Editorial writers focus on these health issues and others.
Fox News: Beware: Medicare-For-All Is Fool’s Gold
There’s a health care reform idea making the rounds and garnering significant attention these days. It is the very plausible sounding Medicare-for-all. Who could argue with expanding a program that America’s seniors generally like and indeed have come to rely on? After all, if it’s good enough for the grandparents, isn’t it good enough for everyone else? Well, just as not every shiny thing has value when you’re panning, this idea truly is “fool’s gold.” (Dan Weber, Jeff Szymanski, 1/11)
San Jose Mercury News: Wildfire Tweet Shows Heartless Trump At His Worst
The contrast between Gov. Gavin Newsom and President Trump’s leadership on California’s wildfire crisis couldn’t be more stark. The governor on Tuesday announced he would propose $ 305 million in new funding as part of his first state budget to expand California’s ability to fight wildfires and better alert residents of impending disasters. Newsom also joined with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in sending a letter to President Trump asking the federal government to double its funding for fire prevention efforts in the three states. This comes after wildfires last year killed nearly 100 Californians, burned thousands of homes and were responsible for an estimated $ 30 billion in damages. President Trump’s response? He tweeted Wednesday that he was cutting off FEMA relief funding for California wildfires, potentially leaving thousands without the ability to find temporary housing or start rebuilding their homes. (1/9)
JAMA: When High Prices Mean Needless Death
I have spent the last 5 years of my life as a journalist writing about the irrational costs and prices across the US health care system. But if there is 1 fact that should cause national embarrassment it is the high price tag we affix to living with type 1 diabetes. The medicinal and technological advances of the last century have turned type 1 diabetes from a rapidly fatal disease into a treatable illness. But doing so takes discipline and care—as well as increasingly expensive technology and medicine—that is far more expensive in the United States than elsewhere. (Elisabeth Rosenthal, 1/7)
Stat: The Real Border Crisis: Medical Neglect Of Migrants
In his Oval Office address on Tuesday, President Trump called the situation at the border a “growing humanitarian and security crisis.” His declaration failed to acknowledge the real crisis at hand — the medical neglect at border facilities and the more than 200 immigration jails across the country that has led to more than 20 deaths since 2010. (Chanelle Diaz, 1/10)
Dallas Morning News: Taking Away A Patient’s Access To Health Care Is Morally Flawed
Imagine you are a hard-working mother of five diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Your body is under attack, your energy depleted, and your mind saddened by just how much life has changed. You are fighting through the nauseating effects of chemotherapy and afraid others will know you are wearing a wig. All the while, you are doing everything you can to be there for your kids knowing that they need you. Your treatment is only possible because you purchased a health care plan through the Affordable Care Act exchange. Now, you are at risk of losing your health insurance because of a recent ruling by Judge Reed O’Connor on Texas vs. United States that the Afforadable Care Act is unconstitutional. (Hussain Lalani, 1/11)
The Washington Post: California Gets It Right With Its New Health-Care Initiative
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) wasted no time making a splash, announcing on Monday, his inauguration day, a major new health-care initiative that would make his state a leader in resisting Republican efforts to unravel the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Newsom’s plan is a promising reform that other states — and, if Congress and the president ever come to their senses, the federal government — should consider. As have many progressive politicians, Mr. Newsom has embraced a Medicare-for-all-like “single payer” system. But his opening health-care push is more practical, adding to the existing Obamacare framework rather than scrapping it for a more radical change. (1/10)
St. Louis Post Dispatch: Republicans Got Tested On Their Midterm Pre-Existing-Condition Vow. They Failed.
Remember when Republican politicians around the country suddenly declared themselves champions of insurance coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions? They hastily adopted that position before the Nov. 6 elections — after they realized Americans were rejecting the long-held GOP health care policy of, “Sorry, you’re on your own.” Republicans have gone largely silent on the topic since the election. But on Wednesday, they got a chance to show that their late embrace of pre-existing-condition coverage was more than just a campaign bumper sticker: The House voted on a measure defending the Affordable Care Act from a lawsuit that would eliminate coverage for millions. Unsurprisingly, Republicans overwhelmingly opposed the measure — and America now sees where they really stand. (1/10)
JAMA: Unhealthy Alcohol Use In Primary Care—The Elephant In The Examination Room.
Unhealthy alcohol use is a serious public health challenge that requires full attention. In its recommendation statement, supported by an evidence report and systematic review, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) “recommends screening for unhealthy alcohol use in primary care settings in adults 18 years or older, including pregnant women, and providing persons engaged in risky or hazardous drinking with brief behavioral counseling interventions to reduce unhealthy alcohol use (B recommendation).” One in 8 adults in the United States reports unhealthy alcohol use. (E. Jennifer Edelman and Jeanette M. Tetrault, 1/7)
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Insurance System Blocks Comprehensive Pain Treatment
Philadelphia has made numerous efforts to address the opioid epidemic—but too little has been done to increase access to non-opioid treatments for pain.Guidelines such as those written by the CDC and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health hope to reduce the availability of prescription opioids as one solution to combat the epidemic. Instead of opioid medication for pain management, these guidelines recommend that providers offer non-pharmacological treatment such as physical and behavioral therapies. Unfortunately, most people cannot access these treatments or are unaware how they can help — both concerns that likely contributed to the opioid crisis in the first place. (Amy Janke, 1/11)
Cleveland Plain Dealer: To Tackle The Opioid Epidemic, Mike DeWine Needs To Preserve Ohio’s Medicaid Expansion. That’s One Of Many Lessons Of Dayton’s Evidenced-Based Approach To The Epidemic
After making the opioid epidemic a centerpiece of his campaign, it is time that Gov.-elect Mike DeWine show us that he is serious about joining in this fight. As he prepares to take office, I hope the governor-elect will look to Dayton and Montgomery County for lessons in how to tackle this crisis statewide. (Nan Whaley, 1/10)
Arizona Republic: Woman In A Vegetative State Gets Pregnant And No One Notices?
There is one piece of good news in the stunner of a story of a woman who gave birth last month despite spending the last decade in a vegetative state at a Phoenix long-term care facility. A healthy baby boy is now in the arms of his family, members of the San Carlos Apache tribe. (Laurie Roberts, 1/9)
The Star Tribune: Medical Aid In Dying Is The Ultimate Religious Freedom
For decades, Gallup Polls have shown that a majority of Americans support medical aid in dying as an end-of-life option. Twenty state legislatures, including Minnesota’s, have introduced bills similar to Oregon’s Death with Dignity law. But, despite widespread support, lawmakers are reluctant to act. Why? Despite the overwhelming support of people of faith, some religious leaders are fighting it, insisting that Americans die by what they call a “natural death.” Suffering, they argue, is redemptive (“to change for the better”). Even the loved ones surrounding the dying person, it is believed, are changed — redeemed — by the experience. (Harlan Limpert, 1/9)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.