Category Archives: Health Care

LA man wants his genitals removed to become a ‘genderless alien’

vinny ohh

Photo from Vinny Ohh’s Instagram account

Just like transgenders, he wants to be his “authentic” self.

From NY Post: A make-up artist wants to remove his genitals to achieve his dream of looking like an alien – but plastic surgeons have said it may be impossible.

LA-based Vinny Ohh, 23, has already spent $60,000 transforming himself into a “genderless alien.”

However, the surgery he wants next is his most extreme yet – getting his genitalia removed entirely so he is neither male nor female. He’s now been told by plastic surgeons that he may never be able to have the operation – which would be a world-first.

Renowned plastic surgery Dr. Simoni, who runs a practice in Beverly Hills, said such a procedure is highly controversial since doctors are unsure what effect the removal would have on the body’s biochemistry.

He said: “The experimental nature of the procedure means it is highly risky and it could also impact on basic bodily functions such as Vinny’s ability to urinate. This procedure has not been done yet, it’s totally new territory. This would be a brand new procedure and if something happens or there are complications, we don’t have any idea how to address it. Also, the sexual organ is also a tool to urinate, there are muscles that hold the urethra and prevents not only the urine flowing out, but also the bacteria going back up.”

My main problem with this procedure is what is he going to think about it in ten or 15 years time? Because all the bridges are gone. There is no way to come back to female or male. It’s a done deal. And he is young and now he has to live with it until he is 80 or 90 years old.”

The wannabe extraterrestrial grew up in a small town in Oregon, where he says he never quite felt like he belonged.

So far Vinny has had three surgeries and 110 procedures to achieve his current look, including two rhinoplasties and 35 body and face laser treatments. He also regularly sports large black contact lenses and strikingly colored hair, which complete his jaw-dropping look.

He said: “My goal in regards to my look is to become an exact, scientifically proportioned, sexless human being. People talk about ‘gender reassignment’ but I’m looking to have ‘gender unassignment’. I’m looking to change my genitals so there is nothing there. There will just be a hole to pee out of. I want my genitals removed because life would be easier, plus I’m also celibate.

There may also be legal obstacles to such an operation. Surgeons have suggested Vinny transition to female as a first, safe step towards his goal, but he has his heart set on being left with a doll-like genital region.

Vinny said: “I don’t want to become a woman, I just want to have nothing.”

Asked about his reasons for identifying as alien and wanting such a drastic surgery, Vinny is clear that he sees himself as a pioneer. He said: “For me LA was always about sex appeal, whereas when I think of alien I think of ugly. Aliens don’t really have a gender, in my eyes anyway. I connected with it and felt like, ‘I want to be that’.”

Doctors have raised the fact that the surgery would leave Vinny unable to father children of his own, but Vinny says his plan has always been to adopt. He said: “When I was younger I identified as a gay man and I had already planned to adopt three kids. My mindset hasn’t really changed. Just because I remove my genitals I will still be adopting children.

While his plastic surgery goals may seem shocking to some, Vinny has the support of his sister Daniella and manager Marcela. Daniella said: “My biggest concern is just his safety. I really have the concerns about cyber bullying and real bullying during his everyday life.

“I do worry that he’ll change his mind about surgery later in life but the more we talk about it, the more it actually feels like this is actually truly what he needs and wants to be more authentically him.”

Vinny’s manager Marcela added: “I personally love Vinny’s look because I always like people who don’t look normal, or at least what society says is normal. I support Vinny’s transformation into becoming a genderless human. If he is ready to do it, and the doctors approve the surgery legally, I will be with him by his side.”

And despite the warnings Vinny has received from medical professionals, he is adamant that he will go ahead with it, saying that he needs it in order to become his true self.

Vinny said: “I am so happy and proud for the way I am living my life. People think I am crazy for the way I look but I think I am doing something good by pushing boundaries and changing the way people think.”

Vinny Ohh previously appeared on This Morning to reveal his plans to have his nipples, bellybutton and genitals removed in order to become a “blank canvas.”

DCG

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Woman, 45, claims she is ‘married’ to a train station

train station freak

Carol and her “wife,” the train station.

