KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: Patient Bigotry; The Hope And Hijinx Of Digital Health

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

Chicago Tribune: When A Patient Is A Bigot, What Can A Doctor Do?
The video is appalling in its brazenness: a woman in the Canadian city of Mississauga demanding, loudly and repeatedly, that her son receive medical treatment only from a white pediatrician. "Can I see a doctor, please, that's white?" she says in the now-viral video. "That doesn't have brown teeth, that speaks English?" (Brit Trogen and Arthur Caplan, 6/29)

RealClear Health: The Digital Health Hope: Your Health And Big Data: Holy Grail Or Orwellian Nightmare?
The intersection of digital technology and health care has led to a new world of potential in the medical industry. And while other industries have focused for years on big data, health care is just now beginning to take advantage of its potential. Large data sets are now providing us with the ability to generate new questions and, more importantly, answer old ones. However, the sheer amount of data is not the most important issue—it is what is done with the data that will revolutionize health care and likely change the way disease is approached in the coming decades. (Kevin Campbell, 6/30)

Roll Call: The Politics Of Drug Policy
It’s an intractable issue in the news daily, so the proposed, much-debated and now-delayed Senate Republican health care bill had to do something to answer the opioid addiction crisis in America. Add to that the basic political realization that in many of the states that supported Donald Trump and Republicans, a high percentage of people are hurting — to turn a blind eye would be a problem for America and for the GOP on many levels. Many fear the Senate bill is not enough to meet a challenge that is intertwined with unemployment, the economy and more. Though, at least — and some would label it the very least — the uncertain yet compassionate reaction contrasts with the harsh strategy the Justice Department has laid out for other low-level drug offenders. (Mary C. Curtis, 6/29)

Sacramento Bee: Sacramento's Teen 'Killing Zone' Is A Call To Action
The number is hard to wrap your mind around – 114 teenagers killed by violence in Sacramento County since 2007... A big hurdle is that many deaths are linked to gangs, which makes it even more important that in the next few weeks the City Council decides on the best anti-gang strategy to target the relatively few criminals responsible for a lot of violence. (6/29)

Lexington Herald Leader: Ky. Opioid Limits Will Save Lives
Gov. Matt Bevin is correct that one way to combat the overdose crisis is to stop creating addicts, which is the goal of a new state law that limits opioid prescriptions for acute pain to three days. No one needs a month’s supply of addictive drugs for a sprained ankle or tooth extraction. Research shows that even small quantities of opioids prescribed for minor injuries increase the risk of long-term use. (6/29)

Fortune: How We Can Win The War On Cancer
We are proud to join Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden in their commitment to end cancer as we know it through the work of a new nonprofit, the Biden Cancer Initiative. The Biden Cancer Initiative will convene experts from around the world to work alongside the vice president and Dr. Biden to gather and analyze the best ideas about how to address some of the biggest barriers to progress in the fight against cancer. Those barriers include lack of data standards in treating cancer, lack of data sharing in the research and development enterprise, lack of patient input and participation in clinical trials, and research and disparities in the access to care and treatment based on cost, socioeconomic status, and geographic disadvantages. (David Agus, Elizabeth Jaffee, Greg Simon, Kim Thiboldeaux and Jeff Zients, 6/29)

The New England Journal Of Medicine: Recognizing Sepsis As A Global Health Priority — A WHO Resolution
“Some very important clinical issues, some of them affecting life and death, stay largely in a backwater which is inhabited by academics and professionals and enthusiasts, dealt with very well at the clinical and scientific level but not visible to the public, political leaders, leaders of healthcare systems. . . . The public and political space is the space in which [sepsis] needs to be in order for things to change.” So said Sir Liam Donaldson, the former chief medical officer for England and the current World Health Organization (WHO) envoy for patient safety, on May 24, 2017. Two days later, the World Health Assembly (WHA), the WHO’s decision-making body, adopted a resolution on improving the prevention, diagnosis, and management of sepsis. (Konrad Reinhart, Ron Daniels, Niranjan Kissoon, Flavia R. Machado, Raymond D. Schachter and Simon Finfer, 6/28)

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