Opinion writers weigh in on these health topics and others.
The New York Times: How Much Will Americans Sacrifice For Good Health Care?
It’s been nearly 10 years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act — one of the most sweeping health care overhauls in the nation’s history. The law has brought the number of uninsured people in America to an all-time low, secured protections for people with pre-existing conditions and advanced the notion that health care is a human right. But the system was never perfect, and its fractures and stress points have become too great to ignore. (2/16)
Chicago Sun Times: America’s Real National Emergency: Mass Shootings
On the very day President Donald Trump declared a national emergency that is nothing but a lie, a horrifically real national emergency played out in Aurora. Just hours after Trump declared a national emergency on Friday so as to defy the will of Congress and spend billions of dollars on a wall along the southern border, a shooter in Aurora killed five people and injured five police officers. …But now we have another mass shooting. Not along the border, but in Aurora. The dishonesty of our national conversation — the manufactured fear of immigrants when the real and present danger is our own violent society and the stupidity of our gun laws — could not be in starker relief. (2/18)
Los Angeles Times: Fractures, Trauma, Amputations: What Medics See When They Rescue Migrants At The Border
We found her in a ditch a few steps away from the rusted border fence on the east side of Nogales, Ariz., an inch-and-a-half laceration on her swollen forehead. She came from Guerrero, one of the most violent states in Mexico, and could not remember how she landed on the rugged surface after her grip on the top of the barrier failed and she fell. (Ieva Jusionyte, 2/17)
The Washington Post: Scary Measles History Has Been Forgotten By Many
On the darkest day of 2018, the winter solstice, we at the Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh tweeted, with despair, a report in the Guardian that measles cases in Europe reached the highest number in 20 years. Why was this a cause for concern? Europe is far away from the United States, and as some people apparently believe measles is a benign, childhood disease that causes a bit of a rash, a dribbling nose and a few spots, right? What was all the fuss about? (Paul Duprex, 2/16)
Stat: Do Food And Menu Nutrition Labels Influence Consumer Or Industry Behavior?
Although labels have graced food packaging for decades, it’s not entirely clear if they influence consumer choices or food industry practices. To examine their impact, we pooled the findings of 60 studies that included 111 interventions that tested foods with and without labels. There were 2 million observations of people or their purchases across 11 countries. (Dariush Mozaffarian and Siyi Shangguan, 2/19)
The Washington Post: One Number Determines Who Gets An Organ Transplant. And It’s Horribly Unfair.
We have a liver selection meeting every Wednesday to consider which patients will get transplants. Each patient is listed by name, age, weight, diagnosis and MELD score — a number, based entirely on lab values, that predicts how bad their liver is and correlates with how likely they are to die waiting for a transplant. A score of 15 is where we start to consider transplantation, and 40 means a 90 percent chance of dying within three months. Scanning the list, I noticed with discomfort that the patients at the top, with a MELD of 35 or more, had mostly the same diagnoses: alcoholic liver disease; nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, a consequence of obesity leading to fatty liver; and an occasional hepatitis C, a virus that was once the most common indication for liver transplant but now is being cured. (Joshua Mezrich, 2/18)
Stat: Move Clinical Trial Data Sharing From An Option To An Imperative
Data from clinical trials have long been locked away, some in this principal investigator’s computer bank, some in that pharmaceutical company’s cloud. For years we have been talking about opening up those vaults and freeing these data. The key has finally turned: Data sharing is becoming the new reality. (Rebecca Li, 2/19)
The Hill: Democracy And Health Care Is Under Attack In Utah
Over the past two years, Americans have sent elected officials one message that could not be clearer: we want more health care, not less. That message rung out in the halls of Congress and in town halls across the country in the outpouring of opposition to bills that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act. It echoed in elections across the country in November, where Democrats made Republicans own up to their attempts to gut health care for millions and rode that message to 40 new seats and a takeover of the House of Representatives. Nowhere was the message clearer than in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah —three dark-red states where voters approved ballot measures in November to expand Medicaid, even though their elected state officials had repeatedly chosen not to. (Jonathan Schleifer, 2/17)
Raleigh News & Observer: Making Hospital Costs Transparent In The State Health Plan Will Save Taxpayers Money And Help State Employees.
How much are you paying for health care? You may say too much, you may even cite the cost of a recent procedure you’ve had, but do you know what the actual cost of care is? More importantly, do you know if it’s fair? Many North Carolina families are one major medical bill away from bankruptcy, yet we don’t know what we’re paying for. (Robert Broome, 2/18)
Lexington Herald Examiner: As Youth Smoking Rises, Kentucky Should Mandate Smoke-Free Schools
One in four high school students, and one in seven middle school students, now uses some kind of tobacco product, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this month. These numbers represent a dramatic increase over just the last year, an increase driven almost entirely by a nationwide surge in youth vaping or, as many of them call it, “juuling.”If we do not stem this burgeoning tide, we will be dealing with the health and economic consequences of an entirely new generation of Kentuckians who are addicted to nicotine. (Ben Chandler, 2/15)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.