Viewpoints: GOP Can Fund Tax Cuts — Why Not Kids’ Health?; Azar May Surprise Pharma
A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
Los Angeles Times:
Time Is Running Out On Children's Health Insurance Program
The Republicans who control Congress allowed the [Children's Health Insurance Program's] authorization to lapse in September, shutting off the spigot of federal dollars. The main issue holding up reauthorization has been a fight over how to cover the program’s price tag. Let’s be clear: any sign of fiscal responsibility in Washington is welcome. Nevertheless, the hand-wringing over children’s health insurance, which costs $8 billion a year, stands in sharp contrast to the GOP’s eagerness to pass a package of tax cuts that would cost an estimated $1.4 trillion over the coming decade. (11/30)
Trump's HHS Pick May Not Be Totally Pharma-Friendly
Congressional hearings are frequently exercises in grandstanding, and high drug prices are near-universally unpopular. So it was no surprise, then, that drug pricing featured prominently in a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday for Alex Azar, President Donald Trump's nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services. The pharma industry likely took heart when Azar, a former Eli Lilly & Co. executive, blamed the whole health-care system, rather than drugmakers alone, for high prices. But Azar also went off the standard pharma script when he said he planned to target industry efforts to unnaturally extend drug monopolies by "gaming" the patent system. (Max Nisen, 11/29)
The Washington Post:
Trump Says Pharma Gets Away With Murder. Alex Azar Is The Guy With The Hatchet.
President Trump could not have been more clear. “The drug companies, frankly, are getting away with murder,” he said in mid-October. He had used the same “getting away with murder” line previously, adding that “pharma has a lot of lobbies and a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power.” Yet just four weeks later, Trump nominated the former president of Eli Lilly’s U.S. business to run the Department of Health and Human Services. If drug companies are murderers, Alex Azar is the guy with the rusty hatchet. (Dana Milbank, 11/29)
Des Moines Register:
Welcome To Iowa, The Care Less State
Many might not view the cuts of positions in state government as bad news. But this IS bad news, and Iowans should be disturbed by it. Iowans should also be disturbed by this – the budget proposal submitted by the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman for the next fiscal year doesn’t seek funding to reinstate the travel or the positions that have been eliminated. And why doesn’t it? Because the independence that the office is supposed to have, independence that is called for in federal law and regulations, doesn’t exist. (John Hale, 11/29)
Is It Time For A New Medical Specialty?
Medicine has seen a proliferation of specialties over the last 50 years, as scientific discovery and care delivery advanced. Diagnoses and treatments have become more complex, so the need for formal training for specialty competence in cognitive and surgical disciplines has become clear. ... We propose the concept of a new specialty representing the medical virtualist. This term could be used to describe physicians who will spend the majority or all of their time caring for patients using a virtual medium. A professional consensus will be needed on a set of core competencies to be further developed over time. (Michael Nochomovitz and Rahul Sharma, 11/27)