With Trump in the White House, Americas gun manufacturers are in trouble after a golden era under Barack Obama
With Trump in the White House, Americas gun manufacturers are in trouble after a golden era under Barack Obama
A physical examination of the US president has declared him to be in great physical shape. But some are questioning his vital statistics
President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address last night marked the official end to the president’s turbulent first year in office. While conservatives loved his speech, progressives were alarmed by his story of Hope Holets, the baby who was surrendered to a New Mexico police officer by her homeless, heroin-addicted mother. In a story filled with righteous praise for the cop, they wanted to know just what happened to Hope’s biological mother.
Officer Ryan Holets and his wife Rebecca were introduced last night as an opportunity to expand the administration’s pledge to “fight the drug epidemic and help get treatment for those in need.” To that point, Trump claimed the family is an excellent example of how “the most difficult challenges bring out the best in America.”
However, instead of helping the homeless mother find a proper home for her child through government assistance, Trump said that the police officer “felt God speak to him,” urging him to adopt the pregnant woman’s child in order to protect the unborn baby from her mother’s heroin addiction. The mother and her partner agreed to let the Holets adopt the child, who they named Hope, once she was born.
“Ryan and Rebecca, you embody the goodness of our nation,” Trump remarked. “Thank you.”
Here’s the problem with Trump’s telling of that story: The focus was entirely on Ryan Holets’ heroism and not helping the woman who felt her only choice was to give up her child.
The baby’s biological mother, Crystal Champ, is still struggling with addiction along with her partner, Tom Key, according to CNN. Originally, Champ was deeply offended when Ryan first confronted her, because she felt they “had no idea how hard this is,” she told CNN. But the two have since bonded, to the point where Ryan has set up a GoFundMe for Champ and Key, with the hope of providing them housing and medical support after entering a live-in rehabilitation center. As of Wednesday morning, the couple is less than $600 away from their goal.
But Trump’s retelling points to a larger problem in which the Republican Party glorifies unborn children and couldn’t care less about their mothers. As Slate’s Christina Cauterucci puts it, the power disparity between a police officer confronting a heroin addict over custody for her unborn child represents “some degree of coercion,” and that the story itself “treats women as mere tools of reproduction.”
“A progressive politician might have invoked Hope Holets to illustrate our need for a humane drug policy, better addiction treatment, more affordable housing, or better access to contraception and maternal health care,” Cauterucci wrote. “To Republicans, Hope Holets’ biological mother is merely the villain in the story of a heroic cop.”
That’s not to say the Holets family didn’t save Hope’s life. And the Holets certainly seem invested in helping Champ and Key go to rehab. But there are more layers to Ryan and Rebecca Holets’ story than President Trump is willing to admit. Without talking about the baby’s mother, and the conditions that got her to living on the street and using heroin, there’s never going to be an honest discussion about the roles gender and poverty play in America’s growing opioid crisis.
Donald Trumps criticisms of the NHS suggest he knows little about our system or the one he presides over, says freelance journalist James Ball
On Tuesday afternoon, Physician to the President Ronny Jackson discussed how President Trumps physical examination went on Friday. For several minutes, Jackson ticked off statistics.
Vitals as follows, he began, and in one breath, spewed out numbers. Age, 71 years, 7 months at the time of the exam. Height 75 inches. Weight 239 pounds. Resting heart rate 68. Blood pressure 122/74. Pulse oximetry, 99 percent on room air. Temperature was 98.4. Eyes, presidents uncorrected visual acuity is 20/30 bilaterally with corrected visual acuity of 20/20 bilaterally.
After all the hullabaloo of the physical, Trumps numbers boil down to two facts. First, Trump is in crappy shape and could use a diet, or hes in danger of dying from heart disease or a stroke, whichever comes first. And second, as much as he might tout his stable genius, theres no clinical proof of it; only that he can pass a test whose questions involve identifying animals and sketching a clock. Trumps mental fitness remains fuzzy and unknown.
Jacksons appearance, which he importantly prefaced with the note that Trump had permitted him to release these numbers, showcased a medical briefing that told us some things, but also told us nothing at all.
Heres the one blaring thing we learned: With a height just over 6 feet 2 inches and clocking in at 239 pounds (three pounds more than last year when he was examined by his personal doctor, Harold Bornstein), Trump has officially entered the zone of obesity at 30.7, according to his BMI ratios.
