KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Longer Looks: A Grandmother’s Abortion; Exploding Obamacare; And Doctors In China

Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.

The New Yorker: My Grandmother’s Desperate Choice
Some friends and I had got into a long after-school discussion about abortion, prompted by the gruesome posters that a protester had staked in front of the Planned Parenthood in our Vermont town. I had already begun reading my mother’s Ms. magazines cover to cover, but this was the first time I’d encountered a pro-life position. When I hopped into my mom’s car after school, I was buzzing with new ideas. I had almost finished repeating one friend’s pro-life argument when I saw the look on Mom’s face. That’s when she told me: the “household accident” that had killed her mother had, in fact, been a self-induced abortion. (Kate Daloz, 5/14)

Vox: What Does It Look Like When Obamacare Explodes? This Interactive Graphic Explains.
The biggest risk when health insurance plans quit Obamacare is that some areas could end up with no plans at all. This would mean that, while the law was still technically standing, people there would not have access to the program. They’d have no place to use the financial help the government provides to buy coverage on (Sarah Kliff and Sarah Frostenson, 5/15)

The Economist: Shod, But Still Shoddy: China Needs Many More Primary-Care Doctors
Queues at Chinese hospitals are legendary. The acutely sick jostle with the elderly and frail even before gates open, desperate for a coveted appointment to see a doctor. Scalpers hawk waiting tickets to those rich or desperate enough to jump the line. The ordeal that patients often endure is partly the result of a shortage of staff and medical facilities. But it is also due to a bigger problem. Many people who seek medical help in China bypass general practitioners and go straight to hospital-based specialists. In a country once famed for its readily accessible “barefoot doctors”, primary care is in tatters. (5/11)

Wired: The WannaCry Ransomware Hackers Made Some Major Mistakes
The WannaCry Ransomware Attack has quickly become the worst digital disaster to strike the internet in years, crippling transportation and hospitals globally. But it increasingly appears that this is not the work of hacker masterminds. Instead, cybersecurity investigators see in the recent meltdown a sloppy cybercriminal scheme, one that reveals amateur mistakes at practically every turn. (Andy Greenberg, 5/15)

The Atlantic: Does Depression Contribute To Opioid Abuse?
It can sometimes seem strange how so much of the country got hooked on opioids within just a few years. Deaths from prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone have more than quadrupled since 1999, according to the CDC. But pain doesn’t seem to be the only culprit: About one-third of Americans have chronic pain, but not all of them take prescription painkillers for it. Of those who do take prescription opioids, not all become addicted. (Olga Khazan, 5/15)

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