Longer Looks: The Epi-Pen; Black Health Matters
Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
EpiPen Is Trying To Win Over Critics By Issuing "Coupons." Don't Be Fooled.
EpiPen manufacturer Mylan didn’t cut the price of its drug after a congressman’s letter revealed Monday that it had crept above $500. Instead, it’s said it will offer patients, who use the hormone for life-threatening allergic reactions, more financial help to obtain it. EpiPen users who have insurance (90 percent of the users) will get $300 coupons to cover the steep copayments. The other 10 percent without insurance will have more help buying the drug directly. That’s great news for patients who need EpiPens but have so far found them unaffordable. But it’s also terrible news for the American health care system. (Sarah Kliff, 8/26)
The New York Times:
Black Health Matters
The first bloom appeared in the crease of my right elbow, an itchy cluster that I ignored. It was well into summer, so I wrote it off as heat rash, or something similarly seasonal. But then it started to spread. The topography of my body transformed into a foreign mess of hives and scaly patches. (Jenna Wortham, 8/27)
The New Yorker:
What Aetna's Withdrawal Means For Obamacare
Few companies are as unpopular as insurance companies, and no tears were shed for the insurance giant Aetna when, a couple of weeks ago, it announced that it had lost more than four hundred million dollars on Obamacare policies since the Obamacare exchanges were set up, in 2014, and was going to pull out of most of them. The news, which followed similar announcements by United Healthcare and Humana, was greeted with talk of “whining” insurers who “put profits before patients’ health” and are “willing to deny care to make a few extra dollars.” But the recriminations are misplaced. (James Surowiecki, 8/28)
Science Vs. Stigma: The Continued Criminalization Of HIV
At least 30 states currently have statutes on the books that specifically forbid people infected with HIV from potentially exposing others to the virus. Several more states prosecute under broader communicable disease laws — and all of these laws persist despite what is now decades of scientific knowledge putting the virulence of HIV well below a menagerie of other common pathogens. Hepatitis B, for example, is another sexually transmitted virus with potentially life-threatening consequences, and while some states do include hepatitis B in their non-disclosure statutes, failure to admit an infection to a sexual partner is rarely, if ever, prosecuted. (Jessica Wapner, 8/30)
Inside North America’s Only Legal Safe Injection Facility
Insite is the only legally operated center of its kind in North America. It costs about $2.3 million a year to run and serves about 800 people a day, according to Russ Maynard, a member of the management team of the Portland Hotel Society, the non-profit that runs Insite and several anti-poverty projects in the Vancouver area. Insite is especially valuable to a place like Vancouver: An old estimate puts the city’s drug-injecting population at between 3,000 and 5,000. With the drug-overdose epidemic quickly worsening — between 2000 and 2014, the rates at which Americans have died with prescription painkillers or heroin in their bloodstreams doubled — advocacy groups and politicians in Seattle, Sacramento, Boston, and Ithaca are considering opening supervised injection sites of their own. Around the world, countries including France, Germany, Norway, Spain, and Australia have opened such facilities. (Francie Diep, 8/30)