Friday, November 11, 2016

Living With Chronic Conditions: What to Do Now that Trump is Elected

The American public elected Hillary Clinton but the electoral college elected Donald Trump. The latter stands and so we must prepare today for the road ahead.

While many Americans are in difficult situations and felt that this was one way they can show their contempt for Congress, the fact is the President elect has shown himself to be discriminatory against women, minorities and has little regard for those with disabilities. Further his goal is to undo the Affordable Care Act (ACA), that for the first time made healthcare accessible to many Americans, makes those living with chronic and/or life threatening conditions and/or disabilities potentially very vulnerable over the next four years.

However, before launching into “what you can do,” we need to be clear that it will take an act of Congress to repeal the ACA, as well as enact some of the other campaign promises he made. Of particular importance to anyone with a lung condition, breathing problems or heart disease, Trump has vowed to erase clean energy regulations set forth under Obama. Whether he will be successful in achieving his campaign promises remains to be seen. In the interim, his mere presence creates an unsettled feeling for many, so the best approach is to prepare for the worse and hope for the best.

What you can do:
1. Join the local chapter of the condition specific organization you are affected by (e.g. American Lung Association) and become actively involved. 

2. Be an activist. Lobby congress, state and local governments for health care that is affordable for all. Keep on top of legislation in areas other than health care that could adversely impact you, e.g. removing pollution standards. Many health related organizations and health departments monitor state and national pending legislation so subscribe to their newsletters and check their blogs. Get involved in what ever level you can-your life could depend on it. 

3. Take charge of your health and Well-Being: The following posts can help:

 4. Boost your social capital: Resources that you now count on from local organizations-be it rides, homemaker services etc.-may no longer be available. Your social networks have value and importance so cultivate them. Being an active participant in your community, family, work and other networks, provides an opportunity to give to those in need and in turn, have community you can reach out to for help. Check out 150 Things You Can Do to Build Social Capital. One way to organize the people who make up your networks, so that they can help you, is a Lotsa Helping Hands website. To learn more about social capital, check out Social Capital Primer 

5. Reduce your carbon footprint: Studies show that climate change and pollution adversely impact peoples’ health, particularly those with conditions like asthma, heart disease, COPD. Changing eating, drinking and energy consumption patterns to be more sustainable can make a difference. For more on this topic: 12 Ways to Live More Sustainably 


5. Support Organizations (locally whenever possible). Not everyone can make a financial contribution, but can help by volunteering and engaging in other forms of community activism. Check out Donating for the “cure”: Do Your Homework/ Other Ways to Contribute Organizations to consider:

• Free Clinics and Dental Services: More people are going to need to rely on them for care. If you are not familiar with the clinic in your area, try a Google search, State Listing of Free clinics or call 2.1.1

• Area hospitals and community health centers

• Community Based Organizations: These are local non profits that work to meet the needs of a given community and can include churches, schools, civic groups (Rotary, Elks), day care etc.

• Jezebel’s list of Pro Groups-women, immigrant, earth- and Anti Bigotry Organizations Includes groups like Planned Parenthood, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, GLBT groups etc.

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