Trumps cholesterol levels have also spiked. His cholesterol levels under Bornstein rang in at 169, but his cholesterol this year was 233, which experts would consider dangerous. Jackson said he had a sit-down with Trump about escalating the cholesterol-reducing drug with a low-dose Crestor and eating better to avoid clogging his arteries.
That Trumps specific health statistics makes him an obese individual despite having a height and weight comparable to a NFL player showcase the difference a little exercise (something else Jackson suggested for the president) make, as tweets illustrate.
Taken at Twitter-value, its a medical marvel: Look at what a difference muscle mass makes compared to fat! But the photos also make an excellent point about Trumps health: He is, after all, a very tall and broad man, so his weight will reflect that.
But the numbers that Jackson reported on behalf of Trump suggest that this is a man who has very little muscle mass and is essentially a walking glob. Trump is clinically obese. Hes not very different from his fellow American in this respect: 35 percent of Americans are obese, with another 34 percent considered overweight, according to the National Institute of Health. Trumps alleged favored diet of burgers and fries, coupled with a marked disdain for exercise, certainly dont help.
Jacksons evaluation suggests that no matter his constant assurances throughout the briefing that Trump is in excellent health, the president has been chided to lose weight. Jackson has gone so far as to suggest Trump try to lose 10 to 15 pounds by the time his checkup next year, which comes out to about a pound a month. Its a doable goal, but one that Trump will have to actively engage in by eating more vegetables, cutting down on the fat content of his meals, and doing a little more physical activity beyond shuffling around and golfing at Mar-a-Lago.
Does an obese president really matter, though? Trump can lift weights and run all he wants, but at the end of the day, the decisions he makes are going to be determined by his mental fitness.
The weeks before the physical saw a call for the presidents mental health to be evaluated, despite his protests that such a test would be unnecessary; according to Jackson, Trump requested some sort of neurological examination. Jackson responded with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, a 10-minute, 30-question test that measures cognitive ability, on which trump scored a perfect 30.
Importantlyand this is very importantthe test is not a neurological one. MoCA, as its referred to, does not measure mental faculties nor does it quantify the decision-making power of Trumps brain. Instead, MoCA is often used as a preliminary indicator of mental impairment for those with attention disorders, learning disabilities, and memory problems, often being administered after a patient suffers from a brain injury.
MoCA includes memory recall tests, drawing a clock and a 3D cube, simple addition and subtraction, and recognizing low-familiarity animals, such as rhinoceroses, among other tasks. Its a test that is simple and meant to measure Trumps ability to comprehend simple tasks, not whether he is psychiatrically healthy. A person can perform cognitive tasks well all day long, but that does not prove mental health and psychiatric wellness, despite the 30/30 score the president will surely tout in the months to come.
His overall health? No matter what Jackson says, its not great. Trump is reflective of the run-of-the-mill white man in America, and while that might win him elections, it still means hes in terrible health.
President Trump’s reported comments about preferring immigration from countries such as Norway over certain “s**thole countries” sure made a lot of waves on Thursday. As for people moving from Norway to the United States, author Stephen King just doesn’t understand it:
Why would people from Norway want to immigrate here? They have actual health care, and longer life expectancy.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 11, 2018
So maybe the real question is why doesn’t King pack up and head to Norway where it’s apparently way more awesome than where he currently resides?
By that logic… why do you continue to live in this awful land?
I hear Norway's great. https://t.co/cK1XeiQ2yq
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) January 11, 2018
We already know that CNN has President Trump’s dietary habits covered, especially after the network spent a day talking about how Trump drinks a dozen Diet Cokes a day. Remember this?
— CNN (@CNN) December 11, 2017
So now that it’s clear CNN is concerned about the president’s physical and mental health, maybe it’s time to take a serious look at Oprah 2020 … after all, she promotes Weight Watchers.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 9, 2018
So of all the differences Brian Stelter could choose from, he picked … Weight Watchers vs. McDonald’s?
