FOXO3, a gene linked to intelligence and involved in insulin signalling that might trigger apoptosis


Genes linked to intelligence

Researchers discovered that the genes that were the strongest linked to intelligence are ones involved in pathways that play a part in the regulation of the nervous system’s development and apoptosis (a normal form of cell death that is needed in development). The most significant SNP was found within FOXO3, a gene involved in insulin signalling that might trigger apoptosis. The strongest associated gene was CSE1L, a gene involved in apoptosis and cell proliferation.

Does this all mean that intelligence in humans depends on the molecular mechanisms that support the development and preservation of the nervous system throughout an person’s lifespan? It’s possible.

And is it possible to explain intelligence through genetics? This paper suggests it is. Nevertheless, it might be warranted to consider that intelligence is a very complex trait and even if genetics did play a role, environmental factors such as education, healthy living, access to higher education, exposure to stimulating circumstances or environments might play an equally or even stronger role in nurturing and shaping intelligence.

It is also worth considering that the meaning of “intelligence” rather falls within a grey area. There might be different types of intelligence or even intelligence might be interpreted differently: in which category would for example a genius physicist – unable to remember their way home (Albert Einstein) – fall? Selective intelligence? Mozart nearly failed his admission tests to Philharmonic Academy in Bologna because his genius was too wide and innovative to be assessed by rigid tests. Is that another form of selective intelligence? And if so, what’s the genetic basis of this kind of intelligence?

Studies like this are extremely interesting and they do show we are starting to scratch the surface of what the biological basis of intelligence really is.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

About FOX0

What are they? FOXO proteins are a subgroup of the Forkhead family of transcription factors. This family is characterized by a conserved DNA-binding domain (the ‘Forkhead box’, or FOX) and comprises more than 100 members in humans, classified from FOXA to FOXR on the basis of sequence similarity. These proteins participate in very diverse functions: for example, FOXE3 is necessary for proper eye development, while FOXP2 plays a role in language acquisition. Members of class ‘O’ share the characteristic of being regulated by the insulin/PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. How did this family get named ‘Forkhead’? Forkhead, the founding member of the entire family (now classified as FOXA), was originally identified in Drosophila as a gene whose mutation resulted in ectopic head structures that looked like a fork.

Forkhead proteins are also sometimes referred to as ‘winged helix’ proteins because X-ray crystallography revealed that the DNA-binding domain features a 3D structure with three α-helices flanked by two characteristic loops that resemble butterfly wings.

How many FOXOs are there? In invertebrates, there is only one FOXO gene, termed daf-16 in the worm and dFOXO in the fly. In mammals, there are four FOXO genes, FOXO1, 3, 4, and 6. Hey, what about FOXO2 and FOXO5? FOXO2 is identical to FOXO3 (a.k.a. FOXO3a, as opposed to FOXO3b, a pseudogene). FOXO5 is the fish ortholog of FOXO3. FOX hunting…

FOXO genes were first identified in humans because three family members (1, 3, and 4) were found at chromosomal translocations in rhabdomyosarcomas and acute myeloid leukemias. Just after FOXO factors were identified in human tumor cells, the crucial role of DAF-16 in organismal longevity was discovered in worms.

DAF-16 activity was shown to be negatively regulated by the insulin/PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Subsequent experiments in mammalian cells showed that mammalian FOXO proteins were directly phosphorylated and inhibited by Akt in response to insulin/ growth factor stimulation. Thus, FOXO factors are evolutionarily conserved mediators of insulin and growth factor signaling.

Why are they important? FOXO transcription factors are at the interface of crucial cellular processes, orchestrating programs of gene expression that regulate apoptosis, cell-cycle progression, and oxidativestress resistance (Figure 1). For example, FOXO factors can initiate apoptosis by activating transcription of FasL, the ligand for the Fas-dependent celldeath pathway, and by activating the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family member Bim. Alternatively, FOXO factors can promote cellcycle arrest; for example, FOXO factors upregulate the cell-cycle inhibitor p27kip1 to induce G1 arrest or GADD45 to induce G2 arrest.

