Viewpoints: End Of Life Option Act Needs Revision; Is Tax Exemption For Nonprofit Hospitals Outdated?
Editorial pages weigh in on these public health issues.
LA Daily News:
California Legislature Needs To Improve, Preserve End Of Life Option Act
Almost two years after I had first met her, she came to my clinic one final time. Lying down on a gurney, her right eye was covered with a shield and her blonde-brown hair was limp and shorter than before. Her body was half-covered with a soft green blanket that complimented her now one visible eye. She was no longer the feisty young woman I had cared for over the past two years, trying to find a cure for the disease that was ultimately going to kill her. This young woman, who was someone I had taken care of as a palliative care physician along with her oncology team, would now be my first patient choosing to avail herself of the End of Life Option Act. The law, which took effect in 2016, authorizes the compassionate option of medical aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally capable adults with six months or less to live to get a prescription they can take to end their life peacefully. I would walk out of that visit in tears of sadness with the thought of never ever seeing her again, but also with a sense of empowerment knowing that I was helping her and not her cancer write the last chapter of her story the way she wanted. (Chandana Banerjee, 4/6)
Tax Exemptions For Nonprofit Hospitals: A Bad Deal For Taxpayers?
Many U.S. hospitals provide charity care to financially disadvantaged patients without the expectation of getting paid for their services. Nonprofit hospitals receive a sizable tax exemption — estimated at almost $25 billion in 2015 (using 2011 data) and likely much larger now — that is largely intended to subsidize the costs of this charity care. (Ge Bai and David A. Hyman, 4/5)
The New York Times:
Keeping Trans Kids From Medicine Doesn’t Make Them Disappear
Trans people have been part of human history for as long as there has been history, and for as long as there have been humans. But with the exception of a few brave souls, until relatively recently, trans individuals were rarely in the public eye in the United States. People knew so little about us that when I came out, at the turn of the millennium, at least one person I tried to explain myself to thought that I’d invented the whole business single-handedly. In retrospect, my transition was made somewhat easier in 2000 because there weren’t quite so many laws designed to make my life harder. Conservatives didn’t seem to fully understand that they were supposed to hate us. (Jennifer Finney Boylan, 4/7)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Worried About Going Back To The Doctor For A Check Up? The Anxiety Is Real. Here’s How To Stay Calm.
I’m that woman who starts worrying about her doctor’s appointments two weeks before her scheduled visit. Just thinking about stepping on a scale makes me break into a cold sweat. Diabetes runs in my family. It’s only a matter of time until my blood tests reveal sugar issues, right? Could that new birthmark on my leg be skin cancer? I do my monthly breast checks, but what if I missed a telltale sign? It’s no wonder that when I arrive at the doctor’s office — after spending 20 minutes frantically looking for a parking space — that when the nurse takes my blood pressure, it’s off the charts. Twenty minutes and a physical later, it’s dropped back to normal. (But still.) (Elizabeth Wellington, 4/7)