Viewpoints: GOP No Longer Playing Coy About Aiming For Roe V. Wade; On Health Care, Trump Takes One Step Forward, Eight Steps Back
Editorials and columns look at these health care issues and more.
The Washington Post:
Republicans Have Stopped Pretending On Abortion
When it comes to abortion, Republicans are peeking out from behind their masks. To be clear, I don’t mean to say they aren’t still spreading lots of lies about abortion, about women’s health, and about their own supposedly deep concern for the welfare of children. There is no topic on which either party’s rhetoric is as consistently disingenuous, misleading, and outright false as when Republicans talk abortion. (Paul Waldman, 5/9)
Trump's Health-Care Contradiction Harms Small Business
The Trump administration is simultaneously working to end the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and advance a proposal that would help lower drug prices, which is like taking one step forward and eight steps back in terms of containing health-care costs. Unfortunately, the administration’s missteps would be particularly damaging to the millions of small businesses, their employees and self-employed individuals who depend on the ACA. (John Arensmeyer, 5/9)
The Washington Post:
The Next Victim’s Of Trump’s Business Model: Us
Candidate Donald Trump’s biggest selling point was that he was supposedly a successful self-made entrepreneur who would use his private-sector know-how to “run government like a business.” Many of us scoffed. After all, even if you believed he was a successful businessman — one who hadn’t, ahem, lost a billion dollars — managing a private company is nothing like helming a government. ... This week, the administration proposed a change to how the government sets the official poverty line. That line, for those unfamiliar, is an income threshold that determines eligibility cut-offs for various safety-net programs, such as food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid. (Catherine Rampell, 5/9)
Prescriptions Are Down, But Overdoses Are Up — Is That Progress?
President Trump recently spoke at the annual Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, touting “pretty amazing” progress in combating the overdose crisis afflicting the country and expressing pride in government efforts to reduce the total number of opioids prescribed, claiming a 34 percent drop in total opioid prescriptions during his time in office. The number of opioid prescriptions might be coming down, but overdose deaths continue to mount, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provisional report showing over 46,000 opioid-related deaths in the 12 months ending April 7, 2019, 60 percent of which involved illicit fentanyl. Thirty-two percent involved heroin. (Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer, 5/9)
A Good Week For The Nation's Family Planning Program
The gold standard. A cornerstone. A bedrock. A true public health success story. These are all ways we describe the federal program that provides contraception, cancer screenings, STD treatment and other preventive health services to 4 million people every year. It’s also known as the Title X family planning program, created nearly 50 years ago to ensure access to modern methods of birth control for poor and low-income people. (Clare Coleman, 5/9)
The Washington Post:
Riley Howell And Kendrick Castillo Are Martyrs. Their Deaths Should Shame Us.
You can determine the excesses of an era by its martyrs. Essential to the story of a martyr is that they did not wish to die but rather chose or accepted death over some unacceptable alternative. The alternative — the thing being selected against — contains the fervor of the age, and it signs its name in the blood of martyrs. On April 30, as college students at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte were gathering for an end-of-year concert, a gunman entered a university building and began firing. As campus police rushed to respond — any institution of any size trains its security for these occasions by now — Riley Howell, a 21-year-old student charged and tackled the shooter, bringing him down with such force that the killer reportedly complained of his injuries to first responders. (Elizabeth Bruenig, 5/9)
Insys Undermined An FDA Effort To Control Fentanyl Prescribing
With the country in the throes of the opioid epidemic, the Food and Drug Administration started a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) in 2012 to restrict prescribing of quick-absorbing fentanyl to appropriate patients. At the time, these were the most potent and riskiest opioid-based medications available. The program should have worked, but was undermined by one company, Insys, whose top executives were convicted last week of bribing doctors to prescribe this type of painkiller to people who weren’t supposed to get it. (William Fleischman and Joseph S. Ross, 5/10)
The New York Times:
Let’s Talk About How To End Sexual Violence