FOXO factors are also involved in stress resistance via upregulation of catalase and MnSOD, two enzymes involved in the detoxification of reactive oxygen species. Additionally, FOXO factors facilitate the repair of damaged DNA by upregulating genes, such as GADD45 and DDB1. Other FOXO target genes have been shown to play a role in glucose metabolism, cellular differentiation, muscle atrophy, and even energy homeostasis.

Is there a connection between FOXO and cancer?

Because FOXO proteins were originally identified in human tumors, and because they play an important role in cell-cycle arrest, DNA repair, and apoptosis — cell functions that go awry in cancer — the FOXO family is thought to coordinate the balance between longevity and tumor suppression. Consistent with this idea, in certain breast cancers, FOXO3 is sequestered in the cytoplasm and inactivated. Expression of active forms of FOXO in tumor cells prevents tumor growth in vivo. Additionally, protein partners of FOXO, such as p53 and SMAD transcription factors, are tumor suppressors. Investigating the ensemble of FOXO protein partners will provide insight into the connection between aging and cancer.

Sugar , transfat and poor lifestyle – causes of American death in last 35 years

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Smoking , alcohol, meds/drugs and poor lifestyle (absence of exercise, clean water, air and whole foods) contributed to poor health in the southern part of the United States.

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cancer 11

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How does a CBC test for a leukemia patient usually look like?

My answer to How does a CBC test for a leukemia patient usually look like?

Answer by Connie b. Dellobuono:

High WBCs.

How does a CBC test for a leukemia patient usually look like?

Colon cancer prevention and care by Dr Mercola

  • Up to 50 percent of colorectal cancer cases are preventable through a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight
  • You can lower your risk of colon cancer by optimizing your vitamin D levels, eating more vegetables, garlic and fiber
  • Avoiding processed meat is important for lowering colon cancer risk


Connie’s comments: Follow a low carb ketogenic diet. Exercise with sun exposure. Detox with cilantro and sulfur rich foods (garlic,apple cider vinegar). Remove toxic substances and endocrine disrupting substances from your house and environment if possible (plastics, food additives, aspartame, etc).


Top steps include the following.

1. Eat More Vegetables and Some Fruits

Vegetables contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else – like magnesium.

Results from one meta-analysis indicated that for every 100-milligram increase in magnesium intake, the risk of colorectal tumor decreased by 13 percent, while the risk of colorectal cancer was lowered by 12 percent.4

The researchers noted magnesium’s anti-cancer effects may be related to its ability to reduce insulin resistance, which may positively affect the development of tumors.

Beyond magnesium, plant chemicals called phytochemicals can reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce, get rid of old cells and maintain DNA.

Vegetables are also one of the best forms of dietary fiber. Studies have repeatedly shown that people with higher vegetable intake have lower rates of cancer.5

Cruciferous vegetables may be particularly beneficial due to the sulforaphane they contain. Sulforaphene, a naturally occurring derivative of sulforaphne, has been found to suppress growth of colon cancer-derived tumors, for example.6

If you’re healthy, consuming some fruit in moderation may also be beneficial. According to one study, dried plums (i.e. prunes) may lower your risk of colon cancer by building your gut bacteria.7

2. Eat More Fiber

Dietary fiber has been associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, particularly incident colorectal adenoma and distal colon cancer.8 Further, for every 10 grams of fiber you add to your daily diet, your risk of colon cancer decreases by 10 percent.9

A 2005 study similarly revealed that dried plums “favorably altered … colon cancer risk factors” in rats, possibly due to their high content of dietary fiber and polyphenolics.10

Fortunately, if you follow the tip above and eat more vegetables, you’ll naturally be eating more fiber from the best possible source — vegetables. Psyllium seed husk, flax seeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds also provide valuable sources of soluble and insoluble fiber.

3. Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. In one study published in the journal Gut, people with higher blood levels of vitamin D were less likely to develop colorectal tumors.11

This may be because vitamin D is beneficial for your immune system, which in turn may help to limit the growth of cancerous tumors. According to the researchers:12

Evidence suggests protective effects of vitamin D and antitumour immunity on colorectal cancer risk.