— Derek Adam Anderson (@AltruistcMystic) January 9, 2018
This is CNN. Wow. https://t.co/iVhpv6MFlK
— Dougs Slaughterhouse (@notthefakeDH) January 9, 2018
Stelter is approaching Cillizza territory. https://t.co/Nw6C0lXVkh
— Howard Brilliant (@HDBtweets) January 9, 2018
Because Weight Watchers has worked so well for her. https://t.co/KHqBGNAcZZ
— Amanda (@calvin2000) January 9, 2018
I think we all know she secretly likes McDonalds
— Craig Lambert (@lambert_craig) January 9, 2018
Weird….. Since she's way more overweight than he is https://t.co/FVxKcoGKf0
— Lauren Williams (@laurenpaige1985) January 9, 2018
Everyone else started humming Avril Lavigne too, right? https://t.co/spygvShCER
— Kate Feldman (@kateefeldman) January 9, 2018
North Korea hasn’t fired off any nukes yet, thank goodness, but President Trump’s tweet about his nuclear button still has a lot of the country rattled, perhaps CNN’s Brian Stelter most of all.
On Tuesday night, after the tweet, Stelter made it known that he rewrote the opening of “Anderson Cooper 360” to deal with the tweet, which he called “madness.”
Rewriting @AC360 due to Trump's "nuclear button" tweet: "This is not how we planned to start the broadcast, but President Trump has just tweeted, and it is almost literally a bombshell," @andersoncooper says pic.twitter.com/0Hf74aBv5p
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 3, 2018
This is about the president's fitness. It's uncomfortable. But it's incumbent on journalists to ask these Q's. https://t.co/6DbjZW8S71
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 3, 2018
Yeah, OK. It’s now two days later and we’re still sticking with the narrative of President Trump’s mental fitness — a topic covered on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” Thursday.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 4, 2018
Now Stelter is checking into Steve Bannon’s questionable tell-all book “Fire and Fury,” and of course what inspired him to write a column were questions in the book about Trump’s fitness for office.
The gossipy parts of Wolff's book obscure the bigger, more important point. His reporting suggests Trump is unstable — raising alarms about his fitness for office. Here's my new column https://t.co/d9Y5JNBJtq
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 4, 2018
Concerns about Trump’s fitness were already in the news bloodstream because of his jaw-dropping tweets on Tuesday about jailing political opponents and controlling a “nuclear button.” “Should Americans be concerned about the President’s mental fitness,” NBC’s Peter Alexander asked in Wednesday’s press briefing, given that “he appears to be speaking so lightly about threats regarding a nuclear button?” On CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” Wednesday night, former presidential adviser and CNN senior political analyst David Gergen said Wolff’s reporting reinforce questions about whether Trump is fit for office.
“I do think we need to have a serious national discussion about this,” Gergen said. And “by the way,” he added, “I think the Republican party bears some responsibility here.”
The ratings show most of America thinks CNN personnel are unstable, but we are not qualified to determine, and more importantly, we haven't analyzed you in person. BOTH required. https://t.co/FkPvYYSW7I
— Sandy (@RightGlockMom) January 4, 2018
— Dougs Slaughterhouse (@notthefakeDH) January 4, 2018
Don't you work for that cable network who went "all in" on the pissing Russian hookers? How many times are you going to touch that hot stove Tater? https://t.co/wfBdp0jI8X
— 💋Honey Badger 🐾 (@nickie_greer) January 4, 2018
CNN narratives are why CNN is so unworthy of your time. Narratives are created by them and pushed as reality. https://t.co/7XGXVcD4vj
— MaryMary (@Emberr) January 4, 2018
States will be allowed to create programs requiring Medicaid users to prove they are employed, training for a job, volunteering, or receiving treatment for substance abuse, according to new policy guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The program will be similar to requirements imposed on recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Jezebel reported Thursday that 60 percent of Medicaid’s non-elderly recipients already have jobs, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Of the recipients who don’t work, more than one-third are ill or disabled, 30 percent take care of small children, and 15 percent are in school.
Faced with questions about who will lose coverage under the work enforcement policy, Medicare and Medicaid administrator Seema Verma reportedly said decreased enrollment will come from people finding coverage through their employers.
“People moving off of Medicaid is a good outcome because we hope that that means they don’t need the program anymore,” Verma said during a press call.
Critics of the policy have questioned whether it’s legal to enforce work requirements in order to receive benefits under the government program and argued that it will impose barriers—not incentivize—individuals who use the program.
Ten states—Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin—said they are interested in trying out enforcing work for Medicaid. Kentucky is expected to be the first to implement the policy.
