KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: Drug Companies ‘Risky’ Idea; Scrapping Rule On Guns And Mental Illness Is ‘A Bad Move’

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

Chicago Tribune: Guns And Mental Illness: Don't Scrap This Rule
If someone has a mental illness severe enough that he cannot work or manage his own money, should he be allowed to own a gun? In the waning weeks of his presidency, Barack Obama answered that question. Motivated by Adam Lanza's bloody rampage at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six educators in 2012, Obama imposed a rule that barred gun ownership for people who qualify for Social Security disability insurance because their mental illness keeps them from working, and who cannot manage their benefits. That pool is small — just 75,000 Americans. (2/10)

The Wichita Eagle: Services For Disabled Also In Violation
Not only did federal officials determine last month that KanCare was “substantively out of compliance with federal statutes and regulations,” they determined the previous month that services for people with disabilities were also out of compliance. Yet state lawmakers had to learn about both decisions by reading about them in the newspaper. (2/12)

The Des Moines Register: Legislators Should Repay State For Cheap Health Care
Gov. Terry Branstad said in 2012 he would begin voluntarily paying 20 percent of his state-funded health insurance premiums. He encouraged other state workers, including lawmakers, to follow suit. The next year, the governor said some legislators, who had previously enjoyed premium-free health insurance, had started contributing 20 percent. But not a single lawmaker is paying that share, according to December 2016 data obtained by The Des Moines Register. And it appears they are violating state law. (2/11)

The Columbus Dispatch: More Needed To Fight Overdoses
Ohio lawmakers are asking good questions about the money that Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget would devote to the state's opioid epidemic and the collateral damage from it. Last week, Republican and Democrat legislators said they are concerned that the budget does not do enough. The concern is warranted. Ohio leads the nation in drug-overdose deaths, with 3,050 recorded in 2015, the most recent year with complete statistics. (2/13)

The New York Times: LSD To Cure Depression? Not So Fast
Psychedelics, the fabled enlightenment drugs of the ’60s, are making a comeback — this time as medical treatment. A recent study claimed that psilocybin, a mushroom-derived hallucinogenic, relieves anxiety and depression in people with life-threatening cancer. Anecdotal reports have said similar things about so-called microdoses of LSD. ... I fear that in our desire to combat suffering, we will ignore the potential risks of these drugs, or be seduced by preliminary research that seems promising. (Richard A. Friedman, 2/13)

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