Keep on giving

If you’ve spent any time on social media the past few days, you have seen the #OmahaGives campaign.

While it ended on May 25th, Leavenworth St. would like you to continue to take part by giving to a foundation that we know does great work.

See the short video below of Brandi Preston, on behalf of the Hereditary Cancer Foundation.

(And just to keep things Nebraska politics related, Brandi is Assistant Communications director to Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert.)

As Brandi notes…

At least 10% of cancers cases have a hereditary, genetic component. When men and women know their risk, they can act upon it by having preventative procedures, increased screening, or modifying lifestyles and behaviors. Risk awareness greatly improves cancer prevention, detection, and treatment.

2016_EventFlyerSo to keep the ball rolling, the Hereditary Cancer Foundation is hosting a golf outing on August 12 at Eagle Hills in Papillion. While that is a few months off, it is always a good thing to put this kind of item early on your calendar.

And if you can’t make it, you can still contribute to this very worthy cause by clicking here.

To find out more, you can also go directly to the website for the Kamie K. Preston Hereditary Cancer Foundation.

24 comments

  1. Sparkles says:

    “At least 10% of cancers cases have a hereditary, genetic component. When men and women know their risk, they can act upon it by having preventative procedures, increased screening, or modifying lifestyles and behaviors”

    The part Brandi left out, was:
    ‘now that insurance companies can no longer deny or rescind coverage, due to pre-existing conditions’
    ..they can act upon it by having preventative procedures..

    She also failed to mention the 70,000+ among Nebraska’s working poor who have been denied access to affordable, life saving preventative care and medicines via Medicaid expansion.
    Pete & his Merry GOPers, apparently, believe these less fortunate Nebraskans were meant suffer and die were they to be stricken down by heredity, or non-heredity cancer.
    Hereditary, or non-heredity heart disease.
    Hereditary, or non-hereditary cystic fibrosis.
    Hereditary, or non-hereditary muscular dystrophy, etc.., etc..

    Not only do these partisan ideologues conveniently choose to ignore the well documented economic stimulus that would accompany Medicaid expansion, these ‘good Christians’ among NE’s GOP conveniently missed a few chapters during bible study;

    ..as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    • Khan says:

      Next time you’re at a party, maybe have a few beers from the keg instead of just hanging out by it to corner people with questions about their views on nationalized healthcare.

    • Brandi Preston says:

      I am actually SO happy you brought this up!

      Health Insurance companies cannot discriminate based on genetic information. The GINA Act (Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act) was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2008 – before the Affordable Care Act ever came into play. GINA is a wonderful piece of legislation – and has been used as a model for other insurance discrimination legislation nationwide.. More to come on that front in a few months, especially in regards to life insurance, which is not held to the same standard..

      Medicaid actually DOES cover genetic testing and preventive care for patients who meet criteria. The one problem I have with the Aetna Better Health Medicaid coverage is that it only allows patients to go through one lab, UNMC for genetic testing. I wont bore you with the details of validation, accuracy, nextgen sequencing, public databases, etc. but I would like to see Medicaid give other lab options to their patients – especially because there is no FDA regulation in this arena (yet!).

      I will tell you what we are seeing with Medicaid patients (I have worked with many of them over the last year), it is actually easier to get a patients test done when they have NO insurance vs. when they have Medicaid. The labs have financial assistance programs that will essentially write off tests for those who have no insurance. For those who have Medicaid, because Medicaid is contracted with UNMC, they have to the full price of the test out of pocket if they want to use another lab (for better accuracy, validation, modern technology, etc). A full panel genetic test out-of-pocket costs a patient $6,040. That’s not right.

      I understand first hand the financial hardship many have – especially young people – when they want to access genetic testing. That was reason #1 why we founded this organization.

      Sparkles, if you want to put money where your mouth is – we happily welcome it! Our funding is going toward improved access to genetic testing and COVERING the cost of the test for high risk patients (patients who meet national society guidelines and/or have a concerning personal or family history).

      Thanks for the support!

      • Sparkles says:

        Brandi,

        I applaud your efforts and admire the work you have done in forming your charity.
        I know the pain of losing a parent to cancer, my mother died of uterine cancer.
        My comments were specific to the lack of insurance that still plagues too many of our neighbors, family and friends. A lack of insurance that leaves little hope for those afflicted by disease.
        My comments clearly read as such.

        In your reply, you rightfully herald the GINA ACT, signed into law on May 21, 2008.
        An act protecting from predation by Big Insurance approximately 10% of those afflicted with cancer (hereditary cancers). An act signed into law in the 8th year of GW Bush’s presidency with unanimous support of the democratic party in both the House and Senate.
        An act made irrelevant in the 14th month of Obama’s presidency, on March 23, 2010, when he signed into law, over the unanimous objection of the Republican party, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. An act protecting 100% of Americans with pre-existing conditions from the predations of Big Insurance.

