Viewpoints: Count The Ways Trump Is Undermining His Own Initiative To End HIV; Harmful Title X Rule Shows Callous Disregard For Patients
Opinion writers weigh in on these health topics and others.
The New York Times:
Trump Wants To Eliminate H.I.V. But Some Of His Policies Do The Opposite.
The H.I.V. outbreak in Scott County, Ind., which began in late 2014 and ultimately resulted in some 200 new infections, was almost entirely avoidable. As far back as 2008, health officials had advised the state to implement needle exchange programs in light of growing injection drug use. Those calls went unheeded. By 2011, it was clear that an H.I.V. outbreak was brewing in the region, but elected officials did not change course. Nor did they take other basic steps — like expanding access to evidence-based treatment programs for opioid use disorder, or increasing government funding for H.I.V. testing — that might have brought the problem under control. (3/16)
The Consequences Of X-Ing Out Title X
The Trump administration has made several attempts to disrupt access to family planning and sexual health care and its efforts to fundamentally alter the Title X family planning program put our nation’s poor and low-income populations particularly at risk. By finalizing its harmful Title X rule, the administration is aiming to drastically change the nearly 50-year-old program that facilitates access to free or low-cost, high-quality family planning and sexual health care to millions of women, men and teens who otherwise might go without care. (Clare Coleman, 3/15)
Court Orders Parity Coverage For Mental Health, Addiction Treatment
For far too long, health insurers have been treating people with mental health and substance use disorders like second-class citizens. A federal court recently ruled that this must stop. Employers and regulators, take note. The ruling came in the case of Wit v. United Behavioral Health (UBH). A federal court in Northern California found that UBH, which manages behavioral health services for UnitedHealthcare and other health insurers, rejected the insurance claims of tens of thousands of people seeking mental health and substance use disorder treatment based on defective medical review criteria. In other words, the largest managed behavioral health care company in the country was found liable for protecting its bottom line at the expense of its members. (Former Reps. Patrick J. Kennedy and Jim Ramstad, 3/18)
Georgia's Heartbeat Abortion Bill Is Dangerous For Women Nationwide
Late on Thursday, March 7th, minutes before a key legislative deadline, the Georgia House of Representatives advanced HB 481, which proposes to outlaw nearly all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Now with the bill headed towards the Georgia Senate, women and girls may have to revert to unsafe ways to end their pregnancies if voters and lawmakers don’t act. Given that many women will not even realize they are pregnant prior to six weeks, common sense tells us the bill effectively bans abortion in Georgia. This policy is potentially lethal for women and girls across the state and it goes against medical and public health science. (Laura M. Gaydos, Elizabeth A. Mosely and Subasri Narasimhan, 3/16)
My Abortion Not Your Business, Politicians
The choice belongs to women who desperately want their babies, but cannot, for whatever reason, bring them into this world. It belongs to victims of sexual assault, whose babies were formed under violent circumstances. It belongs to the sister or cousin whose abortion you don’t know about and might not have approved of; for the coworker or friend-of-a-friend who had to drive to another state or borrow money just to get the health care they needed. (Chelsea McIntosh, 3/16)
Preventive Health Is The Key Improving Our Health Outcomes
During the 20th century, America’s commitment to preventive health efforts such as water purification and vaccinations all but eradicated many deadly illnesses and, in the process, extended the average life expectancy by three decades, from 47 years in 1900 to 77 in 1999. The historic success of public health initiatives invites an obvious question. Why in the 21st century do we accept a “sick-care” system that drains our treasure after disease strikes while giving prevention the short shrift? (Ed Greissing, 3/16)
In America, The Process Of Becoming A Doctor Can Prove Fatal
In America, becoming a doctor can prove fatal. Suicide is estimated to be the second leading cause of death among medical residents, after cancer. (In contrast, the leading cause of death in the general population for that age group — 25 to 40 — is trauma.) Suicide statistics for young doctors are difficult to track because many deaths go unreported as such. (Amitha Kalaichandran, 3/15)
The New York Times:
Is Pain A Sensation Or An Emotion?
The United States uses a third of the world’s opioids but a fifth of Americans still say they suffer from chronic pain. The only demonstrable effect of two decades of widespread prescription of opioids has been catastrophic harm. With more than 47,000 Americans dying of opioid overdoses in 2017 and hundreds of thousands more addicted to them, it was recently reported that, for the first time, Americans were more likely to die of opioids than of car accidents. This has forced many to take a step back and ponder the very nature of pain, to understand how best to alleviate it. (Haider Warraich, 3/16)
Liquid Biopsy Research Should Include The Perspectives Of Patients Like Me
Eleven years ago, I was shocked to be diagnosed with advanced lymphoma. To offer an informed second opinion, an oncologist recommended that I have a standard-of-care CT-guided thoracic biopsy. The goal was to collect a tissue sample from one of the nodules on my lung or from the mass in the middle of my chest that an earlier PET scan had detected.I hope I never have to undergo a biopsy like that again. It’s why I’m incredibly excited at the prospect of what are being called liquid biopsies. These are essentially blood tests used to collect a sample of cancer cells or pieces of DNA from them. (Grace Cordovano, 3/18)
The Washington Post:
The World’s Second-Worst Outbreak Of Ebola Is Underway In Congo. Where Is The Concern?
Five years ago, the United States was gripped with fear and awash in news coverage as the worst Ebola outbreak in history spread in West Africa. Today, the world’s second-worst outbreak of the deadly disease is underway in Congo, but most Americans seem unaware or unconcerned. Why such a difference? (Ronald A. Klain, 3/15)
The New York Times:
The Death Of Compassionate Democracy
NASHVILLE — — The 111th General Assembly of Tennessee convened on Jan. 8, and it will disperse on April 26, not a moment too soon. Already, its Republican supermajority has introduced bills that would further weaken lax gun laws, increase campaign-donation limits and undermine a progressive Nashville law passed by public referendum, among other assaults on democracy and good sense. Tennesseans should get down on their knees and thank God for the citizen-legislator model of government, because there’s no telling how much damage these people could do if they met all year. (Margaret Renkl, 3/18)
San Jose Mercury News:
What Rights Should Teens With Anti-Vax Parents Have?
While aggressively fighting vaccine misinformation is key, it will likely take decades to turn the anti-vax cultural tide. This week, New York state introduced legislation allowing teens to vaccinate themselves. Every state that lacks a path to early teen vaccination should follow suit. (Alyssa Burgart, 3/17)