Viewpoints: Biden’s Plan Misses Crucial In-Home Baby Visits; Rethinking Substance Use As Public Health Issue
Editorial pages tackle these public health topics.
Babies Deserve Healthy Starts. Add Home Visits To Biden Families Plan.
President Joe Biden just released his American Families Plan focused on strengthening the country’s social safety net and investing in our children. Surprisingly, the $1.8 trillion plan seems to be missing one essential component: scaling up successful, evidence-based and thus far dreadfully underfunded early childhood interventions for low-income families. In particular, it should include programs that provide regular home visits, such as nurse-family partnerships, for low-income families beginning at birth and going up to one or two years of age. (Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Amaya Diana, 5/10)
The Baltimore Sun:
What Science Says Works In Addressing Overdose And Substance Use — And What Doesn’t
Following Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s recent announcement that she will no longer prosecute drug possession, there has been a great deal of debate in The Baltimore Sun about how society should grapple with the persistent and escalating public health crisis of substance use and overdose. As public health researchers, we welcome these discussions as an opportunity to critically evaluate the available data and guide evidence-based policy decisions that could save lives. Unfortunately, some of the claims made in letters to the editor and elsewhere are not grounded in scientific evidence, and risk ignoring historical and contemporary lessons from the U.S. and beyond. (Saba Rouhani and Susan G. Sherman, 5/10
Patrick J. Kennedy: Mental Health Care Must Be Treated Like Health Care. My Friend Steve Winter Showed Us Why.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Steve Winter in 2007 when, as one of the sponsors of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, I helped organize congressional field hearings around the country. The bill — now a law — was designed to require insurers to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders no more restrictively than they covered treatment for other illnesses, such as diabetes and cancer. Steve, who was then 45, traveled to several of those hearings at his own expense to tell his story to help reform what he called "shortcomings of the mental health system" — the very shortcomings that failed his mother and countless other Americans. (Patrick J. Kennedy, former U.S Representative, 5/10)
Idealism Inspired Post-Pandemic Health Care Careers: Caveat Emptor
Health care workers facing notoriously difficult work lives and high levels of burnout were some of the brightest stars in the U.S. over the past year. Stories about how they went above and beyond to deliver care to their patients during the Covid-19 pandemic — providing drive-thru and virtual primary care; triaging patients in parking lots and tents; reusing personal protective equipment while working to save lives in emergency rooms and intensive care units — made lasting impressions on Americans of all ages. (Timothy Hoff, 5/11)
The Forgotten History Of The World's First Trans Clinic
The first gender affirmation surgeries took place in 1920s, at a facility which employed transgender technicians and nurses, and which was headed by a gay Jewish man. The forgotten history of the institute, and its fall to Nazis bent on the euthanasia of homosexuals and transgender people, offers us both hope—and a cautionary tale—in the face of oppressive anti-trans legislation in the United States. (Brandy Shillace, 5/10)
A Free-Market Alternative To Government-Controlled Health Care
For the better part of the past three decades, supporters of free-market public policy solutions have fought against one attempt after another by liberals, progressives and socialists to expand even further the overwhelming role of government in health care. In response to “Hillarycare” in the early 1990s, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ demand for “Medicare for All,” and President Joe Biden’s recent call for an expansion of the Affordable Care Act and the creation of a “public option,” advocates for limited government have largely played defense when it comes to health care reform. They have rightly and often effectively pointed out the dangers of expansive (and expensive) government programs, but they have failed to offer and properly communicate to the public a large-scale health care reform plan of their own that would tackle all the problems with the current system. (Justin Haskins and S. T. Karnick, 5/10)