Viewpoints: Faster Drug Approvals; Medical Privacy; Fla. Official’s Opposition To Medicaid Expansion
A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
The New York Times' The Upshot:
Speedy Drug Approvals Have Become The Rule, Not The Exception
Congress has over the past few decades passed a series of special approval pathways for important drugs that treat life-threatening or rare diseases. This week, a new bill introduced in the House could add two more. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 5/1)
The Wall Street Journal:
They’re Your Vital Signs, Not Your Medical Records
Experts estimate that in five years we will generate 50 times more health information than today. Diagnoses, treatments, DNA, medical images and vital signs already are being analyzed and stored. Health apps, thermometers and scales, and even devices implanted in our bodies, are connected and streaming data. In the not-too-distant future, our lives will depend upon how our health information is accessed and used. (David J. Brailer, 4/30)
Why I Oppose The Expansion Of Medicaid
We oppose expanding Medicaid because it is a broken system with poor health outcomes, high inflation, unseverable federal strings and no incentive for personal responsibility for those who are able to provide for themselves. Under current law, Florida provides for our most vulnerable: low-income children, pregnant women, the elderly and disabled people. Under federal law, other low-income Floridians have access to healthcare subsidies to buy private insurance for less than the average cost of a wireless phone bill. In fact, if we choose Obamacare expansion, 600,000 will lose eligibility for their subsidies, of which 257,000 would be forced into Medicaid. (Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, 4/29)
The Washington Post's Plum Line:
Morning Plum: A Crack In Red State Resistance To Obamacare? Maybe Sort Of.
Politico reports this morning that there is a real shift underway among red state governors towards Obamacare: A number of them are newly open to accepting the Medicaid expansion — as long as they can couple it with some kind of work requirement. ... I’m going to suggest that this is, on balance, a good development — in the sense that more GOP governors appear open to finding terms upon which they are willing to take the money to cover their constituents. (Greg Sargent, 4/30)
Can We Really Trust Congress To Pay For The Obamacare Medicaid Expansion?
The notable success of Obamacare has been the growth in Medicaid enrollees --10 million concentrated in states that accepted the federal government’s incentives for expansion. But will the promise of continued federal funding for the expansion be kept? A report published April 9, 2015 by the Foundation for Governmental Accountability, the FGA, warns in its title: “Promises made, promises broken: State’s cannot trust Washington’s promise to fund Obamacare Medicaid expansion.” The FGA has few liberal friends, and the content of the report is unlikely to appear in the popular press. So, you get an opportunity to learn about it here. (Howard Peterson, 5/1)
Healthier Schools Means Increased Immunizations
The recent measles outbreak that infected children vacationing at California's Disneyland focused our attention on a potential public health crisis in our own backyard: Too few children are receiving potentially life-saving immunizations. Despite a high-quality health-care system and wide availability of immunization programs, the commonwealth has among the lowest vaccination rates in the country. In Pennsylvania, it is reported that only 86 percent of children entering kindergarten have the necessary vaccinations, compared with roughly 95 percent in the rest of the country. (Karen Murphy, 5/1)
Los Angeles Times:
Going Undercover At Crisis Pregnancy Centers
You've seen the billboards up and down the state: "Pregnant and scared?" Well, Dania Flores wasn't pregnant but she was a little bit scared the first time she visited a crisis pregnancy center. A recent high school graduate, she was working undercover, posing as a pregnant teen to gather intel on these operations, which have but one goal: to prevent abortion. ... Flores said she was never informed that abortion was a safe, legal alternative to childbirth. She was never told that California's Medi-Cal program covered the cost of reproductive services, including abortion. Nor that time was of the essence. Instead, she says, she was misled and shamed by anti-abortion activists masquerading as concerned healthcare providers. (Robin Abcarian, 5/1)
The Precision Medicine Initiative
The recent announcement by President Obama of a precision medicine initiative created excitement in the medical community. ... In one sense, medicine has always been personalized (if not always as precise as physicians and patients would like). Clinicians integrate signs and symptoms, evidence, their experience, and patient preference to facilitate decision making. What is new is that biomedical technology now allows a deeper understanding of many diseases. Drug development costs have increased sharply, leading pharmaceutical companies to focus on rarer diseases. In parallel, the significant decrease in the cost of genome sequencing has facilitated the discovery of many new, rare genetic diseases. Together, these advances have provided the necessary and sufficient conditions for the new model of precision medicine. (Euan A. Ashley, 4/30)