Effects of Healthcare Reform (ACA) aka Obamacare

Affordable-Care-Act1

Obama’s election to the presidency in 2008 was because he promised healthcare reform. The president spoke to the majority of Americans whom agree with him that we need healthcare reform. The world economy failed in 2008, most nations have been struggling to stay afloat. In America, we have watched as Healthcare costs have become unmanageable for many Americans. Many Americans no longer have regular checkups. Instead, they would see a doctor in emergency room visits. The nation lost preventive care. Nevertheless, Republicans in the nation believe that the Democrats plan for healthcare reform will not work. While, on the other hand Democrats believe that, the Republicans plan for Healthcare reform will not work. During 2010, our nation had Democratic control of the Executive and the Legislative branches of the government. Thus, our legislative body passed a Healthcare reform bill.

In reality, the healthcare reform law does many things, for instance,“insurers will have-to cover everyone, regardless of preexisting conditions.” This was a major winning point for the Democrats. Another is, “you can live away from the folks and even be married (as long as you’re under 26) and still be on their health-care plan.” The last big winner for the Democrats was that under the new law, “as long as you pay your premiums, it’s illegal for insurers to drop you if you become suddenly, expensively sick” (“Reform School”). With the new rules that healthcare insurances and providers must obey by, “Medicaid coverage will be expanded in 2014 to individuals with incomes at 33 percent of the federal poverty level” (Kim, Majka, Sussman 57).

The new law did get the approval of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which is a nonpartisan agency that calculates the official cost of legislation for Congress, speaks in the polite language of actuarial tables, refuses to reliably please either party, and is the closest thing American politics has to an umpire.  One major reason it received approval is for the inclusion of about $500 billion I cuts and reforms to Medicare, and similar amount in new taxes (Klein). Even though the CBO has given its approval of the Healthcare law, Republicans still want to throw out the law.

Some of the reasons why the nation’s Republicans want to repeal the new Healthcare law include, “provisions will require each of us (with minor exceptions) to maintain a minimum level of health insurance, beginning in 2014.” The individual mandate is a huge reason for supporting repeal, for the Republican party whom believes that it should be the individual’s choice whether they want to or not. If individuals do not buy health insurance then “a penalty imposed by the tax code, payable with annual tax returns” (Becker). In addition, by 2014, employers with 50 or more employees will be required to provide coverage on the exchange and receives a subsidy (Pudlowski 40). Republicans believe that this mandate is going to be very harmful to small businesses.

Republicans in the House of Representatives that happen  to be physicians also have teamed up to repeal the new healthcare law because of the new cuts, “ in reimbursement rates to Medicare and Medicaid providers; fees or excise taxes on pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufactures and health insurers; reductions of hospital bad debt; and quality initiatives” (Pudlowski 37). Thus, they are displaying a conflict of interest and only reason they wish to repeal the law is so that their friends can continue to make a profit off of their patients.

tumblr_m6cqwlbVTa1qzhkvho1_500Most Democrats believe that these provisions in the healthcare law, for instance the individual mandate, employer mandate, and the cuts to Medicaid and Medicare are necessary for reform. The Democrats believe that the positive effects, the coverage regardless of preexisting conditions, children being able to stay on their parent’s healthcare plan, and expanding Medicaid coverage will out-weigh the negative effects. This 1,000-page law may not be perfect but it does many great things. In 2014, if the law has not been repealed there will be an additional 47 percent of Americans will be insured. More lives will be saved by preventive care, less emergency room visits, and less bad hospital debt.

Thus, I personally support President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act ‘Obamacare,’ because not only will it help reduce the cost of healthcare in the United States it will cover more people and save lives. Nonetheless, I am still a huge proponent for universal healthcare by the passage of H.R. 676, the expand and improve Medicare for all bill. H.R. 676 would institute a single payer healthcare system by expanding and greatly improving Medicare to everyone residing in the United States. H.R. 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental (including oral surgery, periodontics, endodontics), mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including substance abuse), vision and correction, hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical equipment, palliative care, podiatric care, and long term care. H.R. 676 ends deductibles and co-pays. H.R. 676 would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and the profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs.

