sedative and is used to treat seizures and insomnia, it would seem dangerous to utilize it to treat nervous children (by inserting it as a suppository). Not only can pentobarbital impede thinking and slow reactions, it can also be addictive, while overdoses may be fatal.” Also, that kid is as creepy as hell.

24. Brown’s Household Panacea is a great pain reliever.

Why the hell is that guy holding a stove? He can get himself burned that way.

Why the hell is that guy holding a burning stove? He can get himself burned that way, especially if he’s holding it with his bare hands.

25. Have stuffy noses, ladies, take Mentholatum.

Because being pleasing to men is more important than tending to your own stuffy nose. Hey, we may not like sniffly noses, but this ad is just inherently sexist.

Because being pleasing to men is more important than tending to your own stuffy nose. Hey, we may not like sniffly noses, but this ad is just inherently sexist.

26. Stay fit and slim with Amphetamine.

While Ampetamine is a controlled substance today, this ad promotes it as a weight loss drug which is very harmful. Also, diet pills are terrible for you as well and should never be taken.

While Ampetamine is a controlled substance today, this ad promotes it as a weight loss drug which is very harmful. Also, diet pills are terrible for you as well and should never be taken.

27. Karswood Creosote is the greatest cure on earth.

What the fuck? Creosote is a substance people call sweeps to get rid of in their chimneys. It's a toxic carcinogenic substance. Yet, here it's being promoted as medicine?

What the fuck? Creosote is a substance people call sweeps to get rid of in their chimneys. It’s a toxic carcinogenic substance. Yet, here it’s being promoted as medicine?

28. Settle down the kids with some of Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup.

From Best Medical Degrees: "In 1849, Mrs. Charlotte N. Winslow launched her Soothing Syrup in Maine. The cocktail, which combined ingredients such as sodium carbonate and aqua ammonia, may have been relatively harmless – except for one point: it contained 65mg of morphine per fluid ounce. The syrup was advertised as providing relief for children who were teething, and one mother wrote to The New York Times claiming its effect on her son was “like magic; he soon went to sleep, and all pain and nervousness disappeared.” Unfortunately, children ran the risk of being put to sleep permanently as a result of morphine overdose. The American Medical Association denounced the syrup as a “baby killer” in 1911, although it remained on the market in the UK until 1930."

From Best Medical Degrees: “In 1849, Mrs. Charlotte N. Winslow launched her Soothing Syrup in Maine. The cocktail, which combined ingredients such as sodium carbonate and aqua ammonia, may have been relatively harmless – except for one point: it contained 65mg of morphine per fluid ounce. The syrup was advertised as providing relief for children who were teething, and one mother wrote to The New York Times claiming its effect on her son was “like magic; he soon went to sleep, and all pain and nervousness disappeared.” Unfortunately, children ran the risk of being put to sleep permanently as a result of morphine overdose.”

29. For every day stress, ladies, take Butisol.

The kind of happy pills that make you enjoy being tied up by your daughter playing Indian. Yeah, that's kind of freaky.

The kind of happy pills that make you enjoy being tied up by your daughter playing Indian. Yeah, that’s kind of freaky.

30. Daughter being a brat? Give her Castoria.

Because if your kid is acting up, then it must be because she's constipated. I think real moms in the 1950s knew better than that.

Because if your kid is acting up, then it must be because she’s constipated. I think real moms in the 1950s knew better than that.

31. Aggressive elders? Loxapac should do the trick.

Great for helping old folks with cactus head according to this ad. Yes, he's become a bit prickly lately.

Great for helping old folks with cactus head according to this ad. Yes, he’s become a bit prickly lately.

32. For cold and flu, take some Coriforte.

This ad from South Africa may seem harmless enough. But one this drug's ingredients is none other than methamphetamine. Yeah, probably something you should avoid.

This ad from South Africa may seem harmless enough. But one this drug’s ingredients is none other than methamphetamine. Yeah, probably something you should avoid.

33. To relieve coughs, try some Cosadein.

Contains codeine, marijuana, and chloroform. Talk about a real drug cocktail here.

Contains codeine, marijuana, and chloroform. Talk about a real drug cocktail here.

34. Ambition Pills, the drug for weak and nervous men.

This 19th century supplement was promoted to build strength, ambition, as well as combat ailments. However, each box was later found to contain enough strychnine to kill an adult. Because strychnine is a known toxic pesticide.

