Health advocacy groups slam Trumpcare changes

  • House Republicans officially released an amendment to their Affordable Care Act repeal bill on Thursday and it’s already being panned by advocacy groups like the American Hospital Association (AHA)
  • The AHA said it “would dramatically worsen” the original bill.
  • The amendment, drafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), is a revised version of the GOP’s American Health Care Act, the Republican health care plan that failed to passthe House in March.
  • The proposed changes allow insurers to waive popular provisions of the ACA — including “essential health benefits” such as prescription drugs and hospitalization — while also allowing insurance companies to charge sick Americans more for coverage. 
  • House Republicans, however, exempted members of Congress and their staff from being impacted by those changes, Vox reported Tuesday.
  • For that reason, major organizations — from the American Medical Association to the Catholic Health Association — have come out strongly against the changes, which they say make the GOP’s ACA repeal bill worse. Read more (4/27/17 2:20 PM)

Ive been making Trump supporters uncomfortable all day by telling them about Trump’s budget removing the Violence Against Women grants and how that will literally cause me to lose my job, since I work for the Gender Based Violence Advocacy group at my campus. 15 of us rely on that grant to pay for food, rent, and school, since a chunk of it goes to compensating us minimum wage as we spend 20 hours a week raising awareness, counseling survivors, and doing research.  We don’t waste a penny of that grant and we’ve saved people’s lives.  Literally thousands of Americans will lose their jobs with those cuts, and I’ve been sure to let every motherfucker know it.  One of his major points was creating American jobs and the first thing he’s going to do is fire 1000’s of us.  Fuck Donald Trump and the dipshits who voted for him

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. Bright lights and too much noise are hell for autistic people. Is there anywhere quiet or dim that you could take them to if they got stressed? Is there a way to lessen the noise and/or brightness?
  2. Don’t tell us to “stop acting weird”. Chewing on things, flapping our hands, rocking on our feet, and so on are all natural, healthy behaviours that help us to process emotion and sensory input. Telling us not to do them is akin to telling an allistic (non-autistic) person to stop smiling.
  3. Most autistic people are happy as we are. Some would rather not be autistic, it’s true, but most of us just want to be ourselves without shame or stigma. It’s generally bad manners to talk to us about a “cure” or “treatments” for who we are.
  4. Non-verbal communication – vocal sounds, text or written communication, sign language, etc – are all valid forms of communication which we sometimes have to use. (Or always have to use, in some cases.) Sometimes, we have to text the person sitting next to us because we can’t talk. Please don’t try to make us use our voices when we’d rather not!
  5. Research autistic groups before supporting them. What do actual autistic people say about this group? We like self-advocacy groups, we don’t like allistic people trying to talk for us. Not every group that claims to help autistic people is actually our friend!
  6. Special interests – things which autistic people fixate on and obsess over – are healthy and important. Don’t make fun of us for getting really into things, even if they’re “childish” things like Minecraft or Pokémon. It’s incredibly hurtful when someone we like just dismisses our interests without a second thought.
  7. When an autistic person is having a meltdown or shutdown, listen to them! Don’t fuss over them or get up in their face. Just listen to what they want you to do to help them, if anything. Let them write or text it, if they have to, and keep your voice down!
  8. We don’t process the world the same way you do. Sometimes things which seem obvious to you require explanation before we’ll understand them. Sometimes an explanation you understand will be one that makes no sense to us. Please be patient. We’re not being difficult on purpose! We want to understand, we really do.
  9. Be understanding when we say we can’t do something. Our energy gets used up a lot quicker than yours. Often we’d really like to do something, but we just can’t, and it can be difficult for us to explain that. Don’t guilt trip us for not going out or whatever – we already feel really bad about it!
  10. Listen to our boundaries. If we don’t want to be touched, don’t touch us. If we want you to leave our possessions alone, leave them alone. If we aren’t up to talking, don’t try to make us talk. We need boundaries a lot more than you do, so please try to respect them. It’s common courtesy!

[I originally posted this on Facebook, but I decided to post it here, too.]

so there is currently a bipartisan bill that congress is working on to improve access to hearing aids by making a class of hearing aids available over the counter. apparently only about 30% of people with hearing loss have hearing aids, and one of the main reasons why is that getting them can be very cost prohibitive. so having low-level aids available over the counter will hopefully make them more affordable at least to some people. these hearing aids will be fda regulated and required to meet minimum standards. hearing loss advocacy groups and the AARP support the bill

and conservative interest groups are opposing the bill basically just because elizabeth warren is involved with the bill 🙄
Missouri Women Could Soon Be Disqualified From Jobs Based On Reproductive Decisions
Legislators aim to undo an ordinance that prevents discrimination in jobs and housing.

