Photo by Tiffany Tertipes

We are getting further away from Election Day in the U.S. and getting closer to 2021 when many of the changes voted on and passed will begin to take effect. Americans voted for much more than president that will impact our nation’s healthcare this past November. Several states voted to legalize or decriminalize cannabis (aka marijuana), therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms, and Oregon voters approved a measure that decriminalizes small possession amounts of all illicit drugs.

Five states — Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Mississippi — voted to legalize some form of cannabis use. Despite being a Schedule I substance federally, defined as having no accepted medical use, a total of 35 states plus Washington, DC now have cannabis as a medicinal option for patients. Cannabis is most commonly prescribed for pain relief but can also be used to treat muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced nausea, lack of appetite from chronic illness, seizure disorders, and Crohn’s disease.

Oregon is the first state to legalize

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA; aka Obamacare) Health Insurance Marketplace began its ninth Open Enrollment period yesterday. American healthcare consumers can sign up on the federal insurance exchange at healthcare.gov or through their state marketplaces. In recent years there has been increased confusion surrounding Open Enrollment due to changes (and attempted changes) made to the ACA under the Trump administration, leading to the U.S. uninsured rate to rise for the first time since 2014 and the largest single-year increase since 2008.

When Obama was president and launched the ACA, Open Enrollment period ran 90 days beginning November 1 and running until the end of January. Open Enrollment was cut by President Trump to 45 days in 2017 unless you qualify for the Special Enrollment Period which extends enrollment by an additional 60 days. Advertising and outreach budgets for Open Enrollment have faced cuts, limiting the people able to access assistance or appropriate information that can help them.

New rules put out by the Trump administration allow ACA subsidies to be used for

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The United States is in the midst of a presidential election at a time when healthcare is a major concern for Americans, even before the global pandemic. We have covered many of the changes to healthcare during the Trump administration as well as proposals from the candidates during the primaries, and continue to strive to empower and educate our audience on the policies that affect their healthcare costs. As such, we felt it remains important to cover the healthcare records and policy proposals of the major candidates.

Incumbent President Donald Trump ran on a platform of abolishing the Affordable Care Act (ACA; aka Obamacare), saying it would be “so easy.” He claimed in 2016 his ACA replacement would have “insurance for everybody”, “no one will lose coverage” or “be worse off financially”, and that “Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.” In practice, both “Trumpcare” bills (2017’s American Health Care

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Social justice is the concept that all individuals deserve equal rights and opportunities — including the right to health. Even in 2020, inequities remain in healthcare that are avoidable, unnecessary, and unjust. These inequities are the result of established policies and practices that maintain an unequal concentration of money, power, resources, and perceived value within society among communities based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, country of origin, or disability. Racism, homophobia/transphobia, and misogyny are all insidious forms of bigotry that have long-reaching effects into healthcare.

Over 30% of medical expenses faced by communities of color can be associated with health inequities, and are more likely to be affected by conditions

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Photo by Marc Nozell

We are in the beginnings of an election year in the United States and the first primary votes to determine the Democratic nominee will be cast in the coming weeks. Healthcare costs remain a top concern for voters, and candidates have developed varying proposals to improve healthcare, reform the current system, and reduce healthcare costs in the U.S.

Independent Senator from Vermont and 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders has long championed the ideal of single payer healthcare, often referred to as Medicare for All in the U.S. In a single payer system, the federal government fully covers every service and procedure, including dental, vision, long-term care and abortion, with no out-of-pocket charge to patients. Bernie Sanders has often claimed Medicare for All is the only way to address deeper problems in the United States healthcare system, from medical bankruptcies to high maternal mortality rates, especially among poor and minority women. Senator Sanders has proposed allowing importing medication from abroad at

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