Longer Looks: An Obamacare Nightmare; A Pain Empire & Predicting Pandemics
Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
How Iowa Became An Obamacare Horror Story
Nick Podhajsky plans to get married this year for an unusual reason: health insurance coverage. The 44-year-old farmer had expected to tie the knot next year. But because Iowa’s individual health insurance market is in chaos—with competition disappearing and prices skyrocketing—his fiancee was potentially going to be left with no affordable coverage options for next year. So they’ve decided to hold the ceremony before the end of the year, allowing his bride-to-be to get coverage through his plan. (Paul Demko, 10/23)
The New Yorker:
The Family That Built An Empire Of Pain
According to Forbes, the Sacklers are now one of America’s richest families, with a collective net worth of thirteen billion dollars—more than the Rockefellers or the Mellons. The bulk of the Sacklers’ fortune has been accumulated only in recent decades, yet the source of their wealth is to most people as obscure as that of the robber barons. While the Sacklers are interviewed regularly on the subject of their generosity, they almost never speak publicly about the family business, Purdue Pharma—a privately held company, based in Stamford, Connecticut, that developed the prescription painkiller OxyContin. (Patrick Radden Keefe, 10/23)
Is It Possible To Predict The Next Pandemic?
It’s been two years since an epidemic of Zika began in Brazil, three since the largest Ebola outbreak in history erupted in West Africa, eight since a pandemic of H1N1 flu swept the world, and almost a hundred since a different H1N1 flu pandemic killed 50 million people worldwide. Those viruses were all known, but no one knew when or where they’d trigger epidemics. Other diseases, like SARS, MERS, and HIV, emerged out of the blue. (Ed Yong, 10/25)
What Declaring A National Emergency Over The Opioid Epidemic Could Actually Do
The move would also be unprecedented; such declarations are typically held for immediate, short-term crises like hurricanes and contagious disease epidemics, not long-term public health issues like the opioid crisis. But a declaration could potentially unlock some support to address the crisis, including a bit of funding and special regulatory waivers that could bolster prevention programs as well as access to addiction treatment and the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. (German Lopez, 10/23)
Politico's The Agenda:
The Workforce Issue
When we think about the future of American health care, we tend to imagine a future full of cool new things — high-tech gizmos, miracle drugs and fancy machinery all designed to fix whatever ails us. But the truth is that what matters most in health care isn’t things. It’s people. (10/25)