Issue: 71

December: Earn Your Wings this Christmas!  Save the Children!
My favorite way to celebrate this wonderful season is to watch and read holiday classics with my family.  My two favorites, Frank Capra's  "It's a Wonderful Life" and Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol," though written a century apart, have much in common.  In both stories, there is a "squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner" who, though rich in money, is impoverished in spirit.  Both feature poor, industrious families with young children whose survival is at stake.  Ghosts, spirits, and angels are commissioned to intervene and secure their futures.  Remembering that Jesus came into the world as a poor child, it is good for us to "earn our wings" this holiday season by remembering poor children everywhere and helping them thrive in this challenging world!  
John A. Schmidt, MD 
How to Earn Your Wings!
Invest in a younger person. Make them your legacy! For those of us with grandchildren, it's natural. But what if you have no grands?  Find a young person and invest your energy as the Shepherds did that star-lit morn!
Reflection on the Wonder of Christmas!
As I was trudging home from hospital last night, I opened the storm door only to inhale the wonderful fragrance of balsam from our twenty-five-dollar CYO Christmas wreath.  When I told the huckster that I had no money in my pocket, he said, "Don't worry, just drop off the money at the rectory when you have a chance."  This was the first gift of Christmas!  
My Holiday Wish!
As you might imagine, I witness a lot of suffering.  It has led me to look for a grace that is too often obscured by the toil of life. Christmas helps me reach though the veiled curtain to a heaven where love and generosity prevail, and selfishness and animosity have vanished!!  I hope this holiday season transports you and your loved ones to a better place, graced with charity and love!
New Tax Legislation Strikes Down the Individual Mandate
While the Republicans failed in their attempt to repeal Obamacare in its entirety, it appears that they will succeed in rescinding the mandate that requires individuals to purchase health insurance.  The repeal would take effect in 2019. Importantly, those who receive subsidies will continue to do so.  As explained by J.B. Silvers in an Op-ED published in the New York Times on December 4, the major effect will therefore be to disincentivize those who do not receive subsidies from purchasing private insurance, especially if they happen to be low consumers of health care.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that about four million such individuals will opt out in 2017, thus increasing the cost of premiums for the less healthy and saving the Federal Government about $400B over the next ten years.  For an explanation of how repeal of the individual mandate saves the government money, see the article by Chis Deaton in the November 1 issue of The Weekly Standard .  Yes, Scrooge is alive and well in Washington.

Contraception and the Risk of Breast Cancer
The use of hormone-based contraceptives increases the risk of breast cancer but by how much? As published in the December 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine , among 1.8 million women using hormonal contraception in Denmark and followed for more than 10 years, the overall absolute increase in breast cancers in users of any hormonal contraceptive (including the progestin-only IUD) was 13 per 100,000 person-years. This is approximately one extra breast cancer case for every 7,690 women using hormonal contraception for one year.  The overall risk increased by 20 percent, independent of dose/strength of the formulation used.  The increased risk was age-dependent.  As pointed out in the accompanying editorial , most of the cases occurred among women who were using oral contraceptives in their 40s, "suggesting careful consideration of alternative methods of contraception such as non-hormonal, reversible contraceptives (e.g., IUDs ) in this age group."
Now Hear This!
The office will be closed on Tuesday, December 26.

Nurture the little-ones!! Here are the beauties I am celebrating this Christmas Season!!

Ms. Clark, Mandy, Morgan, Valerie, and I wish you the most joyous Holiday Season ever! 
In This Issue
December: Earn Your Wings this Christmas! Save the Children!
How to Earn Your Wings!
Reflection on the Wonder of Christmas!
My Holiday Wish!
New Tax Legislation Strikes Down the Individual Mandate
Contraception and the Risk of Breast Cancer
Now Hear This!
John A. Schmidt Jr., M.D.
Board Certified Internist
Dr. Schmidt is one of the leading internists in Monmouth County offering  Medical Home  services.  
He is an attending physician at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.
Dr. Schmidt is enrolled in the Maintenance of Certification Program of the American Board of Internal Medicine
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"Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.

- Clarence, It's A Wonderful Life


Dr. Schmidt's New Office in Spring Lake Heights
John A. Schmidt Jr., MD
Meaningful Medicine in Your Medical Home
2006 Highway 71, Ste. 3, Spring Lake Heights, NJ 07762
Phone:  732-282-8166  
Fax:  732-280-0147 
E-Mail:   [email protected] 
Disclaimer: The articles in Healthy Living are for general information only and are not medical advice.
Discuss all medical concerns and treatment options with your physician.