Ivanka Trump was on Dr. Oz last week and I’ve finally managed to watch it. It is sickening.

Oz introduces Ivanka with the teaser that we’ll find out “What it’s like in the West Wing to advise the President” and “What she is doing behind the scene to empower women and families.” This is important because Oz didn’t say this would be about cookie recipes. If you are going to promise a discussion of issues you should actually, you know, do that. Then again this is Oz so we are treated to the two things Oz does best, suck up and touch dead organs.

Ivanka tells us how much she wants to help families and her ideas are about as useful as Dr. Oz’s juicing recipes for weight loss. Then Ivanka tells us how she “struggled enormously” with postpartum depression after each one of her three children. While normally I am very pro celebrities discussing struggles with depression nothing of substance followed. In fact, both she and Oz conclude that if there were just better policies to “enable parents to bond” with their infants then postpartum depression would apparently not be an issue! Wow, good to know Ivanka. According to Ivanka, and Oz nods a lot so he must agree, if women could just take “6-12 weeks off” then clearly no one would have postpartum depression. That is some choice bullshit right there. Besides being medically ignorant how might that make the mom at home who has time off feel if she has postpartum depression? Right, a failure. And what of the woman who had to go back to work? Bad mom, if you had just taken time you would not be depressed.

While Oz did put on his T.V. doctor empathy face he asked and offered nothing substantive about postpartum depression. So many missed opportunities to talk about screening and treatment. By saying nothing Oz was either just letting Ivanka promote her agenda or he was truly so baffled he had no idea what to say. Oz is pretty slick so I doubt the latter.

There was also no discussion of how the Graham-Cassidy bill will be literally devastating for women with postpartum depression. Oz should not have led the show with the idea that Ivanka was an adviser to the President and then when postpartum depression was mentioned completely fail to discuss the impact of Graham-Cassidy. Just so you know here are some of the ways this bill could be devastating:

Exclude birth control coverage

This bill could remove the contraception mandate. The last thing a woman who is struggling with postpartum depression needs is another pregnancy

Reintroduce pre-existing conditions

Hey guess what’s a preexisting condition? Yup you guessed it, depression. Ivanka herself specifically mentioned how she had it after all three of her pregnancies. Oz doesn’t have the courage or the bandwidth to deviate from script to politely point out that a woman with Ivanka’s history could be at greatest risk.

States could cut Medicaid

The not so great and definitely uncaring Oz didn’t mention that Medicaid faces potential cuts and they pay for 50% of prenatal care in the Unites States. To compensate some states might reduce what they cover (prenatal testing for example) or make it harder to qualify or kick new mothers off of Medicaid sooner after delivery. Guess what happens when you lose your Medicaid soon after delivery? Right, no screening and/or treatment for depression.

Exclude maternity coverage

Prenatal care saves the lives of mothers and reduces neonatal mortality but if the new bill passes then plans could simply not offer maternity care. Pre Obamacare 25% of individual plans did not include prenatal/pregnancy care.

Exclude mental health care

Without mental health parity postpartum depression therapy will cost money.

Raise premiums for women

If it’s too expensive some women will just go without insurance altogether but if they make too much to qualify for Mdicaid then they are out of luck. Guess who doesn’t get screened for postpartum depression? Women without health care.

After the postpartum depression segment we were treated to Dr. Oz joyously handing Ivanka a brain. This was about child development and how millions of neurons are connecting. Oz does love to prove he is a doctor by manhandling pathology specimens. I do seriously wonder how he gets permission for this? Does Columbia University just let him take brains for show and tell? Do people consent before death to Oz using their organs for profit? I can’t see how donating your tissues for research would include Oz using them for ratings.

After some banal discussions about gender pay gaps next up is Ivanka’s insights on addiction. This was as superficial a chat as one could have. It is beyond disgusting that she was allowed to talk about how people stopped her on the campaign trail to tell her how “two of their three kids had overdosed” and to ADMIT they told her this because they HOPED she could engage and help other families and yet here we are on the verge of a health care bill that will make it worse for every single person who desperately shared their story.

Let that sink in. Ivanka tells us that she knew people were asking for help, Oz must know the Graham-Cassidy bill will not do that but oh well! So sad. We are told that Ivanka and the Trump clan are, however, “Very committed to finding a solution.” And in typical Oz fashion he had the gall to thank her for her dedication. If I had been in the audience I would have shouted out asking for clarification if this was thanking her for her dedication to poor houses.

