Last week the Boy Scouts of America announced it will allow girls to join the organization with the following statement released on their official website:
“Today, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its iconic Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout. The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls, the organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who’ve never been involved in Scouting – to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children.”
Skeptics claim it’s not really a decision about actually being inclusive, it’s just a publicity stunt to increase Boy Scout membership which has steadily decreased in the last decade. The Girl Scouts of America are not terribly happy about the announcement, either. In fact, the day after the Boy Scouts posted the above statement, the Girl Scouts released their official position on their website:
“Girl Scouts is the best girl leadership organization in the world, created with and for girls. We believe strongly in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides, which creates a free space for girls to learn and thrive.
The benefit of the single-gender environment has been well-documented by educators, scholars, other girl- and youth-serving organizations, and Girl Scouts and their families. Girl Scouts offers a one-of-a-kind experience for girls with a program tailored specifically to their unique developmental needs.”
The two organizations have never really seen eye to eye. The Boy Scouts were founded a little more than 100 years ago and the Girl Scouts (then called Girl Scouting) approx. five years later. By the mid 1920’s the Boy Scouts of America sued the Girl Scouts for use of the word, “Scouts.” The traditionalist “manly-men” of the time objected to the term “Scout” being used for girls. That’s right, the lawsuit was all about the manliness of the word Scout and how, if used to describe a girl, the word would be emasculated.
Obviously, the Girl Scouts won the lawsuit.
Several decades later and the two organizations still don’t really get along. That being said, the Girl Scouts have been far more progressive for much, much longer. The Girls Scouts have long since championed civil rights, inclusion and acceptance. And to them it wasn’t a big deal. It just seemed like the right thing to do. (It is).
The Boy Scouts have been firmly anti-gay membership, anti-LGBT inclusion and 100% -- no girls allowed, until very recently. It wasn’t until 2013 that the Boy Scouts lifted the open ban on gay scouts. It wasn’t until 2015 that the Boy Scouts ended the prohibition on adult gay Scout leaders. Finally, in Jan of 2017, the Boy Scouts said it will allow members that self-identify as male to join.
So, the Girl Scouts have been way ahead of the Boy Scouts on pretty much all progressive social issues so I can understand the G.S. leadership annoyance. The Girl Scouts have been all inclusive for decades -- no press. The Boy Scouts finally, finally, finally catch up with the rest of progressive America -- all the press.
And maybe Boy Scouts are changing for the wrong reasons. But that doesn’t matter much to me. As long as progress is being made forward I’m all for it.
Conservatives around the internet shrugged a collective “meh” at the Boy Scout inclusion news. I honestly thought there would be more faux outrage and I’m glad to report that there wasn’t.
And, let’s be honest, the Boy Scouts will still be overwhelmingly male. But now, a troop can form and all boy, all girl, or mixed gender Cub Scout group.
Seems fair to me.
And for anyone who thinks this is another liberal, feminist platform “ruining” things for real Americans I offer two things:
First: the overwhelmingly conservative Boy Scout board of directors unanimously voted in favor of the more inclusive policies.
Second: Samantha Bee and Full Frontal's: Fem Agenda: What to Ruin Next.
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Despite Donald Trump declaring Obamacare dead after signing an executive order on Thursday, United States Senators came to a bipartisan agreement on Tuesday to float Obamacare for the next two years. That doesn’t mean Obamacare is in the clear, but it is still the law of the land, and with open enrollment beginning on Nov. 1, it’s time you understood your healthcare options so you can make the right choice for you and your family.
Medicaid expansion has been implemented in 32 states, and if you’re a citizen of Louisiana, your state expanded Medicaid in July of 2016, so check to see if you qualify. If you make less than $16,040 annually and are single, you do. Here’s the breakdown of the Federal Poverty Level for households of multiple people and here’s where you can find your state’s income requirements. Medicaid in any state will be considerably cheaper than a Bronze plan on the Obamacare marketplace.
Louisianans are already taking advantage of the Medicaid expansion, with enrollment in the program increasing 42 percent since Obamacare debuted in 2013. The state’s 21.7 percent uninsured rate in 2013 has fallen to 12.7 percent.
Going uninsured only increases premiums for your family, friends and neighbors, and if you were to require medical care, you would incur considerable medical debt for which you could end up paying the rest of your life. A 2016 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found those who visit the hospital without insurance double their chance of declaring bankruptc within four years.
Even if your hospital visit doesn’t burden you with medical debt, any “uncompensated care” the hospital provides, it makes up by raising rates on medical care for everyone. So going uninsured raises medical costs for everyone and is not advised.
That said, if you haven’t been to the doctor in years, don’t do dangerous work or have dangerous hobbies and are healthy -- you can determine whether it would be cheaper to pay the penalty for going uninsured than it would be to pay a health insurance premium.
