Viewpoints: GOP Still Faces An Obamacare Conundrum; What’s Up With The FDA And Food Recalls?
A selection of opinions on health care from news outlets around the country.
The Wall Street Journal:
Republicans Can’t Avoid ObamaCare In 2018
Republicans failed to repeal and replace ObamaCare in 2017. So what should they do in 2018? Some, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, worry that they won’t be able to do much with their 51-49 majority. Others, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, want to give health care another go. Congress has no choice but to revisit the issue. The growth in spending on health-care entitlements like Medicaid and Medicare threatens to overwhelm the Treasury, starving the federal government of the funds it needs to pay for everything else, including education, welfare and national defense. (Avik Roy, 1/2)
Los Angeles Times:
A New Year's Pledge: Don't Let Politicians And Pundits Say Social Security And Medicare 'Reforms' When They Mean 'Cuts'
Just before New Year's, economist Jared Bernstein published the second in what may be an annual feature: A plea to the media to call out politicians who try to conceal their intention to gut Social Security and Medicare by talking about "reforms" instead of "cuts." Bernstein, who served as chief economist for former Vice President Joe Biden, originally raised the alarm about this sort of weaseling a year ago. I seconded the motion then, and do so again now. (Michael Hiltzik, 1/2)
Why Is FDA So Slow On Food Recalls?
Soon after the Food and Drug Administration discovered salmonella in a plant that made nut butters in 2014, several illnesses were linked to the product. But it took more than five months before the tainted food — which caused 14 illnesses in 11 states — was recalled that August. Nor did the FDA consider using its mandatory recall authority until 161 days after the discovery. Four days later, nSpired Natural Foods voluntarily pulled the product. (1/2)
FDA: We’re Working To Protect Consumers
Americans depend on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ensure their food is safe. We take their trust very seriously. When the Health and Human Services inspector general (IG) released an early alert in 2016 about our food recall process, FDA quickly acted on the concerns raised. (Scott Gottlieb, 1/2)
One Change To Dental Care That Could Save Lives, Money
Tens of millions of Americans have decaying teeth, frequent toothaches and chronic dental pain. The result can be lost work productivity, missed school days and outright suffering. Many of those people — adults and children — lack access to the dental care that could help them. (Grover Norquist and Don Berwick, 1/2)
Fight Ageism By Retiring The Offensive Metaphor, 'Getting Old'
I have no fond hope that eliminating the deeply embedded parts of ageist language changes all the other parts of culture that wound. But asking in dismay, “Why did I say that?” is a milestone for many people. (Margaret Morganroth Guilette, 1/3)
Mass. Should Set Standards For Recovery Coaches
Even in the midst of a raging opioid epidemic, Massachusetts now lets just about anyone market themselves as a coach to help people claw back from addiction. ...But that would start to change if the Legislature passes a bill proposed by Governor Baker that would lead to professional standards for recovery coaches. (1/3)
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Ohio Lawmakers Should Keep The Seriously Mentally Ill Off Death Row
The Ohio General Assembly should pass a bipartisan bill forbidding Ohio to give a death sentence to someone convicted of aggravated murder - but also found to have a serious mental illness. He or she would instead be sentenced to life imprisonment, which is far more reasonable and compassionate. (1/3)
Improving Public Health Requires Inclusion Of Underrepresented Populations In Research
Advances in genomics have ushered in promising therapies tailored to the individual. Personalized medicine is promoted and has begun to positively influence care. For example, medications such as trastuzumab for the 30% of breast cancers that overexpress ERBB2 and vemurafenib for patients with late-stage melanoma who carry the V600E variant have been beneficial. Despite these advances, for many sectors of the population — children, older adults, pregnant and lactating women, and individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities — limited evidence-based therapies optimized to their specific medical needs exist. Combined, these groups comprise as much as 58% of the US population. Research focusing on or at the very least includes members of these groups is critically needed. (Catherine Y. Spong and Diana W. Bianchi, 12/28)
Language, Science, And Politics: The Politicization Of Public Health
On December 16, 2017, the staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were instructed not to use 7 words in its 2019 budget appropriation request: diversity, transgender, vulnerable, fetus, entitlement, evidence-based, and science-based. These basic phrases are intrinsic to public health. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offered alternative word choices, such as by modifying “evidence-based” with “community standards and wishes” and using “unborn child” instead of “fetus.” ... This Viewpoint explains why the budget advice of HHS undermines science and ethics—even if it is lawful. (Lawrence O. Gostin, 12/28)