KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: History Offers Lessons In Addressing Opioid Addiction Crisis; Minority Communities And Access To Mental Health Care

Opinion writers offer their thoughts on a range of health issues.

Bloomberg: This Isn't The First U.S. Opiate-Addiction Crisis
It’s true that there’s an opioid epidemic, a public health disaster. It’s not true that it’s unprecedented. A remarkably similar epidemic beset the U.S. some 150 years ago. The story of that earlier catastrophe offers some sobering lessons as to how to address the problem. (Stephen Mihm, 7/17)

Lexington Herald Leader: Ky.’s New Opioid Law Will Only Result In More Death, Pain
As the death toll from opioid overdoses in Kentucky and the rest of the Midwest continues to soar, it’s truly disconcerting to see that policymakers are taking steps that are not only devoid of medical and common sense, but virtually guaranteed to make matters worse. The recent passage of the ill-conceived House Bill 333, which imposes a three-day limit (with certain exceptions) on opioid prescribing, reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the reasons behind the addiction epidemic. (Josh Bloom, 7/14)

Lincoln Journal-Star: Nebraska Needs Family Planning Clinics
In our neighboring state of Iowa, 15,000 people lost access to preventive care and contraception as Planned Parenthood clinics shut down earlier this month after Iowa politicians passed a law to stop reimbursing the trusted provider for health services. (Mia Fernandez, 7/18)

Stat: It's Time To Break Down The Wall Between Dentistry And Medicine
In 1840, dentistry focused on extracting decayed teeth and plugging cavities. Today, dentists use sophisticated methods for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. We implant teeth, pinpoint oral cancers, use 3-D imaging to reshape a jaw, and can treat some dental decay medically, without a drill. We’ve also discovered much more about the intimate connection between oral health and overall health. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, has been linked to the development of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Pregnant women with periodontitis are more likely to develop pre-eclampsia, a potentially serious complication of pregnancy, and deliver low-birth-weight babies. (Bruce Donoff, 7/17)

Austin American-Statesman: Vaccines Protect Texas Children
When kids are vaccinated, there is less concern that they will contract diseases when they go with their friends to the local swimming pool or the playground... Pockets of parents in Texas and other states have become complacent because they don’t regard these diseases as threats to their children, while others don’t believe these diseases exist any longer. (Terry Cook, 7/18)

The Des Moines Register: Postpartum Psychosis Claimed Molly Roth. Her Husband Hopes To Save Others
But two weeks after Gracelyn arrived Jan. 5, Molly encountered her biggest hurdle. A nurse practitioner called it the “baby blues,” a benign term for a sometimes monumental change that affects about one in five new mothers. Normally a whirlwind of energy, the 32-year-old Molly, who used to make sure everyone else was OK, now had to drag herself through the motions of daily life. She would cry uncontrollably and say she had made a mistake. About a month in, she was diagnosed with postpartum depression and put on a handful of medicines, Jamison says. By then she was struggling just to bathe: "I had to show her the simple steps of turning on the water and getting a towel." She talked of suicide. What she was suffering from, according to Jamison, was actually a rarer, more dangerous perinatal mood disorder called postpartum psychosis, compounding her existing anxieties. (Rekha Basu, 7/17)

Los Angeles Times: Domestic Violence Victims Shouldn't Have To Choose Between Deportation And Medical Care
When Elena attempted to break up with her abusive boyfriend, he beat her horribly, saying he would leave her with scars by which to remember him. Although badly injured, she did not contact the police to report the domestic violence. Nor did she seek medical care for her open wounds or the ringing in her ear. She had heard news of President Trump’s expanded immigration enforcement policies and stories of immigration agents arresting domestic violence and human trafficking victims inside courthouses. She had also learned that her state, California, requires medical professionals to report domestic violence and sexual assault to the police, and she feared deportation more than she desired medical care. (Jane K. Stoever, 7/17)

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