KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Longer Looks: Overcoming Opioids; Single Payer; And American Anxiety

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

The Associated Press: Overcoming Opioids: The Quest For Less Addictive Drugs
This growing dependence on opioids has mushroomed into a national health crisis, ripping apart communities and straining police and health departments. Every day, an overdose of prescription opioids or heroin kills 91 people, and legions more are brought back from the brink of death. With some 2 million Americans hooked on these pills, evidence is growing that they're not as good a choice for treating chronic pain as once thought. (Marilynn Marchione, 4/17)

The Atlantic: Why America Has Fewer Types Of IUDs Than Other Countries
My uterus needs more options. In 2013, a gynecologist told me that it was too short to fit any FDA-approved IUD. So I traipsed from Colorado to Canada to get a smaller IUD called the GyneFix. This IUD isn’t shaped like a “T”—as all American IUDs are—but, rather, a rod. (Caroline Beaton, 4/18)

The New York Times: America’s New ‘Anxiety’ Disorder
In 1947, W.H. Auden published a very long poem that, despite winning a Pulitzer Prize, is now remembered less for its contents than for its title: “The Age of Anxiety.” Something about the idea that an age can be anxious must resonate deep in America’s cultural bones, because the phrase has been used to describe countless moments since, from the vogue for tranquilizers like Miltown and Valium in the ’50s and ’60s to the coronation of today’s young adults as, in The New York Post’s recent estimation, “The Anxious Generation.” At this point, it’s difficult to imagine a slice of time whose resident humans would not agree with the notion that their lives were more hectically modern — more anxiety-inducing, more in need of the occasional benzo — than any before. (Nitsuh Abebe, 4/18)

The Atlantic: Did Obamacare Increase Voter Turnout? 
The ACA expansion established Medicaid as the bedrock of public insurance and public assistance in America. Now, there’s evidence that it not only expanded health insurance coverage, but the electorate itself. (Vann Newkirk, 4/18)

The New York Times: Why The Menace Of Mosquitoes Will Only Get Worse
The outbreak began so slowly that no one in Dallas perceived it at first. In June 2012, a trickle of people began showing up in emergency rooms broiling with fever, complaining that their necks were stiff and that bright lights hurt their eyes. The numbers were initially small; but by the middle of July, there were more than 50 victims each week, slumping in doctors’ offices or carried into hospitals comatose or paralyzed from inflammation in their brains. In early August, after nine people died, Dallas County declared a state of emergency: It was caught in an epidemic of what turned out to be West Nile virus, the worst ever experienced by a city in the United States. By the end of the year, 1,162 people had tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus; 216 had become sick enough to be hospitalized; and 19 were dead. (Maryn McKenna, 4/20)

New York Magazine: The Pharmacist Who Tries Not To Judge You
We don’t get any training in how to spot a drug user; it’s just through experience. A definite red flag is when they bring in a prescription for a narcotic — say, Percocet — and tell me, “I want to pay full price in cash.” (Alexa Tsoulis-Reay, 4/14)

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