Viewpoints: Johnson & Johnson Payments Need To Go Directly To Combating Opioid Addiction; More Misguided Regulation On Vaping Hurts Those Trying To Quit Smoking
Opinion writers weigh in on these public health issues and others.
The New York Times:
Big Pharma Is Starting To Pay For The Opioid Crisis. Make Those Payments Count.
In 1998 tobacco manufacturers reached an unprecedented agreement with 46 states, which had sued the companies for engaging in decades of deceptive marketing practices that contributed to an epidemic of tobacco-related illness and death. Over the next 20 years, the industry paid some $125 billion to the states.But two decades later, only a fraction of the tobacco proceeds — less than 3 percent nationally in 2019 — has been spent on public health matters related to tobacco use. In New York, some of the money went to a public golf course. Alabama installed security cameras in its schools. (8/28)
The Demonization Of Vaping
Despite the overwhelming evidence of the deadly danger of cigarette smoking, the government and media are now weirdly obsessing over one of the few proven tools to help smokers quit smoking. Vaping, which contains no tobacco and uses electronic devices, also called e-cigarettes, to produce vapor from liquids instead of burning tobacco, is used by millions of adults to help wean them off cigarettes. However, vaping is now being hysterically touted by some as an “epidemic” and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering banning the manufacturing of flavored vaping liquids. States such as Hawaii have attempted vaping bans and failed, while municipalities such ultra-leftist San Francisco, which has a real epidemic of illegal drug use and filthy drug needles littering its streets, has stupidly focused instead on banning the sale of vaping liquids. (Paul Crespo, 8/28)
Trump Isn't Taking Credit For Curbing Opioid Shipments From China
Of all people, you wouldn’t expect President Donald Trump to be shy about taking credit for his achievements. When it comes to China’s role in America’s opioid crisis, though, he’s been uncharacteristically modest. Mail carriers including FedEx Corp., Amazon.com Inc., United Parcel Service Inc., and the U.S. Postal Service were ordered to search for and refuse deliveries of the synthetic opioid fentanyl from China in a tweet-storm last week. “President Xi said this would stop – it didn’t,” Trump wrote, echoing a theme from earlier this month. (David Fickling, 8/28)
Medicare Must Keep Up With Strides In Alzheimer’s Research
A new study published in the Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy found that Medicare spending on Alzheimer’s disease is surprisingly low. The study examined almost 340,000 Medicare beneficiaries and found that in the last year of life, Medicare spent $1,300 less on patients with Alzheimer’s disease than other beneficiaries. The lower costs were often due to avoiding complex care, such as chemotherapy for cancer, for loved ones with advanced dementia. (Susan Peschin, 8/28)
The Washington Post:
Unions Shouldn’t Use Their Health Insurance As A Weapon Against Universal Coverage
Imagine a world where elementary school attendance was limited to those children who had a parent whose job offered, or whose union had negotiated, this benefit. While this scenario is patently absurd, it’s exactly the policy we’ve accepted for access to health care. And during this Democratic presidential primary, it has been particularly troubling to see unions, whose original purpose was to help workers collectively gain access to better pay and benefits, use their own negotiated health plans as a weapon against the push for universal health care — and to see candidates contorting themselves in response. (Rebecca Kolins Givan, 8/28)
The New York Times:
My Doctor Said I Wouldn’t Walk. I Can.
I was born with bleeding on the brain, which caused me to develop a type of cerebral palsy known as spastic quadriplegia, which affects both the arms and the legs. Early in my childhood, I received inadequate medical care because of instability in my family life. When I was 7 years old, a court granted custody of me to my grandmother on my father’s side, and my life took a turn for the better.I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her then — at 67, when she should have been enjoying some leisure after all her societal toil — taking on the responsibility of raising a young child, let alone a physically impaired one, in an ableist society. (John Altman, 8/29)
Medical Education Needs To Stop Burning Out Students.
Students’ time in medical school should help them grow and become insightful, caring doctors. Instead, medical education is somehow turning smart, gifted, enthusiastic applicants into exhausted and unhappy students who become interns, residents, and physicians at increased risk of depression and burnout.I’m no stranger to the demands of medical school. My father and father-in-law were both doctors. I’m a pulmonologist, my wife is a nephrologist, and we have a son who is an internist and another who is in medical school. These issues are personal to me. As the dean of a medical school, they also focus my efforts to modify the learning environment to keep pace with new generations of students. (Augustine M.K. Choi, 8/29)
The New York Times:
The Great Fortune Of Ordinary Sadness
I’m getting teary-eyed at a fruit stand, running my fingers lightly over the fuzzy skin of a peach while willing my bottom lip to stop its ridiculous quiver. I will not cry. A little change of plans is nothing to be sad about, as sad things go. A few weeks ago, I was supposed to have picked up my teenage son after a month at summer camp on a riverbank in North Carolina, the place he loves more than anywhere on earth. Next year he plans to work there all summer as a counselor, and after that he’ll be off to college with future summers unspooling toward his adult life, away from us. (Mary Laura Philpott, 8/29)
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Federal Judge's Pithy Ruling Underscores Case For Affirming Abortion Rights
Missouri Republican state lawmakers tried their best to defy the U.S. Supreme Court in a flagrant attempt to deny women their constitutional right to an abortion, but at least for now, it has failed — and deservedly so. A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Legislature, in passing House Bill 126, unquestionably overstepped the legal boundaries outlined by the Supreme Court and stopped it from going into effect, as planned, on Wednesday. (8/28)
Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie More Concerned About Gun Rights Than Lives
In a recent opinion column in the Courier Journal, Reps. Jim Jordan and Thomas Massie presented their rambling arguments against gun control. In what is clearly an appeal to their bases for future votes, they make their case for doing nothing and continuing the acts of omission at which they are now well-practiced. (Bill Holmes, 8/28)
Kansas City Star:
Is Racism In Kansas City Causing A Public Health Crisis?
A black man living in Kansas City’s urban core can expect his life to end nearly 20 years earlier than a white woman who lives roughly 10 minutes away. This stark disparity in life expectancy is the impetus for a resolution that would declare racism a public health crisis and address public health disparities resulting from racial inequities. (8/29)