Viewpoints: Funding Is Needed For Community Health Centers; Move Mentally Ill Out Of Prisons
A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
Community Health Centers, America's Largest Primary-Care Network, Are In Jeopardy
The Community Health Centers Fund expired Oct. 1. It accounts for 70% of all federal grants for community health centers. As America's largest primary-care network, CHCs are crucial for many of America's most medically underserved children and families, especially those living in rural areas. Unless Congress acts, these drastic cuts will negatively affect millions of children in every corner of the country. (Dennis Walto, 11/2)
Gov. Ducey Won’t Let Poor Kids Die…For Now (Though Congress Might)
Good for Gov. Doug Ducey. Congress can’t bring itself to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which in Arizona is called KidsCare, so Ducey has announced a plan to keep the program going should the feds not act by December. The plan covers 23,000 underprivileged Arizona kids. (EJ Montini, 11/2)
Va. Case Shows Desperate Need To Put The Mentally Ill In Treatment, Not Prison
Christopher Sharikas is serving two life sentences in a Virginia prison, plus 30 years, for a crime that carried a seven- to 11-year recommended term. He was 16 years old when he was arrested for stealing a car and assaulting its owner. He has spent 20 years behind bars. Arguably, his 1997 crime is not why he remains imprisoned. Sharikas suffers from severe mental illness. Our society has relinquished control of him to our criminal justice system. And our mental health system is so broken that it failed to help him when it should have. (Pete Earley, 11/2)
The Washington Post:
I Thought We Had Years To Save My Sister From Addiction. It Was Already Too Late.
Within an hour of landing at the Buffalo airport in July, I am helping my little sister get to the bathroom at Kenmore Mercy Hospital after she’s been revived with Narcan. I don’t know it yet, but Jenny will die in six days. She’s just turned 44. ... Since then, every day I’ve tried to understand how my sister, who lived a middle-class suburban life with her two children, died of cirrhosis of the liver from opioid addiction and alcoholism without my family ever having an honest conversation about it. She didn’t do a single stint in rehab or have any interventions. She really never had a chance, because I didn’t have the courage to face the truth. (Kelly O'Connor, 11/2)
The Washington Post:
The Trump Administration’s War On Marijuana Will Make The Opioid Crisis Worse
The White House commission on addiction and opioids, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, released its final report Wednesday, listing 56 recommendations for addressing the country’s overdose epidemic. There are many solid recommendations in the report, such as training doctors to better prescribe these painkillers and mandating that health-care providers check drug-monitoring data before prescribing opioids to patients to make sure the patients aren’t “doctor shopping.” (Robert Gebelhoff, 11/2)
Louisville (Ky.) Courier Journal:
Helping Those Struggling With Addiction
The pain of the opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities across the country – especially here in Kentucky. For years, I have worked with my colleagues in Congress to fight back. Just recently, President Donald Trump took a significant step by formally recognizing a public health emergency for opioids. I commend the President for reaffirming his commitment to tackling this critical problem, and I am proud to stand with him as we continue combatting this heartbreaking issue. (Sen. Mitch McConnell, 11/2)
I Gave My Patients Flu Vaccines. You Won't Believe What Didn't Happen Next!
If you get the flu vaccine, you are between 50 and 70 percent less likely to get the flu, depending on how well the vaccine matches the current strains of the virus. You are slightly more likely to have soreness or a short fever with the flu shot, but you cannot get the flu from the shot, because it does not contain any live virus. (Elisabeth Poorman, 11/2)
Billings (Mont.) Gazette:
Eliminating Big Sky Rx Is Bad Medicine
With a looming budget crisis, state leaders are proposing deep budget cuts, which could result in a significant loss of funding for senior services. Not only are programs like hospice and home care services in jeopardy, but Big Sky Rx is on the chopping block as well. ... Big Sky Rx was created with the passage of Initiative 149 in 2004 when voters overwhelmingly approved an increase in tobacco taxes to pay for prescription drug assistance. The measure passed by a 2-to-1 margin. Bringing legislators from both sides of the aisle together with the business community, this landmark health care legislation was an initiative of a broad coalition of nonprofits and health care organizations. (Claudia Clifford, 11/2)