        Then you declare that people stricken with cancer are actually better off if they have no insurance.
        Because for the 10% who are afflicted with heredity cancer, sending material to UNMC, (nearly all complex testing is sent off site from the point of care) is a burden too great.

        Again, I applaud your efforts and I empathize with your loss.
        But, for someone as bright as you with a cause as noble, it seems imperative to point out the fact that there lies within easy grasp a remarkably simply, economically stimulative path to life saving, affordable care for thousands and thousands more Nebraskans who are afflicted each year by the ravages of cancer.
        A path that has for years been blocked by the NEGOP’s indefensible partisan ideology.

      • Anon says:

        Wish I could like this over and over and over….1) Brandi’s information blows Sparkles political attacks out of the water 2) She does it with kindness, tact and professionalism and 3) She challenged him to put his money where his mouth is…which he won’t do. We all know it!

      • Sparkles is STILL a douchebag says:

        Sparkles-

        She never said patients with cancer were better off without insurance. She said: “it is actually easier to get a patients test done when they have NO insurance vs. when they have Medicaid. ”

        You wanted to mince words with what you said. Don’t mince words with her.

      • Anon says:

        My post saying I wanted to like something over and over is directed at Brandi’s response. Not at Sparkles.

      • Brandi Preston says:

        Sparkles, Sparkles, Sparkles.

        First of all, GINA protects more than just those at risk for hereditary cancer. It protects those with many other genetic disorders/abnormalities as well.

        You’re right with the passage of the ACA, pre-existing conditions cannot be held against patients. Although, I think it is a stretch to compare carrying a genetic mutation with someone who has actually had the disease when referencing pre-existing conditions. Which is also part of the debate right now in terms of life insurance.

        There are many gene carriers who have a mutation but will never develop a cancer. Let’s take a BRCA mutation for example – a woman has an 87% risk of breast cancer and a 63% risk of ovarian cancer. A male with the same mutation’s highest cancer risk is a 20% risk of prostate cancer. This is higher than the general population risk, and 1 in 5 is significant. But 4 of 5 can carry the gene (have children with 50/50 chance of mutation) but never develop the disease. Holding a pre-existing condition against them for a condition (cancer) that they’ve never developed is wrong. There are also people who carry a mutation who will remove organs/tissue, etc. that decreases or eliminates their risk of various cancers. To discriminate against them, for something they were born with, is wrong.

        I never said patients with cancer are better off without insurance. But Nebraska’s Medicaid program is (in my opinion) not providing adequate care or coverage to those enrolled in the program. So as you reference, expanding an already broken program, throwing more people into that broken system is going to be better? When right now, they can access BETTER testing when they’re not on Medicaid?

        I also want to say the government (Medicaid AND Medicare) programs don’t exactly follow their own “rule book” in reference to the ACA and preventive care services. Medicare patients who would meet national guidelines and private insurance criteria coverage are denied by Medicare if they are an unaffected patient (they don’t have cancer).

        Remember what I mentioned earlier about men carrying BRCA mutations and the highest cancer risk being 20%? These men may have had a mother with ovarian cancer, a sister with breast cancer, and now they have a daughter on Medicare coverage, who has never had cancer and either has he. Even though EVERY private insurance company would cover the father and/or the daughter’s genetic testing due to the ovarian cancer… Medicare denies it.

        So as the government mandates private insurers to cover preventive care (genetic testing is outlined as one of those preventive care services) the government’s own programs are not playing by the same rules. Hmmm…

        I also want to clarify – yes, 10% of cancers are KNOWN to be hereditary.
        1. We are not testing at near the rates that we should be to determine if that number is higher.
        2. There are three “buckets” for why cancer occurs, A. sporadic B. familial C. hereditary.
        Sporadic is your environmental cases. Familial is increased risk based on family history but not due to a genetic mutation that we have identified and are screening for at this time. Hereditary are those cases with a known gene mutation.

        It should be noted that in most cases where a patient meets guidelines for genetic testing, regardless of the outcome of that test, the management of that patient’s care is different. A provider would plug them in to a Tyrer Cuzick risk assessment model – if the risk is over a certain % they qualify for increased screening and monitoring.

        I’ll be the first person to agree the health care system was broken – and I believe it is still very much broken. We have A LONG way to go to make it work well for everyone. But just throwing people into a system that may actually cost them more out-of-pocket for services than if they had no coverage at all? I don’t think that is the right solution.

      • Brandi Preston says:

        Sparkles,

        I also want to encourage you to look deeper into your family history. Uterine (endometrial) cancer is associated with MANY hereditary cancer syndromes. BRCA1 has had studies come out linking uterine cancer – also Lynch Syndrome (named after Omaha’s very own Dr. Henry Lynch) is associated with uterine cancer. That type of cancer is also considered “rare” so many private insurance companies will be more likely to cover that testing.

        If there is any other cancers (breast, ovarian, colon, prostate, pancreatic, melanoma, etc.) in your family, you may want to document that and discuss it with your health care provider. I encourage you to look beyond just mom, dad, grandma, grandpa. Think about your great aunts and uncles, their children, your great-grandparents, their siblings and children, etc. You’ll likely find something more there.