For more information on H.R. 676 please visit: H.R. 676  

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My Journey with Cystinosis & I am a Survivor

Here I am in the hospital sick because I have Cystinosis!
Here I am in the hospital sick because I have Cystinosis!

I am Mika Covington, I’m 22 years old, and I have Cystinosis. I was born with this disease and diagnosed around age 10 months. Cystinosis is a metabolic disease that causes cells to crystallize causing early cell death. This happens because amino acid cysteine gets into the cells, but has no transporter out. Cystinosis slowly destroys the organs in the body including the kidneys, liver, eyes, muscles and the brain. Cystinosis has always been a struggle for me and my family and friends. My disease has caused a lot of trauma to myself and my family and friends. I know that it must have been very difficult for my family to learn that their child has an incurable disease that will eventually take their life. I personally cannot comprehend how they could have handled getting that news.cistinosis_-432x300

My family first learned of my disease from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Nebraska Medical Center where they took me to try to figure out what was going on with me. Before they took me to the UNMC they took me to many different hospitals in the Omaha Metro area. UNMC was the one to diagnose me with Cystinosis because one intern happened to read an article talking about a mysterious disease. Nevertheless, at the time UNMC did not know exactly what to do with me and said that they did not think I would live much longer then about 6 years old.

250px-NIH_Clinical_Research_Center_aerialLuckily, because of that intern my family heard about the trial going on at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland with Dr. William Gahl. During the trial, I started taking oral Cysteamine four times a day, and later I began doing the Cysteamine eye drops that are taken every hour while awake. Moreover, of course many other medications for all the different problems that come with Cystinosis, like low sodium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, and excessive thirst.

Now, I would like to fast forward to when I started dialysis because I finally went into end stage kidney failure (ESKF). I started dialysis at the end of May in 2011. I first started on hemodialysis. Hemodialysis is a form a dialysis that is usually done with a cardio catheter placed in the chest that is used as a port to cycle blood into a machine that cleans the blood and returns it. If you are doing a long-term hemodialysis, a surgeon will create a port in your arm or leg called a fistula or graft to do dialysis. It is kind of like creating a thick vein to use to access the blood. I personally was on hemodialysis for a little over a year and then switched to peritoneal dialysis. More on that later.

However, before I started hemodialysis in 2011; I was being worked up at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Lied Transplant Center to get on the waiting list for a cadaver kidney (dead person kidney). I did pass all of the tests and was placed on the list as of March 2011. Then I started to look for living donors. I found Jon von Kampen who happened to be a match. Therefore, we set up a surgery date but eventually were unable to do the transplant at the UNMC Lied Transplant Center.

PD Cycler
PD Cycler

Therefore, I would be on dialysis longer and I did not like or do well on hemodialysis. That is when I concluded that maybe peritoneal dialysis would be a better choice for me. Therefore, in February of 2012, I was set to have a PD catheter place in my abdomen. Then in March of 2012, I started peritoneal dialysis. This form of dialysis was the best for me. I got many parts of my life back and was able to become more politically active once again. I liked it a lot. I also felt better on PD.

My journey would soon take a major turn. The summer of 2012, I met Amber Tracy a Field Organizer from Organizing for America (OFA) or the Obama Campaign. She invited me to a couple of events she was holding at the college I was attending for political science and psychology. After she became to know me a little more and all of things I was doing and active in. She recommended 398777_10150940759848430_1366498105_nthat I apply to become a Summer Fellow (intern) at OFA. I agreed that would be fun and a great learning experience and so I applied and came to Council Bluffs, Iowa to first volunteer on the campaign until I was accepted and interviewed for the position. Once, I was accepted, I began doing a lot of work to elect the President. I organized house parties and other events like our Equality night. I made many calls talking to voters about what President Obama has done for the State and me and why they should consider voting for him. I also had the chance to go to Des Moines, Iowa to see the President of the United States of America speak to a crowd of supporters at the Iowa State Fair Grounds where I was able to stand on the stage behind the President. During this entire time, I was doing Peritoneal Dialysis four times a day. The Obama Campaign even arranged for me at the President’s event to get dialysis done before he spoke. They were so considerate of my condition and me.

