All posts by punzy16

Illness and Mortality: Prompt 1

I found the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) site to be very helpful. There was a page on there called, “Getting Started.” It includes a “What You Need to Know” section. This section included things like explaining the basics of finding adult care, what that includes, and the types of care that are available. There are resources within the website that are helpful to people as it provides links to other pages with more information and has a phone number for people who may want to call in with further questions. Besides the getting started page there is a “Medicaid” and “Long Term Care Housing” page that explains what Medicaid is and how it applies to residential care facilities. The latter page explains the different types of adult care that are available ranging from nursing homes to assisted living facilities to retirement communities, and explains what each of them mean.

Overall, I believe the DSHS website was helpful because it explains all of the terms found within it and how it applies to the subject that is being addressed. My only complaint is that people may get lost in the various pages provided and the links within the pages themselves. However, there is a phone number provided along with the times that people can call in case anyone has further questions.

https://www.dshs.wa.gov/altsa/long-term-care-services-information

 

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Glossary Building 3

Money is an integral part of the world. Since it is such an important aspect, it would do well to know more about it, but many people are lost in the terminology that comes along with finance. I really didn’t know what it was all about, nor was I concerned about it because I figured I wouldn’t have to worry about it for another few years. However, the least we could do is know the terminology so that when the time comes to put it into use or it comes up on the news, we know what they are talking about. John Oliver is good at presenting an issue, explaining why it should concern us, and telling us what can be done about it so we can help ourselves. The review on U.S Pirg over the John Oliver retirement episode, was very informative and was able to walk me through the issues people of retirement age face when being taken advantage by non-fiduciary brokers. They are not told what exactly it is they are investing in and usually what the broker does invest their client’s money in, tends to benefit him/her rather than the clients, gaining commission and splurging. Terms that are important to know are:

Glossary terms/definitions:

  • Fiduciary rule: legal term for a broad group of professionals who are required to put customers’ interests first. They cannot accept compensation or payments that would create a conflict of interest (Lee).
  • Hedge funds: highly active funds with very high costs
  • Index funds: A list of stocks are bought and you receive the average return for that class of stock from that particular index you chose.
  • Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE): a full disclosure contract under the fiduciary rule (Tucker). Ensures that investors know exactly what it is they are investing in.

References:

Lee, K. (2016, June 14). Blog. Retrieved November 09, 2017, from https://uspirg.org/blogs/blog/usp/last-week-tonight-john-oliver-retirement-industry-minefield-here%e2%80%99s-answer

Tucker, P. (n.d.). 4 Arguments Against the Fiduciary Rule Debunked. Retrieved November 09, 2017, from http://www.truemeasureadvisors.com/2016/04/20/20164145-argument-against-the-fiduciary-rule-debunked/

Glossary Building 2

There is indeed a lot of business to be made with new parents, which makes them some of the most vulnerable consumers. This is especially true because the grand majority of parents would do anything to protect their babies and the companies/industries that are targeting them use fear and emotion to convince them to do the “right” thing for their baby, and since many first time parents are trying to figure out the parenting thing, they will believe them. In the Early Life Matters page, I read several articles that provided some interesting terms and information on companies that are thriving on new parent’s fears. One of the worst industries that targets parents is that of the cord blood industry involving private cord blood banks. Private cord blood banks convince new parents to pay to store and freeze their baby’s cord blood since the blood in the umbilical cord has a plethora of stem cells that have been used to treat over seventy different diseases. The idea is that if their baby is found to have a life threatening disease in the future, the cord blood is there for them, but if the baby was already born with a disease, their infected cord blood does nothing for them. For other families, they pay, but never use that cord blood. It’s money wasted.

Women who have had C-sections during one birth are usually not allowed to go through a vaginal birth because doctors won’t agree to do it it or it is against hospital policy. Unless, going through a vaginal birth for their next child is life threatening or would cause severe complications for the mother and her baby, it should be the mother’s choice what type of birth she should have.

Glossary terms/definitions:

  • Cord Blood Banking (Public/Private): The practice of preserving for future use fetal blood that remains in the umbilical cord at the time of birth. (medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com)
  • Stem Cells: an unspecialized cell that gives rise to differentiated cells (www.merriam-webster.com)
  • Cesarean Section (C-Section): A surgical procedure in which incisions are made through a woman’s abdomen and uterus to deliver her baby (medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com)

References:

https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/cesarean+section

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Umbilical+Cord+Blood+Banking

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stem%20cell

Moninger, J. (2017, August 30). The Cord Blood Controversy. Retrieved November 08, 2017, from http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-baby/cord-blood-banking/the-cord-blood-controversy/

Roan, S. (2010, March 23). More women should have choice of vaginal birth after C-section, panel says. Retrieved November 08, 2017, from http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-0323-hosp-vbac-20100323-story.html

