Viewpoints: Research Rules Could Block Cancer ‘Moonshot’; Medicare Advantage’s ‘Disadvantage’ For Sicker Patients
A selection of opinions from around the country.
The Wall Street Journal:
How Not To End Cancer In Our Lifetimes
President Obama calls the quest to cure cancer the “moon shot” of his presidency. But if the federal government has its way, this rocket may never leave the launchpad. The reason is sweeping changes proposed by the Obama administration to the rules that govern the use of human tissue in research. The government says the changes are needed “to modernize, strengthen, and make more effective the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects.” But the changes would protect no one and serve only to slow the pace of innovation and discovery, thus harming countless patients and making a cure for cancer less likely. (Laurie H. Glimcher, 4/4)
The New York Times' Upshot:
Sicker Patients Seem At A Disadvantage With Medicare Advantage
New evidence suggests Medicare Advantage may not serve some sicker Medicare beneficiaries as well as it does healthier ones. Medicare Advantage’s private health insurance plans offer at least the same benefits as the public, traditional Medicare program for older Americans, as well as some who are disabled or have certain diseases. The private plans may also offer additional benefits not available from traditional Medicare — like coverage for hearing aids and eyeglasses — and lower patient cost sharing. These features make Medicare Advantage attractive and help explain why the program is surging in popularity. (Austin Frakt, 4/4)
How I Learned To Overcome My Bias Against For-Profit Medicine
[W]hen it came time for me to find a “real job” after my residency, I assumed it would be in a nonprofit organization with a laser-like focus on transforming underserved health. Imagine my astonishment, then, to discover my life’s work in Iora Health — a private sector, venture-backed, for-profit primary care startup. (Ali Khan, 4/4)
Medicaid Not Big Enough? Obama Administration Proposes $100 Billion More Spending
Despite substantial and growing federal deficits, largely driven by unsustainable healthcare commitments, the Obama Administration is proposing more than $100 billion in new Medicaid spending over the next decade. No major area of federal spending has increased more dramatically since President Barack Obama took office than Medicaid, and recent evidence indicates that the program is failing both enrollees and taxpayers. Instead of spending more on the program, Congress should reject the president’s new Medicaid proposals. (Brian Blase, 4/4)
The National Review:
Why Is Obamacare Regulating Health Savings Accounts Out Of Existence?
Almost six years to the day after the Affordable Care Act was enacted, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken steps to kill health savings accounts (HSAs) in the state health-insurance exchanges. It was bound to happen at some point, although some may be surprised that it took this long. In case you missed it, final regulations published on March 8 will make it impossible to offer HSA-qualified plans in the future. Whether this is by accident or design, the outcome is clear. (Roy J. Ramthun, 4/5)
The Wall Street Journal:
The Little Sisters Vs. Notre Dame
In the Bing Crosby classic “The Bells of St. Mary’s,” a nun teaches a bullied boy to fight back, even though she herself believes in turning the other cheek. This coming Saturday, the Little Sisters of the Poor have an opportunity to do the same. Two weeks ago, the Sisters were in the Supreme Court battling the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate. This weekend, they will be at Notre Dame to accept an award from the Center for Ethics and Culture for their work upholding the worth and dignity of every human life. (William McGurn, 4/4)
The Charlotte Observer:
An Abortion Test For North Carolina
Time and time again, as Republicans have looked for ways to make abortions harder to get in North Carolina, they’ve offered the same smirk-inducing rationale for doing so: It’s for the protection of women. It’s an all-purpose justification, used by both lawmakers drawing up legislation and Gov. Pat McCrory as a deflection for breaking campaign promises not to restrict abortion. But now, the Food and Drug Administration has provided a new test of that safety claim. We’re not optimistic that N.C. Republicans will pass. (4/4)
Trump Was Right On Target About Abortion -- And The Utter Moral Incoherence Of Pro-Lifers
He is surely right that a woman who breaks a law involving killing ought to be punished, but that the dominant pro-life position demonizes abortion providers not women and, that the pro-life stance is to try and have their cake and eat it too by portraying the woman making the decision as a ‘victim.’ Trump, in a dialogue worthy of any penned by Plato about Socrates has, unintentionally, pinpointed the utter moral incoherence of the dominant pro-life position. (Arthur Caplan, 4/3)
Los Angeles Times:
Forget Cops. Should Doctors And Teachers Wear Body Cameras?
Consider health care, another interaction which produces potentially life-or-death outcomes. In general, African Americans and other people of color receive inferior medical treatment, leading to higher death rates. David R. Williams, a professor of public health at Harvard, who has researched this issue writes that blacks and other minorities receive fewer diagnostic tests, fewer treatments, and overall poorer-quality care — even after adjusting for variations in insurance, facilities, and seriousness of illness. Leaving aside patient outcomes, there are also highly credible accusations that medical staff have groped and sexually abused sedated patients. Body cameras on doctors and nurses might well prevent such incidents, or provide evidence if they did occur. (Steven Strauss, 4/4)
The Washington Post:
Sending Nurses To Work With Poor Moms Helps Kids. So Why Don’t We Do More Of It?
A high school senior learns that she’s pregnant — and she’s terrified. But a registered nurse comes to visit her in her home for about an hour each week during pregnancy, and every other week after birth, until the baby turns 2. The nurse advises her what to eat and not to smoke; looks around the house to advise her of any safety concerns; encourages her to read and talk to her baby; and counsels her on nutrition for herself and her baby. (Topher Spiro and Lanhee J. Chen, 4/5)
Yelp Provides Untapped Insight Into Patient Experience
Excessively pricey bills, long waits for staff, rude doctors and difficulties setting up appointments drove people to rant about their hospitals on Yelp, according to a study published online Monday. While those issue frustrate patients, most are not tracked on government surveys and ratings programs meant to capture patients' experiences in U.S. hospitals. (Sabriya Rice, 4/4)
The New York Times' Opinionator:
Walking Together For Health And Spirit
In early 2013, the Rev. Theresa S. Thames stumbled upon a Facebook page titled “GirlTrek: Healthy Black Women and Girls.” “It saved my life,” she said. Thames, then 33, was dangerously overweight and fighting depression. She sent the site her contact information and received an email from Vanessa Garrison, co-founder of GirlTrek, an organization that inspires black women to change their lives and communities by walking. Garrison learned that Thames was a pastor and invited her to lead a prayer at an event in Washington commemorating the 100th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s death. (David Bornstein, 4/5)
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Pathway Out Of Poverty For Child Care Workers
The editorial “Breaking the poverty cycle” (March 23) regarding training child care workers is on target in many ways. It is without a doubt important to increase the quality and training of child care workers, particularly those in low-income settings and communities with high levels of toxic stress. A wealth of research, as well as For the Sake of All and the Ferguson Commission, concur that quality care and education play a key role in assuring children succeed in school and in life. Training the mostly single mothers in the pilot project to provide quality care and also enrolling their children in high-quality settings is a win-win undertaking. But we can’t afford to be complacent about our efforts. (Ruth Shresman, 4/5)
The Seattle Times:
Are Supervised Drug Injection Sites A Wild Idea?
[S]ome policymakers are considering taking the radical step of creating safe places where people can inject illicit drugs under supervision. Sound wild or perhaps asinine? Maybe. But if one takes the time to learn about experiences with supervised injection sites, it might seem crazier not to implement this very simple public-health intervention. (Thomas Kerr, 4/3)