Hey, #LoveIsLove, or something like that…

From Daily Mail: A woman has ‘married’ a train station and claims they have spent 36 years in love with one another. Carol Santa Fe, 45, from San Diego, California, says she fell for Santa Fe train station when she was nine years old. Although the union is not legally binding, she ‘tied the knot’ with the building in 2015 – and celebrated their one year anniversary last Christmas.

Ms. Santa Fe says she has ‘sex’ with the station mentally and identifies herself as an objectum sexual – a person who is sexually attracted to inanimate objects and structures.

It is a worldwide debate whether the phenomenon is a sexuality, fetish or mental condition.

Ms. Santa Fe said: ‘I am married to the Santa Fe train station – her name is Daidra. We didn’t start a relationship until 2011 but I had been in love with the station since I was a young girl. When we got married, I stood there and I told her that I take it as my partner. It was the happiest day of our lives.

Every day the volunteer support worker takes a 45 minute bus ride to the station to spend time with the building. She said: ‘When I get there I say hello to her – I then walk around the block circling around her, trying not to let anyone notice I am talking. There is a private bit where two walls meet, I go there to touch her, which I do by leaning against her with my clothes on. When I’m touching her, I feel as though it actually holds me and kisses me.’

‘I don’t have physical sex with the station in public, I want to be respectful. I wouldn’t do that with a human in public so why would I do it in this case. I do have sex with Daidra in my mind when I stand there. I especially like when I hear the trains rev up their engines – it turns me on.’

Ms. Santa Fe – who has lived in California since she was three – claims the train station is the love of her life despite being in a previous relationship with a man.

She added: ‘I loved a human once before, his name was Tom and we were together for 18 months. But it didn’t work out and I felt amazing when I got into a relationship with Diadra because she told that she would never leave me. I love her so much, she is so romantic.’

‘We first consummated our love a few years ago when I felt the wall behind me, and I felt this energy. I came close to an orgasm and I was scared I’d get caught by the station staff. I don’t ever want the security guards to find out – I am a closeted objectum sexual.’

Ms. Santa Fe discovered she was an objectum sexual after she searched online ‘I am in love with a building’.

She is not the first to confess her love for inanimate objects. Erica Eiffel, an objectum sexual, famously married Paris’s Eiffel Tower in 2007. Another well-known objectum sexual is Eklöf Berliner-Mauer, who married the Berlin wall in 1979 and was the first person to come forward with objectum sexuality.

Ms. Santa Fe hides her attraction while at the building because she fears she could be banned from the site. She added: ‘It’s not at all because I am ashamed. Erica Eiffel got banned from the Eiffel Tower for kissing it and straddling it – so I don’t want to get banned like she did. I don’t like to publicly show anything between me and Daidra as I have more respect than that.’

Carol has been working as a volunteer for emotional support groups for years.

Carol said: ‘Objectum sexuality is not a mental illness like the media always makes out. It is our sexuality, just like being lesbian or bisexual – we are not crazy. People just don’t understand. I feel really lonely not having anyone to talk to about it.’

Daidra has been the most stable partner I have ever had. I have had the time of my life being her wife. I used to be scared of being in love with humans, but I’m not scared with Daidra. I can never leave San Diego, because my lover is here. I could never love another train station – she is the one.’

DCG

For the millennials who “live online”: Home STD testing

my lab std kit

myLAB Box: “Safe is Sexy”

Apparently they are not living all parts of their lives online.

From Daily Mail: As more brands are offering quick, delivery-style options to cater to millennials, the idea has now been applied to clinical testing services.

myLAB Box says it is the first company to offer testing nationwide at-home testing, with screening for 10 STIs and STDs, including HIV, HPV and chlamydia.  There are other services that offer home STD testing, including Planned Parenthood and STDCheck.com, but neither are nationwide or offer the same amount.

Users order the specific testing panels online, complete the test, mail it to a pre-selected lab and results are delivered electronically within a few days.

Based in Los Angeles, co-founder and chief marketing officer Lora Ivanova said the goal of the service is to offer a solution for those who live their lives online.

Although the idea of mailing urine samples can seem unsettling, Ivanova and her team liken the process to casually ordering food online.

