Youth Radio: When I Get Health Insurance . . .

March 29, 2010 · Filed Under health, health care · Comments Off 

050211_5303_0593_Youth Radio compiled thoughts on health care overhaul from young people who have been living without health insurance. The question: what’s the first malady you will treat once you have insurance? The answers: surprising.

To read the full story visit youthradio.org.

Teens Talk About Their Health

February 19, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, education, family, health, health care, LGBTQ · Comments Off 

Last night’s Health Dialogues focused on teen health. The on-air pieces included a round table discussion with students from Burton High School in San Francisco, a look at an anti-bullying program in Lake County, and a visit to a group in Fresno that focuses on healthy decision making. Personally, I’m thrilled to see a show about teenagers that actually included teens themselves.  And you can be part of the conversation too. Visit the Health Dialogues site, listen to what other teens had to say, and then tell us what you have to say. Come on. You know you want a chance to vent.

Teen Suicide

October 28, 2009 · Filed Under Bay Area, culture, family, health · Comments Off 

Yesterday’s Forum discussed teen suicide. The statistics presented during the show’s introduction were quite startling: suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for teenagers in California. 8.5% of high school sophomores attempt suicide.  Four Palo Alto teens have  taken their lifes at or near the same Caltrain crossing in the last six months.

Many callers voiced concerns that not enough preventive measures are in place. One voice not heard throughout the show was that of teenagers, the very people the show was about.

If you are a teenager, please tell us, what is being done in your community to educate you about suicide prevention? Are there mental health resources at your school? Does media coverage of teen suicides help prevent more deaths or is the media coverage part of the problem?

Please, listen and share your thoughts:

A list of counseling resources can be found on Forum’s archive of the show.

Review of Rock the Vote Health Forum

October 22, 2009 · Filed Under health, health care · Comments Off 

doctor-and-computerBy Jessica Lipsky

RocktheVote.com held a web conference titled “ Health Care Reform, Uncovered” and made a nationwide call to action, urging young adults to become more involved in the health care debate. The hour and a half interactive info session featured the Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Tina Tchen, Rock the Vote’s Heather Smith, and Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was scheduled to appear but was called away to Senate negotiations. Viewers submitted questions on everything from how to afford health care as a college student to the effects of a public option – questions were shown on a sidebar and streamed live.

I missed the first 20 minutes or so of the forum because of difficulty logging in. Finally, after trying with three different log-ins, I was granted access.

While there were no questions asked about specific legislature, Tchen insisted that the bills (which ones, she did not clarify while I was watching) would “attack the overall cost of the entire system. . . bend the cost curve.” Health care reform, she said, will cut costs by inducing competition and forcing insurance companies to wrangle with a government-run, not for profit entity. At one point, Ms. Tchen “got real” and said that insurance companies are “making health care for people,” suggesting that the insurance industry, not health needs, determine the type and quality of health care people receive. A bold statement for a White House rep.
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Breaking Down Health Care

October 20, 2009 · Filed Under health, health care, news · Comments Off 

Health care has been getting a lot of attention lately and some people have asked us why. With that in mind, In Other Words put together a video that highlights some basic health care facts. We hope the video informs, entertains, and leaves you wanting more. If it does, here are some worthwhile resources:

Rock the Vote will host a panel discussion about health care tomorrow, Oct. 21, at 4p.m. PST.  The panel has some heavy hitters including the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, and Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz. Don’t forget to register and submit a question for the panel.

If you want help deciphering health care jargon, look no further. We’ve broken down some terms to help you remember the difference between a public option and an individual mandate:

10 Health Care Terms You Need to Know

10 More Health Care Terms You Need to Know

Read more

Can’t Spare A Dime for Health Care

October 16, 2009 · Filed Under culture, family, health, health care · 1 Comment 

mollyadams By Molly Adams

“So what do you do?” is a question people ask a lot when you’re fresh out of college. I’m a freelancer, doing all kinds of broadcast production jobs. But that doesn’t cover my rent.

So I’m also a bartender.

None of these jobs come with health insurance.

I was lucky growing up. My parents were always steadily employed, sometimes by the government, so I always had health care. I remember trying to argue my mom out of a wisdom tooth extraction in high school. I said, “I bet it’s really expensive! It can’t be worth it.”

“Honey. It’s $70,” she said back. “We have insurance.”

A few weeks ago, before I was dropped from my parents’ plan, I had an eye exam and a physical. It was like a last meal. I asked way more questions than I ever did before. I’ve started flossing my teeth every day, something I never did when I knew I could go to dentist if I had a problem.

My dad called me a couple of days before my final checkup. He asked what I was going to do. I told him Illinois provides free reproductive health care for women who make less than $1800 a month. But I didn’t have any other ideas.

Then my mom picked up the line. She told me she studied some COBRA information and that I could get a plan for around three hundred dollars.
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A New Bill to Fund Abstinence Education

October 2, 2009 · Filed Under culture, education, health, news, politics · Comments Off 

stressed-out-coupleBy Denise Tejada

Talking about sex to teens is always hard because there are times when teens know more than what they should. But, is promoting abstinence to them realistic?

Apparently, to a Republican senator it is. Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah proposed a bill that would provide $50 million per year through 2014 for abstinence education programs. These funds are to be used specifically for abstinence programs and not on any other sex-ed subjects (like contraception).