This 19th century supplement was promoted to build strength, ambition, as well as combat ailments. However, each box was later found to contain enough strychnine to kill an adult. Because strychnine is a known toxic pesticide.

35. Men, does your wife have “nerves,” give her Nervine.

Contains bromide which can lead to side effects like alteration in central nervous system functioning with headache, irritability, fatigue, slurred speech, ataxia, emotional instability, tremor and hallucinations. According to a report from 1997 no less.

Contains bromide which can lead to side effects like alteration in central nervous system functioning with headache, irritability, fatigue, slurred speech, ataxia, emotional instability, tremor and hallucinations. According to a report from 1997 no less.

36. Mebaral is great for the guy who overreacts to everything.

However, I want to know why they'd use an image of a guy about to jump off a building. Because that looks pretty scary. And I think that guy might need an undertaker at this point.

However, I want to know why they’d use an image of a guy about to jump off a building. Because that looks pretty scary. And I think that guy might need an undertaker at this point.

37. As Eli Lily said, Ampedroxyn is great for all kinds of problems like obesity, depression, and narcolepsy.

Uh, let's not kid ourselves, Eli Lily has an ad promoting methamphetamine. You know, meth. It might help you lose weight and overcome problems with sleep and depression, but it will make you look ugly.

Uh, let’s not kid ourselves, Eli Lily has an ad promoting methamphetamine. You know, meth. It might help you lose weight and overcome problems with sleep and depression, but it will make you look ugly.

38. Have peace of mind with Serenace.

This is one from Japan. It depicts a naked woman rising out of the water inside a hand. I don't understand what that's supposed to mean.

This is one from Japan. It depicts a naked woman rising out of the water inside a hand. I don’t understand what that’s supposed to mean.

39. Calm the storm in your life with Rivotril.

So what's with the naked woman holding the umbrella in a storm? I don't get this at all.

So what’s with the naked girl holding the umbrella in a storm? I don’t get this at all.

40. Relieve your worries with Serenace.

This picture might do well as a work of Surrealist art. But in a Pharma ad, this is just plain weird.

This picture might do well as a work of Surrealist art. But in a Pharma ad, this is just plain weird.

41. Got rough seas ahead, take Deliton.

Unfortunately, Deliton can't cure shell-head. But it can make you feel better with shell-head.

Unfortunately, Deliton can’t cure shell-head. But it can make you feel better with shell-head.

42. Sernace is great for coping with life’s biggest worries.

Like when you're about to get picked up in the desert by a giant bird of prey for dinner. Yeah, it's for problems like that.

Like when you’re about to get picked up in the desert by a giant bird of prey for dinner. Yeah, it’s for problems like that.

43. Restore them to their senses with Thorazine.

But is having a duck tank in this ad really necessary? And there's a guy who fell in the the water. Poor thing.

But is having a dunk tank in this ad really necessary? And there’s a guy who fell in the the water. Poor thing.

44. Baby can’t sleep? How about some Laudanum?

Laudanum is opium by the way and it was used to treat various ailments from the late 1600s to the 19th century. Can cause addiction, constipation, respiratory distress, and pupil constriction. Yeah, screw Junior up for life.

Laudanum is opium by the way and it was used to treat various ailments from the late 1600s to the 19th century. Can cause addiction, constipation, respiratory distress, and pupil constriction. Yeah, screw Junior up for life.

45. Divorced? Depressed? You might have ADHD.

This ad really doesn't show ADHD in a great light. Besides, there are a lot of divorced and depressed people who don't have ADHD. But this is a drug ad so they don't give a shit.

This ad really doesn’t show ADHD in a great light. Besides, there are a lot of divorced and depressed people who don’t have ADHD. But this is a drug ad so they don’t give a shit.

46. Feel like a battered parent? Miltown may be the answer.

It's particularly effective when you're having to care for giant children. As if normal sized children aren't a handful to deal with already.

It’s particularly effective when you’re having to care for giant children. As if normal sized children aren’t a handful to deal with already.

47. To be the person within, take Invega.

Is she getting out of her skin? Okay, that's really disgusting. And freaky. Really freaky.

Is she getting out of her skin? Okay, that’s really disgusting. And freaky. Really freaky.