Immune cells in tumour microenvironment can convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] [vitamin D] to bioactive 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, which influences neoplastic and immune cells

… High plasma 25(OH)D level is associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer with intense immune reaction, supporting a role of vitamin D in cancer immunoprevention through tumour–host interaction.”

Regular sun exposure, use of a high-quality tanning bed and/or supplementation with a vitamin D3 supplement can get your vitamin D levels into the optimal range of 50-70 ng/ml. You’ll need to monitor your levels to be sure you stay within this target range.

4. Avoid Processed Meats

Processed meats are those preserved by smoking, curing, salting, or the addition of chemical preservatives.

This includes bacon, ham, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, some sausages, and hamburgers (if they have been preserved with salt or chemical additives) and more. Particularly problematic are the nitrates that are added to these meats as a preservative, coloring and flavoring.

The nitrates found in processed meats are frequently converted into nitrosamines, which are clearly associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. AICR warns that “there is no safe threshold” for eating processed meats.13

5. Be Knowledgeable About Red Meat Consumption

Research suggests that people who eat the most red meat (in one study this was five ounces a day) have a 24 percent greater risk of colorectal cancer than those who eat the least.14

Red meat is likely not the problem in and of itself, however, but the way it’s cooked, and the source it comes from, likely play a role. Grass-fed beef, for instance, contains cancer-fighting compounds.

On the other hand, it’s known that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, can have a detrimental impact on healthy gut bacteria and is carcinogenic. CAFO animals are typically fed grains contaminated with glyphosate.

Red meat cooked at high temperatures (such as barbecued or fried) may also contain carcinogenic cooking byproducts like heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

When it comes to meats, I recommend eating organically raised grass-fed meats only and cooking them only lightly (rare, not well-done). For the record, I believe most people need some animal protein to be optimally healthy, but most eat far more protein than is necessary (or healthy).

6. Exercise

There is convincing evidence that regular exercise can significantly reduce your risk of colon cancer.15 One study revealed that physically active men and women have about a 30 percent to 40 percent reduction in the risk of developing colon cancer compared with inactive persons, for instance.16

For starters, exercise drives your insulin levels down, and controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risk. It’s also been suggested that apoptosis (programmed cell death) is triggered by exercise, causing cancer cells to die.

Exercise also improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood. The job of these cells is to neutralize pathogens throughout your body, as well as destroy precancerous cells before they become cancerous. The better these cells circulate, the more efficient your immune system is at defending itself against infections and diseases like cancer.

7. Maintain a Healthy Weight and Control Belly Fat

A number of studies have linked obesity to an increased risk for about a dozen different cancers, including cancer of the colon. In a 2014 study that analyzed data from more than 5 million people over the age of 16, every 11-pound increase in body weight was associated with an increased risk for 10 types of cancer.17

If you’re overweight or obese, even small amounts of weight loss can lead to significant benefits for your health. In terms of cancer prevention, losing excess belly fat is particularly important, as belly fat is linked to an increased risk of colon cancer regardless of your body weight.

8. Limit Your Alcohol Intake and Quit Smoking

Both excessive alcohol intake and smoking are associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. When it comes to alcohol, I generally define “moderate” alcohol intake (which is allowed in the beginner phase of my nutrition plan) as a 5-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce beer or 1 ounce of hard liquor, with a meal, per day.

As you progress further in the nutrition plan, I do recommend eliminating all forms of alcohol. If you’re a smoker, you can find tips for quitting here.

9. Eat Garlic

Garlic has been shown to kill cancer cells in laboratory studies, as well as shown promise when consumed via your diet. One study showed that women who regularly ate garlic (along with fruits and vegetables) had a 35 percent lower risk of colon cancer.18

Those who consume high amounts of raw garlic also appear to have a lower risk of stomach and colorectal cancers.19Furthermore, among people with inoperable forms of colorectal, liver, or pancreatic cancer, taking an extract of aged garlic for six months helped to improve immune function, which suggests it may be useful for helping your immune system during times of stress or illness.20

When you add raw garlic in your diet the fresh clove must be crushed or chopped in order to stimulate the release of an enzyme called alliinase, which in turn catalyzes the formation of allicin.

