KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Longer Looks: Psychology Of Cyberbullying; Forest Bathing; The Byrd Rule

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

Politico Magazine: How The Psychology Of Cyberbullying Explains Trump’s Tweets
When President Donald Trump tweeted last week about “crazy” Mika Brzezinski “bleeding badly from a face-lift,” it was shocking but hardly surprising. His first online barb against the MSNBC host had come at 8:20 on a Monday morning last August: “@morningmika is off the wall, a neurotic and not very bright mess!” Since then, Trump has referred to “crazy @morningmika” at least three times; claimed she had a mental breakdown on-air; and threatened to expose the “real story” of her relationship with her co-host, Joe Scarborough. And Brzezinski is hardly alone: The president has demonstrated an unrelenting fondness for Twitter attacks against celebrities, fellow politicians and the media—most recently, and infamously, CNN. (Sarah Holder, 7/3)

The Atlantic: How Forest Bathing Can Help With Stress
On first glance, it looked like a two-hour walk in the woods. Our guide had already tackled the hard part of finding a trail with minimal elevation gain and limited poison oak along its flanks. This wasn’t a hike, we were reminded. A hike usually involved clear endpoints and physical exertion. We were invited to walk slower than usual, perhaps a quarter of our normal speed. To pay attention to the different shades of green we encountered, the snapping of twigs beneath our feet, the sudden vaulting of winged life—nothing was ornamental.  Everything was in its right place, including us. The forest bathers and I had come to the woods in search of peace.  All of us were to be present, focused solely on the moment. Our immersion in the natural world would act not only as a balm to everyday stresses but a catalyst: According to the event description, we had gathered outside that day to emerge, as flowers might after a long winter. (Rahawa Haile, 6/30)

Vox: If Republicans Reach A Health Care Deal, It Must Survive This Obscure Senate Rule
The fate of the Republican drive to repeal and replace Obamacare — and of the millions of Americans who could be left uninsured if it succeeds — could come down to a complex and obscure Senate rule. That rule will determine what provisions Republicans can include in the bill, how much of Obamacare they can repeal, and perhaps whether the most conservative GOP senators will vote for it. It could be the roadblock to a policy that conservatives see as their biggest demand before they support a bill they have serious reservations about. (Dylan Scott, 7/5)

The Atlantic: The 5 Percent: The Super-Users And Health-Care Spending
An oversized poster of the Seinfeld character Kramer watches over Phil Rizzuto’s daily routine. When Rizzuto, named for the famous New York Yankees shortstop, swallows his 6 a.m. pills, Kramer is looming over him, looking quizzical. Same for the 9 a.m., noon, 6 p.m., and midnight doses, each fistful of pills placed in a carefully labeled Dixie cup. “I live on medication,” he says. (Karen Weintraub and Rachel Zimmerman, 6/29)

The New York Times: How A Joke About Flying Squirrels Led To An Ailing Woman’s Cure
The wintry late-day sun flooded through the windows at South County Hospital in Wakefield, R.I., as the middle-aged man and his wife entered the room. The man’s mother, a tiny 93-year-old woman, sat slumped amid a chaos of bedcovers. They had come from St. Louis after the youngest of the man’s siblings called to let him know that their mother was deathly ill. Seeing her now, a pale, silent version of her energetic self, he feared he would have to wear the suit he’d brought after all. (Lisa Sanders, 6/22)

The Atlantic: How To Beat Asthma
I had my first asthma attack in 10 years while working on this story about asthma. The day had been a grind. I flew to Denver early on a March morning, hoping to give myself a full day to acclimate to the air before I did some jogging and hiking the next day. From the moment I touched down and took a Lyft away from the Denver airport, that unlucky hellhorse, the afternoon was a blur of reporting. At the end of the day, I found some comfort in a bar with some pretty good draught beers and ahi tuna guacamole. Only, the guacamole I ate turned out to be the version with crabmeat. I’m very allergic to crabmeat. (Vann R. Newkirk, 7/5)

Vox: Why You Shouldn't Exercise To Lose Weight, Explained With 60+ Studies
"I'm going to make you work hard," a blonde and perfectly muscled fitness instructor screamed at me in a recent spinning class, "so you can have that second drink at happy hour! "At the end of the 45-minute workout, my body was dripping with sweat. I felt like I had worked really, really hard. And according to my bike, I had burned more than 700 calories. Surely I had earned an extra margarita. (Julia Belluz and Javier Zarracina, 6/28)

Stat: Trump Tweeted About Charlie Gard, Who Is Dying Of A Rare Disease
The tragic story of a 10-month old British baby who is on life support in a London hospital has focused a spotlight on an often-fatal rare genetic disease called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. The case even caught the attention of President Trump on Monday, who tweeted that “if we can help” the boy, Charlie Gard, “we would be delighted to do so.” (Sharon Begley, 7/3)

NPR: 'Architecture Of An Asylum' Tracks History Of U.S. Treatment Of Mental Illness
When I moved to Washington, D.C., in 1962, St. Elizabeth's Hospital was notorious — a rundown federal facility for the treatment of mentally ill people that was overcrowded and understaffed. Opened with idealism and hope in 1855, the hospital had ballooned from 250 patients to as many as 8,000. Its vast, rolling patch of farmland had fallen into disrepair, too, in the poorest neighborhood in the U.S. capital. (Susan Stamberg, 7/5)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.