48. Stuck in the woods with the head of a jackass? Take Cipramil.

I don't think Shakespeare's Bottom showed any signs of anxiety when he was with Titania. If ever, he seemed to take everything in stride and he perfectly fine the next morning. Someone's got their Shakespeare screwed up.

I don’t think Shakespeare’s Bottom showed any signs of anxiety when he was with Titania. If ever, he seemed to take everything in stride and he was perfectly fine by the next morning. Someone’s got their Shakespeare screwed up.

49. For coughs, try Kimball’s White Pine and Tar Cough Syrup.

Contains chloroform, which according to Best Medical Degrees: "But despite the drug being hailed as a good substitute for ether, cases emerged of chloroform causing fatal cardiac or respiratory arrest. Multiple patients died after breathing it in, prompting doctors to revert back to using ether. In spite of this, however, chloroform was still used in mouthwashes and ointments. Eventually, in 1976, the Federal Drug Administration prohibited the use of chloroform for human consumption after the substance was found to cause cancer in lab animals."

Contains chloroform, which according to Best Medical Degrees: “But despite the drug being hailed as a good substitute for ether, cases emerged of chloroform causing fatal cardiac or respiratory arrest. Multiple patients died after breathing it in, prompting doctors to revert back to using ether. In spite of this, however, chloroform was still used in mouthwashes and ointments. Eventually, in 1976, the Federal Drug Administration prohibited the use of chloroform for human consumption after the substance was found to cause cancer in lab animals.”

50. For morning sickness, take Morninide because his need for breakfast doesn’t suffice with your pregnancy.

This was a drug used to treat morning sickness which was later pulled by the FDA for causing low blood pressure and liver damage. But at least her husband got his breakfast (asshole).

This was a drug used to treat morning sickness which was later pulled by the FDA for causing low blood pressure and liver damage. But at least her husband got his breakfast (asshole).

51. Baby not feeling good, Mrs. Winslow’s should help.

That should knock the kiddie out for awhile. Perhaps permanently if you give the tyke too much.

That should knock the kiddie out for awhile. Perhaps permanently if you give the tyke too much.

52. For depression relief try Norodin.

Otherwise known by the more familiar term, "meth." From Best Medical Degrees: "The advertisement above claimed that Norodin was “useful in dispelling the shadows of mild mental depression” and that it has “relatively few side effects.” Never mind the fact that it can result in various alarming physiological effects, including anorexia, tooth grinding, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, abnormal blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. It is also extremely addictive and is one of the hardest dependencies to overcome."

Otherwise known by the more familiar term, “meth.” From Best Medical Degrees: “The advertisement above claimed that Norodin was “useful in dispelling the shadows of mild mental depression” and that it has “relatively few side effects.” Never mind the fact that it can result in various alarming physiological effects, including anorexia, tooth grinding, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, abnormal blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. It is also extremely addictive and is one of the hardest dependencies to overcome.”

53. Wolcott’s Instant Pain Annihilator gives you instant relief.

I'm sure this is bound to have the same medicinal properties as snake oil. But the artwork advertising is pretty badass.

I’m sure this is bound to have the same medicinal properties as snake oil. But the artwork advertising is pretty badass.

54. Daley’s Magical Pain Extractor can let you handle anything.

Because how else was Molly Pitcher able to man her husband's cannon at the Battle of Monmouth? Because she had to be under a lot of stress at the time.

Because how else was Molly Pitcher able to man her husband’s cannon at the Battle of Monmouth? Because she had to be under a lot of stress at the time.

55. Quaaludes always give you a good night sleep and a sunny morning.

Quaaludes: the drugs that people got high on in The Wolf of Wall Street. Also used as Bill Cosby's rape drug of choice during the 1970s. Oh, and it was said Elvis was on them, too.

Quaaludes: the drugs that people got high on in The Wolf of Wall Street. Also used as Bill Cosby’s rape drug of choice during the 1970s. Oh, and it was said Elvis was on them, too.

56. Hear voices? Seroquel can help.

Because whenever you see talking mouths in the bushes, you might have a problem. Unless you're not taking the brown acid already.

Because whenever you see talking mouths in the bushes, you might have a problem. Unless you’re not taking the brown acid already.

57. Clamps got you down? Urodonal may be the answer.

Because those clamps shouldn't be weighing you down. Seems like this guy is being tortured for some reason.