Allicin, in turn, rapidly breaks down to form a number of different organosulfur compounds. So to “activate” garlic’s medicinal properties, compress a fresh clove with a spoon prior to swallowing it, chop it finely to add to a salad, or put it through your juicer to add to your vegetable juice.

Immune system, bone marrow, anti-cancer, shark oil

marrowDr. Astrid Brohult, a Swedish oncologist, administered calves’ marrow to leukemia-stricken children in the 1950s, hoping it would replenish white blood cells destroyed by radiation therapy. After administering the marrow, some of the children improved immediately; many experienced increased energy and white blood cell normalization. After conducting a decade of research on the subject, she isolated a group of compounds called alkylglycerols (AKGs) in the calves’ marrow and discovered they were responsible for normalizing the white blood cell production.

Cindy Micleu, instructor at the Jade Institute complementary healing center, says bone marrow contains myeloid and lymphoid stem cells. The foundations for red and white blood cells, these cells build immunity, assist with blood clotting and help provide oxygen to cells. Collagen, the protein-rich substance that cooks down to gelatin, can also help repair the body. Collagen deficiency can lead to poor wound healing, easy bruising and bleeding gums. Collagen in bone marrow can help the body rebuild itself, says Micleu.

Bone marrow, in broth or in other forms, is a global wellness tool. Dr. Daniel Auer, a certified clinical nutritionist, says almost every culture claims some form of bone-based concoction. The Chinese use bone to support kidney and digestive function and to build blood. The Weston A. Price Foundation reports another example from a North Carolina mountain Indian population. Their diets rely heavily on wild game, and they value marrow to nourish their growing children.

The T helper cells (Th cells) are a type of T cell that play an important role in the immune system, particularly in the adaptive immune system. They help the activity of other immune cells by releasing T cell cytokines. These cells help suppress or regulate immune responses. They are essential in B cell antibody class switching, in the activation and growth of cytotoxic T cells, and in maximizing bactericidal activity of phagocytes such as macrophages.

Mature Th cells express the surface protein CD4 and are referred to as CD4+ T cells. Such CD4+ T cells are generally treated as having a pre-defined role as helper T cells within the immune system. For example, when an antigen-presenting cell expresses an antigen on MHC class II, a CD4+ cell will aid those cells through a combination of cell to cell interactions (e.g. CD40 (protein) and CD40L) and through cytokines.

CD154, also called CD40 ligand or CD40L, is a cell surface protein that mediates T cell helper function in a contact-dependent process[1] and is a member of the TNF superfamily of molecules. It binds to CD40 on antigen-presenting cells (APC), which leads to many effects depending on the target cell type. CD154 acts as a costimulatory molecule and is particularly important on a subset of T cells called T follicular helper cells (TFH cells).[2] On TFH cells, CD154 promotes B cell maturation and function by engaging CD40 on the B cell surface and therefore facilitating cell-cell communication.[3] A defect in this gene results in an inability to undergo immunoglobulin class switching and is associated with hyper IgM syndrome.[4] Absence of CD154 also stops the formation of germinal centers and therefore prohibiting antibody affinity maturation, an important process in the adaptive immune system.

The importance of helper T cells can be seen from HIV, a virus that primarily infects CD4+ T cells. In the advanced stages of HIV infection, loss of functional CD4+ T cells leads to the symptomatic stage of infection known as the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

The mechanism that killer T cells use during auto-immunity is almost identical to their response against viruses, and some viruses have been accused of causing auto-immune diseases such as Type 1 Diabetes mellitus. Cellular auto-immune disease occurs because the host antigen recognition systems fail, and the immune system believes, by mistake, that a host antigen is foreign. As a result, the CD8+ T cells treat the host cell presenting that antigen as infected, and go on to destroy all host cells (or in the case of transplant rejection, transplant organ) that express that antigen.

