Viewpoints: How The Election Could Change Health Care; Calif. Voters Legalize Pot
A selection of opinions and editorials from around the country.
An Election That Will Transform Healthcare
Everything changed Tuesday night. Everything that the leaders and clinicians who manage the nation's $3 trillion healthcare system thought they knew is now called into question. Universal health insurance? Gone. Moving from fee-for-service medicine to value-based care? On hold. More affordable care for average Americans? A chimera. (Merrill Goozner, 11/9)
Los Angeles Times:
Pot's Legal In California. Now What?
California voters legalized marijuana on Tuesday, but don’t light up or open a pot business just yet. There’s a lot more work to be done. Californians overwhelmingly backed Proposition 64, which allows adults to possess and smoke up to an ounce of marijuana. And the Golden State may not have been alone in easing its cannabis ban. Several other states were expected to vote to legalize recreational pot on Tuesday. This election marks a major victory for advocates of legalization, who have argued that marijuana prohibition has helped sustain a costly war on drugs that targeted marginalized communities and empowered violent drug cartels, yet did little to curb usage. (11/8)
Is There A Silver Lining To The ObamaCare Blues?
The nightly news shows have been filled with dire reports from state after state about the ObamaCare exchanges' exploding premiums. The result is that so many relying on what was once promised as "affordable" insurance are now forced to choose between their family's health and rapidly diminishing disposable income. It is depressing.The country officially has the ObamaCare Blues. This comes at a time when we've become an undeniably depressed people. Today, 11 percent of the American population regularly takes an antidepressant. The amount has increased by 400 percent in recent years. (Bryan Rotella, 11/8)
Why Valeant Can't "Dig Out of That Hole" Fast Enough
Scheduling its earnings report on Election Day was already a signal that Valeant Pharmaceuticals didn’t have great news to share. But the troubled drug company managed to disappoint investors anyway. Valeant stock plunged 22% as the drugmaker slashed its guidance for the rest of 2016, even with less than two months left in the year. (Jen Wieczner, 11/8)
The Health Care Blog:
Death And Readmissions
Eugene’s wife is on the phone. She has been taking care of Eugene for 41 years. I supposedly take care of his heart, weakened by two prior heart attacks. I say supposedly because his wife does all the heavy lifting. She makes sure he takes his medications when he should. She watches his weight every day and occasionally administers an extra dose of diuretic when his weight climbs more than a few pounds in a day. And perhaps most importantly, she calls me when Eugene’s in the hospital and things seem wrong to her. This is one of those phone calls. They were in the ER, Eugene hadn’t been responding to his diuretic as he normally does, and his breathing seemed more labored to her. The ER physician wanted to send them home – she was hoping I would weigh in. Not surprisingly, she was right, Eugene needed to come into the hospital. I used to be surprised when the ER wouldn’t call me for complex cardiac patient having an acute cardiac problem. Not any more. (Anish Koka, 11/8)
The Columbus Dispatch:
Painkillers Led To More Pain
The tale of a Mount Vernon police detective sentenced Thursday to six years in prison tragically captures the wreckage caused by prescription-painkiller addiction. Matthew L. Dailey, 45, had a good wife — she saved his life by getting him into treatment — a good job as a sergeant in charge of detectives and the evidence room, and the respect of his community. Even a police informant, whom Dailey turned to obtain oxycodone after his prescription ran out, once considered him a “good role model.” (11/9)
When You’re Out Of Options, You’ll Need Right To Try
Right to Try laws aren’t meant to provide access to all drugs for all patients. The laws aim to help the very sickest patients by giving them access to medicines that have successfully navigated an FDA safety trial, and are still in the FDA ongoing trial and review process. The point of the law is to help people who have run out of options. Patients who haven’t yet run out of options, still have potential avenues to be helped. (I. Richard Garr, 11/8)
Funding For Psychiatric Drugs Growing Scarce
The days when we could look into the pipeline and see promising new drugs like Prozac, Zyprexa and Abilify offering new hope for these vulnerable patients are long gone. One reason is that all of these multibillion-dollar medications — $3B, $5B and $7.4B, respectively — are now generic. It is very difficult for Big Pharma to develop new drugs that are significantly different from these now generic blockbuster drugs. And if a new drug is not seen as a significant improvement, insurers are likely to restrict paying for them. (Robert Besthof, 11/8)
'Don't Rush To Failure' To Build VA
During my 29 years in the Army, I often heard -- and even used -- the saying, “Do not rush to failure.” I believe that is what we are doing by continuing with the planned relocation of the Robley Rex Veterans Administration Medical Center to Brownsboro Road. The Veterans Administration bought the proposed site in 2012 for $12.9 million before conducting a full impact assessment. This should give us pause to consider the legitimacy of the decision in the first place. Wasteful government spending that contributes to our national debt is one of the greatest threats to our national security. We must hold the VA and our leaders accountable. We must demand an answer to why the determination was made without following standard protocols, especially before we commit up to $1 billion for the construction of the hospital. (Fred Johnson, 11/8)