Teens and abstinence, I’m not sure. I’m not saying teens can’t stop having sex, but growing up in time where sex is everywhere—TV, cartoons, school—it’s hard.

To help unpack this issue, Youth Radio spoke to Tatiana Colon, Director of Education & Youth Services of Family Violence Law Center (FVLC) in Oakland.

“Promoting or teaching abstinence to teens—like the ones we work with (urban kids)—are not effective.” She went on to say, “It’s not meeting teens where they are at.”

As a young person who has been out of high school for almost three years, I agree with Colon. Teens feel pressure to have sex and are planning on losing their V card (virginity) at prom or any big school function/ event. The whole concept of leaving school with a bang includes sex.

But young people are not low key about their sexual activities. For example, kids at a middle school in Colorado were wearing different color bracelets where each color represented a different sexual activity. If a guy pops a girl’s bracelet, the girl has to follow through sexually.
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Baucus Plan Fines Young People Without Health Insurance

September 30, 2009 · Filed Under health, health care, news, politics · Comments Off 

healthcare-file

By: Emily Beaver

No health insurance? That’ll be $950.

For many young people, health insurance is unaffordable. But under some plans to reform health care, going without health insurance will be expensive, too.

Senator Max Baucus recently introduced a health care reform plan that requires everyone to get insurance. Anyone who doesn’t have insurance would be fined up to $950 a year, depending on income.

Making sure everyone gets health insurance is an important goal of many of the plans to reform health care. For some, the principle that everyone should have health care is behind the “individual mandate” requiring everyone to get health insurance. But there’s another reason lawmakers want to get everyone insured–to lower the government’s cost of making health insurance affordable.

All forms of insurance, including health insurance, work by spreading costs among a pool of people. Since young people generally spend less on medical care, their insurance premiums help to subsidize the cost of care for older, sicker people. When young people don’t buy insurance, costs go up for those who are insured. So making sure everyone contributes to health insurance is important to lowering costs overall.
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Video Games for Your Health

August 20, 2009 · Filed Under culture, health · Comments Off 

Wee Ones Play with Wii

By David Dominguez

In most people’s minds, video games and children’s health don’t mix. I can see why. I recall the days when I would play Mario Brothers or Contra on the Nintendo and watch a 2D character get in a good cardio workout on the screen while I toned my thumbs by pressing A or B. Don’t get me wrong. In their day, they were some of the newest and most fun games ever. But, the recent trend toward interactive systems like the Wii make the Nintendo seem like a slow-moving dinosaur.

Given the nature of old school video games, it’s no wonder that the entire genre often is cited as one of the major causes of childhood obesity. And apparently gamers who grow up don’t have it any better. According to an upcoming study by the CDC, among adults, playing video games leads to not only weight gain, but depression. 

But, such studies often leave out the class of video games that aim to do just the opposite. When I played the Wii for the first time I could not help but start moving around, especially with boxing, a sport I practice on a regular basis. Although it’s not the same as playing a sport in real life, you definitely break a sweat, and it’s way better than sitting around.

Since video games play such a large role in youth culture, video game designers are thinking ahead of the interactive curve by creating games that keep kids moving while they’re having fun. Even consoles such as PS3 or Xbox, which usually peddle more sedentary offerings, have developed active games such as DanceDanceRevolution and Rock Band. All of these products are some of the best and most sold out video games. Apparently, youth don’t mind getting their heart rate up as long as they are getting a high score while they’re at it.

Even parents encourage their kids to play on these “active” systems and sometimes get in on the fun themselves. The Wii Fit, for example, not only provides workouts and yoga routines, but charts progress and logs winners based on the amount of exercise completed.  And the research seems to back up the trend. Studies have shown that video games are great not only for keeping youth active, but for relieving adult pain. Games are also known to lower blood pressure and and encourage movement in physiotherapy sessions. Doctors agree that although they’re not the most practical method of relieving pain, video games are better at relaxing patients than bed rest alone. Who knows, video games may be the future of medicine.

However, with all the new changes being made in the video game industry, one of the concerns is that these virtual exercises will discourage people from going outside. The fear is that people won’t be able to exercise without the aid of electronics. But, with many youth struggling with social interaction, playing sports indoors on a console may be more important than going outside. The important thing is that they’re playing with friends.  Ultimately it falls to the child, whether he or she wants to kick a ball on the Wii or outside with friends.

The other day, I visited my cousins while they were playing Rock Band. There wasn’t a couch potato in sight.

 

Health Care That’s on the House

August 17, 2009 · Filed Under health, health care · Comments Off 

Root Canal on the House

In 2007, the US Census Bureau released a study reporting that 45.7 million Americans were without health insurance.  Those living without health insurance often can’t afford basic checkups, let alone serious treatment.

On August 10-18, 2009, the Inglewood Forum (where Magic Johnson and the Lakers used to play) hosted a Remote Area Medical no-cost health care event.  On each day 1,500 residents were allowed free access to medical, dental, and vision treatment, again making the Forum the place where the “magic happens.”

23-year-old Jamar Neighbors of Los Angeles has no health insurance. He took advantage of the opportunity to get medical treatment on the house.

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