According to an immunology textbook: “IL-2 is particularly important historically, as it is the first type I cytokine that was cloned, the first type I cytokine for which a receptor component was cloned, and was the first short-chain type I cytokine whose receptor structure was solved. Many general principles have been derived from studies of this cytokine including its being the first cytokine demonstrated to act in a growth factor–like fashion through specific high-affinity receptors, analogous to the growth factors being studied by endocrinologists and biochemists”.[18]:712

In the mid-1960s, studies reported “activities” in leukocyte-conditioned media that promoted lymphocyte proliferation.[19]:16 In the mid-1970s, it was discovered that T-cells could be selectively proliferated when normal human bone marrow cells were cultured in conditioned medium obtained from phytohemagglutinin-stimulated normal human lymphocytes.[18]:712 The key factor was isolated from cultured mouse cells in 1979 and from cultured human cells in 1980.[20] The gene for human IL-2 was cloned in 1982 after an intense competition.

The normal bone marrow architecture can be damaged or displaced by aplastic anemia, malignancies such as multiple myeloma, or infections such as tuberculosis, leading to a decrease in the production of blood cells and blood platelets. The bone marrow can also be affected by various forms of leukemia, which attacks its hematologic progenitor cells.[10] Furthermore, exposure to radiation or chemotherapy will kill many of the rapidly dividing cells of the bone marrow, and will therefore result in a depressed immune system. Many of the symptoms of radiation poisoning are due to damage sustained by the bone marrow cells.

Types of bone marrow

A femoral head with a cortex of bone and medulla of trabecular bone. Both red bone marrow and a central focus of yellow bone marrow are visible.

The two types of bone marrow are “red marrow” (Latin: medulla ossium rubra), which consists mainly of hematopoietic tissue, and “yellow marrow” (Latin: medulla ossium flava), which is mainly made up of fat cells. Red blood cells, platelets, and most white blood cells arise in red marrow. Both types of bone marrow contain numerous blood vessels and capillaries. At birth, all bone marrow is red. With age, more and more of it is converted to the yellow type; only around half of adult bone marrow is red. Red marrow is found mainly in the flat bones, such as the pelvis, sternum, cranium, ribs, vertebrae and scapulae, and in the cancellous (“spongy”) material at the epiphyseal ends of long bones such as the femur and humerus. Yellow marrow is found in the medullary cavity, the hollow interior of the middle portion of short bones. In cases of severe blood loss, the body can convert yellow marrow back to red marrow to increase blood cell production.


The stroma of the bone marrow is all tissue not directly involved in the marrow’s primary function of hematopoiesis.[2] Yellow bone marrow makes up the majority of bone marrow stroma, in addition to smaller concentrations of stromal cells located in the red bone marrow. Though not as active as parenchymal red marrow, stroma is indirectly involved in hematopoiesis, since it provides the hematopoietic microenvironment that facilitates hematopoiesis by the parenchymal cells. For instance, they generate colony stimulating factors, which have a significant effect on hematopoiesis. Cell types that constitute the bone marrow stroma include:

Alkylglycerols are natural etherlipids abundant in shark liver oil (SLO) in a diacylated form. SLO is known to have antitumor properties and was recently described as an inhibitor of tumor neovascularization. However, most studies did not discriminate between the respective activities of alkylglycerols and of fatty acids, which both have potent biological properties. In this work, a mouse model was used to investigate the antitumor effects of SLO and of alkylglycerols purified from the same source, both administered orally. We demonstrated that either pure alkylglycerols or SLO reduced the tumor growth in a similar manner, suggesting that alkylglycerols were involved in this effect. In alkylglycerol-treated mice, metastasis dissemination was reduced by 64 ± 8%, whereas SLO effect was 30 ± 9% below control. Purified alkylglycerols also decreased significantly plasmalogen content in tumors, whereas SLO had no such effect. Finally, we demonstrated that a 5-day treatment with alkylglycerols curtailed the presence in tumors of von Willebrand factor, a marker of endothelial cells. This result suggested an anti-angiogenic effect of alkylglycerols. In summary, alkylglycerols were shown to decrease the growth, vascularization, and dissemination of Lewis lung carcinoma tumors in mice. These findings suggest that the antitumor activity of SLO is likely mediated by the presence of alkylglycerols.

Shark Oil contains alkylglycerols. Alkylglycerols act as immune system boosting agents.

As a natural bacteria fighter, alkylglycerols are able to stimulate the helper T-cells, which are highly sensitized to the bacteria-infected macrophage, and thus the body is able to destroy the bacteria.

