Monday, April 02, 2012

Square Biz Monday

Supreme Court Wrestles with Affordable Health Care Act

Are you ready to RUMBLE!!! Should have been the rallying cry last week as the Supreme Court came ready for a battle royal with Obama Administrator mouthpieces, Solicitor General Charles Fried and Donald Verrilli over the health care measure. Deemed "Obamacare," the Affordable Health Care Act is a beast of a piece of legislation running some 2700 pages of "health speak" that even one of the justices stated that "do you expect us to have read this? Well, they may have not read the bill, but Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN fame, didn't wince at stating that he had read the bill not once but twice. So take that you justices. Meanwhile, the back and forth from the justices and those haphazardly attempting to defend the law was truly a test of constitutional wills at best. Central to the many arguments are if the measures "mandate" which states that everyone must purchase health care insurance is struck from the law, would this basically "take the heart and soul" of the bill into a shell of itself. Currently there are already a few provisions already in place such as individuals can stay on the parents policies until age 26 and the expansion of services to children. With 47% of Americans opposing the measure, COP 24/7 ponders the thought that does this mean that individuals would prefer not to be insured of their person but rather continue to be free wheeling until some catastrophic health crisis occurs and then they turn to the health care system to come to their aid?  Therefore, entering into the system possibly without insurance and coverage. As health care cost escalate, I can't imagine that folks could not embrace at least some exchanges that would allow many more individuals to be covered. The question of how far reaching can the government go is a worthwhile discussion but why would this country languish behind many other nations who have been progressive in the health care of their citizens. None of this could have been made more obvious than Fareed Zakira's recent health care report that demonstrate that the United States is out of step with the rest of the industrialized world. After all Zakira reports that just "5% of the patients in the U.S. account for fifty percent of all health care cost." Also he cites that the Affordable Care Act expanded access to some 30 million Americans but its the cost containment issues that bewitches the situation. And so it goes... Will they or Won't they strike this act as unconstitutional and keep this country in a ongoing health struggle. Only time will tell come this June...

Condoms for All American Girls and More

This week the journal AIDS and Behavior published study findings stating that the Washington, D.C. female condom education and distribution program is a cost effective strategy for reducing new HIV infections. The data overwhelmingly demonstrated that dollars invested in the program resulted in a cost savings of more than $8 million due to the prevention of nearly 23 HIV infections. The program is administered by the Washington AIDS Partnership (an AIDS United Community Partnership) and the D.C. Department of Health. Are you asking youself isn't that an intersting program and does Arkansas have such a thought process in place. Sorry, no such luck. Such programs as this prevention program don't seem to muster much interest in these parts even though it squarely plays too those bean counters who want to make sure that every dollar makes sense. Yet not pursuing these cost saving intiatives including other measures such as the Medicaid 411 waiver make even more little sense when they are not highly considered. Locally The Living Affected Corporation is currently considering reviving its "Sexy,Healthy Encounters," programm, which features educational and information on the usage as well as effectiveness of the items.

The female condom is an essential safer sex option for all genders seeking to protect the health of themselves and their partners. It is the only receptive partner initiated HIV, STI, and pregnancy prevention tool available. The female condom can be used for vaginal or anal sex.
The study’s findings shatter the notion that female condoms and not a worthwhile expenditure for HIV prevention programs. The reality is female condoms work.
Lead author and chairman of the Department of Health Behavior and Society at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, David Holtgrave, stated in the Washington Post that “When we think about what it means for a city or state to have a comprehensive HIV program, this study really says you ought to include female condoms as one element of a comprehensive program because it’s acceptable, effective and cost-saving.”

Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New York City, and San Francisco have launched similar programs focused on increasing awareness, acceptance, and use of female condoms through equipping community educators, health care professionals, case managers, and other services providers with skills necessary to effectively promote female condoms within their communities. Each of these jurisdictions reports greater acceptance of female condoms among end-users and increased willingness among providers to promote them as a result of their work. Other jurisdictions are currently laying the groundwork to launch their own programs.

The energy and enthusiasm around female condoms has increased tremendously since the new and improved female condom, the FC2, hit the market in 2010. Last year each of the female condom programs in the U.S. came together to launch the National Female Condom Coalition to increase awareness, access, and use of female condoms through education, advocacy, and collaboration. The Coalition now counts approximately 40 health departments and organizations dedicated to sexual health and reproductive justice, gay men’s health, HIV prevention, family planning, and HIV-positive women from across the country. This study will further strengthen advocacy efforts to ensure women and men in the U.S. and around the world are aware and can access this highly effective, pleasurable, and cost-effective prevention tool. For more info contact:

Renegades Still Going Rouge

The local service oriented group, Renegades for a Cause have been boot scootin and rough riding all across the city. According to the groups Facebook postings, COP 24/7 has been bursting with pride at the upsurge in activity and forward momentum that the young upstart has taken. All throughout April organizers have been scheduling BBQ's at Miss Kitty's and fundraisers A-Go-go! At the helm it appears that Justin Case and Beau B. have been leading this "drama free" band of service oriented citizens on romp that will also lad them to fund raise across state lines into Oklahoma City for the Oklahoma Gay Rodeo Association. I've been to the OGRA round up and had a blast with these big buckled cow pokes and gals. If you get a chance to support them in any fashion, may I encourage you to do so.  As the calendar becomes finalized and more information is released, this forum will share it, Until then, hat's off to the Renegades for a making it happen while believing that people can work together for a cause!

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