Longer Looks: Meth In Alaska; The Health Care Election; And American Epidemics
Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The Last Frontier: Inside Alaska’s Methamphetamine Epidemic
The first time James Savage used meth it was to avoid shooting heroin. Back when he was 19, working as a baker in the remote town of Beluga, Alaska, Savage fell off a ladder, shattering the bones in his right foot. A camp medic gave him painkillers to cope with the discomfort as they waited for the weather to clear to get him to proper medical care. It was his introduction to opioids, and kicked off years spent rotating through pain clinics, growing more and more dependent on legal pills. (Zachariah Hughes, 8/9)
Medicaid Expansion Is Now More Cost-Effective Than Obamacare Exchanges.
Here’s a data point that I fully expect to see fans of single-payer health care cite in the future: For the federal government, helping Americans buy private insurance under Obamacare is now more expensive per enrollee than simply covering them through the law’s Medicaid expansion. (Jordan Weismann, 8/10)
Health Care Is Broken. Oscar Health Thinks Tech Can Fix It
One of Google's earliest employees, Salar Kamangar, former CEO of YouTube, will also join Oscar’s board. I spoke with Schlosser for an hour on Monday about the deal, privacy, data, and whether, one day, we’ll actually treat our gastroenteritis through an app. (Nicholas Thompson, 8/14)
Vote Like The Affordable Care Act Depends On It (It Does)
Health care is on the ballot this year, in more ways than voters may realize. Full repeal of the Affordable Care Act remains a very real possibility if Republicans get through the midterm elections with their congressional majorities intact. But even if the law stays on the books, its future will depend heavily on who wields power at the state level ― as governors, insurance commissioners and members of state legislatures. (Jonathan Cohn, 8/12)
The New York Times:
Is The U.S. Knee-Deep In ‘Epidemics,’ Or Is That Just Wishful Thinking?
There is something about enormous tragedies that has always mystified humans, sending us scrambling for explanations. Hurricanes, earthquakes and plagues were once explained as God’s wrath, or at least Mother Nature’s; later, they were understood in terms of pressure systems, tectonic plates, bacteria. Some recurring human tragedies still resist easy explanation, but even for them, we reserve one tool for connecting the dots and telling a story: It’s an “epidemic.” (Zachary Siegel, 8/14)
AI Can Spot The Pain From A Disease Some Doctors Still Think Is Fake
Decoding the brain signature for fibromyalgia could hold the key to understanding the disease and which treatments work for which patients. But it’s also a definitive, objective sign that fibromyalgia really does exist. (Olivia Goldhill, 8/9)
Effort To Diversify Medical Research Raises Thorny Questions Of Race
Under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health the program seeks to collect the genetic, biographical and health information of at least one million U.S. residents over the next decade. ...But attaining such a representative group means overcoming a history of unethical research practices that have left seeds of doubt in a number of communities. (Miller, 8/11)