Lawmakers in the Missouri Senate spent more than 10 hours in a closed-door special session last week to push through Senate Bill 5, a wide-reaching anti-abortion measure that—among other things—would roll back anti-discrimination protections for women in one of that state’s major cities.

The legislation would undo a relatively recent St. Louis ordinance that prohibits potential employers and landlords from discriminating against women based on their reproductive health history. In other words, if they’ve had an abortion. Or have used birth control. Or if they are pregnant.

When the ordinance first passed last February, supporters hailed it as necessary protection for women living in a deep-red state that is considered to be “hostile” to abortion rights. Unsurprisingly, it also drew sharp criticism from several local religious groups and leaders who lamented its passage as a “terrible moment” for the city of St. Louis. In May, the St. Louis Archdiocese and several other organizations filed suit against the city of St. Louis, seeking to overturn the ordinance

Now, just months later, anti-abortion legislators in the state appear poised to topple the ordinance. The bill—which also includes other anti-abortion measures that would affect women statewide—passed the Senate late last Wednesday and is now being heard in the House Children and Families Committee. The Kansas City Star reports that it could be passed without changes and sent to the governor directly, or undergo revisions that would require the House and Senate to negotiate the differences in a special conference.

NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri—the reproductive rights advocacy group, which fought for the anti-discrimination ordinance to be passed last winter—quickly announced it was launching an online and radio ad campaign criticizing Republican Gov. Eric Greitens who called the special session. (”Do you think your boss should be able to fire you for using birth control? Governor Greitens thinks so,” one ad claims.)

A spokesperson for the group told HuffPost that before the ordinance passed last winter, NARAL had not heard of any specific cases in which women were discriminated against because of their reproductive history. But the group had not been tracking the data closely before then either.

“Under the current political administration, we are seeing more threats against women for using birth control or having an abortion. We wanted to be proactive and protect them,” Kirstin Palovick, an organizing and policy associate with
NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, told HuffPost in an e-mail. “Since the passage of this bill, we have had at least one person make a discrimination complaint based on their reproductive health care. We know the problem is happening, and we are beginning to hear more stories about it.”

A female Muslim student was called a “fucking terrorist” by her classmate. Then, she was suspended.

  • The Council of American Islamic Relations’ Minnesota Chapter is calling on law enforcement authorities to investigate an Apple Valley High School security guard and police officer for allegedly using excessive force on a female Muslim student after she faced Islamophobic harassment.
  • The Muslim civil rights group said a male classmate taunted the student, who wears the hijab, and called her “a fucking terrorist." 
  • According to CAIR-MN, the student’s hijab was removed from her hair when the police officer exerted excessive force. She was later taken out of school and sent to her parents.
  • After the incident, school administrators met with the Muslim student and her family on Friday before suspending her for the rest of the school year, Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported. 
  • CAIR-MN said following the altercation between the police officer and the student, the advocacy group received about a dozen complaints from Apple Valley High Muslim students who felt unsafe and concerned about the police officer. Read more (6/6/17)

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We’re taking questions about social media & mental health

As researchers and advocacy groups examine the impact of social media usage on mental health, they are discovering both positives and negatives. While social media fosters community and allows people to connect in ways that are possible only because of the Internet, social media can also come with risks– bullying, harassment, and language of hate. This Tumblr Issue Time discussion brings together panelists from media, advocacy, and healthcare to discuss the relationship between social media and mental health, explore the positive effects it has on community, and examine solutions for how you might mitigate or address some of the negative risks. 

Our panelists will answer your questions in an Issue Time right here on @postitforward on Tuesday, May 30th. Ask anything you’d like. 

The Ask box is open now!

You can read more about our panelists after the jump,

Keep reading


New public advocacy group Feed the Truth will blow the whistle on shady nutrition science

  • Drinking a glass of wine is just as healthy as going to the gym. Cheese is as addictive as crack. Fat, not sugar, is to blame for America’s obesity problem.
  • This is the kind of prevalent misinformation that Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of KIND snacks, hopes to diminish with a new organization called Feed the Truth, launched Wednesday.
  • Lubetzky has pledged $25 million to fund the public health advocacy group in order “to offset self-serving industry agendas at the expense of public good,” a press release stated. Read more (2/15/17 7:02 AM)

follow @the-future-now


In her Huffington Post spotlight, LGBTQ parent Clara Yoon says, “I marched because I wanted to uplift the visibility of Asian parents who love their LGBTQ kids and to celebrate the different type of family in Asian immigrant community.”