 

Food: Prompt 2

I cannot deny that I’m a foodie, nor have I ever tried to. I love food and this includes the food that is not good for me, like burgers and pizza. Admittedly, I have taken a look at what I eat and I know full well it is not all very good for me. A lot of the times I am in a rush, yet I know I still have to eat something, and I am never one to miss a meal because I don’t feel good if I do. Due to my rush, I’ll more than likely end up buying some chicken strips and fries that are ready to grab over at the SURC. It’s just easy, but easy certainly does not mean better and in this case it does not mean healthy. There have also been times where I look at what I eat and decide to cut down on the amount of junk food I consume and try to make healthy choices, but by the end of the day or the next day I decide to award myself *face palm.*

I really did relate to the article because I want to eat healthy, but by “awarding” myself, I have defeated the purpose of being healthy. If I go for a run, it undermines my efforts because I’ll eat a handful of skittles or a pastry later (I have a problem). I definitely need to limit the amount of sugar and fats I put into my body and instead eat food with more nutritional value. I love running, but ever since school started I’ve stopped, so it’s safe to say I’m out of shape as I know I won’t be able to run as fast as I used to. I’d like to go to the gym and exercise because it’s good for me, but also because I enjoy it. Instead of putting it on the backburner, I should make my health more of a priority.

Finance (Prompt 2)

I would first like to say that I had no idea what the heck the fiduciary rule was before reading the sources provided. I’m only 21 and retirement is the last thing on my mind. Right now I’m just focusing on graduating college, getting my degree, and then get a job with that degree I spent so long working for. However, I was enlightened. It would be nice to kick back and relax after working for years and years, but of course there is an industry out there that wants to take advantage of people who are trying to save up money for their retirement through investments.

So, the fiduciary rule. As this term was explained in the review of the John Oliver Retirement Income episode (and not in the True Measure investment advising company site), the fiduciary rule is a “legal term for a broad group of professionals who are required to put consumer interests first.” Meaning, that brokers can’t receive compensation or commission because it would create a conflict of interest, as they are then only working to benefit themselves and not the people they are supposed to be helping accumulate money for their retirements. The money that these brokers get from commission has been used for luxuries, like expensive watches and cruises.

Out of the two sources, the one that does the best job in explaining and walking you through what the fiduciary rule and what other investor’s jargon is, like index funds and hedge funds, is the John Oliver review. First, he underlines what the three main problems hurting consumers for retirement are, he explains them, he explains what to avoid, and he gives five pieces of advice on saving for retirement. As a novice, I was able to understand all of the terms he presented and was able to follow along no problem. I was able to understand what the problems facing retirement investors are and understand that there are people who take advantage of that (stay away from financial advisors who are not fiduciary, they’re more than likely working for their own gain and not yours). In the True Measure, investment advising company site, although he sided with John Oliver that the fiduciary rule should be implemented and provided counterarguments for common arguments against the fiduciary rule, it was a site meant more for people who are already familiar with the problems associated with this rule and have a background or an understanding of finance (which I did not). Although it did provide the definition of BICE or Best Interest Contract Exemption (full disclosure for an investor in the advice they receive and what they’re investing in), there were other terms with little or no explanation of their meaning, but knew what they meant because of the John Oliver review.

Glossary Building 1

Food is the one thing that everyone consumes. Not everyone wears makeup and not everybody has a car, but everybody has to eat to survive. This means that everyone is also prone to becoming victims of consumer fraud or targeted ads regarding food or are even prone to just eating foods loaded with chemicals that are bad for our body.

Trans Fat: hydrogenated liquid fat. Besides sounding unhealthy, the food label can lie to us about how much of this is in a product. If there’s less than 0.5 grams of trans fat in a product, the companies can put that it has 0 grams on the label.

Saturated Fat: This type of fat has all of the hydrogen that it can hold as demonstrated with products like butter. It is unhealthy and can raise bad cholesterol levels.

GM Products: This involves inserting genes into an organism’s “master program.” Although this allows products to have a longer shelf life, it is a rather unregulated form of processing food and it does not allow consumers to know what exactly is in the product they are eating because of all the chemicals in them.

 

Early Life and Childhood: Prompt 1

New parents are very vulnerable consumers. They will be first time parents and they may be given advice about what to do and what to expect from others, but they will still have to figure things out on their own. This includes what they truly need for their baby and there are of course companies that prey upon young parent’s fears and emotions. Companies like those of cord blood banks. They prey upon parent’s uncertainty of the future. What if their child becomes sick in the future? Then the frozen cord blood they saved in a private blood bank would come in handy. It turns out though that freezing cord blood is a bit pointless if it is meant for the same person who produced it. The blood left in the umbilical cord is useful in treating over seventy diseases, but if a child has a pre-existing condtion, then their cord blood won’t be of much use to them because their cord blood will also have that condition. However, the cord blood can help out someone else who may need it, even if it’s not meant for the child who produced it.

