KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Longer Looks: Fixing Obamacare; Kansas’ Medicaid Vote; And John Oliver On Marijuana

Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.

The Washington Post: Disabled, Or Just Desperate? Rural Americans Turn To Disability As Jobs Dry Up
The lobby at the pain-management clinic had become crowded with patients, so relatives had gone outside to their trucks to wait, and here, too, sat Desmond Spencer, smoking a 9 a.m. cigarette and watching the door. He tried stretching out his right leg, knowing these waits can take hours, and winced. He couldn’t sit easily for long, not anymore, and so he took a sip of soda and again thought about what he should do. (Terrence McCoy, 3/30)

The New Yorker: How Moderates Took Back Kansas
The Medicaid vote capped an extraordinary year-long turn against [Kansas Gov. Sam] Brownback, in which many of his allies in the legislature were defeated in primary and general elections, and, in the legislative session now coming to a close, his budget and priorities were rejected. The political history of the past quarter century has been one of deepening polarization. The reaction in Kansas suggests that it is still possible for a party to go too far—that there is still a center in American life which may yet hold. (Benjamin Wallace-Wells, 3/31)

The Atlantic: Government Paid For Poor Citizens' Health Care Over 300 Years Before Obamacare
There has always been government-subsidized health care in the United States. Until just after the Civil War, when state governments took more power, most Americans assumed that their local government would tax and spend to take care of the neediest. They frequently griped about the cost of these expenditures, as complaining about taxes is a long American tradition. But for about three centuries from the beginning of British North America, almost no one thought government-provided health care for the poor should go away. (Gabriel Loiacono, 4/2)

Vox: When A Drug Epidemic’s Victims Are White
ecause the crisis has disproportionately affected white Americans, white lawmakers — who make up a disproportionate amount of all levels of government — are more likely to come into contact with people afflicted by the opioid epidemic than, say, the disproportionately black drug users who suffered during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and ’90s. And that means a lawmaker is perhaps more likely to have the kind of interaction that Christie, Trump, Bush, and Fiorina described — one that might lead them to support more compassionate drug policies — in the current crisis than the ones of old. (German Lopez, 4/4)

Wired: The FDA Doesn't Care About Health Apps, So The Courts Stepped Up
Smartphone apps are great at lots of things, from sending selfies, to solving late-night taco cravings. And even if they occasionally fail, the stakes are usually low—unless you consider being carnitas-less at 2 am a life-threatening situation. The exception is with apps that claim to measure your heart rate, monitor your blood pressure, and improve your memory, coordination, or vision. (Megan Molteni, 4/3)

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