KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Failures In Treating Ovarian Cancer; A Moral Analysis Of Obesity; Bloomberg’s Overreach

The New York Times: Inadequate Treatment Of Ovarian Cancer
A new study has found widespread failure among doctors to follow clinical guidelines for treating ovarian cancer, which kills 15,000 women a year in this country. This disturbing news shows the kind of challenge that health care reformers are up against in improving medical care — even when cost is not the issue (3/13).

The New York Times: The Opinionator: The Benefits Of Mobile Health, On Hold
The world now has 5 billion mobile phones – one for every person over 15. Africa has a billion people and 750 million phones, and mobile is growing so fast there that in a few years there will be more phones than people. In some countries this is already true — South Africa has 47 million people, but 52 million SIM cards. The mobile phone is doing more than revolutionizing communication. It has the potential to improve many aspects of life in poor countries: commerce, health, agriculture, education (Tina Rosenberg, 3/13). 

Reuters: Obesity And The Unhealthy Economy
The problem of obesity is an adverse side effect of one of the greatest economic liberations ever, the freedom from want of food. ... In the new era, physical need is no longer a constraint and unhealthy eating is now an everyday reality. The threat must be countered by individuals, food producers – no longer primarily farmers, but companies with processing plants and factories – and governments. All have failed to live up to the challenge. The result is that food is often not used as it should be, to provide the benefits and pleasures of healthy eating (Edward Hadas, 3/13). 

Politico: Michael Bloomberg's Soda Folly
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on large-sized sodas at certain establishments, colloquially known as the soda ban, is a lesson in how to make your cause look ridiculous. Bloomberg hoped the ban would spark a nationwide crackdown on sugary beverages. Instead, it became the subject of widespread mockery, inspired an instant-classic New York Post headline ("Soda Jerk") and got struck down by a New York judge this week as "arbitrary and capricious" (Rich Lowry, 3/13).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Politicians Don't Understand What Citizens Want
The recent Time Magazine Special Report by Stephen Brill “Why Medical bills Are Killing Us” demonstrates a series of narratives that describe problems in our health care system. … So there is little good news on health care reform except that the situation is overwhelming. It appears that tinkering around the edges of America’s dysfunctional system for funding health care with private insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies is over. No small reform such as those suggested by Brill will begin to adequately control the legalized theft of the health care dollars. Universal health care coverage financed by a public single-payer system provides a solution to the health care crisis. (Dr. Tom Gottlieb, 3/13).

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