This year’s Chinatown Lunar New Year parade ushered in a wave of support for LGBTQ youths in Manhattan’s Asian community, indicating a shift in commonplace acceptance amidst usually more traditional groups of people. When Q-Wave (the Asian American LGBTQ advocacy group) first applied to join the parade in 2009, they were denied.

The sun rises in 2017 – the Year of the Rooster – and time for sleeping is over, participants in the parade urge, many signs reading, “Woke in the Year of the Rooster.”

Read the whole article here.
The U.S. isn't providing visas to gay men seeking refuge from Chechen concentration camps
Around 40 survivors of the crackdown in Chechnya are in hiding in other parts of Russia, but can't find a safe country to take them in.
By J. Lester Feder

By now, you have probably heard that gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, Russia are being kidnapped, tortured and killed in facilities that reportedly are comparable to concentration camps. Dozens of men are in hiding. 

Here’s part of the story you may not have heard: The Russian LGBT Network, an advocacy group that’s been helping Chechens escape, has been in touch with the U.S. embassy about securing visas for people trying to flee. While the U.S. hasn’t outright denied anyone yet, it has said in as many words that it will not be providing visas to Chechens trying to get out.

“We were informed there was no political will,” said the spokesperson, who asked her name be withheld because of security concerns. “They’re not going to provide visas. They’re going to support us in other ways, but not with visas.” […]

A US State Department spokesperson said on background that all visa applications are considered on a case-by-case basis and the Chechens are eligible to apply. But US law does not have a visa category that allows someone to come directly to the US because of threats in their home country. Unless their situation fell into an unrelated category — like if they had a job offer in the US or were being reunited with a family member — they would only be eligible for tourist visas that would require them to prove they would return to Russia.

“Nonimmigrant visa classifications and qualifications are set by U.S. law, as passed by Congress,” the spokesperson said. “There is no visa classification designated specifically for humanitarian relief.” […]

The Chechens are not eligible to apply to come to the US as refugees because they are still inside their native country — someone fleeing persecution generally can only be considered a refugee once they’ve left their country of origin. A Russia LGBT Network official said US diplomats recommended Chechens try applying to the US after leaving Russia, but he worried that this could jeopardize their ability to ultimately reach a safe country legally if that route failed. There is also a risk they could be returned to Russia on trumped up charges. Many of the foreign fighters who have joined groups like ISIS have come from Chechnya, leading to concerns about Chechen asylum seekers.

“They need refuge,” he said. “Not once did officials offer any specific solutions.”

Officials say they’re still looking for other ways that Chechens could come to the United States safely:

The Council for Global Equality, which advocates for LGBT rights in US foreign policy, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that the organization was still hopeful an avenue could be found for the Chechens to come to the US despite the fact that the “Russian LGBT Network has been discouraged by their interactions with U.S. officials.”

“We believe there are still options available in extreme cases like this and we are in contact with Russian LGBT activists and US government officials to continue to explore those options,” the statement said. “We hope there is political will on the Hill and within the Administration to provide a safe haven in the United States for carefully vetted claims. As advocates, it’s our job to try to make that case here in Washington.”

Is this the “great again” America we were promised, Mr. President? Is this what greatness looks like to you?


Nearly 60 percent of Americans admit knowing nothing at all about Sikhs. That lack of knowledge comes at a deadly cost. In the wake of recent incidents from the 2012 Oak Creek Massacre to a shooting of a Sikh man in Washington this March, the Sikh community is taking a more vocal stand against hate.

This month, the National Sikh Campaign, an advocacy group led by former political strategists, launched a $1.3 million awareness campaign, “We are Sikhs.” Funded entirely by grass-roots donations, the campaign’s ads will air nationally on CNN and Fox News as well as on TV channels in central California — home to nearly 50 percent of the Sikh American population — and online.

