Longer Looks: Crowdfunding Health Care; Rural Hospitals; And Life Expectancy
Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
Why Are So Many Americans Crowdfunding Their Healthcare?
Isabella Masucci strode into hospital after a sleepless night. She carried a paper bag of prized possessions and bore two meandering scars on her hairless head. Instead of the princess dress she had wanted to wear, she was dressed in a T-shirt and pink leggings. They enabled easier access to the tube that hung down from a catheter under the skin of her chest, allowing doctors to load the toxic drug Dactinomycin into her heart. It was close to her 50th day of chemotherapy. Isabella is two years old. (Jopson, 1/10)
America's Rural Hospitals Are Dangerously Fragile
This is the story of a small-town, publicly-owned hospital that, after thriving for decades, is struggling and now in all likelihood about to be appended to a large regional health-care system. The tale of Berger Municipal Hospital is, like that of many sectors of the American economy, one defined by industrial consolidation and the costs that come with it. The story begins in 1929. That year, the city fathers of Circleville, Ohio, in the south-central part of the state, dedicated the town’s new hospital, funded partly with money willed by a local patron named Franklin Berger. (Brian Alexander, 1/9)
What The Dip In US Life Expectancy Is Really About: Inequality
What’s often lost in the conversation about the uptick in mortality here is that this trend isn’t affecting all Americans. In fact, there’s one group in the US that’s actually doing better than ever: the rich. While poor and middle-class Americans are dying earlier these days, the wealthiest among us are enjoying unprecedented longevity.So when we talk about life expectancy slipping, what we should also talk about is the growing problem of health inequality in America. (Julia Belluz, 1/9)
Politico's The Agenda:
Welcome To The Upstream Issue
We need to start investing not just in medicine, but in a lot of things that have little to do with doctors and hospitals, or with drugs and procedures. So we’re ending this series with an issue on just that subject: the “Upstream” issue, an exploration of out-of-the-box ideas for getting ahead of tomorrow’s health challenges today. What else should we be focusing on if we want Americans in 20, 30 or 40 years to be healthier than they are now? Where should we focus our resources? (1/10)
Scientists Just Solved A Major Piece Of The Opioid Puzzle
When it comes to tackling the opioid crisis, public health workers start with the drugs: fentanyl, morphine, heroin. But biochemists have a different focus: Not the opioids, but opioid receptors—the proteins the drugs latch onto within the body. (Robbie Gonzalez, 1/8)
Health Care Just Became The U.S.'s Largest Employer
Due to the inexorable aging of the country—and equally unstoppable growth in medical spending—it was long obvious that health-care jobs would slowly take up more and more of the economy. But in the last quarter, for the first time in history, health care has surpassed manufacturing and retail, the most significant job engines of the 20th century, to become the largest source of jobs in the U.S. (Derek Thompson, 1/9)