KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: Questioning Efforts To Eliminate The Office of National Drug Control Policy; Linking Abortion, Economics Is Shaky

A selection of public health opinions from around the country, ranging from the national response to the opioid crisis to states' continued debate over Medicaid.

The Washington Post: I Worked With The Drug Policy Office Trump Wants To Gut. Here’s Why It Matters For The Opioid Epidemic.
The Trump administration is, per a leaked policy memo, considering a proposal to effectively eliminate the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, cutting 95 percent of its funding. The move could cut federal spending by $364 million. It would also threaten to undermine the government’s efforts to fight an opioid epidemic at a time when drug overdose deaths are rising at a frightening rate. (Keith Humphreys, 5/8)

Boston Globe: Restore Crucial Funds To Drug-Control Agency 
At a time when the national opioid addiction epidemic is crippling our country — killing more people than car crashes and firearms — it is more important than ever for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to continue its effective and vital community-based programs that support law enforcement, reduce crime, and save lives. Defunding the office will have an immediate adverse impact on public health and safety. (Gil Kerlikowske, Frederick Ryan and John E. Rosenthal, 5/9)

The New York Times: The Problem With Linking Abortion And Economics
In recent days, Senator Bernie Sanders has come under fire for appearing at a campaign stop with Heath Mello, a mayoral candidate in Omaha who voted for anti-abortion legislation as a Nebraska state senator. Mr. Sanders said he supported Mr. Mello’s progressive economic positions, but critics said abortion and economics were inextricable — that women on the margins need abortion so that they can scramble up the economic ladder without children holding them back. (Lori Szala, 5/9)

The Wichita Eagle: Topeka Hospital Saved; Now Help Other Hospitals
It’s a relief that the University of Kansas Health System and Ardent Health Services are forming a joint venture to operate St. Francis Health in Topeka. The 378-bed hospital had been on the market for more than a year, and the hospital’s parent company announced recently it would close the hospital this summer. (Phillip Brownlee, 5/9)

Lexington Herald Leader: Securing Miners’ Health Benefits Aids Ky. Coal Communities
Last week, we achieved the success that thousands of retired coal miners and their families so desperately needed with the passage of my proposal to permanently extend their health care benefits. And with President Donald Trump’s signature, it is now law. You may recall that at the end of December, their health benefits were set to expire. If Congress had not acted, approximately 3,000 Kentucky coal miner retirees — and tens of thousands more around the country — would have seen their health care benefits end. After years of hard work in the coal mines, they deserved better than having to suffer as collateral damage of President Barack Obama’s war on coal. (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, 5/8)

Kansas City Star: Not Again With Kansas Medicaid Expansion
Some ideas, no matter how bad, never seem to go away. How else to explain state lawmaker efforts to expand Medicaid under Obamacare? After Gov. Sam Brownback rightly vetoed an expansion bill in March, and after the Legislature failed to override that veto, special interests that stand to benefit from this growth in government are pressuring lawmakers to try yet again during the current veto session. (Jeff Glendening, 5/8)

Billings (Mont.) Gazette: A Plan To Take Montana Care Backward
In 2013, 20 percent of Montanans under age 65 had no health insurance — no private or government coverage. With marketplace subsidies from the Affordable Care Act, that uninsured number dropped to 15 percent in 2015. Last summer — just six months after Montana expanded Medicaid under the ACA to all very low income adults — the state’s uninsured rate dipped to 7 percent and has kept inching lower. Montana has benefited greatly from the ACA, and thus has more to lose from the American Health Care Act. (5/8)

Miami Herald: Lawmakers Have More Mea Culpas To Make 
The Florida Legislature apologized this spring for decades of violent abuse at a state-run reform school for boys. It apologized to the families of the Groveland Four, the young black men wrongly accused of raping a white woman nearly 70 years ago. Legislators, set to approve the state budget and adjourn on Monday, owe a few apologies for their own actions. ... They should apologize to the poor who need healthcare and the hospitals who treat them whether they can pay or not. They cut Medicaid payments to hospitals by more than $500 million. They bet on a deal with the federal government to create a $1.5 billion Low Income Pool for uncompensated care will mitigate the cuts, but there is no guarantee. (5/8)

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