University of Iowa Medical Center
University of Iowa Medical Center

During my time in Council Bluffs, Iowa working with Organizing for America (OFA), I started looking into the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics (UIHC) to see if I could possibly get on the transplant list there and maybe get a live donor kidney transplant. I did a bunch of research on the hospital and their transplant team and then I finally decided to call them and get a packet of information and paperwork to fill out.

In September of 2012, I was set to go to Iowa City, Iowa to be worked up at the UIHC Transplant center to see if I could be placed on their transplant list. I did pass and was placed on their list the following month, then set out to find another living donor. I sent out about eight packets of information to people who expressed an interest in donating their kidney to me. Out of the 8 packets only 3 where returned and only one was chosen to come to Iowa City, Iowa to be worked up to see if they were a match. That donor was a match but was eventually denied by the committee to donate and so I had a choice to make, send out more packets or see if Jon was still interested in donating.

Luckily, Jon von Kampen was still interested in donating his kidney to me. So, he filled out the packet and sent it in to the UIHC Transplant Center. They immediately saw that he was a match because he was the original donor when I was at the UNMC Lied Transplant Center. Within a month or so Jon was called and asked to come to Iowa City to the UIHC Transplant Center to have some tests done to make sure he was still able to donate. Later of course, Jon was ruled able to donate his kidney and so they scheduled the transplant for May 30, 2013.

Last month, Jon, I, and our families went to Iowa City, Iowa to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) Transplant Center to have the kidney transplant. We arrived at Iowa City a day before our pre-operative appointments because it is about a 4.5-hour drive to Iowa City. We both passed all our tests well and went back to hotel to wait until 5am the next morning to go in to have the surgery.

10250On the morning of the surgery, we all had to get up very early in the morning to get to the hospital by 5:30am, Jon’s surgery was scheduled for 7:15am, and mine would be about 20 minutes after. My surgery took about 5 hours to finish.  The staff at UIHC was wonderful to both Jon and I. Once I was moved to stage 2 right before they took me to the operating room the family started taking photos of me while I was waiting. The staff was able to get the IV started very easily. The staff also explained everything to me and I understood what was going to happen before it happened. After the staff explained everything they rolled my bed out of the room on our way to the operating room. They kept me calm and relaxed almost the entire time. When we got to the operating room they started to give me more medications, got me up on the table, and then started to put me to sleep.

After the surgery and after they had me in recovery for awhile, I finally wake up with the new kidney that I named Serenity and Serenity was working very well. Of course though, I was in a lot of pain but I was already feeling much better.  After surgery that night my medical team wanted me to get up by 10:30pm to do my first walk. My goal was to walk every 4 hours and sit in my chair 3 times a day for each meal. I was able to get up and walk at about 9:30pm. It was very painful but doable. This went on for a couple of days and then I was discharged on June 3, 2013.

Me in Pre-op with Diane and family
Me in Pre-op with Diane and family

Now, I am living with full kidney function and I am no longer in End Stage Renal Failure. My incision has finally healed and my health is so much better. Nevertheless, I had to have another surgery to remove my peritoneal dialysis catheter. That surgery was also done at the UIHC by my transplant surgeon. This surgery had some complications because of how the UNMC Transplant surgeon put it in. My UIHC

Pre-op with family
Pre-op with family

Transplant surgeon has never seen a PD catheter placed like mine was so it wasn’t a laparoscopic surgery and they had to keep me over night because of my pain levels. I was discharged the next afternoon and went back to the hotel to rest before we would head back to Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Thus, today I have pain from the two incisions for the PD catheter removal and one of them was left partly open to drain in case of infection. But other than that I am much better but I do sleep a lot and I have been able to decrease the amount of pain killers I am on to about 2 tabs at bed to help sleep more comfortably and fully without the pain. Those two incisions currently have constant pain.

Any questions about my journey or about kidney transplants or Cystinosis feel free to email me at mika.covington@yahoo.com

I am a survivor and there is nothing that can take that away!

I would like to also tell you about how my days go medically.