Ivanova said: ‘It’s amazing in the 2000s that as a society we haven’t figured out a way to do this. There’s a huge gap between our lifestyles and how we use healthcare. There are delivery services for everything else in our lives, so why not for this?

myLAB Box tests for HIV, hepatitis C, herpes simplex type II, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, HPV, genital mycoplasma and genital ureaplasma. The testing package is mailed to the consumer’s home, equipped with a set of instructions.

Depending on the type of panel ordered, there may be a finger prick, urine or swab sample needed. myLAB Box claims it is also unique because it offers oral, rectal and genital swabbing. Ivanova said the tests are simple; for a woman it’s no different than inserting a tampon.

Once the sample is collected, the person sends the package to a certified regional lab facility, based on where they live. The lab-certified results are delivered electronically within a few days.

If there is a positive test result, there would be a free phone consult with a doctor and prescriptions made available that same day.

A 2001 study by the University of Washington in St. Louis found that home testing and clinical testing had the same level of accuracy.

Louis Ortiz-Fonseca, Advocates For Youth Director of LGBT health and rights, said he thinks the online option could be a game-changer in how people view STIs.

He said: ‘As an adult I see how I’m inclined to think this reinforces silencing testing and results. But then I look at my son, who communicates with the world online.  I think young people can find it empowering to be able do this on their phones. It provides them the agency to do it at their speed, at their pace.’

CEO Ursula Hessenflow said the idea was to eliminate the discomfort and awkwardness of going to the clinic. She said to CBS News: ‘No longer do you have to suffer through the embarrassment or awkward conversations with clinicians or your doctor about your sexual health.’

In the United States, sexually-transmitted diseases are at a record high, with cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, jumping up several percentage points in a year’s span. The CDC estimates there are 20 million cases of sexually-transmitted infections that occur each year and the cost to the US healthcare system is estimated to be as much as $16 billion annually.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

The price tag on universal health care in California is bigger than state’s budget

government solve all problems

Shocker, not.

From Sacramento Bee: The pricetag is in: It would cost $400 billion to remake California’s health insurance marketplace and create a publicly funded universal health care system, according to a state financial analysis released Monday.

California would have to find an additional $200 billion per year, including in new tax revenues, to create a so-called “single-payer” system, the analysis by the Senate Appropriations committee found. The estimate assumes the state would retain the existing $200 billion in local, state and federal funding it currently receives to offset the total $400 billion price tag.

The cost analysis is seen as the biggest hurdle to create a universal system, proposed by Sens. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

It remains a longshot bid. Steep projected costs have derailed efforts over the past two decades to establish such a health care system in California. The cost is higher than the $180 billion in proposed general fund and special fund spending for the budget year beginning July 1.

Employers currently spend between $100 billion to $150 billion per year, which could be available to help offset total costs, according to the analysis. Under that scenario, total new spending to implement the system would be between $50 billion and $100 billion per year.

“Health care spending is growing faster than the overall economy…yet we do not have better health outcomes and we cover fewer people,” Lara said at Monday’s appropriations hearing. “Given this picture of increasing costs, health care inefficiencies and the uncertainty created by Congress, it is critical that California chart our own path.”

The idea behind Senate Bill 562 is to overhaul California’s insurance marketplace, reduce overall health care costs and expand coverage to everyone in the state regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. Instead of private insurers, state government would be the “single payer” for everyone’s health care through a new payroll taxing structure, similar to the way Medicare operates.

Lara and Atkins say they are driven by the belief that health care is a human right and should be guaranteed to everyone similar to public services like safe roads and clean drinking water. They seek to rein in rising health care costs by lowering administrative expenses, reducing expensive emergency room visits and eliminating insurance company profits and executive salaries.

In addition to covering undocumented people illegal aliens, Lara said the goal is to expand health access to people who, even with insurance, may skip doctor visits or stretch out medications due to high co-pays and deductibles.  “Doctors and hospitals would no longer need to negotiate rates and deal with insurance companies to seek reimbursement,” Lara said.

Insurance groups, health plans and Kaiser Permanente are against the bill. Industry representatives say California should focus on improving the Affordable Care Act. Business groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, have deemed the bill a “job-killer.”

