Viewpoints: Expand Approach To Opioid Epidemic; Retail Health Clinics Paved Way For Current Landscape
Editorial writers focus on these and other health care issues.
Congress Needs A Broader Approach To Address Opioid Epidemic
When it comes to addressing the opioid crisis, the United States is falling far short. Only 10 to 26 percent of those with an opioid use disorder are getting care. And among that group, only a bit more than a third are getting the most effective care, with one of the three FDA-approved medications — buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone, known collectively as Medication Assisted Treatment, or MAT. (Michael Botticelli and Richard Frank, 6/10)
How Early Retail Health Clinics Set The Stage For Today's Mega-Mergers
Looking back, the retail health clinics touched everything we hold dear in health care today. They helped launch the era of patient-centric care; brought price transparency to the industry; made care for most — if not care for all — a possibility by introducing prices that were affordable and accessible; and spotlighted the value of right provider, right place, and right time. Not long after the emergence of retail clinics, the health care industry saw the rise of concierge medicine, urgent care centers, and telemedicine.Now the media spotlight is on some of health care’s giants as they jockey for position around the themes that retail clinics set in motion — CVS and Aetna, Walmart and Humana, Cigna and Express Scripts, as Walgreens sits in the catbird seat with various options available to it. (Hal Rosenbluth and Peter Miller, 6/11)
FEMA Policies Hurt Victims Asking For Relief
The month of June marks the opening of hurricane season in the Atlantic. Residents of the Southeastern US and Caribbean are bracing for the possibility of a catastrophic storm and the life-changing devastation that follows. For homeowners who cannot afford insurance to cover hurricane damage, the Federal Emergency Management Agency may be their only source of aid. However, FEMA regulations trample local laws and practices to the detriment of America’s poorest families. Rather than help, FEMA’s Individuals and Houses Program blows victims into a no-man’s-land full of bureaucratic doublespeak but devoid of aid. (Parker Abt, 6/11)
Another Trump Casualty: The Presidential AIDS Council
In a scathing letter, six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS resigned. “The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and — most concerning — pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease,” wrote Scott A. Schoettes, a former council member. That was a year ago this month. Since then, the remaining members have been fired. None have been replaced, nor is there a director for the Office of National AIDS Policy. (Dr. Amy Lansky, who served during the Obama administration, resigned in January 2017.) This means there is no federal effort to develop policies for HIV and AIDS. (6/11)
Lower-Income Families Are Excluded From Getting Specialized Medical Care
Many kids who rely on our public education system for the opportunity to participate in sports never get that chance. They miss out on the various health benefits that physical activity confers. Admittedly, this concept is not novel. But kids who rely on public programs for health care get a second hit that we don’t talk about as frequently: public health insurance closes doors. Say, for example, that a child with public insurance does participate in sports. What happens if that kid gets injured? Research tells us that kids with publicly-funded insurance who require specialized care for musculoskeletal injuries like fractures or ACL tears are regularly turned away. (Cordelia W. Carter, 6/10)
The Number Of Kids With Autism Keeps Growing. Why Aren't We Helping Them More?
Access to life-changing medical care and support services shouldn’t depend on which state you live in, your socioeconomic situation or your race and ethnicity. Our government has the opportunity to allocate more resources towards scientific research and supportive services for all people with autism. (Ilyse Levine-Kanji, 6/11)
Why Should California Tax Drinking Water?
Most Californians agree that clean drinking water is a human right, and that it is a fundamental function of state government to ensure access to safe drinking water. However, there is disagreement in the Legislature on how to pay for it. Some members believe that a new water tax should be passed to fund this effort, as supported by the Bee’s editorial board (“This is California. We should be able to drink the water. Lawmakers, fix this disgrace,” sacbee.com, June 4). (Jay Obernolte, 6/7)
State Should Stand Up For Consumers Against Abuse By PBMs
Months of work by Dispatch reporters have shown readers that pharmacy benefit managers operate as the worst sort of middlemen, siphoning billions in profit from prescription-drug transactions without adding much, if anything, of value. But last Sunday’s article by Dispatch reporters Marty Schladen and Catherine Candisky showed something worse: The PBMs’ disregard for consumers and drive to maximize profits are so great that they’re willing to make cancer patients wait days, even weeks, for lifesaving drugs. (6/10)
Kansas City Star:
Why Missouri And Kansas Are Lousy Places To Live If You're Poor
Missouri’s Medicaid income cutoff of 22 percent of the federal poverty line (Kansas sets it at 38 percent) was deemed “ridiculous.” That’s even lower than the cutoffs in the three worst states for the poor, the study found. (6/8)
San Antonio Press-Express:
Title X Changes Are Not A Gag Rule On Abortions At Clinics
This editorial states that the new Protect Life Rule proposed by the Trump administration will cut funding to clinics that “perform, support or refer to abortion as a method of family planning.” This is a misstatement, as the proposal actually states clinics may not “perform, promote or refer for abortion.” "(Ingrid Skop, 6/10)