7am: I take medications

  1. Sertraline 2 tabs – for depression/anxiety
  2. Phospha 250 Neutral 1 tab – for Cystinosis
  3. Mcyophenolate 1 tab – for prevention of kidney transplant rejection
  4. Sulfamehoxazole-TMP-SS 1 tab – for transplant to prevent infection prophylaxis
  5. Rapamune 4 tabs – for prevention of kidney transplant rejection
  6. Prednisone 1 tab – for prevention of kidney transplant rejection
  7. Levocarnitine 2ml oral solution – for Cystinosis
  8. Cystagon (LTD DIST) 10 caps – for Cystinosis prevention of additional organ failure
  9. Cysteamine HCI BAC eye drops one drop in each eye – for Cystinosis to prevent corneal crystal buildup (I try to do these every hour while awake like prescribed)

9 or 10 am: I get out of bed to really start my day

  • I weigh myself and record it
  • I take my temperature and record it
  • I take my blood pressure and pulse and record it
  • I fill all my water bottles (need to drink at least 2 liters of water a day, my doctors want me to drink between 3-4 liters of water a day)

11am or 12pm: Meds again

  1. Levocarnitine 2ml
  2. Cystagon 10 caps
  3. Cysteamine drops
  4. Ondansetron 1 tab – for prevention of vomiting as needed (many of my medications especially the Cystagon make me very sick some days)
  5. Multivitamins
  6. Vitamin D 200 IU

6pm: Meds YAYS!

  1. Mcyophenolate 1 tab
  2. Phospha 250 Neutral 1 tab
  3. Levocarnitine 2ml
  4. Cystagon 10 caps
  5. Cysteamine eye drops

8 or 9pm: I get ready for bed on days that I don’t have any events for LB380 or other

  • I take my temperature and record it
  • I take my blood pressure and pulse and record it

11pm or 12am: Yays meds again!

  1. Levocarnitine 2ml
  2. Cystagon 10 caps
  3. Cysteamine eye drops
  4. Ondansetron

That’s how my days on average go.

Finally, here are some videos that I found that I find moving and inspirational.

Several hours after surgery. Serenity is home!
Several hours after surgery. Serenity is home!
My new Med box with some of my meds!
My new Med box with some of my meds!
All my current meds
All my current meds

Below are pictures of my incisions so don’t look if you might get sick. I cannot be held responsible.

Not too long after the kidney arrived
Not too long after the kidney arrived
Incision one from PD Cath removal
Incision one from PD Cath removal
Incision two where the PD cath use to be.
Incision two where the PD cath use to be.

Condescending Bullshit!

This is just unbelievable ! Okay, so I promised myself that I would just throw Occupy Omaha in the trash and no longer blog about them. But this is just unbelievable!!

So I get this message from them through a “friend,” “good news, the Ga decided tonight to let yo u and mika and ken back on the fb page. the premise is that since the 3 of you were banned under some less than scrutinized circumstances, with a personal conflict , of which we can find no evidence in fb pages nor the rules under which you were banned, then, we felt it is only fair to reinstate you. there are still general rules tho. it is just common sense; stick with the occupy issues, don’t flame or use fb pages of OO for personal conflicts, and no spamming. the agreement is if you break the rules sufficiently there will be one warning. after that, banned again. wishing you an enlightening experience! ec, OO fb admin.”

OOshit

So before I let you all know what my response was to this let’s look at this message closely. First please look at how she spelled Mika and Ken. She did not capitalize the M or the K. This shows lack of respect. Next let’s look at how she does not mention that actually issue at hand at all. To remind everyone that issue was the personal attacks against me and Ken whom happen to both be big Democrats and supporters of PRESIDENT Barack Obama. Remember these attacks were lead by Occupy Omaha’s ex-de facto leaders who immediately after attacking Ken and I and after I posted something asking why they were getting away with attacking us banned both Ken and I and then threatened to ban another supporter of ours. Remember they decided to do this unilaterally without permission of Occupy Omaha’s General Assembly.  Finally, lets look at how they do not apologize for any and all harm done to those of us involved.

Now that I went over all of that let’s see what I said back.