The penalty for going uninsured in 2017 is 2.5 percent of your income or $695 -- whichever is higher. So if you make less than $27,750 annually, you’d pay $695, which would likely be cheaper than any health insurance plan you could purchase on the Obamacare marketplace. In fact, if you make less than $45,000 annually, the penalty for going uninsured ($1,125) is likely less than your premiums would be for the year. Keep in mind that premium payments are only part of your potential healthcare costs, though. It only takes one accident or illness to make you regret going uninsured.
Catastrophic health insurance plans cover the same essential health benefits marketplace plans cover, including preventative care and three primary care visits. They’re also cheap and protect you from both the penalty for going uninsured and the medical debt that could bankrupt you in the future. You might even qualify for a catastrophic plan if you’re over 30 years old.
If you have experienced any one of the hardships listed here in the past year, you could qualify for a catastrophic health insurance plan. Some examples would be death of a family member, increased expenses due to caring for a sick family member, or damage to property due to natural disaster. You might even qualify if you experienced a hardship applying for health insurance not listed on the website.
You could also be eligible for a catastrophic health plan if your employer doesn’t offer affordable health insurance and Obamacare is prohibitively expensive for you, or if your state didn’t expand Medicaid, for which you would qualify. Be sure to investigate your eligibility for a catastrophic health insurance plan thoroughly, especially if you live in one of the 18 states that didn’t expand Medicaid.
If you and your family is healthy and has no history of medical problems, a Bronze health insurance plan is probably all you need. Bronze plans only cover up to 60 percent of medical costs, though. Silver health insurance plans cover up to 70 percent of expenses, Gold plans cover 80 percent and Platinum plans cover up to 90 percent of medical expenses.
Based on you and your family’s medical history and current health, you can determine which plan best fits into your budget while also covering your expected medical costs for the year. If you are injury-prone or have a history of visiting the hospital regularly, a Gold or Platinum plan might actually save you money in a bad year health-wise.
So there’s your checklist for understanding your options prior to Obamacare open enrollment starts on Nov. 1. Exhaust all of your healthcare options before giving up and taking the penalty, because you never know what could happen.
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A new study out of Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine links textured breast implants to BIA-ALCL, anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
Although a rare cancer. researchers believe the lifetime risk is 1 out of every 30,000 women with breast implants and if the numbers are underreported, could be as common as 1 out of every 4000 women with implants.
Although the implants are used to augment breast tissue, the malignancy is not a breast cancer but rather a lymphoma.
Lymphomas make up the most common of the blood cancers. The cancer begins in the lymphocytes, cells crucial for maintaining one’s immune system. Two main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin’s and Non Hodgkin's. Non Hodgkins is more common, and anaplastic large cell lymphoma is a subset if it.
In this study, researchers reviewed 115 scientific articles from 1997 – January 2017. Unlike the report released earlier this year by the FDA, the researchers did not find a link between BIA-ALCL and smooth breast implants. Of the articles reviewed, 93 cases were cited and the cancer appeared 10 years after the textured implants were placed.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there are currently 160 cases in the US and a total of 391 worldwide as of September 2017.
Last March the FDA reported 9 women had died from anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) possibly associated with their breast implant use. The FDA received 359 reports of BIA-ALCL, a rare type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, 9 of whom died as of February 1, 2017.
This is not the first time a link has been suggested. 6 years ago the World Health Organization suggested a link. Then in 2011, the FDA identified a possible association between the two. In 2016, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration reported 46 confirmed cases with 3 deaths relating to breast implants.
The report last spring suggested that BIA-ALCL affected both smooth and textured implants. According to the FDA report, 231 of the 359 cancer cases provided information on implant type. 203 were reported to be textured implants and 28 reported to be smooth implants. When it came to silicone vs. saline implants, the FDA said 312 of the 359 reports provided these specifics and of those 186 reported implants filled with silicone gel and 126 reported implants filled with saline.
So neither implant type appeared immune to the risk of BIA-ALCL but it appears the silicone, textured implants carried the most risk.
Now the cancer occurred within the breast and the FDA advises physicians to consider the possibility of BIA-ALCL if there appears to be a seroma (fluid filled cavity around the implant) or a contracture (pulling of the skin and tissue) near the implant.
In most cases the cancer is treatable, with removal of the implant and the surrounding tissue curative. In some cases however, radiation of the area or chemotherapy is required.
Although 50,000 cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma occurs annually in the US, it is unknown how many cases of BIA-ALCL occur each year. Moreover, many countries may not have avid reporting systems of breast implant related cancers as we do. According to the American College of Plastic Surgeons, close to 300,000 women receive breast implants each year, some of which for breast reconstruction after mastectomy for breast cancer.
The FDA reminds us that BIA-ALCL is rare and prophylactic breast implant removal is NOT recommended. However we need to be aware and evaluate if one develops swelling, pain, new lumps or asymmetry in the breasts….just as we do for those without implants.
For more on the study, visit here.
Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD, FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.