“A single-payer system is massively, if not prohibitively expensive,” said Nick Louizos, vice president of legislative affairs for the California Association of Health Plans. “It will cost employers and taxpayers billions of dollars and result in significant loss of jobs in the state,” the Chamber of Commerce said in its opposition letter.

Underlying the debate is uncertainty at the federal level over what President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress will do with Obamacare. The House Republican bill advanced earlier this month would dismantle it by removing its foundation – the individual mandate that requires everyone to have coverage or pay a tax penalty.

Republican-led efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare is fueling political support for the bill, Atkins said at a universal health care rally this past weekend in Sacramento hosted by the California Nurses Association, a co-sponsor.

“This is a high-ticket expense…We have to figure out how to cover everyone and work on addressing the costs in the long-term — that’s our challenge,” Atkins said. “I’m optimistic.”

The bill has to get approval on the Senate floor by June 2 to advance to the Assembly. A financing plan is underway, which could suggest diverting money employers pay for worker’s compensation insurance to a state-run coverage system.

Lara said he believes California can and should play a prominent role in improving people’s lives. “We can do better,” he said.

DCG

1/4 of Americans can’t pay their monthly bills

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System just published its 172-page annual Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2016.

First, the good news:

  1. “Overall, the modest improvements in financial well-being that were observed in recent years continued into 2016” with 70% of adults reporting “that they are either living comfortably or doing okay financially,” compared to 69% in 2015 and 62% in 2013.
  2. “Compared to previous years, fewer adults are ill-prepared for a modest financial disruption”.

These marginal improvements aside, the report contains some disturbing information although the U.S. supposedly is nearly eight years into an economic recovery:

  • As many as 30%, or approximately 73 million adults, are either finding it difficult to get by or are just getting by financially.
  • 13% of adults struggle to pay their bills in some months due to “income volatility” or month-to-month variability, while just under one-fourth of adults are not able to pay all of their current month’s bills in full.
  • 44% of adults say they either could not cover an emergency expense costing $400, or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money. (In 2013, the percentage was an even more alarming 50%.)
  • 47% of adults of adults report that their income exceeded their spending in the prior year.
  • 46% of adults with a credit card report that they are carrying credit card debt.

Some other findings:

  • Education, specifically a college education, makes a big difference:
    • 40% of adults with a high school degree or less report that they are struggling financially, compared to 17% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree.
    • 82% of adults with a bachelor’s degree or more in education said last year they were “living comfortably” or “doing okay,” up from 80% the year before, as well as 69% of those with some college or an associate degree, up from 66%.
    • 79% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree vs. 52% of those with only a high school diploma said they would still be able to pay all of their other bills in full if hit with a $400 charge.
  • Whites are slipping behind other races: “Non-Hispanic white adults with a high school degree or less are somewhat less likely than those of other races and ethnicities or those with more education to report that their financial well-being improved in 2016.”
  • 28% of adults who haven’t yet retired reported to being grossly unprepared, which suggests they have no retirement savings or pension.
  • Healthcare costs continue to be a burden:
    • 23% of adults had to pay a major unexpected out-of-pocket medical expense in the prior year.
    • 1/4 of adults report forgoing one or more type of health care in the prior year due to affordability.
    • Approximately 24 million people, representing 10% of adults, are carrying debt from medical expenses that they had to pay out of pocket in the previous year.

ZeroHedge reports that commenting on the report’s findings, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard, a Hillary Clinton supporter, said:

“the survey findings remind us that many American households are struggling financially, including fully 40 percent of those with a high school diploma or less. More broadly, 44 percent of all respondents could not cover an unexpected $400 emergency expense or would rely on borrowing or selling something to do so. The survey also shows that many adults have no savings for retirement.”

~Eowyn

Planned Parenthood Will Close 4 Iowa Clinics Due To New State Restrictions

mammograms

Don’t’ believe the fearmongering of this article from Refinery29. There are still PLENTY of health care clinics in Iowa. My quick search found the following:

The Iowa Association of Rural Health Clinics has a list of over 140 rural health clinics in Iowa. And of course, there are the countless other municipal health care clinics as well as private health care facilities.

