Viewpoints: Sickness, Health And Right-Wing Populism; Trump On Obamacare — Political Or Literal?
A selection of opinions and editorials from around the country.
Will The World's Turn To Right-Wing Populism Make Us Sick?
As right-wing populism fuels a growing crackdown on democracy and civil liberties, lawyers and human rights advocates aren’t the only people getting nervous. Public health experts are too. Why? Because studies and anecdotal evidence demonstrate quite clearly that as authoritarianism rises, indicators of health fall. ... Several researchers have found a statistically significant relationship between the level of freedom or democracy in a country and the health of its population. (Jonathan Cohen, 12/20)
The Washington Post:
Trump Voters Didn’t Take Him Literally On Obamacare. Oops?
Donald Trump’s supporters, in conservative writer Salena Zito’s memorable formulation, take him seriously but not literally. They will be forgiving if, say, he doesn’t literally get Mexico to pay for a border wall, or if he doesn’t literally ban all Muslims from entering the United States. But in other areas, Trump’s supporters perhaps should have taken him literally — because they now may have a serious problem. ... The Urban Institute estimated this month that under the partial repeal plan previously passed by Republicans in Congress, 30 million people would lose insurance, 82 percent of them would be in working families and 56 percent would be white. (Dana Milbank, 12/20)
The New York Times:
Trump Is Going After Health Care. Will Democrats Push Back?
Where should Democrats head after their recent electoral rout? As it happens, coming fights about federally subsidized health insurance offer the party a golden opportunity to engage people far beyond its urban strongholds, in communities that will be hard hit by Republican plans to shrink Medicaid, privatize Medicare and eliminate the taxes that pay for Obamacare subsidies. (Theda Skocpol, 12/21)
Concord (N.H.) Monitor:
When It’s Safe To Touch The Third Rail
We have no idea what President-elect Donald Trump really thinks about Social Security and Medicare, those mainstays of old America. On the campaign trail, he said nice things about both. We do know that Trump promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, this era’s effort to improve the lot of the uninsured. We also know that all three will be under attack in a matter of weeks when the new president and new Congress take office. (12/20)
A New Hope For America’s Addiction Crisis
The United States Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, released a comprehensive report on the state of the nation’s now widely accepted addiction crisis. The report, "Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health," is the first of its kind and, as Murthy says, aims to provide “a cultural shift in how we think about addiction.” It is no longer reasonable for anyone within the addiction treatment arena, nor the public at-large, to label addiction as anything less than a chronic brain disease. (Jacob Levenson, 12/20)
Doctor Shortage In Poor, Rural Areas Needs To Be Addressed
Doctor’s appointments may soon be hard to come by. According to a new study, the United States will be short up to 90,000 doctors by 2025. This shortage will hit rural and poor urban areas hardest – largely because the vast majority of newly minted doctors don’t end up practicing in these locales. (G. Richard Olds, 12/20)
Los Angeles Times:
California’s Coming $20 Billion Healthcare Emergency
California is facing a $20 billion healthcare emergency. That’s how much the state stands to lose in annual federal spending if Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Tom McMorrow, 12/21)
Los Angeles Times:
Soaring Insulin Prices Are A Case In Point: A 'Free Market' In Healthcare Is Doomed
A key feature of Republican plans to replace Obamacare is allowing market forces to boost innovation and competition among healthcare providers. “Unleashing the power of choice and competition is the best way to lower healthcare costs and improve quality,” declares House Speaker Paul Ryan in his conservative manifesto “A Better Way.” The problem with that, however, is that the healthcare industry — hospitals, drug companies, insurers — have worked tirelessly to prevent the medical marketplace from functioning with sufficient transparency and efficiency to allow consumers to benefit from classic supply-and-demand economics. (David Lazarus, 12/20)
Kansas City Star:
Expanding KanCare Makes Sense For Kansas
In Kansas, there is an issue central to the success of local businesses and the growth of our state’s economy. It helps address the state’s budget crisis, brings much-needed jobs to our state and allows us to sit in the driver’s seat — coming up with our own solutions, encouraging personal responsibility and making sure our tax dollars are wisely spent. The issue might surprise you. It is expanding the state’s Medicaid program, KanCare. (Joe Reardon and Gary Plummer, 12/20)
The Des Moines Register:
Mental Health In Iowa Is Fragmented And Costly
When mental health issues become visible, it often happens explosively and tragically. The shootings at Newtown and Virginia Tech, along with countless other deadly crimes, were carried out by mentally unstable individuals. About a year ago, an Iowa veteran dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder was angered by two teens who were horsing around at an Ankeny McDonald’s. He shot and paralyzed one of them. (Kirk Norris, 12/20)
The Washington Post:
Defunding Planned Parenthood Could Be The GOP’s First Big Defeat Of The New Year
As you might expect, many Republicans are giddy with excitement over all the new laws they’ll be able to pass, as they remake America into a paradise of liberty, prosperity and strong old-fashioned values. But there’s danger lurking there, too, because a whole bunch of promises they’ve made in recent years are now going to have to be kept, and they won’t have a Democratic president to use as an excuse for avoiding ideologically important but politically perilous actions. For now I want to focus on just one of those actions: defunding Planned Parenthood. ... This is likely to be big trouble for Republicans — indeed, it could be their first major legislative defeat next year. (Paul Waldman, 12/20)
20-Week Abortion Ban Destined To Get Struck Down
We traveled out of state for a late-term abortion – the very kind just outlawed in Ohio. We made this choice, knowing that termination would be a better option than continuing a pregnancy that would result in a stillborn. The politicians who helped pass this new law either don’t know or don’t care that many women who have late-term abortions face similar circumstances. And because of the political climate in Ohio, women like me often do not get the proper care or support unless they leave the state. (Batsheva Guy, 12/20)