“Yup I don’t see what took so long and there were plenty of proof of what people saw who supposedly supported us. In addition to that we never posted on the Occupy Omaha page attacking individuals or Occupy Omaha. If we are attacked again by members of Occupy Omaha because of our political views I will point out the hypocrisy of Occupy Omaha once again,” said by me.

OOshit2

Let me be clear Eve was the one who first notified me of the bashing against me and Ken.

“you said yo u didnt have any of the emails or fb posts from anyone who was conflicting.so i started looking for them. they are not on the fb page. neither are the rules for admins, fb page users or anything else. so we start over,” said by Eve.

Ok so lets look at this first of all there never were emails no one ever said anything about emails. Second of all these people went and deleted everything. Remember these people were admins for the facebook page not me. Finally, the rules for the admins were posted and agreed upon by the Occupy Omaha General Assembly back when people actually went to Occupy Omaha.

“That is all I have to say about that crap No we don’t just start over after the shit you all pulled thank you very much,” said by me.

“and again, we “all” did not pull it. we kno w who did. OO is not a groupthink collective,” said by Eve.

OOshit3

Let me be clear. This group saw all this shit taking place and just sat around and did nothing. By the way, the people that did this shit were not banned and never received any punishment or “talking” to about it. Now all Occupy Omaha wants to do as a group is not even recognize the shit that happened and they just want to brush it under the rug and move on and forget about it.

“Well they all us to be there until you all let D’Shan and Steve take over the group. I am done with this Occupy Omaha crap anyway but if something happens again I will once again post and blog about it,” said by me.

Sorry I messed up in my English there. I meant to say was all means you all who decided to let D’Shann and Steve take over the group.

“you’re welcome,” said by Eve.

So look at all that shit! There was no sorry for the troubles we caused by letting to radicals take over the group and not let the General Assembly make decisions. Instead they are trying to hide what happened and act like they did not see what shit that D’shann and Steve did against any and all Democrats or Obama supporters.

Obama and Gronstal Won!! Equality Won!! Victory!!

President Barack H. Obama won his re-election!!! So did Iowa State Senator Mike Gronstal and Iowa Supreme Court Justice Wiggins was retained!! A pro-equality majority was re-elected to the Iowa State Senate which will protect Iowa’s Marriage Equality ruling!! The haters lost!!

Election 2012 was a major victory for the United States of America and the world! This was a major victory for the Queer community!

President Barack H. Obama’s win was celebrated around the world! He is loved in Europe and in many other nations! He has done so much for the global community and will continue to fight for what is right int he world and hopefully restore balance to the world.

Queers won in many states on many different issues.  The Queers elected more openly queers to Congress. Such as Mark Takano to California’s 41st Congressional District (first openly gay person of color elected to Congress) and Tammy Baldwin U.S. Senate Wisconsin (first openly lesbian elected to the U.S. Senate).

Queers won ballot initiatives in four states, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota  and Washington!! In Maryland, the people voted to approve the State’s Marriage Equality law. In Maine, the people voted to pass a constitutional amendment reversing the previous vote banning marriage equality. In Minnesota, the people voted down a constitutional amendment that would ban marriage equality in the state. In Washington, the people voted to approve the State’s marriage equality law. This makes a total of  nine states and the District of Columbia, as well as, 11 nations!

So, I have a few words to all those dumbasses who keep posting on facebook that your vote does not count and that we should not vote because the system is corrupt. Well, parts of the system may as well be corrupt but it still works just fine to re-elect the first black President and to elect the first gay person of color and the first lesbian to the United States Senate and in addition to that three states by popular vote upheld marriage equality laws and in one state voted down a constitutional amendment that would ban the states recognition of marriage equality. These votes were all close and if even more people did not vote because they listened to your dumbasses then we would not have won and we would have Romney instead and I know you all dumbfucks would not be happy under a Romney administration so shut the fuck up and start voting! And to all those socialists and green partiers who were pissed that I voted Obama and Democrats shut up! Seriously if you want me to take you seriously then stop trying to get me to not vote because you say my vote is a waste or that I am voting for the lesser of two evils. I am sick of hearing that shit! Also my suggestion to you people is that you should work at getting your parties more seats on local levels and build the party until it is strong enough to move up to federal offices. Thank you very much! In the comments please feel free to bitch at me all you want!! Have a wonderful day!!

