Opinion writers focus on these health care topics and others.
The Hill: US Health Care Is An Ongoing Miserable Failure
The state of U.S. health care is catastrophic. In no other area is the U.S. lagging so far behind the European Union. Average U.S. life expectancy is 78.7 years to compare with 81 in the 28 countries of the European Union. U.S. life expectancy has fallen for the last three years, while it rises all around the world. U.S. infant mortality is 5.6 per 1,000 life births, but only 3.6 on average in the EU. American maternal mortality is 14 per 100,000 births and rising. Compare that with a mere 3 deaths per 100,000 births each in Finland, Greece and Poland. As if to add insult to injury, U.S. health-care costs 18 percent of GDP while the cost is limited to barely 9 percent of GDP in Europe. (Anders Aslund, 1/5)
RealClearHealth: New Study Championing Medicare For All Is Bogus
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2017 Medicare for All bill (S.1804) would guarantee exceptional care to all Americans while reducing health spending by $ 5.11 trillion. At least that’s what a new study from researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute, which is co-directed by Professor Robert Pollin, claims.Sound too good to be true? It is. The study’s assumptions are completely unrealistic. Medicare for All would be a disaster for patients and taxpayers alike. An analysis from the Urban Institute pegged the cost of Sen. Sanders’ 2016 plan at $ 32 trillion over 10 years in new federal spending. And Charles Blahous at the Mercatus Center analyzed his 2017 bill and estimated it would cost $ 32.6 trillion over 10 years, after accounting for lower administrative and drug costs. (Sally C. Pipes, 1/3)
The Hill: Health Care In 2019: 3 Predictions For The Year Ahead
If the 2018 midterm elections proved anything, it’s that health-care remains a top issue – if not the top issue – for millions of Americans across both sides of the aisle.In one poll released right before election results rolled in, a whopping 71 percent of voters said the issue of health care was “very important” to their voting decision. The next closest issue, the economy, came in seven points behind that. (Michael Strazella, 1/4)
Stat: Our Daughter’s Deadly Disease: Trisomy 18. We Wanted To Protect Her
Is she in pain?” I asked quietly as the pearlescent baby-shaped image on the screen folded its legs and then extended them.The radiologist doing my ultrasound had just finished pointing out a cluster of alarming abnormalities in our developing daughter, using a slew of medical terms my husband and I, both medical students, were grimly familiar with. Pleural effusion: fluid surrounding one of her lungs, preventing it from expanding and developing properly. Ascites: excess fluid inside the abdomen, surrounding her organs. Cystic hygroma: a large, fluid-filled mass on her neck, strongly associated with chromosomal abnormalities.Something was very wrong with our baby. (Allison Chang, 1/7)
The Wall Street Journal: When Your Daughter Defies Biology
A reader contacted me under a pseudonym a few months ago. She turned out to be a prominent Southern lawyer with a problem she hoped I’d write about. Her college-age daughter had always been a “girly girl” and intellectually precocious, but had struggled with anxiety and depression. She liked boys and had boyfriends in high school, but also faced social challenges and often found herself on the outs with cliques. The young woman went off to college—which began, as it often does these days, with an invitation to state her name, sexual orientation and “pronouns.” When her anxiety flared during her first semester, she and several of her friends decided their angst had a fashionable cause: “gender dysphoria.” (Abigail Shrier, 1/6)
The Washington Post: CBD Is All The Rage. Here’s What You Should Know About It
Not that long ago, I would not have been able to tell you what the acronym “CBD” stood for, let alone what it was used for. CBD, or cannabidiol, is most commonly extracted from hemp, but it can also come from marijuana plants, which is why it is sometimes confused with its trippy chemical cousin THC. Unlike CBD, THC produces a high when smoked or eaten. (Steven Petrow, 1/5)
The New York Times: Can A Corpse Give Birth?
In the fall of 2013, Marlise Muñoz was 14 weeks pregnant with her second child when she collapsed in her North Texas home. Her husband, Erick Muñoz, woke to the sound of their 15-month-old son, Mateo, crying and found his wife lying motionless, face down on the kitchen floor.Ms. Muñoz had suffered a pulmonary embolism stemming from a blood clot. Her condition was grave. As her husband, who was a paramedic, told the makers of the recent documentary film “62 Days”: “They showed us a CT of her brain. I’d seen enough to know how bad it was, even before the doctor actually told us she was brain-dead.” (12/28)
The Hill: Hitch HIV Prevention To A Rolling Wagon
HIV is making a comeback, threatening to infect minority communities en masse. But our nation has yet to mount an adequate response. If our incoming congressional representatives want to truly deliver on their social justice promises, they need to prioritize this issue in 2019. A practical way to do so is to collaborate with other initiatives that are already receiving widespread media attention and bipartisan support. (Maggie Salinger, 1/5)
The Washington Post: Why Did D.C. Officials Take So Long To Tackle The Opioid Epidemic?
The recent announcement by D.C. officials of a plan of action to tackle the District’s opioid epidemic prompts two questions. What took them so long? And, what are the chances for success given the city’s sorry performance to date in responding to this public-health crisis? Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) in December released a 22-page report that maps out the creation or expansion of programs aimed at cutting the number of opioid overdose deaths in the District by 50 percent by the year 2020. Release of the report came after a Post investigation detailed the city’s laggard response in implementing treatment and prevention programs — even as the number of deaths soared. (1/6)
Austin American-Statesman: Recognizing Signs Essential To Preventing Tragedy
Despite a higher prevalence than more commonly known health issues, like cancer and diabetes, we often fail to recognize mental illness as the treatable health issue it is. With the right treatment and supports, individuals impacted by mental illness can and do recover. In fact, the earlier the treatment begins after initial onset, the better the outcome. (Karen Ranus and David Evans, 1/4)
USA Today: How One Indiana Town Is Recovering From A Drug-Fueled HIV Outbreak.
I knew many of the 200 marchers from more than three years of covering their town of just over 4,000 people, epicenter of rural America’s worst HIV outbreak caused by IV drug use. I met some during their struggles with addiction. But on the late-August evening of the Fed Up! march, everyone was celebrating recovery. (Laura Ungar, 1/5)
Miami Herald: Malaria Has Come Roaring Back In Venezuela, Which Puts The Region, Including South Florida, At Risk
In Florida, mosquitoes are an irritating part of everyday life. But they used to be deadly.Thanks to U.S. leadership, malaria no longer is a daily threat to Floridians. But that doesn’t mean the fight is over.In the past, the Americas were a leader in the global fight against this disease. But that’s changing. In fact, there’s been a recent spike in malaria cases in our region of the world. (Ander Crenshaw, 1/1)
Sacramento Bee: For California’s New Governor, Big Mistakes Will Lead To Greatness
“I’m only an hour from Sacramento, so Gavin, do not screw up.” — Gov. Jerry Brown, November 2018. Gavin, screw up. Please. Make mistakes. Big ones. Because your state needs more screw-ups. Over the last eight years, Jerry Brown made a fetish out of his own caution. (Joe Mathews, 12/24)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.