In the thick of childbirth, moms are not going to be completely aware of everything that is going on, making it one reason that childbirth videos are filmed so that they may go back later so see their child’s birth. There is even a business for it where the video is made in a more artistic way. Something that I feel does not capture childbirth correctly because childbirth is not artistic or clean. There is a lot going on to put it very mildly. Ultimately, it is up to the parents whether they want a video or not, just as it should be up to the parents (especially the mom) if they want to have a vaginal birth after having had a C-section previously. Many women have expressed interest in doing so, but it is the hospitals and doctors who prevent this from happening. Again, tapping into the fear of the unknown and the possible risks that may or may not happen ad can harm the mother and child. The parents should have more of a say in what they want and should be more informed about their choices. Parents should be given the statistics over any procedures, what the risks are, how many people have truly benefitted from it, and if there are better options available.

 

CP&R Prompt 1

When I think back to what I used to be served in the school cafeteria back when I was in elementary school to what I was served in the last two years of high school (I graduated in 2014), there is a very notable difference. In elementary school I would have burritos, chicken strips, hamburger sliders, a square piece of pizza, and for dessert/treats there would sometimes be frozen fruit juice bars or a treat I especially loved: birthday cake. A small, sugary, frosting filled mini birthday cake all for me. I never thought the food was bad (sometimes), but now as an adult and looking at the things I was served as a child, it seems to have been loaded with trans fat, sugar, and sodium.

In the latter half of high school when the new standards for school meals were being implemented, I still thought the food was good (sometimes–most of the time lol) but it was no longer as greasy or salty or sugary. Those treats I had liked seem to have been taken out. The food included more whole grain and there was a variety of fruits and veggies daily that I could choose from.

True, we missed some of the old things that were once served (like mini birthday cakes), but it was for the better. For some students, school food is the only reliable meal they have and if the only food they are being served is full of trans fat and sodium, then that meal is doing them more harm than good.

I do believe that student’s health is better protected than it once was with the new regulations and standards. The only thing is that I don’t believe (I could be wrong) that we have been told the ingredients or calories the foods served in schools have. However, I did find the following page from USDA that has bulleted points on the precautions it takes over school food and some of the options they offer within each food group. https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/fdd/USDAFoods_FactSheet_FINAL2014.pdf

 

Health Care: 2nd Prompt

Before reading the CBO report, I had no idea what CBO was or stood for. Now I know that CBO stands for Congressional Budget Office. This new Senate Bill would have a greater number of people be uninsured and the price for those who have insurance would be raised because it would essentially become a luxury to have health insurance. This new bill would benefit the government more than the people because it would cut back on costs for the government by $321 billion during the 2017 to 2026 period. Yet, the number of uninsured people would go up to 22 million because there would no longer be a penalty for those who do not have insurance. I did not know any of this and doubt that many consumers do either. What I would like to know is if a better reform could be created so that it could still cover more people. Somewhere to get more information on this is:  http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/13/politics/cbo-report-health-care/

Market and Social Justice (Prompt 2)

The concepts of market and social justice govern how we live our lives. From what our “values” are to what and how we purchase. Market justice, the most influential concept of the two, seems to reflect the American ideal of individualism. Yet, in market justice, instead of having the best interests of people as a whole, the interest lies more in the bottom line of corporations. It leads people to believe that however they end up economically or health wise in life, it is their own fault and “the choices we make.” It does not take into account any circumstances surrounding a person or the reason for their decisions like background, socioeconomic level, or level of education. Instead, it says that “people who are financially comfortable have earned that comfort. Likewise, people who are less comfortable have earned that situation.”

There is also less government regulation in market justice, much to the benefit of large corporations that target certain people so that they buy their products. An example of this would be cigarettes. Cigarettes tend to target people with a low socioeconomic status and young people as it is depicted as “cool” and a stress reliever. Even though going to the gym is also a great stress reliever, buying a pack of cigarettes is cheaper than a gym membership even if the impact on a person’s health are completely different in the long term. Despite the fact that cigarettes are bad for people’s health and can lead to lung cancer, there is indeed big business in it, and it is likely that this industry won’t be going away as it generates a lot of money for the corporations.

Social justice may be regarded as deviant as it has a more community oriented ideal rather than solely focusing on the individual. Yet, it sounds like this concept has a person’s best interest at heart. It focuses more on the “collective good” rather than the “rugged individualism.” Overall, social justice seems to be the better concept that should be more widely followed since it believes that people should have an equal opportunity as much as the next person, it believes that people should have “basic benefits,” and does not blame people for the way they live their lives the way they do.