The ad, which aims to tackle misperceptions of Sikhism, shows Sikh men and women speaking about how values of their faith — tolerance, religious freedom and gender equality — align with American values. According to Gurwin Singh Ahuja, the executive director of the National Sikh Campaign, “These are core values of the United States, yet we’re often perceived as anti-American or as religious extremists. Our community is hurt by bigotry and ignorance, which is, in many ways, compounded by our own silence. To change these perceptions, I felt we had an obligation to share our stories with our neighbors.”

Why American Sikhs Think They Need A Publicity Campaign
Why The ‘Conservative’ Chinese New Year Parade Was Super Queer This Year
Asian-Americans are calling on us all to be "woke in the year of the rooster."

“We don’t normally get political,” Stephanie Hsu, a volunteer coordinator for Q-Wave, an Asian-American LGBTQ advocacy group, told HuffPost. “And this parade isn’t usually political ― it’s more conservative. We actually got denied participation to the parade when we first applied in 2009. But we couldn’t stay silent this year because of things Trump has said.”

The groups cited the GOP’s harsh anti-LGBTQ platform and Trump’s immigration orders as reasons for the Asian-American community speak out. There are currently more Asian-American undocumented immigrants than undocumented Mexicans living in the United States.

Read the full piece and see more photos here

did you know that most- if not all autism-friendly advocacy groups suggest parents with autistic kids seek out characters with similar traits to them and say “look this character is autistic like you!!” and has been proven to help the child and parents accept and accomodate their autism and improves mental health 

so like. shitting on autistic people for headcanoning characters as autistic and identifying with those characters and getting excited about possibly autistic characters is ableist and discouraging autistics from accepting and loving themselves
Supreme Court dismisses challenge to California ban on conversion therapy
The practice has been illegal in the state since 2012.

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to California’s ban on anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy for minors, which was brought by a Christian minister who tried to undo the law on religious grounds. 

California’s law has been in place since 2012. This is the second time in three years that SCOTUS has turned away a challenge to the law, which a lower court has already ruled is constitutional and does not infringe upon the free expression of religion (which some religious conservatives say it does).

The law prohibits state-licensed mental health counselors, including psychologists and social workers, from offering therapy to change sexual orientation in minors. The Supreme Court in 2014 refused to review the law after an appeals court rejected claims that the ban infringed on free speech rights under U.S. Constitution’s the First Amendment.

California outlawed gay conversion therapy in 2012, calling it ineffective and harmful. New Jersey, Illinois, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico and the District of Columbia have similar laws on the books, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The Supreme Court turned away a challenge to New Jersey’s law in 2015.

Good good. No need to debate this one any longer.


Trump’s Muslim ban enables the gender-based violence it claims to condemn, groups say

  • A coalition of more than 50 advocacy groups and humanitarian organizations sent an open letter to Trump on Monday evening in response to the administration’s attempt to justify the Muslim ban by citing gendered violence in the Middle East.
  • The original executive order as well as the revised order have called on the Department of Homeland Security to record and publish data on the “number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including so-called ‘honor killings,’ in the U.S. by foreign nationals.”
  • The letter, signed by Amnesty International, the International Rescue Committee and CARE, among many others, debunked the Trump administration’s assertions about gender-based violence in Muslim-majority countries. 
  • Islam and Muslim-majority countries are not unique in their oppression of and violence against women. There is zero evidence to back up claims that honor killings in the U.S. are a commonality.
  • Advocates later added that Trump’s Muslim ban — which calls for the ban of all refugees and new visas for Iranian, Libyan, Somali, Sudanese, Syrian and Yemeni nationals — actually puts the lives of women fleeing gender violence at greater risk. Read more (3/14/17 3:03 PM)

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A man with a nasty habit of suing the EPA now leads it, because why not?

Congrats, America: We now have a Senate-confirmed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) again. 

Oh, except that administrator is Scott Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general who sued the EPA multiple times over what he sees as its overly aggressive environmental regulations. Plus, he denies the mainstream scientific conclusion that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause of global warming. 

So, there are those little caveats.

SEE ALSO: Exxon’s former CEO is now our secretary of state. So, there’s that.

Pruitt has also questioned the dangers of mercury contamination and other hazardous substances the EPA is in charge of regulating. His record is so one-sided that the Sierra Club calls him simply, “… The most dangerous EPA Administrator in the history of our country.”

Pruitt’s reputation as an agency foe eager to give states more autonomy in regulating air and water pollution, combined with the EPA transition team’s gag order of the agency, has instilled so much fear among the EPA rank-and-file that agency scientists were among the thousands of people calling their senators on Thursday urging them to vote no on the nomination, a rare step for federal employees to take. 