On Friday afternoon, Kentucky made history by imposing a work requirement on the states Medicaid program, the first of its kind in the federal programs 50-plus-year history.
The decision was made quickly after the Trump administration approved a waiver submitted by Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent a letter to state Medicaid directors on Thursday permitting them to impose work requirements on recipients. Republicans say it will encourage recipients to get involved in their communities and pull them out of poverty. Critics say it will amount to thousands in several states losing coverage.
Nine additional states are awaiting approval for waivers with various kinds of requirements, including Wisconsin, North Carolina, Utah, and Kansas.
Kentucky has at least 2 million people covered by Medicaid. Under the new rules, beneficiaries without specific exemptions will have to complete 80 hours a month of work, education, or community service. (Those who are exempt from these requirements include former foster care youth, pregnant women, medically frail individuals, and primary caregivers.) Failure to demonstrate compliance, according to Kentuckys new requirement, will see beneficiaries Medicaid eligibility suspended.
CMS has also granted Kentucky the ability to lock out recipients for six months if they fail to re-enroll on time after a potential suspension.
The new rules will help people rise out of poverty, CMS administrator Seema Verma said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday.
But thats not how one of Kentuckys own representatives sees it.
Make no mistake: people will die because of this, Rep. John Yarmuth, the states only Democrat in Congress, said in a statement to The Daily Beast.
Thousands of Kentucky families will face financial ruin, he continued. Governor Bevin and President Trump are creating an entirely unnecessary crisis in our Commonwealth for entirely political reasons. It is an unconscionable attack on our states health, and I will continue to fight for every Kentuckian to get the health care they need and deserve.
Whats more is that advocates and other politicians have pointed to the fact that most Medicaid recipients do in fact work and that being healthy is often a precursor to even holding down a job and that specific state requirements could be challenged legally. The move is seen as a piece of the administrations assault on the Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicaid eligibility to give millions more health insurance coverage.
Todays attack on Medicaid is just the latest salvo of the Trump Administrations 2018 war on health care, Brad Woodhouse, director of the Protect our Care campaign, told The Daily Beast. Having faced overwhelming public rejection of their failed attempts to repeal health care, Trump and his Congressional Republicans are now going for death by a thousand cuts.
Requiring recipients to demonstrate a form of employment could cause people to lose coverage simply by falling through the cracks, critics of the work requirement say.
Everybody has to go through the bureaucratic nightmare of submitting paperwork to prove that they are working, Leonardo Cuello, director of health policy at the at the National Health Law Program explained to The Daily Beast. The actual impact of this thing is terminations.
Most advocates say they just really dont know exactly how this will play out and just how bad it could be for the states recipients.
We just dont have a lot of detail. Its worrisome, Andrea Callow, associate director of Medicaid Initiatives at Families USA told The Daily Beast. I think Ive seen it referred to as the Wild Wild West.
Callow said shes specifically concerned about the opioid crisis and the potential for an individual to get locked out of coverage while attempting to get addiction treatments like Suboxone. CMS guidance indicates that states have a lot of flexibility and that people with opioid addiction could be exempted or permitted to have treatment count towards required work.
I think any program that is going to take coverage away from people in a state that is struggling so mightily with an opioid epidemic, is inevitably going to chill the states ability to address the epidemic, Callow said.
Additionally a state could provide certain additional exemptions from the work requirement, for instance for people in rural areas who may have fewer job opportunities. That in turn, could create a scenario in which urban dwellers, potentially more people of color, might face a stiffer requirement for coverage.
When the news from CMS came out, some Republican governors were openly enthused about the prospects for their states.
This is good news for Arkansas, Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson said in a statement to The Daily Beast. I had a conference call earlier this week with the acting HHS Secretary and CMS Administrator Verma on this topic, and I was advised that this was coming, so this is proceeding very quickly at this point. I will review the details of the guidance very carefully, but I expect that our waiver request will be in line with their guidance.
And CMS may approve Indianas waiver in no time at all.
We expect to receive full approval of the HIP [Healthy Indiana Plan] waiver application in the coming days, which will allow for the continuation of health insurance coverage for over 400,000 Hoosiers for an additional three years, Dr. Jennifer Walthall, secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration told The Daily Beast.
Cuello said he believes the work requirement is against the law because it challenges the very intent of Medicaid itself. Kentuckys change is likely to face a lawsuit as a result.