KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Viewpoints: The Crisis Over A Dying Infant In Britain; Trump’s Child Care Plans

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

The Wall Street Journal: Saving Charlie Gard
Charlie Gard, an 11-month old British child with a rare genetic disease, is today the most famous baby in the world. For all the wrong reasons. Even as he remains on life support at a British hospital, he has attracted the attention of the President of the United States, the pope, the British courts and the European Court of Human Rights. All because his government has backed medical experts who say the experimental treatment offered by hospitals abroad—treatments his family hopes to try and is willing to pay for themselves—would only prolong his suffering. (7/9)

Bloomberg: How Trump Can Make Good On His Child-Care Promises
An expanded child credit has a few advantages over paid leave. It would benefit a broader set of families. While it would arouse some opposition from conservatives -- the Wall Street Journal’s editors, for example, object to it on principle as tax-code favoritism toward an interest group -- it would draw less of it than paid leave. The child credit is an existing feature of the code that has enjoyed broad bipartisan support. And the credit has a stronger rationale than paid leave, because parents are overtaxed. (Ramesh Ponnuru, 7/7)

The Washington Post: VA Fires More Than 500 Feds Under Trump, Even Before New Accountability Law
The agency that has been the main target of efforts to fire feds faster dismissed more than 500 employees this year — even before a new accountability law took effect. Since the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) shamed itself in 2014 with a scandal over the coverup of long patient wait times, Capitol Hill politicians have demanded that the agency accelerate sacking — as if that were the main measure of good personnel administration. Department leaders joined the call and perpetuated the impression that life would be better if only more derelicts could be dumped. (Joe Davidson, 7/9)

Los Angeles Times: Is Junk Science About To Enter An L.A. Courtroom In A Lawsuit Over Ovarian Cancer?
Toward the end of the great adventure movie “A High Wind in Jamaica,” a gang of pirates is sentenced to hang for a murder they didn’t commit. “I don’t want to die innocent!” a crewman cries out to his captain. “Zac,” replies the captain, “you must be guilty of something.” One could cite that line to explain the lawsuits lodged against the giant consumer company Johnson & Johnson by more than a thousand women suffering from ovarian cancer, and their families. ... is the science strong enough to support judgments of this magnitude? The answer seems to be no. (Michael Hiltzik, 7/9)

Boston Globe: This Great-Grandmother Wants To End ‘The Dirty Little Secret Of Nursing’
[Sheila] Wilson, who co-founded Stop Healthcare Violence, a nonproft aimed at providing a safe workplace for providers, has been lobbying the Legislature to strengthen penalties. ... According to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, healthcare violence accounts for nearly as many injuries as all other industries combined. From 2011 to 2013, healthcare workers suffered 15,000 to 20,000 such injuries each year -- and those were only the ones serious enough to require days off to recover. (Bella English, 7/7)

Cincinnati Enquirer: Solving Mental Health Challenges Starts With Us
One in five people in the U.S. will experience a mental health condition sometime in their life. Depression, the most common mental disorder, will significantly affect over 16 million Americans this year – many more than the number of people living with cancer. ... So with such high prevalence, and such critical consequences, how can there still be a stigma associated with mental illness? (Gina Drosos, 7/8)

San Antonio Press-Express: The ER, An Out-Of-Network Provider And Then ‘Surprise!’
The most egregious form of surprise medical bills, also known as balance bills, happens when an out-of-network provider bills a patient despite having delivered care at an in-network facility. Often this occurs when a patient goes to an emergency department or hospital that accepts that person’s insurance, but then is seen by a physician who is not contracted with that insurance group. (Christopher Moriates and VIctoria Valencia, 7/8)

Morning Consult: The Future Of Manufacturing A Medicine In America
Whenever biopharmaceutical experts and policymakers discuss medical innovation, they seem to focus only on drug discovery and development and access. While these aspects of innovation are critical to ensuring patients have safe and effective treatments, they don’t provide a complete picture of the biopharmaceutical innovation model and the total investment needed to get the right medicine to the right patient at the right time. What’s missing? An understanding of the role of biopharmaceutical manufacturing and the need for a supportive policy environment. (Robert Popovian, 7/10)

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