Better health care in Canada than in America

I’m a Canadian, in Canada. Jack, my cousin in NC, asked me about health care in Canada and if a universal plan was do-able in the States. I said, “No”. I told him, 8 years ago, that the insurance companies would do EVERYTHING to stop it and they have. I told Jack that our system was far from ideal. Drugs, eye care and other services, like physio, were generally not included. However, the BIG health challenges, like cancer and heart disease, were covered well. It is a bit of patchwork quilt. However, there is no doubt that average folks were better cared for in Canada.

I have struggled to understand the American system. In 1983, my mother had a heart attack and required a triple bypass. At the reunion of her high school class in 1988, in Cleveland, she was sitting with an old friend. When mom told her about her health issues her friend said, “I have needed bypass surgery for the last 8 months, but my HMO won’t cover it.” These were both surgical nurses. My mom instantly realized that her old friend was telling her that she would likely be dead in six months. My mom’s reconstructed heart sank and I’m sure she was thankful that she was now living in Canada. My mom lived 14 more years.
Let’s be clear, there is little doubt that the wealthiest Americans have healthcare plans that put what I have to shame. However, what I have – the main provincial plan and a modest extended family plan through my wife’s work (for about $230/month) – would surpass what 80% of Americans have. I am now 61, retired and still well covered. My cousin, Jack is 75 and the last I heard he was still working.
The United States is the only first world country that does not have a comprehensive, universal health care plan. Yet, more is spent per capita on health care there than anywhere in the world. Clearly, something is amiss.

It is a sad indictment of America. My nephew, now 2, required 3 major heart surgeries in his first 5 months. His care, thank God, was covered by the Ontario health plan. If they were in the States his family would be scrambling and asking all of his aunts and uncles to mortgage their houses to help pay for his care – estimated at about $2 million. Maybe, YOU are in great health, but what would say to your sister IF she said, “Can you give me $30000 for your nephew’s care?” I am forever grateful for the public plan that saved my nephew’s life. If, as you contend, a shared cost system leads to more obesity and chronic ailments, then why do Canadians enjoy better health and live longer than Americans? Could it be that we have better preventative plans?

Every first world country with comprehensive health care plans have healthier and more fit communities. Childhood obesity rates in Canada are half of that in the States. That is because our public health programs know that the cost of addressing these issues with our youth are a fraction of the cost of dealing with them down the line. I agree, people need to be more responsible. However, it starts with education and ensuring that our children are raised to value good nutrition. Turn on the TV today and you will see nothing but a stream of ads promoting food products that are a one-way ticket to health issues. Children are bombarded with catchy ads for junk cereals and convenient, highly processed, snacks. And, the industries that produce this slow acting poisons, do so with the blessings of the government agencies. In some European countries the producers of junk cereal are not permitted to advertise on television. Some would call it a “nanny state”. However, if we are to educate children to make good food choices we need to ensure they have the best information required to make an informed choices. Overwhelming them with ads for junk cereals only serves to undermine the goals of a government healthcare system committed to lowering the shared costs.

Boy, you’re either naive or heartless. I had an emergency appendectomy when I was a healthy 35, as humanly possible, could run 10 miles, not over weight, etc. Cost: $10K with 80 percent picked up by my employer sponsored insurance. Twenty years later, a small spot of cancer appeared on my yearly mammogram. Again, I had employer sponsored insurance.

Today, I do not have employer sponsored health insurance, so I went to the ACA exchange. I’ve got a $3500 deductible with maximum out of pocket of $10,000, and I have those pesky pre-existing conditions.

Good choices and healthy living do a lot, but none of us, not even you, can control some aspects of ill health. To me, your attitude is part of the problem.

I bought private health care insurance for years pre-ACA. This will be a return to high premiums, high deductibles and very limited coverage. This will be access to health care only if you can afford it. It is all good and well for the Republican members of congress, because we, the tax payers, pay for their insurance. I bet they never lost sleep at night wondering how to pay out of pocket for simple things like getting your child treated for asthma, in addition to paying for your high monthly premium, because you hadn’t met the $10,000 family deductible yet, and forgoing the colonoscopy that you knew you should have, but couldn’t cover because you were paying out of pocket for your children’s health care.