        You never know – you may be at risk for colon cancer – and your doctor may be administering the wrong colonoscopy at wrong intervals…

        And even though you have a liberal mindset, even your life is worth saving from hereditary disease.

      • Oracle says:

        And even though you have a liberal mindset, even your life is worth saving from hereditary disease.

        My view of you as a good person just dropped precipitously.

      • Oracle says:

        I’ll give you a pass since you appear to be new to this site, but most of the posters here would really mean it.

      • Sparkles says:

        Brandi,

        You’re clearly a bright young woman, and again, I applaud your effort and your cause.

        I also applaud your knowledge of the subject.
        But (you knew that was coming), I still take issue with the flawed ideology in which that knowledge is couched,
        Ideology that leaps off the page in quotes such as this:
        “But just throwing people into a system that may actually cost them more out-of-pocket for services than if they had no coverage at all? I don’t think that is the right solution.”
        (again, there’s that ‘having no insurance is better’ meme you deny)

        Take just a moment to try to connect the dots on that one. It’s a right wing meme that makes not a lick of sense.
        It’s the very same thing as saying if my house were to burn to the ground, I’m fortunate I had no home owners insurance because the deductible, roughly the cost of a nice washer/dryer pair, would have been a burden too great.
        Whu??
        Anyone who’s ever spent more than a few days in the hospital knows the most mundane of procedures will quickly crack $25K, which makes even a $5K – $7K out of pocket look like a downright bargain.
        I had a simple angioplasty/stent, accompanied by a two day hospital stay a few years ago – the tab came to $44,000. Couldn’t have been happier to write that $6500 check,

        There are thousands of Nebraska’s working poor who wake daily to the stress of being one illness away from bankruptcy and even homelessness. Nebraskan’s who avoid simple preventative care and medicines because that $30 doctor’s visit and $28/mo blood pressure pill went towards groceries.
        Are those people and their families really better off without insurance?

        Also, you note:
        “I don’t think that’s the right solution”

        Of course, that’s a Republican solution to which you’re referring. Crafted by the Heritage Foundation and first implemented in Massachusetts by a man the GOP later chose as their nominee for POTUS.
        We’ve heard for more than 6 years that Republicans don’t think the ACA is the ‘right solution’.
        Unfortunately, yours is the party that abandoned even the pretense of offering solutions on the eve of the first inauguration of President Obama.
        But, we’ll keep waiting for your party to put that long promised better idea on the table.
        No doubt with the ascension of Donald Trump as the new GOP standard bearer, something YUUUGGEE is certain to be in the works as I type.

    • bynd says:

      Sparkles, “these good Christians”. Stereotyping much! Which ones are Christians and what do you have to support the designation? By the way, as a good liberal, how much have you donated to the free clinics in the state? Shall we call you a hypocritical statist? Your party right or wrong.

  2. Anon says:

    Oh for God’s sake. Do we have to make everything political Sparkles???

    Leavenworth Street: Thanks for sharing this information. Brandi has done amazing work to highlight and bring awareness to this issue through the foundation named after her mother, who died of breast cancer.

      • Ricky says:

        Anybody who agrees to work for Jean Stothert has got a hole in their head or is brain dead.

      • bynd says:

        Well Sparkles has given up his biggest douche bag title to Ricky. And so quickly. I’m not sure it describes Ricky in bad enough terms but then, a cockroach is still a cockroach. Scurry away back into the wall Ricky before Sweeper brings out the bug spray.

  3. bynd says:

    Sparkles,

    By the by, “For I testify unto everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, and from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

    You better be aware of what you think you are preaching. And really, do we have to say don’t shove your religion down our throats.

  4. Ed Stevens says:

    Nothing I enjoy more than watching a bully (even an internet bully) get handed his own ass … and by a sweet little girl no less. Life is good, but some days it’s better than others.

  5. Mom meatloaf F%#$ says:

    Why the hell would any of you basement dwellers spend Memorial Day on a political blog ranting. You do realize like 10 people post here under 30 names. Politics locally is like high school would be if you removed all of the jocks and normal people. Go thank a Vet and eat a hot dog.

  6. The Grundle King says:

    Interesting excerpt from this morning’s Lincoln Journal Star from an ‘open letter’ to Pete Ricketts from a few butt-hurt senators.

    “All of [the pretend-conservative senators] are well-known and respected conservatives elected by the people to obey their own convictions and principles, not the governor’s,” the 13 [whiny-ass] senators stated.”

    No. That’s incorrect. These senators were elected by the people to REPRESENT their constituents’ wants and interests, and to vote how they SAID they would vote when they were running for office. Wipe the tears from your eyes, you delicate little flowers…you don’t just get to forget everything you said while running for office whilst flipping the single-finger salute to everyone who voted for you. If you fail to vote how you said you would vote, then expect to be called out for it…and you really should have a better response ready than, “I just voted how I wanted to.”

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