KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Longer Looks: Obamacare Alternatives; Opioid Orphans; And Michelle Obama’s Legacy

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

The Atlantic: What Donald Trump Voters Want Instead Of Obamacare
I recently interviewed a dozen people in three small towns near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania—a region that went for [Donald] Trump by wide margins—and found several broad reasons for dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act. Americans have grown too lazy and entitled, some feel, and the Trump administration’s health-care proposals should promote greater personal responsibility. Others are simply confused by the law, what exactly it changed, and where they fit within the new health-care regime. But others liked the idea of universal health insurance and thought the law would help them. When it didn’t, some turned to Trump to tear it all down and start again. (Olga Khazan, 12/20)

NPR's Fresh Air: Dr. Anna Lembke: Well-Meaning Doctors Have Driven The Opioid Epidemic
Prescriptions for opioid painkillers increased, and so, too, did cases of opioid addiction. In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared a prescription drug epidemic as a result of doctors overprescribing painkillers to patients. [Dr. Anna] Lembke's new book, Drug Dealer, MD, explores the origins of the prescription drug epidemic from a doctor's perspective. (12/15)

The Washington Post: ‘What Kind Of A Childhood Is That?’
These children are sometimes referred to by health officials here as opiate orphans, and three of the most recent ones live in a small house in South Charleston: Zoie, 10, who believed that her parents had died in their sleep; Arianna, 13, who was just starting to wear her mother’s old makeup; and Zaine, 17, who had been the one to discover his parents that morning on their bedroom floor, and whose grades had begun to drop ever since. (Eli Saslow, 12/17)

Charleston Gazette-Mail: Drug Firms Poured 780M Painkillers Into WV Amid Rise Of Overdoses
Follow the pills and you'll find the overdose deaths. The trail of painkillers leads to West Virginia's southern coalfields, to places like Kermit, population 392. There, out-of-state drug companies shipped nearly 9 million highly addictive — and potentially lethal — hydrocodone pills over two years to a single pharmacy in the Mingo County town. First in a two-part series. (Eric Eyre, 12/17)

Vox: House Conservatives Will Try To Kill Michelle Obama’s Surprisingly Successful Anti-Obesity Campaign
Back in October, I talked to a bunch of food and nutrition policy wonks about the first lady’s influence on food issues. They offered near-unanimous praise: She planted a garden, waged snappy social media campaigns, and worked behind the scenes with researchers, lawmakers, heads of government departments, schools, and food giants to quietly change what Americans eat. At the time, it seemed likely that Hillary Clinton would be president, and that the next White House would only build on the current first lady’s legacy. Now we’re looking at a considerably different future. (Julia Belluz, 12/16)

NPR: Getting Students With Autism Through High School, To College And Beyond
Colin Ozeki, 17, doesn't like to sugarcoat how autism spectrum disorder has affected his interactions with others, his emotions and his own self-confidence. He sees it as an issue to confront, something about himself to work on and improve in order to fully participate in life around him. (Yasmeen Khan, 12/18)

The Atlantic: No Doctor Should Work 30 Straight Hours Without Sleep
When Larry Schlachter was a 31-year-old neurosurgeon, he was driving to the hospital early one morning and “just blacked out.” He crashed his car and crushed his chest; broken ribs punctured his thorax, which filled with air and blood. “I almost died.” (James Hamblin, 12/15)

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