Different Takes: Weighing The Benefits Of Doctor-Hospital Integration; Will Roe V. Wade Survive?
Editorial writers tackle these public health issues.
When Hospitals Buy Doctor Practices, Do Prices Always Rise?
What happens when physicians are employed by hospitals, rather than working independently? Over the past decade, the share of doctors practicing on their own has declined markedly. Many antitrust advocates are concerned that nothing good will happen as a result, and the Federal Trade Commission is studying the situation. But new research suggests that the shift may bring more benefits than expected, at least for specialist doctors. (Peter R. Orzag, 1/19)
Los Angeles Times:
Could Roe V. Wade Be Overturned After 49 Years?
Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade that guaranteed the right to an abortion. Will it be the last? Since 1973, when the court ruled that there was a right to abortion, derived from the Constitution, up to the point of viability of the fetus outside the womb, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed its decision again and again — and again. Now, that right appears to be under assault from the court that protected it all these years. (Carla Hall, 1/21)
The Baltimore Sun:
Roe V. Wade Has Never Been Enough To Ensure Abortion Access
Last month, the Supreme Court declined to block Texas’ restrictive 6-week abortion ban. And later this year, the same nine justices will decide whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the U.S. exactly 49 years ago as of Jan. 22. While the legal right to an abortion is vital, the truth is Roe has never been enough. We at the Baltimore Abortion Fund (BAF) continue to witness how systemic racism creates unnecessary obstacles to care, especially for people of color and those working to make ends meet. Financial, logistical and social barriers have always prevented marginalized people from actually getting abortion care. This is evident in Texas, in Mississippi and even in states like Maryland — where the right to an abortion is currently protected by state law. (Ann Marie Brokmeier and Carolyn Williams, 1/20)
The New York Times:
The Mental Health Toll Of Trump-Era Politics
According to a recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll, almost nine in 10 registered voters believe there’s a mental health crisis in the United States. The crisis expresses itself in all sorts of ways: in rising rates of youth suicide, record overdoses, random acts of street violence, monthslong waiting lists for children’s therapists, mask meltdowns, QAnon. I’ve long thought that widespread psychological distress — wildly intensified by the pandemic — contributes to the derangement of American politics. But maybe the causality works the other way, too, and the ugliness of American politics is taking a toll on the psyche of the citizenry. (Michelle Goldberg, 1/21)
Health Information Exchange Advancing The Industry Toward Interoperability
The two-year war against COVID-19 and its variants has highlighted the critical importance of health data. Collected and delivered largely by health information exchanges (HIEs) around the country, health data has helped hospitals, government agencies and other stakeholders track the geography and demographics of the pandemic and vaccination status. (Lisa Bari, Melissa Kotrys and Morgan Honea, 1/20)
What Genetic Counselors Can Teach The CDC About Communicating Uncertainty
Uncertainty has become an uncomfortable part of our daily lives — perhaps more than most of us, including policymakers, would like to believe. Yet public health communications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and other authorities all arrive with a note of certainty. At this point in the pandemic, as public health communicators continue trying to educate the public about what is known about Covid-19, they also need to help people make sense of what is not known. (Chenery Lowe, Liesl Broadbridge and Laynie Dratch, 1/21)
The New York Times:
How Being Sick Changed My Health Care Views
Often around the turn of the year I perform an act of pundit accountability, looking back on the previous year's columns to assess the things that I got wrong. For this January's edition, though, I'm going to take a different kind of backward glance, and try to answer one of the frequent questions I received when I wrote, last fall, about my experience with chronic illness: Namely, has being sick altered any of my views on health care policy? It's a good question; the answer, like health policy itself, is complicated. (Ross Douthat, 1/20)