Editorial writers weigh in on health care issues.
Stat: Medicare For All Is About Trade-Offs, Not Rights And Privileges
Is health care a right or a privilege? That question dominates our thinking about U.S. health policy and often shapes critical political choices. Unfortunately, it also prevents an honest discussion about the trade-offs in health coverage. If you believe health care is a right, how do we pay for universal health care? If you view health care as a privilege, what happens to the millions of uninsured Americans? Take the Medicare for All bill (S. 1804) introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Its primary benefit is universal health coverage without any direct cost to individuals. This would be an incredible achievement, especially for the nearly 30 million uninsured individuals in the U.S., whose lack of coverage leads to approximately 45,000 deaths a year. (Andrew Schuette and Peter Boumgarden, 1/10)
Washington Examiner: While Democrats Push Government Healthcare, Canadians Wait Nearly 5 Months For Treatment
Last year, Canadians waited a median of almost 20 weeks to receive specialist treatment after being referred by a general practitioner, according to a new report from The Fraser Institute. In practical terms, that’s the equivalent of getting a referral this week and waiting until May for treatment. Such waits are endemic to government-run healthcare systems. (Sally Pipes, 1/9)
The Washington Post: On Health Care, Democrats Aren’t Messing Around
Health care was one of the key issues that drove the Democratic surge in last November’s elections, and as the new year begins, Democrats both in Congress and at the state level are wasting no time in moving to expand access to health coverage. As the saying goes, elections have consequences, and the consequences on this issue are shaping up to be pretty dramatic. (Paul Waldman, 1/9)
Bloomberg: Google For Health Care: It Knows You Better Than Your Doctor Does
Thanks to a combination of Google, WebMD and the $ 6,000 deductible on my health insurance, I haven’t been to a doctor to talk about an illness in years. Millions of Americans have similar habits; in fact, one in 20 Google searches are for health-related information. “Dr. Google” may not have an MD or a board certification, but it does have the clinical knowledge of a primary care provider who sees millions of patients a year. (Elaine Ou, 1/9)
New England Journal of Medicine: The Anti-Trans Memo — Abandoning Doctors And Patients
A proposed redefinition of gender as a “biological, immutable condition determined by a person’s genitalia at birth” would have damaging repercussions for vulnerable communities that have faced discrimination from health care providers, hospitals, insurers, and others. (Jocelyn Samuels and Mara Keisling, 1/10)
The Hill: The Flu Is A Far Greater Threat Than Anything Carried By People Crossing The Southern Border
Influenza will remain a threat to those in and at the border facilities throughout the flu season, but influenza emanating from these border facilities poses no substantial threat to the general public. The U.S. is already experiencing widespread flu activity and, as I have argued before, the disease threat from indigenous and ordinary travel-related infections is far greater than infections carried by people crossing the southern border. Influenza is one of the most important infectious disease threats the we face, and vigilance against it in all settings is warranted. (Amesh Adalja, 1/9)
New England Journal of Medicine: Focusing On Population Health At Scale — Joining Policy And Technology To Improve Health
Research shows that investments outside health care can improve health and fiscal outcomes. But addressing all the factors that affect health will require new ways of thinking, collaboration, and accountability on the part of both health care and government leaders. (Aaron McKethan, Seth A. Berkowitz and Mandy Cohen, 1/10)
Stat: NIH Obstacles Get In The Way Of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Research
When I first developed myalgic encephalomyelitis in 1994, I had no idea that I would be just as sick 25 years later, or that there would still be limited scientific understanding of the disease and no effective treatments. Nor did I imagine that my career as a lawyer was over, and that I would instead become an advocate for myself and others with ME (sometimes misleadingly called chronic fatigue syndrome, and referred to as ME/CFS by U.S. federal agencies). An estimated 1 million Americans with this condition have been living for decades in the crisis mode of disability and lack of treatment. We have repeatedly pressed the National Institutes of Health to address the problem by increasing research funding; one ME/CFS organization even met with NIH Director Francis Collins in December 2018 to make that point. The response from the NIH is always the same: Researchers should submit more high-quality grant applications. (Jennifer Spotila, 1/10)
The New York Times: You Should Meditate Every Day
It’s the subject of countless books, podcasts, conferences, a million-dollar app war. It’s extolled by C.E.O.s and entertainers and even taught in my kids’ elementary school (again, it’s Northern California). The fad is backed by reams of scientific research showing the benefits of mindfulness for your physical and mental health — how even short-term stints improve your attention span and your ability to focus, your memory, and other cognitive functions. (Farhad Manjoo, 1/9)
Houston Chronicle: No More Obamacare? Six Ways Texas Can Protect Health Care If ACA Goes Down
The ongoing lawsuit led by the Texas attorney general to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act is misguided and bad for Texas. (Ken Janda, 1/9)
Tallahassee Democrat: Gov. DeSantis, Will You Honor The Right To Quality Health Care?
As we saw and heard, pre-existing conditions were a hot topic during the recent midterm elections. As a Floridian who is burdened with multiple sclerosis, I now find myself a watchdog, waiting to hear from Ron DeSantis, Florida’s new governor, on his action for the 7.8 million Floridians living with pre-existing conditions.Our former congressman — now our governor — voted to limit access to coverage for persons with pre-existing conditions by supporting the House Republican’s American HealthCare Act in 2012. This stance jeopardized insurance coverage with insurance companies for millions of Americans. Now, our governor supports Trumpcare, which repeals patient protections and the Affordable Care Act. (Ashley E. Smith, 1/10)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.