Pruitt, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Energy secretary nominee Rick Perry, all have expressed views doubting climate science findings, and each of them are in charge of agencies deeply involved with the U.S. response to the global issue.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

During his confirmation hearing, Pruitt said he does not quite agree with the vast majority of climate scientists whose work has shown that greenhouse gases are causing global warming. 

“I believe the ability to measure with precision the degree of human activity’s impact on the climate is subject to more debate on whether the climate is changing or whether human activity contributes to it,” he said.

“If you don’t believe in climate science, you don’t belong at the EPA,“ said May Boeve, executive director of the climate advocacy group, in a statement on Friday. 

What happens now?

Pruitt is expected to try to dismantle large parts of the EPA’s portfolio of regulations and science research put in place under prior presidents, particularly the Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. Without that plan, the U.S. cannot live up to its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement. 

However, Trump may be poised to pull the U.S. out of that pact entirely, which would make dismantling the Clean Power Plan easier. Trump is also expected to sign executive orders as early as Friday that would begin rolling back the EPA’s climate change work, though it’s easier to order that than it is to actually accomplish it.

Remarkably, Pruitt was confirmed only hours after a judge in Oklahoma ordered the release of nearly 3,000 emails between Pruitt and fossil fuel companies from his time as attorney general. 

We’d like to congratulate Mr. Pruitt on his confirmation! We look forward to welcoming him to EPA.

— U.S. EPA (@EPA) February 17, 2017

Senators never got a chance to factor those into their decision-making. 

Senate Democrats tried in vain to delay the vote to allow senators to see the emails, which stemmed from a state lawsuit filed by the Center for Media and Democracy and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. Those organizations were concerned about Pruitt’s cozy relationship with the oil and gas industry there. 

Pruitt’s backers, including mainstream Republican groups like FreedomWorks, see him as an administrator to will try to get red tape off the backs of business owners, despite studies showing that the EPA’s regulations don’t stifle job growth.

A 2014 New York Times investigation already established that Pruitt often did favors for the oil and gas industry, particularly for major donors to the Republican Attorneys General Association. These included writing letters to lawmakers and the EPA seeking regulatory changes.

In the end, Pruitt won confirmation narrowly, on a 52 to 46 vote, garnering the most "no” votes of any EPA nominee since the agency was founded in 1970. 

BONUS: NASA timelapse shows just how quickly our Arctic sea ice is disappearing

Horrific as Monday’s shooting near Orlando, Fla., is, it’s an outlier. The vast majority of gun deaths in America are either suicides or one-on-one shootings. Mass shootings represent a small fraction of deaths by firearm.

Still, the premeditated shooting of multiple people is the kind of crime that preys on people’s sense of security, so it makes sense to drill down and take a closer look at those events. The advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety has inventoried all mass shootings between 2009 and 2016, and its data are revealing.

Most Mass Shootings Are Smaller, Domestic Tragedies

Graphic: Brittany Mayes/NPR
Disabled woman confronts Theresa May over benefit cuts: 'I can't live on £100 a month'
Theresa May has been confronted by a voter protesting about cuts to her disability benefits, in her toughest moment on the campaign trail.

Cathy told Ms May of the harsh effect of losing her Disability Living Allowance, which was replaced by the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

“Do you know what I want? I want my Disability Living Allowance to come back,” she told the Prime Minister. “Not have PIPs and get nothing.”

“I can’t live on £100 a month. They just took it all away from me.”

There’s a lot around the framing trying to make Cathy’s statements sound hostile but they’re extremely reasonable and what is happening to her and others like her is a human rights violation. And even the UN has warned that this is part of a systematic attack on disabled people, and advocacy groups for people with learning disabilities say these harms are widespread. 

And I know as a disabled person in the US we often experience similar things and it sucks and it kills people and puts people at risk of injury, abuse, and other serious harm as well.

Austerity policies kill disabled people, not by accident but by design.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Appoints A Special Counsel To Oversee Russia Probe
Rosenstein has named former FBI director Robert Mueller to oversee the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election, the Justice Department has confirmed.
By Zoe Tillman

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has appointed a special counsel to oversee the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election, ending weeks of speculation about how Rosenstein would respond to the growing chorus of lawmakers and advocacy groups calling for such a move.

Rosenstein has named former FBI director Robert Mueller, the Justice Department has confirmed.

“In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.”