Viewpoints: Paying For Drug Coupons; What About Those Obamacare Haters?
A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
The New York Times:
Drug Coupons: Helping A Few At The Expense Of Everyone
When a furor erupted over the rapidly rising price of EpiPens this summer, the drugmaker Mylan offered a solution: a coupon for the expensive drug. People who need the EpiPens to protect themselves from life-threatening allergic reactions could use the coupon to get up to $300 off at the pharmacy counter if their insurance plan has a deductible or a co-payment. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 10/12)
Los Angeles Times:
Why Do People Still Hate Obamacare? Probably Because They Still Don't Know Much About It.
Much about our current political climate may be volatile, but one feature seems to be as stable as the Rockies: Americans’ dislike of the Affordable Care Act. The Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been tracking this sentiment almost since the law’s passage in early 2010 (its latest reading shows unfavorable opinion of Obamacare outpolling favorable 47% to 44%) thinks it may have a clue as to why that is. Its poll also shows that the vast majority of Americans still have no idea about what the law has accomplished. (Michael Hiltzik, 10/12)
Cost, Effectiveness, and Value: How to Judge?
Universal health coverage is a global aspiration supported by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations. The World Health Organization has defined universal health coverage as ensuring that “all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them.” The UN resolution supporting universal health coverage specifically avoided defining a particular type of health financing system, but called on member states “to ensure that health financing systems evolve so as to avoid significant direct payments at the point of delivery.” (Michael D. Rawlins, 10/11)
Zika Virus 6 Months Later
On January 15, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised pregnant women not to travel to areas where the Zika virus was spreading. Six months later, more than 60 countries or territories have reported new local transmission of Zika. By August 4, 2016, nearly 1700 cases of travel-associated Zika infection, including 479 in pregnant women, had been reported in the continental United States; Puerto Rico is experiencing rapid and extensive spread of the epidemic.1 Florida has documented 5 symptomatic and 8 asymptomatic locally acquired Zika infections in a 6-block area north of downtown Miami. Comprehensive mosquito control efforts, including reduction of standing water, provision of repellants containing diethyltoluamide (DEET), and application of pyrethroid insecticides and larvicides using backpack sprayers and trucks to eliminate adult and larval forms of mosquitoes, were initiated on confirmation of the first cases. Persistent findings of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes led to a decision to also use aerial spraying with naled and larvicide within 3 days of documentation of the risk of ongoing Zika transmission. (Thomas R. Frieden, Anne Schuchat and Lyle R. Petersen, 10/11)
Make Way For Better Germ Tests
The standard diagnostic technology for identifying microbes, decades old, is simply too slow and imprecise to help most patients. The good news is that scientists have developed far better technology, capable of diagnosing thousands of different infections quickly, and with remarkable precision. But doctors won’t be able to use it until federal regulators grant approval, and unfortunately, this process is about to get much harder, if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stays on its current course. (Steven Salzberg, 10/12)
Health Affairs Blog:
The Cost Of US Adult Vaccine Avoidance: $8.95 Billion In 2015
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 42 percent of US adults ages 18 and older received the flu vaccine in the 2015–16 flu season. This is just one example of US adults’ not receiving vaccinations at recommended levels, which can lead to avoidable costs of doctor visits, hospitalizations, and lost productivity. (10/12)
Hype Vs. Hope In Medical Research
To be clear: Science is the most powerful force in the world for improving human health and well-being. It consistently pays enormous returns on society’s investment, transforming the way we live and work. It’s only natural that expectations run high. That said, the time frame for the big therapeutic payoffs is often misunderstood. The scientific path from biological insights to medical impact is often long and winding. (Eric Lander, 10/12)
My Turn: Proposition 206 Will Affect Arizona Seniors
Although much of the attention to Proposition 206 has been directed toward restaurant and other service workers, there is a larger and more vulnerable population that will be significantly impacted by raising the minimum wage in Arizona: seniors and those who care for them. As the president of the Arizona In-Home Care Association, I represent an industry that has been hit hard in recent years by the Affordable Care Act and other federal legislation and unfunded mandates. Proposition 206 goes a step beyond in terms of its direct impact to our elderly and disabled population. (Mark Young, 10/12)
Prop. 60 Is Needed To Protect The Health Of Porn Actors
Proposition 60 is a workplace safety measure to protect young performers in the porn industry who are now routinely and illegally exposed to sexually transmitted diseases. The callous mistreatment of these often socially marginalized young men and women employees by their bosses has gone on for too long. Proposition 60 will give state health officials more tools to enforce an existing law requiring condoms be worn in adult films to protect performers. The law is based on regulations formulated in 1992 by federal health professionals. (Gary Richwald, 10/12)