Last month, Joe Biden called me to talk about his conduct during Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991. There has been a lot of discussion recently about whether he has offered me the right words. Given the #MeToo movement and Mr. Biden’s bid for the presidency, it’s understandable why his role in the hearings is being debated anew. If the Senate Judiciary Committee, led then by Mr. Biden, had done its job and held a hearing that showed that its members understood the seriousness of sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence, the cultural shift we saw in 2017 after #MeToo might have began in 1991 — with the support of the government. (Anita Hill, 5/9)
Don't Let Trump Cloak Brutal LGBTQ Record In Religious Freedom Language
Last week President Donald Trump took another hostile action against LGBTQ people. But you wouldn’t know that from many of the headlines. “Trump Administration Strengthens ‘Conscience Rule’ for Health Care Workers,” read the headline in the New York Times about a bill that would allow doctors, nurses, physicians, pharmacists, nurses, teachers and others to discriminate based on their religious beliefs. National Public Radio’s web site went with “New Trump Rule Protects Health Care Workers Who Refuse Care For Religious Reasons.” (Michelangelo Signorile, 5/9)
Let The Young Adults Vape
If 18-year-olds are old enough to fight in a war for our country, why aren’t they old enough to drink alcohol legally? It’s a question that has been asked, mostly by 18-year-olds, for decades. To my mind, it has never received a wholly satisfactory answer. But keeping bartenders from serving teenagers legally at least kept third parties safer from drunk driving. There’s no such justification for raising the age to buy tobacco products. Yet a bipartisan coalition is gearing up to make it illegal to sell cigarettes and e-cigarettes to people under 21. (Ramesh Ponnuru, 5/9)
Is Tribalism Undermining Objectivity About Low-Carb, High-Fat Diets?
Anyone who is active on social media has come to expect a certain degree of tribalism around the issues of the day: guns, climate change, abortion, politics, and the like. We’ve been surprised to see it creep into the online conversation about nutrition science, especially the discussion about low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets. Even more surprising to us is that such advocacy sometimes comes from health professionals, scientists, and journalists, from whom we would normally expect a certain degree of objectivity. (Nicola Guess and Ethan J. Weiss, 5/9)
Looking At The Mueller Report From A Mental Health Perspective
Concerns about Donald Trump’s fitness for the office of president arose during the campaign and continue to this day. But now, in the Mueller report, we have an abundance of new evidence that sheds light on these concerns. What makes this a unique opportunity is the quality and relevance of the data: They are derived from multiple sources both friendly and opposed to the president, were obtained under oath, and show us how the president conducted himself in the eyes of those who worked directly with him while in office. (Bandy X. Lee, Leonard L. Glass and Edwin B. Fisher, 5/9)
Gov. Bill Lee: Rural Tennesseans Need You To Save Their Health Care
When McKenzie Regional Hospital closed last fall, it meant more than the loss of the only hospital in rural Carroll County. It meant the loss of one of the county’s largest employers. It meant babies born in McKenzie can no longer be delivered there. It meant nursing students at Bethel University could not graduate and work locally. It meant people with life-threatening injuries had to be transported an additional twenty minutes for care — and close to an hour if the road to the nearest hospital flooded. (Wendell Potter, 5/9)
The New York Times:
Instagram Is Trying To Curb Bullying. First, It Needs To Define Bullying.
If you were to rank all the ways humans can inflict harm on one another, ranked by severity, it might be a few pages before you got to “intentional inducement of FOMO.” Purposefully giving someone else FOMO — fear of missing out — is not a crime, or even a misdemeanor. But it is a big problem on Instagram, where millions of teenagers go every day to check on their peers. And it is one of the subtle slights that Instagram is focused on classifying as part of its new anti-bullying initiative, which will use a combination of artificial intelligence and human reviewers to try to protect its youngest users from harassment and pain. (Kevin Roose, 5/9)
The Wall Street Journal:
Coming To Appreciate Stay-At-Home Moms
I’m not a mother, and at 48 I’m unlikely to become one. My whole professional life, I’ve been leaning in. It wasn’t until things went badly wrong that I realized the human-capital value of a group of women modern society tends to ignore or dismiss—stay-at-home-moms. As a global management professional, I’ve lived and traveled all over the world. In 2015 my life exploded. On a dark April afternoon in Dubai, a perfect storm of issues with my job, my property investments, my health and an emotional entanglement forced me to recognize that something had to give. I resigned from my job and entered a period of physical, financial, emotional and spiritual hell. (Elizabeth Shine, 5/9)