Because those clamps shouldn’t be weighing you down. Seems like this guy is being tortured for some reason.

58. Aspironal is better than whiskey for colds and flu.

You mean they were using whiskey for colds and flu? Said to contain 10% alcohol and suitable for children. According to this, that is.

You mean they were using whiskey for colds and flu? Said to contain 10% alcohol and suitable for children. According to this, that is.

59. Broncil is known as a safeguard for children’s health.

And thanks to Broncil, you can make your kid shovel snow in your driveway all you want. Even when your kid is complaining because the other children are having fun sledding and building snow forts.

And thanks to Broncil, you can make your kid shovel snow in your driveway all you want. Even when your kid is complaining because the other children are having fun sledding and building snow forts.

60. Zeldox is a great drug to treat schizophrenia.

And if was available during Vincent Van Gogh's time, then he wouldn't have cut his ear off. Seriously, this is kind of messed up.

And if was available during Vincent Van Gogh’s time, then he wouldn’t have cut his ear off. Seriously, this is kind of messed up.

61. Risperdal Range always helps deter relapses.

And I'm not sure what mythological creature this is supposed to be. Seems like it's half-human and half-dog from what I can tell by the legs. Yes, this is freaky.

And I’m not sure what mythological creature this is supposed to be. Seems like it’s half-human and half-dog from what I can tell by the legs. Yes, this is freaky.

62. For nervousness, try Dr. Carter’s Little Nerve Pills.

Caption: "Advertisement for Carter's Little Nerve Pills depicting a very young child sitting on the ground looking up at a standing, talking frog." Since when should anyone take such advice from a talking frog? That's not right.

Caption: “Advertisement for Carter’s Little Nerve Pills depicting a very young child sitting on the ground looking up at a standing, talking frog.” Since when should anyone take such advice from a talking frog? That’s not right.

63. For pain relief, try Pantafon Opium that’s straight from the poppy.

You know how addictive opiates are and the problems they cause in our society? Give this drug a pass. Seriously, avoid it like the plague.

You know how addictive opiates are and the problems they cause in our society? Give this drug a pass. Seriously, avoid it like the plague.

64. Thomas Edison always finds relief in Mariani wine.

By the way, Mariani wine contains cocaine. Edison endorsed it because it helped him stay awake longer to work on his inventions. Wonder why.

By the way, Mariani wine contains cocaine. Edison endorsed it because it helped him stay awake longer to work on his inventions. Wonder why.

65. Papine Battle & Co. prepares the safest and most pleasant opium.

Sorry, guys, but that's not really saying much given that opium is highly addictive. Then again, that might've helped their business.

Sorry, guys, but that’s not really saying much given that opium is highly addictive. Then again, that might’ve helped their business.

66. Cannabis Americana has been recommended by clinicians everywhere.

You might know this as marijuana. Though I'm confident of its medicinal properties, I'm sure some patients would prefer smoking it instead of taking it from a bottle.

You might know this as marijuana. Though I’m confident of its medicinal properties, I’m sure some patients would prefer smoking it instead of taking it from a bottle.

67. For new moms and babies, try Anhauser-Busch’s Malt Nutrine.

Because only in the Gilded Age could you sell such beer as a health tonic to nursing mothers. Yes, you got that right.

Because only in the Gilded Age could you sell such beer as a health tonic to nursing mothers. Yes, you got that right.

68. Thorazine always helps control agitation.

Because in domestic abuse situations, how else are you going to calm him if you can't get him institutionalized or obtain a restraining order? Seriously, this could almost look like domestic abuse here.

Because in domestic abuse situations, how else are you going to calm him if you can’t get him institutionalized or obtain a restraining order? Seriously, this could almost look like domestic abuse here.

69. For more pep try some cocaine pills.

Now this old man seems terrifying and bound to give anyone nightmares. Wouldn't want to see this guy on cocaine at any rate.

Now this old man seems terrifying and bound to give anyone nightmares. Wouldn’t want to see this guy on cocaine at any rate.

70. Got a headache and emotional fatigue? Try Anacin.

Yes, housewives, take Anacin because they relief that's acceptable for you is drugs. Never mind if the guy in the corner is your husband and the woman he's with is not you.

Yes, housewives, take Anacin because they relief that’s acceptable for you is drugs. Never mind if the guy in the corner is your husband and the woman he’s with is not you.