KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Viewpoints: Health Care Costs Are About More Than Economics; Did The Danger Of Painkillers Go Unnoticed By The FDA?

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.

RealClear Health: Health Care Costs Aren't Just About Economics
Reimbursement incentives are crucial in health care. The bottom line is, well, the bottom line. But one reason we still have haven’t got a tight handle on health care costs is that they are too often treated only as an issue of economics, rather than medicine. The limits of this approach are clear. Health care costs in the United States have been rising much faster than inflation for a long time. When Medicare was created in 1965, for example, the United States was spending about 6 percent of GOP on health care. Today the number is about 18 percent, or $3.4 trillion in 2016. (Marschall S. Runge, 10/9)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: GOP Is Failing Children Of All Ages On Health Care
In their abortive last-ditch effort to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (and gut Medicaid in the process) before the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year, Senate Republicans didn’t get around to reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program. For 20 years, CHIP has enjoyed broad bipartisan support, and still might if GOP lawmakers can stop turning every health care issue into an argument about Obamacare. (10/9)

JAMA Forum: Building Blocks For Addressing Social Determinants Of Health
Our health care system is waking up to the fact that the health of individuals and families does not depend solely on good coverage and good medical care; it also requires us to address social and other factors that are major contributors to a person’s physical and mental well-being. That’s why more and more clinics are screening incoming patients for challenges in areas ranging from housing conditions, nutrition, access to transportation, and even their ability to afford utilities. It’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics urged its members not only to screen all patients for food insecurity but to refer parents to appropriate agencies. It is also why some hospitals, to reduce readmissions, have brought organizations like Health Leads into their discharge planning to connect patients with social services. (Stuart Butler, 10/5)

The Wichita Eagle: The Interminable Race Against Depression
I know that there are many places and people out there, right now, who are trying their best to reach out and help those who are struggling with depression. And it seems simple enough to those on the outside. Reach out, get help and you can beat depression. But like I said, depression is relentless and doesn’t give up so easily. Just like with alcoholism and drug addiction. Depression keeps pounding at you, whispering in your ear, trying to bring you back in to its fold. So even those people who are fortunate enough to have all the resources in the world can still end up bowing down to its will. (Becky Galloway, 10/10)

The Kansas City Star: Kansas Isn’t ‘The Religious Police’ In Vaccine Case
A Kansas couple trying to keep their 2-year-old grandson from being vaccinated sees themselves as fighting “the religious police.” Which makes it sound like they’re comparing the State of Kansas to Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, who until not that long ago went around beating Islamic dress code violators with canes. (Melinda Henneberger, 10/9)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.