Perspectives: Physicians Are Not Great At Showing Up To Vote. It’s Time To Change That.
Columnists offer takes about the upcoming election and other health care issues.
Hey, Doctors: Don't Be No-Shows (Again) On Election Day
Physicians do many things well. One thing they aren’t good at is showing up to vote. That bad habit starts early, and we believe it can — and must — be changed. We don’t have data from recent elections, but studies from a decade ago show that physicians voted less often than the general population. (Lawyers, in contrast, were more likely to vote than the general population.) Given that health care accounts for almost one-fifth of the U.S. gross domestic product, and that new laws and regulations continuously alter the norms of medical practice, it is both curious and shameful that medical professionals fail to fulfill the basic civic responsibility of voting. (Suhas Gondi, Jonathan Kusner and Yosef Beryland, 10/8)
Elections Should Center On Health Care
It is not the economy, stupid. It is health care. Former President Bill Clinton famously won on a general economic message in 1992, delivering his famous “stupid” comment. It resonated among Americans enduring an unemployment rate of nearly 8 percent. Growth was anemic, the stock market was stagnant and the country remained nervously dependent on foreign oil. (10/6)
To Improve Health Outcomes Federal And State Governments Must Collaborate
The recent decision by Congress to direct Medicare reduction readmission penalties for hospitals that serve patient populations with high social needs is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough. Certainly, easing up on readmission penalties is a positive development for struggling safety net hospitals, which have long (and correctly) voiced that their patients are more likely to experience complications after leaving the hospital through little fault of their own. (Manik Bhat, 10/5)
Don't Want Immigrants On The Public Dole? End The Work Permit Backlog.
The Trump administration's Department of Homeland Security recently proposed a new rule that makes it harder for immigrants to obtain a green card if they use any kind of public benefits while in the United States. In 2014, the waiting period for an application for employment authorization was about two months, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In 2018 the processing time doubled to more than four months. The administration ought to focus on diminishing that backlog, instead of punishing immigrants who go broke while waiting to be allowed to work. (Wouter van Acker, 10/6)
Industry's Strong Players Merging In Age Of Healthcare Disruption
The prospect of another huge healthcare merger—this time involving two of Texas’ more prestigious hospital systems—is the surest signal yet that even the industry’s strongest players are having a difficult time navigating the rapidly shifting healthcare landscape. Baylor Scott & White Health, a dominant system in the Dallas market, and Memorial Hermann, which holds a similar position in Houston, hope to complete their combination by the middle of next year. (Merrill Goozner, 10/4)
A Tiny Fish-Oil Drug Rival Trash Talks Amarin, But There's Still Much To Prove
Matinas BioPharma (MTNB) shelved development of a prescription formulation of fish oil three years ago. The tiny company, with a stock that trades for pennies, decided investors would be more interested in its drug delivery technology and a small pipeline of anti-infectives. But then Amarin (AMRN) happened. Amarin’s stock price soared to all-time highs — adding nearly $5 billion in market cap — on the readout of a large clinical trial showing its proprietary fish oil drug, called Vascepa, cut the risk of bad cardiovascular events like heart attacks and stroke in patients by an astounding 25 percent. (Adam Feuerstein, 10/8)
Dallas Morning News:
Finally, Thankfully, Congress Finds Something To Agree On — Fighting Scourge Of Opioid Abuse
In this age of partisan bickering in Washington, we're pleased to spotlight rays of bipartisan congressional cooperation on a national crisis: opioid abuse. After months of hard work, much of it led by U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Pilot Point, and Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn, a comprehensive bill to address the medical and social scourge of opioid addiction lacks only Donald Trump's signature to become law. The president, who declared opioid addiction a national emergency, is expected to sign the bill, providing new weapons to curtail an epidemic that has shattered families and communities. (10/8)
Dallas Morning News:
Can The Baylor-Memorial Hospital Merger Lower The Costs Of Health Care For Texans?
What do you get from putting together the top hospital systems in Dallas and Houston? Maybe a company that can compete with Amazon and Warren Buffett. Or even better, a company that can collaborate with them. This week, Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas and Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston agreed to a merger that would combine two faith-based, not-for-profit organizations that control about a quarter of the hospital business in their respective hometowns. (Mitchell Schnurman, 10/7)
San Jose Mercury News:
Keep O'Connor, Saint Louise Hospital Beds Open
It’s imperative that San Jose’s O’Connor Hospital and Gilroy’s Saint Louise Regional Hospital remain open to serve Santa Clara County’s growing population. The county already has a shortage of hospital beds. (10/4)