KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: The Debate On Locking Up People With Mental Illness; Michael J. Fox’s New Role

USA Today: Should 11 Million Mentally Ill Be Locked Up? Our View
The awful mass killings this month by a delusional shooter at Washington's Navy Yard provoked familiar demands to fix the nation's mental health system. ... There's no question that the nation's mental health system needs improvement. Ask almost any parent who has tried to get help for a severely troubled child. The number of psychiatric beds today is less than one-tenth the 500,000 available in the 1950s, and the overburdened, underfunded system fails to treat millions of people with severe mental illness. They and their advocates have long lacked the clout that gets funding for other diseases. If concern over mass shootings helps propel a fix, good. But the idea that this will end mass shootings is extremely naive — or politically convenient (9/25).

USA Today: NRA: Navy Yard Shooter Should Have Been Committed
Four miles from the White House. The Washington Navy Yard. Tragedy that didn't have to happen. Victims that didn't have to be victims. He never should have been at the Navy Yard. Discharged from the military, he had several run-ins with law enforcement — including firearms offenses — and told authorities he was under microwave attack and hearing voices. At that point, he should have been committed (Wayne LaPierre, 9/25).

Texas Tribune: Close Dangerous State Disabled Centers
[The state’s 13 institutions for people with developmental disabilities] have been avoiding accountability for years. Since 2009, when the U.S. Department of Justice ordered the state to improve conditions at all 13 locations, federal investigators have threatened to cut funding to the centers more than 50 times, most recently in May of this year. Reform has been excruciatingly slow. After six rounds of DOJ reviews since 2009, only one center has achieved more than 30 percent compliance across 161 categories the federal and state governments agreed are in need of improvement — things like reducing incidents of abuse, neglect and exploitation (Arlene Wohlgemuth and Dennis Borel, 9/24).

The Wall Street Journal: A Big Step In The Fight Against Superbugs
In the U.S. and abroad, humans are at risk of increasingly weak antibiotics and increasingly strong superbugs. Before the discovery of penicillin in the early 20th century, a significant portion of people unlucky enough to contract a bacterial infection died. With increasing antibiotic resistance, we risk a post-antibiotic era every bit as frightening (Jonathan B. Perlin and Richard Platt, 9/25).

USA Today: Michael J. Fox A Role Model For Disabled
But with the premiere of the Michael J. Fox Show Thursday night, Fox's role as an actor could transition him into a major civil rights leader for people living with disabilities. Television has the power to change lives. From our favorite sitcoms to the evening news, polls show that television is the lens through which Americans form opinions. Indeed, TV can have a stronger impact on both viewers and this country's laws than even education or our own families (Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, 9/25).

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