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Trump's Energy Week Looks Like His Health Care Bill: A Disaster for America
By David Turnbull
It's an unfortunate coincidence that this week is the Trump administration's so-called "energy week" and at the same time, a disastrous health care bill is being pushed by Trump's allies in the Senate. These initiatives have a lot in common. Both would redistribute wealth up from ordinary Americans to the wealthiest. Both would make people sick. Both would cost lives.
As with the recent "infrastructure week" that came and went without much action on infrastructure, it's still not clear even a day in what, if any, real substance "energy week" will include. Its purpose, however, is clear: redirect media and public attention away from the ongoing scandals that have plagued the administration since last year's election and an increasingly unpopular health care bill.
Do not be distracted. The Trump administration's health care policy, combined with the energy policies they will speak about this week, would wreak havoc on the lives of Americans for years to come.
We don't work on health care on a day-to-day basis at Oil Change International, but having tracked the oil and gas industry for over a decade, we know a disaster when we see one. That's why we joined 16 major environmental organizations on a letter to Senators expressing our outrage at the cruelty demonstrated in the bill now being considered by lawmakers. The legislation would make it harder for low-income people to afford health insurance and access frontline service providers—the same Americans that shoulder the heaviest burden from industrial pollution, environmental disasters and the effects of climate change. We know that there can be no climate justice without social justice. And this health care bill is not a just policy.
In what amounts to a staggering transfer of wealth, the GOP health care bill slashes public services and forces ordinary Americans to absorb the costs in higher premiums or going without health care, to make room for tax cuts for the nation's richest households. The Congressional Budget Office calculates it would cut $772 billion in funding over the next ten years to Medicaid, a critical program that makes health care affordable to tens of millions who couldn't otherwise afford it. These cuts could force rural hospitals and clinics to shut their doors, leaving families living in poverty outside of population centers even farther from preventative and emergency services.
In what's being characterized as a massive transfer of wealth, the Republican bill will increase premiums for nearly everyone while cutting taxes for the rich. All told, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 22 million Americans will lose their health care coverage if the legislation becomes law. That's more people than those living in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Antonio combined.
Adding insult to injury, the Trump team will spend this week pushing energy policies that will only result in more pollution and further risks to the health and safety of millions of Americans across the country.
Trump seems obsessed with propping up energy whose time has come and gone, and using taxpayer dollars to do it. He's trying to use public funds to resurrect a coal industry that's been on the way out for years. Coal has major health impacts along its entire lifecycle. At its peak, coal mining was perhaps the deadliest industry in the U.S., and communities surrounding coal mines suffer from health impacts of coal dust, poisoned drinking water, and other ailments.
And that's all before it's burned. Coal power plants are associated with respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous system diseases, and of course health-related impacts of climate change. (See this report from Physicians for Social Responsibility for more of coal's litany of health impacts.) And as the NAACP has revealed, the average income of the six million people living near coal-fired power plants is thousands of dollars below the national average, and a disproportionate number of people in these frontline communities are people of color.
Meanwhile, Trump is relaxing regulations on the oil and gas industry. He's taking an axe to refinery regulations that are critical to protecting fenceline communities. He's pushing dangerous pipelines that will inevitably spill and contaminate drinking water. And in all of this, the Trump administration is pushing increased fossil fuel production that will exacerbate climate change across the board, leading to increased heat-related illnesses, dangerous storms and other health and safety impacts that will impact millions of Americans who, if the current health care bill passes, may no longer have the insurance they need to pay their bills.
With both health care and energy, the Trump administration is seeking to reward the wealthy and imperil the poor. In the case of health care, the current legislation would provide massive tax breaks to the richest in the country. In the case of energy, Trump's team seeks to continue massive subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, including the increased leasing of public lands to the industry for pennies on the dollar. Meanwhile, low income communities and communities of color are being impacted first and hardest by climate change and the fossil fuel industry.
In conjunction with "energy week," Trump has started pushing the phrase "energy dominance" to describe his goals for energy policy in the U.S. In many ways, it's yet another example of Trump's narcissistic outlook on the world. But in other ways, it's a fitting description. If his desired energy and health care policies move forward, we can expect increased climate impacts to dominate the news, health care costs to dominate people's lives, and pollution to dominate our land and sky.
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Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
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