Plenty of facilities for Iowa residents to receive “vital health services” that only Planned Parenthood can provide.

From Yahoo (Refinery29): Following in Texas’ disastrous footsteps, four Planned Parenthood clinics will close in Iowa because of the state government’s actions to partially defund the health organization. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed a health and human services budget that discontinued the state’s federal Medicaid family planning waiver and replaced it with a state program that excludes any clinic that offers abortions.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced on Thursday that it will close one third of its 12 health centers in Iowa this summer, leaving an estimated 14,600 patients in Quad Cities, Burlington, Keokuk, and Sioux City without their current healthcare provider.

Iowa’s $1.77 billion health and human services budget keeps roughly the same amount of funds for family planning as the previous year, but places new restrictions on which facilities can receive money to cover low-income patients’ health care. Because the Hyde Amendment already prevents federal funds from paying for abortion, the budget change is the latest attempt by Republican politicians to shut down abortion providers.

Defunding Planned Parenthood and forcing clinics to shutter keeps low-income women from accessing vital health services such as contraception and cancer screenings, as the organization says abortions make up roughly 3% all services it performs.

Back in 2011, Texas took similarly drastic measures, cutting its family planning budget by more than $70 million and directing it away from clinics that provided abortion. Across the state, 25% of all family planning clinics closed, and about 30,000 fewer women had access to a health clinic two years later.

Clinic closures in the Lone Star State also forced women to drive four times farther to have an abortion. A Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) study found that Texas women whose closest clinic stayed open drove an average of 22 miles, while women whose closest clinic closed drove an average of 85 miles for health services. The women furthest from an open clinic had to drive more than 250 miles.

Iowa’s new regulations forced clinics to close right away, which foreshadows what will happen if the healthcare bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier in May becomes law. The GOP’s American Health Care Act proposes cutting off Medicaid reimbursements Planned Parenthood currently receives for treating low-income patients for one year unless its clinics stop performing abortions.

“We have seen what happens in states like Texas, and now in Iowa, when politicians attack access to care at Planned Parenthood — it’s devastating, and sometimes deadly, for the women who are left with nowhere to turn for care,” Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement to Refinery29. “I am concerned about the health and well-being of the people in Iowa who now can no longer turn to their trusted health care provider.”

Texas has already proven that when a state cuts off Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funds, it forces clinics to close and keeps women from getting the health services they need. Now, Iowa has followed suit and essential care for women is at stake in one more state.

DCG

WHO spends more on travel costs than fighting AIDS

margaret chan UN

Traveling large: UN Health Agency Director-General Margaret Chan

Your tax dollars at work.

From NY Post: The World Health Organization is spending more money on the travel bug than on fighting AIDS or malaria, according to a new report.

The UN health agency blows around $200 million a year on travel costs so its honchos can fly business class and stay in five-star hotels — more than what it reserves for battling some of the world’s biggest health crisis, the AP reports.

“We don’t trust people to do the right thing when it comes to travel,” the agency’s finance director Nick Jeffreys was caught saying at a 2015 seminar, according to the report.

WHO last year spent around $71 million on AIDS and hepatitis, $61 million on malaria and $59 million on tuberculosis, the wire service reports — although it does allocate a generous $450 million to polio every year.

Meanwhile, the agency’s director-general Dr. Margaret Chan racked up a $370,000 travel bill in one year, and recently stayed in a $1,008-a-night hotel in Guinea, the AP reports.

WHO is nevertheless asking for more moolah to fight disease — and taxpayers will be footing the bill.

UN member countries pay for the agency’s $2 billion annual budget, and the US is the largest contributor.

The agency defended itself by saying “the nature of WHO’s work often requires WHO staff to travel” and noting that it reduced travel costs by 14 percent last year — although that came after the particularly pricey 2014 Ebola outbreak, the AP notes.

And other aid agencies manage to fly staff around on much tighter budgets — the UN’s children’s agency UNICEF spends $140 million a year and has twice the staff, while Doctors Without Borders forbids business-class travel and spends on $43 million a year despite having more than five times as many staffers, the outlet reports.

DCG