De Facto Leaders of a Leaderless Movement AKA Occupy Omaha

Yes, I know this is once again about Occupy Omaha but this will be my last post for a while.

So anyways, I shared the comment Steve made on my blog on my facebook and then it starts another controversy apparently. D’Shawn decided that he would unblock me so that he can comment on my facebook and this is what the bitch said, “You are an unbelievably sick person, Mika. Your last two Occupy Omaha meetings consisted of you telling us all you were too ill to continue working in Occupy Omaha then disappeared for a few weeks. When you reappeared I asked how you were doing out of concern, you wen’t on a brag about the 70+ hours a week you had been putting in at the Obama Campaign. You didn’t quit because you are notoriously difficult to work with and you have no tact whatsoever.  Your very last meeting you offended most of the group with your antics. They are not appreciated.  I don’t know what caused you to stoop this low but I will go on record for Steve. He was not the one responsible for that post. Whichever one of you is responsible for this is a sick individuals and anyone who would chose to support this group of people, I would liken them to the women in Lincoln who cut herself in a twisted attempt to advance her cause. You are sick and need to get help.”

So my response to that shit, “Oh so now the de facto leader tells me that I fake my illness and that I fake having a Creatinine level of 8.84. Guess working for the Obama camp consisted of me sitting in a chair making calls and doing data. Oh and I did dialysis during the day at the office. I have many witnesses of all the work I did and how sick I was and how sick I continue to get while waiting for the kidney transplant. Oh and BTW I only lasted for about a month with the camp because I even got too sick to sit around at the office and make calls. Oh and I even haven’t really been doing much for Forward Equality either. I will continue to attack dumbfucks like you and Steve.”

D’Shawn comes back with this, “Exactly. You don’t even care about your cause. Only getting even. I hope people will start to see you for what you really are. Ultimately, you have my pity.”

Of course, I say one last thing back to him, “Yes of course not being able to physically do the work anymore is not caring about my cause. Literally dying of stage 5 Cystinosis is not caring about my cause. I am not trying to get even. I am just sharing the facts of what you fuckers are.”

 

So let’s get into this shit a little deeper.

Yes, I did tell everyone about my illness the last Occupy Omaha meeting I went to as an actual member. I did that as an educational tool since only 500 people in the United States have Cystinosis.  I even sat there with my dialysis stuff and showed them that. About a month later or even more I started working with the Obama Camp in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Then after about a month of being there and a lot of drama out of my control and on top of that it was getting hot and I could not go out and go door to door to talk to negbors about why the should support President Obama and it was just becoming more and more difficult to work there for many reasons mostly including my health and how I have nausea and vomiting and I am really sleeply all day long and need to rest a lot now I could not stay there. Thus, I only volunteer for the Obama Camp once or twice a week and I also on Sundays go to Omaha to the Sara Howard Campaign to help her out too.

Yes, the very last meeting I went to I pissed off both Steve and D’Shawn. I did this by telling them that I thought they should actually listen to their membership and start doing rallies again. Which started some dialogue between a couple of the 7 Occupy Omaha members there. However, of course D’Shawn immediately disapproved of the idea and tried to dismiss me. I would not let that shit happen and I told him he was wrong. Then he tried to pull the shit that they don’t have enough numbers for a successful rally which is when I told them that they could organize to get at least 20 to 30 people there. Of course this is when Steve decides to add his disapproval of my ideas and claims that would take too much “man” power which of course I shot down quickly by saying well no if everyone her went and called at least 5 people that they believe would be most interested in attending this then that would be a start and there you could possibly get 35 people contacted. Of course, that is throwing around my antics and being rude to everyone.  That is where D’Shawn is getting his idea that I offended everyone. Only people at that meeting that looked offended was D’Shawn and Steve the two who have proclaimed themselves the de facto leaders of a leaderless movement.

So there you have it everyone, the dumbfucks are at it again!!