I feel sorry for Americans. The basic care I receive here in Ontario is better than most people get with insurance companies and once I get sick I still don’t have to worry about losing my plan. What Obama had the courage to do was to put forward a public health care plan that doesn’t even touch what I have. I knew, when he endeavored to do so 8 years ago the GOP and insurance companies would do EVERYTHING they could to vilify it and kill it. When you can afford $1000/month premiums for a comprehensive family plan you have nothing to worry. That is until you get sick. Then, the insurance company will shut you down. While the Canadian system is far from perfect over 95% of Canadians would not have a fear if they got cancer or needed bypass surgery. People rail about “entitlements” and how to pay for what the government has already committed to. We have the same concerns here in Canada. However, even the most conservative voices in Canada do not talk about scrapping our public health care system. We seem to have learned how to do more with less. Our health care costs are less per capita and we live longer and healthier lives. As or your challenges, I hope that the government understands that if people are worrying continuously about paying for health care they will be a more stressed out and unproductive workforce. There is a saying, “They know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing'” . That, sadly, is the GOP. My heart goes out to you, buddy.

It’s not just the poor. I’ve retired early with substantial savings. My wife, still working, has amassed a very healthy retirement nest egg, too. But that does us no good if insurers can go back to denying us coverage, or excluding wide swaths of care, because of our pre-existing conditions. Without medical insurance, all that we’ve worked for, throughout our decades of contributing to this economy and paying our taxes, could be wiped out, leaving us destitute and unable to afford the medical care we need to stay alive.

Prior to the ACA, when I tried to purchase health insurance privately, I was told by United Healthcare that the only way they would provide me a policy, with my pre-existing back problems, would be to exclude all care related to the spine. I asked (paraphrasing here, since it’s been quite a while) ‘so if I’m in an automobile accident in which I have a spinal injury that leaves me paralyzed, your company will pay nothing towards my medical expenses?’ The representative said, yes, that was true.

This is really frightening. Charge older people – many on fixed incomes, in the years of greatest medical costs – 3 times the insurance rate for younger ones? What sense does that make except to ensure older people suffer? Re continuous care younger people also are prone to risk having no insurance if financially strapped, so they may try to manage diabetes or heart issues on their own for a while. So then they can’t get anything? And no one knows when a catastrophic injury or illness may befall or a child born with some expensive medical problem. So (1) coverage has to be affordable and (2) there’s just no way around eliminating the pre-existing condition claus. That is, unless you’re either deeply cruel of heart or have the imagination of a gnat. So where does that lead? The ACA! It’s really disheartening reading these stories about people who opposed evil communist “Obamacare” until they got cancer or had a heart attack and suddenly faced huge bills they couldn’t possibly pay without it. Does it really take a personal crisis to open people’s eyes? Surely, as a nation and as humanity, we can do better than that!

Many people think that Trump will increase coverage and lower costs. He and Republicans will never support universal coverage and single payer which is the only way to achieve this. Wait until they discover that their coverage will cost more and won’t cover them when they are sick or will drop them quickly once they have a serious diagnosis. I had one of those policies years ago and they dropped us as soon as my daughter was diagnosed with asthma.

Healthy folks don’t need insurance, only ill folks do. Unfortunately, healthy folks turn into ill folks when they get older. Fact is, everyone sees the doctor, so we don’t need for-profit insurance which only works for relatively rare events like fire or theft. We just need a single payer system paid for by federal income taxes. No one need purchase health insurance ever again. No more profits paying for dividends, high executive salaries and stock options, or lobbyists. Our current system is definitely corrupt.

Cobra for us was 1800 a month for great coverage. Got charged $250 copay for a 450k liver transplant. Now who can save 450k in a hsa account, guess who trump and his cabinet. We need single payer with a tax everyone pays from cradle to grave. Anything else is stupid.

One of the reasons Medicare pays out a lot in benefits is that many people don’t see doctors for years before they reach age 65. When they become eligible for Medicare there are previously unaddressed conditions and other problems for which medical care is finally provided.