KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: Californians Need Safe Water; A Simple Way To Save People From Overdosing

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

Los Angeles Times: Hundreds Of Thousands Of Californians Lack Access To Safe Drinking Water. Let's Fix That Once And For All
California’s wet winter eased the immediate water shortages that affected most of the state, giving lawmakers and water agencies a bit of a breather as they craft new policies and design new infrastructure to weather the next big drought (which, for all we know, may already be underway). But neither the rainfall nor the new projects and policies will help hundreds of thousands of Californians whose local water supply is contaminated. (8/18)

The New York Times: A Simple Move To Save Thousands Of Lives From Overdose
A vast majority of opioid deaths are preventable if the person overdosing is given naloxone, a safe, easy-to-use and relatively inexpensive drug that has successfully reversed tens of thousands of overdoses over the years. But this medicine is often not on hand when and where it is needed. Making it more readily available could save many lives. (Megan McLemore and Corey Davis, 8/18)

The Washington Post: This Is The Only Safe Way To Treat Opioid Users
“I’m detoxing.” This is the sort of news that delights the families of patients who are addicted to heroin. The promise of a seven-day detox solution is seductive. But detoxification is actually extremely dangerous. Nearly every addict who successfully completes a week-long detox program without further treatment relapses, and in a world with increasingly powerful synthetic drugs on the market, the risk of overdosing and dying during a relapse has become ever more threatening. (Michael Stein, 8/17)

The New York Times: Reset The Clock For Malpractice Suits
[O]verwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature passed a bill [in June] called “Lavern’s Law.” Under it, cancer patients alleging malpractice would have twice as long to bring action: two and a half years. Critically, the clock would start running from the time they became aware of the misdiagnosis. By way of compromise, the legislators elected not to cover all instances of medical malpractice, just cancer cases (though that is a potentially large number). Now the question is whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign the bill when it is formally sent to him. (8/18)

Des Moines Register: Reynolds' Medicaid Rhetoric Does Not Reflect Reality
The Doublespeak Award was established in 1974 and is given by the National Council of Teachers of English. The ironic, annual tribute recognizes individuals and entities using language that is, among other things, deceptive, evasive and confusing. ... Iowans should nominate Gov. Kim Reynolds for her misleading rhetoric on the Medicaid privatization experiment implemented by her former boss. Her statements deserve recognition. After handing over management of the $4 billion Medicaid program to three for-profit companies last year, Iowans have filed hundreds of complaints, including many about losing access to care. Health providers have closed their doors. Iowans with disabilities have filed a federal lawsuit against Reynolds, accusing the state of depriving thousands the right to live safely outside institutions. Yet the new governor continues to insist privatization is a great thing. (8/17)

Los Angeles Times: It Shouldn't Take Generous Strangers To Help Patients Cope With Drug Prices
The inherent goodness of people was made clear this week when a pair of readers offered to pay for a 75-year-old Encino man’s prescription meds after the drug maker imposed a $1,100 deductible to be eligible for financial assistance. Meanwhile, the warped priorities of our for-profit healthcare industry once again tumbled into the open as the drug company in question, Eli Lilly & Co., responded to this demonstration of humanitarian fellowship with a shrug of its corporate shoulders. (David Lazarus, 8/18)

Stat: Victorious Declarations Of Progress On HIV/AIDS Don't Hold True For Children
Several of these shortcomings affect a chronically underserved population: infants and children. While there has been tremendous progress in recent years toward preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, the report shows that global access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) for women with HIV who are pregnant or breastfeeding is plateauing at around 75 percent. That’s well below the level needed to eliminate infections before and soon after birth. A substantial number of children infected with HIV as infants are not brought for treatment until they reach adolescence, at which point many already suffer from HIV-related health problems. These include infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria, which take advantage of weakened immune systems. (Charles Lyons, 8/16)

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