KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Viewpoints: Bracing For Health Data Breaches; The Economics Of Opioid Abuse And Despair

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.

RealClear Health: Your Health Data Will Be Breached
Just a couple of weeks ago, NHS Lanarkshire, the third largest health system in Scotland and one that employs over 12,000 staff, fell victim to a malware attack. On the heels of a broad cyberattack affecting much of the National Health Service (NH) in May, medical operations were put on hold, and patients were even told to not go to the hospital unless it was absolutely necessary. Though occurring on the other side of the Atlantic, this event stood as a stark reminder that many hospitals, health systems and other companies in the health care space are vulnerable to a cyberattack. (Cori McKeever Ashford and Kristen Thistle, 9/12)

Bloomberg: Which Came First, The Opioids Or The Despair?
Anne Case and Angus Deaton's 2015 article on rising mortality among middle-aged white Americans -- and the 2017 follow-up that attributed this rise to an increase in suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol-related deaths among those without college educations -- was among those rare academic papers that changed public debate. (Justin Fox, 9/11)

Boston Globe: We Can’t Fight The Opioid Crisis Without Adequate Health Care
Health care and social workers, counselors, and law enforcement agencies, as well as policy makers and administrators at the local, state, and federal levels of government are already putting it all on the line to help people overcome addiction. We must give them the tools and support they need so we can win this fight. (Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 9/11)

The New York Times: Blaming Medicaid For The Opioid Crisis: How The Easy Answer Can Be Wrong
The theory has gained such prominence that a United States senator is investigating it. “Medicaid expansion may be fueling the opioid epidemic in communities across the country,” Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, wrote recently. Some conservative opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been passing around the same theory for months. It’s a politically explosive (and convenient) argument, but is it true? Substantial evidence suggests the answer is no, but let’s give it a fair hearing. (Aaron E. Carroll and Austin Frakt, 9/12)

Cincinnati Enquirer: Issue 2 To Give Ohio Power To Cut Drug Prices
Don’t be fooled when pharmaceutical companies argue that their pricing strategy is simply based on supply and demand. We all know that is not true. It’s time that Ohioans demand pharmaceutical companies bring down their outrageously overpriced drugs. (Nina Turner, 9/11)

Stat: Cancer Treatment Should Qualify As A Reason For Student Loan Deferment
I was first diagnosed with cancer when I was a senior in college, preparing to get a job and begin paying off my student loans. I was fortunate to have school administrators who advocated for me, and my loans were quickly deferred. But many of the 70,000 young adults diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States aren’t so lucky. They continue to rack up interest as they put their lives on hold to go through lifesaving cancer treatments. That’s why I urge Congress to pass the Deferment for Active Cancer Treatment Act of 2017 this session. This essential but under-the-radar piece of legislation would allow cancer patients to qualify under existing laws for student loan deferments while they undergo treatment. (Samantha Watson, 9/11)

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