Viewpoints: Congress Needs To Step In, Bring End To Surprise ER Bills; Spend More On Social Services, Watch Health Care Costs Drop
Editorial pages focus on these and other health care topics.
Los Angeles Times:
Needing Emergency Treatment Is Bad Enough. End Surprise ER Bills
When you go to a grocery store, you don’t put a loaf of bread or a cut of meat into your basket without looking at the price tag. But when Americans go to a doctor or a hospital, they typically have no idea what their healthcare provider will charge for the services they’re going to receive. Instead, they stick with the providers in their network, trust their doctors’ treatment recommendations and hope that their insurer will cover most of the cost. That’s fine until you’re in a car wreck and an ambulance takes you to an out-of-network hospital for emergency care. Or until you go to an in-network emergency room, only to discover later that the specialists assigned to your case were out-of-network. (5/28)
The New York Times:
A Secret To Better Health Care
Health care is at the center of the national policy conversation, and with the 2020 presidential election now in full swing, that is where it will probably remain. But for all the talk about how to increase access and reduce costs, we’re missing a critical piece of the puzzle: the inverse relationship between health care costs and spending on social programs. One reason the United States spends more on health care than any other nation — more than 17 percent of gross domestic product, compared with an average of 9 percent for other advanced economies — is that we spend far less on social services like food stamps, free school lunches and public housing. (Robert E. Rubin and Kenneth L. Davis, 5/27)
Who Is Blocking 'Medicare For All'?
Those reaping the excessive profits from our illnesses and injuries are in a panic. They’re laying all their chips on the table to make sure Medicare for All never becomes reality. It would mean the end of private insurance companies that profit mightily off the most costly and least effective health-care system in the industrialized world.So, to continue to rake in their profits, they’ve created the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a partnership of corporate hospitals, insurance and drug companies. They must have a lot to lose: last year alone, the group spent $143 million developing attack ads and launching fear campaigns to kill Medicare for All. (George Goehl, 5/26)
The Wall Street Journal:
California’s Medicaid For All
Milton Friedman once said you can’t have open borders and a welfare state. He may have found an ally in California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is in a standoff with the Democratic Legislature over expanding Medicaid to undocumented immigrants. Mr. Newsom earlier this year proposed expanding Medicaid to unauthorized immigrants under age 26. Undocumented children under age 19 and pregnant women are already eligible in California, and the Governor calculated it would cost the state a mere $100 million to extend eligibility to age 25—an ostensibly modest down payment on his promise of “universal coverage.” (5/27)
The New York Times:
How To End The Child-Care Crisis
Twenty-five years ago, the Carnegie Corporation released “Starting Points,” a report that described the lack of child care for infants and toddlers as a “quiet crisis.” It painted a bleak picture of overwhelmed families, persistent poverty, inadequate health care and child care of such poor quality that it threatened young children’s intellectual and emotional development. (Shael Polakow-Suransky, 5/24)
Migrant Kids Are Dying In U.S. Custody. We Can't Let This Stand.
The deaths of migrant children in U.S. custody raise grave humanitarian concerns and set off alarms. Medical experts, human rights groups and children’s advocates long have decried unsanitary and crowded conditions at the facilities where children and families are detained for days before they are transferred to shelters or released with notices to appear before a judge. These experts have warned that the living conditions, coupled with the physical and traumatic effects of migrants’ grueling journeys here, exact a punishing toll that endangers the children’s lives. (5/25)
How Bush Institute's Program Prepares Veterans For The Next Battle
At a time when 20 or more veterans commit suicide each day, when close to 20 percent of all warfighters who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from significant post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), the difficulty of transitioning back to civilian life has perhaps never been more difficult. One effective approach to helping veterans transition is extreme sports, which combines the positive impact of exercise with re-bonding and teamwork. (Marc Siegel, 5/27)
The Washington Post:
In Rare Occasions, Dark-Skinned People Can Get Skin Cancer. But Sunscreens Won’t Help.
Melanoma is a potentially deadly form of skin cancer linked to overexposure to ultraviolet, or UV, rays from the sun. Sunscreen can block UV rays and therefore reduce the risk of sun burns, which ultimately reduces the risk of developing melanoma. Thus, the promotion of sunscreen as an effective melanoma prevention strategy is a reasonable public health message. While this may be true for light-skinned people, such as those of European descent, this is not the case for darker skinned people, or those of African descent. (Adewole S. Adamson, 5/26)
The Wall Street Journal:
Litigation Won’t Solve The Opioid Crisis
In my 40-year career helping companies navigate crises, including stints as vice chairman of a near-bankrupt Chrysler in the 1980s and chairman of AIG after the federal bailout a decade ago, I’d never encountered a situation as challenging or important to society than the one I now face as chairman of Purdue Pharma.At issue is the opioid crisis. States, cities and towns have turned to the courts and are suing Purdue and other manufacturers, distributors and pharmacy chains, claiming they are responsible for damage to communities across the country. (Steve Miller, 5/27)
The Washington Post:
The Solutions To The Opioid Crisis Are Clear. Trump Just Resists Them.
“We have to start talking about solutions,” Kellyanne Conway, ostensibly the White House opioids policy coordinator, said this week. Start? Really? We can’t blame our opioid crisis on President Trump. The epidemic pre-dates not only his administration but his entire jaunt into Republican politics. (Robert Gebelhoff, 5/24)
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Soda Pop Bans And Taxes Are Just Another Assault On Freedom By The People Who Know Best
The drinks are being targeted because of the health problems that they can create, and there is no question that sugar-filled, nutrition-free soda pop is not good for you. It increases obesity rates, decreases bone health, and can lead to diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay. It was enough for me when I noticed that it could clean the rust off my tools. That does not mean, however, that The People Who Know Best should feel free to inflict their ideas of good health on the rest of us, even under cover of educating kids or removing lead from houses. (Ted Diadiun, 5/23)
Foster Care Children Need Extra Help. Here's How Arizona Is Giving It
For many of Arizona’s 14,500 foster youth – and more than 440,000 foster youth nationwide – life after leaving foster care can offer few guarantees. Childhoods filled with challenge – constant movement, chronic health problems, poor education, even neglect and abuse – typically yield difficult prospects in adulthood, with a potentially lifelong impact. With May marking National Foster Care Month, let’s recognize that we can do better by these young people. Indeed, in Arizona, we are making meaningful progress. (Scott Cummings and Edmundo Hidalgo, 5/24)
The Washington Post:
United Medical Center: When Will D.C. Realize It Doesn’t Belong In The Hospital Business?
D.C. lawmakers have finally decided to do something about the wasteful spending at the troubled public hospital in Southeast. We wish we could applaud the move to cap spending and eventually close the hospital, but it is long overdue and — even more troubling — hinges on plans to replace it with a costly new hospital built at taxpayer expense. When will the city realize it doesn’t belong in the hospital business? When will it consider other, more effective ways to meet the urgent and critical health needs of people who live east of the Anacostia River? (5/26)