Viewpoints: Build Back Better May Improve Health Care Access; Why Did US Forget How To Prevent Contagion?
Opinion pages delve into these public health issues.
The Washington Post:
The U.S. Is On The Verge Of A Major Health-Care Achievement, And No One Seems To Have Noticed
The United States is on the verge of a major achievement, one that almost no one seems to have noticed. If — and right now this remains a big “if” — some version of President Biden’s Build Back Better plan gets back on track, we might finally join the ranks of every other rich nation on Earth and treat access to health care as a fundamental right. (Catherine Rampell, 1/6)
Kansas City Star:
Americans Used To Understand We Have To Fight Contagious Diseases. What Happened?
When my fellow baby boomers had children in elementary school, the classroom was often referred to as a petri dish where every known contagion was circulating. Kids brought it all home, and home became its own petri dish of contagious diseases. The adults took the contagions to work. Teachers encouraged parents to keep their sick children at home to protect their classmates and stop the spread. Employers urged the sick to protect their co-workers, take their sick leave and stay at home. The phenomenon of contagion seemed to be grasped by the vast majority. What happened? (D. Robert Warley, 1/7)
The Baltimore Sun:
An Epidemic Among Young Adults Puts College Educators On The Front Lines Of Mental Health
Just before final exams last month, I sent a private chat to one of my students during a class Zoom meeting. He hadn’t handed in any assignments this semester and was attending class meetings sporadically, at best. He responded: “I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch this semester. … I’ve been in a dark place and wanted to end things.” I gave him my mobile number and asked him to call me after class. He assured me that he wouldn’t “do anything extreme” at this point, because he was “feeling better.” After our conversation, I sent him the counseling center email, a suicide hotline number and pleaded with him to share his struggles with his parents and to set up a counseling appointment. (Andrew Reiner, 1/6)
Out-Of-Pocket Drug Costs For Medicare Beneficiaries Need To Be Reined In
This year, 56 million U.S. seniors will pay more for Medicare prescription drug coverage, partly due to a single drug most will not take — Aduhelm, a newly approved, expensive, and controversial Alzheimer’s drug. In late 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced one of the largest increases ever — nearly 15% — to monthly premiums for Medicare Part B, which provides coverage for injected or infused medications administered by clinicians, among other outpatient services. CMS’s rationale? The premium price hike was needed in anticipation of potential future coverage of Aduhelm, initially priced at $56,000 per year. (Reshma Ramachandran, Tianna Zhou and Joseph S. Ross, 1/7)
Dallas Morning News:
Adding More Hospital Beds Won’t Solve Texas’ Mental Health Crisis
It’s not hyperbole at all to say that Texas’ mental health situation has evolved from crisis to tragedy in recent months. The proof points are everywhere. As of Oct. 2021, more than 1,800 Texans who had been recommended for the state’s mental health system were waiting in jail, according to KXAN-TV reporting. As a result, some people who need help are dying. Our mental health hospitals are overloaded, and our children and teens’ mental health is floundering thanks to the pandemic and other societal challenges. (Alison Leonard, 1/7)