KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: Puerto Rico’s Public Health Crisis; Make School Lunches Free; The Noble Fruit Fly

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.

NBC News: After Hurricane Maria, Let’s Avoid A Man-Made Disaster In Puerto Rico
Since Maria leveled the island, under a third of its residents have a sporadically working phone. Fewer than half of the hospitals are open. The majority of the island still lacks electricity, running water or food. People are spending hours in line to get gas to fill up their cars or diesel if they have generators. Others spend hours in line in front of supermarkets, trying to find water and something to eat. And lastly, many others are in towns still unable to communicate with anyone in the island, much less the rest of the world. Although it is our hope that this urgent situation can be quickly resolved, it is possible that this could be the beginning of a dire public health crisis for the island. (Jaime Farrant, 10/2)

Des Moines Register: Why School Lunches Should Be Free To All
Teachers noticed when some students at Southview Middle School in Ankeny were not eating lunch. When those teachers found out negative balances in lunch accounts were to blame, they started a fundraiser and donated about $1,500. Such initiative and generosity deserve recognition. It should serve as an example to all of us. Yet charity should not be necessary when it comes to school lunch. (10/4)

The New York Times: Another Nobel Prize For The Fruit Fly
Five Nobel Prizes have now been awarded to science originating from fruit fly research. ... Learning about human health from fruit flies may sound like a stretch — indeed, Sarah Palin mocked it during the 2008 presidential campaign — but it exemplifies a type of scientific inquiry called “basic research.” ... Unfortunately, investment in this important work is under threat. This year, President Trump proposed budget cuts of 22 percent for the National Institutes of Health and 11 percent for the National Science Foundation. These two institutes fund most basic biological research in the United States. Congress pushed back, but some congressmen question the value of this kind of work, calling instead for funding that directly looks for cures for human disease. (David Bilder, 10/4)

The New York Times: Sex, Sanctimony And Congress
Our topic for today is hypocrisy. The scene is — where else? — Congress. This week the House of Representatives voted 237 to 189 to make it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion on a woman who has been pregnant more than 20 weeks. Victory for the anti-choice forces. One of whom was apparently very interested in maintaining all options when he thought his own girlfriend was expecting. Meet Tim Murphy, a Republican congressman from the Pittsburgh suburbs. ... Murphy is a co-sponsor of the anti-abortion bill. (Gail Collins, 10/4)

Los Angeles Times: Bill Would Limit Access To Critical Medications And Aid For Californians
California families are struggling to afford the cost of their healthcare and many are being forced to make tough decisions about whether to take their medications or pay for rent, food, or other day-to-day expenses. A bill currently on the governor’s desk would make things worse by limiting access to critical coupons — assistance that could mean the difference between life and death for vulnerable patients. (Dr. Gustavo Alvo, 10/4)

Stat: 12-Step Meetings Should Stop Shunning Medication-Assisted Therapy
These programs are making the opioid crisis worse by making recovery from opioid addiction harder than it already is. By turning their backs on people like me on medication-assisted therapy to kick opioid addictions, these programs are prolonging addiction and contributing to overdose deaths. (Elizabeth Brico, 10/4)

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