Any awareness raising with Ivanka’s discussion of her postpartum depression was negated by the idea that time off of work or slowing down was some kind of cure or prevention for postpartum depression. Ignoring the fact that the health care bill will harm women with postpartum depression is unforgivable and this idea that listening to people sharing their person addiction tragedies with no intention of doing a thing about it somehow makes Ivanka a saint is a master class in being a sycophant.

The Dr. Oz show has long just been an infomercial for Oz but using postpartum depression and addiction for ratings for both Oz and the Trump administration on the eve of a potentially catastrophic health care bill is a new low. This was a calculated decision to paint the Trump administration as caring about health to a largely female audience, those who will actually fare the worst, when the reality is everyone in the White House is actually working to make America sick again. Oz performed his familiar superficial and cloying side show to try to detract people from the realities, not unlike the real Wizard of Oz. Except in the end Dorothy’s Wizard actually cared that the Scarecrow got a brain and the Tin Man a heart and Oz only cares about ratings and his pals the Trumps.

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  1. I’ll donate the contents of my distal colon to Doctor Oz while I’m still very much alive. That’s about what his show is worth, a big pile of poop.

  2. Dr. Gunter, Please consider letting someone proofread your essays before they are posted. Your content is amazing and so spot on, but the spelling errors and typos are distracting. I’d be happy to give you a one hour turnaround for proofreading if you would like. Thanks again for your writing, reporting, and commentary. I’m an infectious disease physician and public health official in Denver, Colorado and I really appreciate your evidence-based approach to these topics that often slip under the radar of the medical community. Best, Sarah Rowan

  3. I have a friend who, years ago, with her Mom had tickets for the show as her Mom was a huge fan. Day before the taping they were informed it was a weight loss segment and there was a “look” they wanted for the audience & if they weighed more than XX exchange their tickets for another day. Another friend tries all the crap he pushes. I tell her all the time just cuz he went to med school doesn’t make him a good Dr. Especially when he’s pushing all this stuff. And putting Ivanka on???? Trying to humanize her. Sorry she had postpartum depression as I would be for anyone. But she could have been a voice for women. But chose not to be. She is complicit in all that is happening now.

  4. Well , Daddy DID give her $1Million a couple of months ago to help with her `womens` work ( off shore bank account ) .

  5. Oz’s hallmark is intellectual dishonesty. His quackery is the biggest and most harmful part of that deep character flaw. This hollow pandering to Saint Ivanka is just another side of the same coin. So I am not at all surprised. But this, like his quackery, has a very dark side – thank you for pointing this out so cogently.

  6. “Oz must know the Graham-Cassidy bill will not do that…”

    Quite unlikely.

    You’re implying he’s a lying hypocrite, but far more likely is that he knows just as little about the health, medicine, and politics as does Ivanka. They both understand something about marketing however.

  7. So did Ivanka not take time off after her children were born? Certainly she could afford it. If the cure is time to bond, then it would seem she could not have taken time or she wouldn’t have had postpartum depression.

    1. good point. “ppd is lessened if you take time. but I took time and had ppd” – it’s as contradictory as her dad’s statements. there’s a tweet for everything!

  8. Great reportage Dr. Gunter. Please consider writing on the medical and health risks to undocumented immigrants if Trump rescinds DACA.

    Thanks! Richard Marquez MSW, RSW, MPH


  9. “What she is doing behind the scene to empower women and families.” This is important because Oz didn’t say this would be about cookie recipes” – she is doing NOTHING behind the scenes for this so i guess they had to fill the rest of the time with something….

    More seriously tho – this is disgusting. She is in a position where she really could help people but she doesn’t care enough to find out about the actual problems. Like the addiction thing; she knows people need help but has apparently done nothing to provide it. Jared is in charge of the opioid problem (or was last time I checked, along with world peace, Korea, Iraq, Iran, Israel, China, the kitchen sink…) so in that she has an even bigger opening – not just her dad but her husband too. But what does she do? Dismisses it as a minor thing.

    Her “efforts” on empowering women and provisions for maternal care… don’t even get me started. She’s an enabler to all the horrible things her dad’s administration are doing, and is in no position to preach.

  10. Dr Oz has been an embarrassment for a long time before this interview, this was just the icing on the cake!

    1. He sure has been. He used to be a legitimate, respected doctor with a background in cardiology (I knew a card who went to school with him at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine). Not sure why he embraced and decided to promote quackery, but I guess it brings in more money for him than legitimate medicine does.

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