Viewpoints: California’s Proposal On Assisted Suicide Full Of Risk; Changes Needed For Post-Pandemic Health Care
Editorial writers weigh in on these public health topics.
California Must Reject Efforts To Expand Assisted Suicide
Some members of the California state legislature are pressing for legislation that expands assisted suicide. But making it quicker and easier for people to die, after more than 64,000 Californians lost their lives to the coronavirus, is misguided at best. Assisted suicide is a dangerous public policy that threatens Latinos, people with disabilities, our elders and the most vulnerable in society. Advocates cloak their support of assisted suicide in the language of autonomy and alleviating pain, but their claims disintegrate upon close inspection. California should work to reexamine and redirect the focus from providing suicide to improving health care access for those who need it most. (Jose Berrera, 8/9)
Virus Variants And The Business Of Health Care
We’re in a new phase of the Covid-19 pandemic in which new mutations will have to be consistently monitored — especially as the vaccine race continues. This reality is something I’m always thinking about in my role in financial services supporting health care clients at J.P. Morgan. How will these mutations affect the business of health care — and how can clients and organizations best prepare — for next month and for the years to come? (Bret Schiller, 8/9)
A New Idea That Could Help Us Understand Autism
As social beings, when thinking about autism we tend to focus on its social challenges, such as difficulty communicating, making friends and showing empathy. I am a geneticist and the mother of a teenage boy with autism. I too worry most about whether he’ll have the conversational skills to do basic things like grocery shopping or whether he will ever have a real friend. But I assure you that the nonsocial features of autism are also front and center in our lives: intense insistence on sameness, atypical responses to sensory stimuli and a remarkable ability to detect small details. Many attempts have been made to explain all the symptoms of autism holistically, but no one theory has yet explained all the condition’s puzzling and diverse features. (Pamela Feliciano, 8/6)
Applying A Pandemic-Like Response To Cancer Prevention
In 2020, a year of unimaginable tragedy, an estimated 375,000 people died from Covid-19 infections in the United States alone. Much of the suffering and death due to the disease was preventable in three ways: through avoidance by wearing masks and social distancing; by screening and treatment; and by vaccination. One of the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic has been that effective prevention strategies and widely used screening tests, combined with treatment and vaccines, can be developed and deployed rapidly across the country. We need to do the same thing for cancer prevention. (Philip E. Castle, 8/9)
Health Is Health - Whether Mental Or Physical. Thanks, Simone Biles, For The Reminder.
The evening after Olympic gymnast Simone Biles shocked the athletic world by withdrawing from the women’s team event in Tokyo, she sat in the stands and cheered on teammate Sunisa Lee as the 18-year-old Hmong American delivered a stunning gold-medal performance in the all-around competition. Afterward, Biles laughingly told reporters that as she watched Lee, she found it hard to believe that a human body could perform such astounding feats. (8/9)
Money From Opioid Settlements Must Go To Fortify Public Health
States, counties, cities, and tribes have brought thousands of lawsuits seeking to hold players in the drug industry accountable for their roles in igniting the opioid epidemic. These lawsuits have come as nearly 500,000 Americans have died from overdoses of prescription and illicit opioids in the past two decades. Many more have suffered nonfatal overdoses, and an estimated 20 million Americans struggle with substance use disorders. (Sen. Dick Durbin, 8/5)