Viewpoints: Talk About Health Care Reform, But Move On From Fixation With ‘Medicare For All’; Americans Need To Know Before The Election About Future Of Health Law
Editorial pages focus on these and other health issues.
The New York Times:
Can We Please Stop Fighting About ‘Medicare For All’?
With strong support among the Democratic Party’s base, “Medicare for all” has emerged as a test of progressive bona fides in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.It has also emerged as something of a political morass into which the candidates keep stumbling. Most recently, the businessman Andrew Yang faced scrutiny over his position on the idea of creating a government-run health insurance system that essentially would eliminate private coverage. (Michelle Cottle, 1/8)
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
If Killing Obamacare Is A Good Idea, Why Does The GOP Want To Wait Until After The Election?
Republicans want to have it both ways regarding the Affordable Care Act: They want the courts to kill Obamacare — but not until after the 2020 general election so they can avoid voters’ wrath as the reality sets in that millions of Americans have been thrown off their health care coverage. That’s why a new push by a coalition of Democratic-led states to get the Supreme Court to settle the question before the election is so important. If the GOP is right about the wisdom of eliminating the ACA, let their politicians defend the effects of that stance in campaigning before November. But maneuvering to evade it as a campaign issue is the coward’s way out. (1/8)
The Wall Street Journal:
Trump Delivers A Vital Christmas Gift
My 5-year-old daughter has cystic fibrosis and may eventually need a lung transplant. Just before Christmas, the Trump administration gave an early gift to the roughly 113,000 Americans currently awaiting transplanted organs. It proposed two new rules that will make transplants easier. The first proposal, from the Health Resources and Services Administration, would reduce costs for living kidney donors. The National Organ Transplant Act bans commerce in organs, and regulations even restrict the payment of expenses. (Mary Vought, 1/8)
The New York Times:
Without A Vaccine, These Are Your Odds
Vaccines prevent diseases, and being unvaccinated carries a risk. Last year, the World Health Organization ranked vaccine hesitancy, a “reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines,” among the top 10 health threats worldwide, alongside Ebola, H.I.V. and drug-resistant infections. To state it bluntly, being unvaccinated can result in illness or death. Vaccines, in contrast, are extremely unlikely to lead to side effects, even minor ones like fainting. (Peter J. Hotez, 1/9)
What To Do When A Working Mind Lives In A Body That Can't Respond?
Imagine for a minute — or even for a few seconds — that your working mind is trapped in a body that can’t respond to a doctor’s voice or a spouse’s touch. You are, in essence, a prisoner within your own brain. I think that could be torture. Others don’t. What I’m referring to here is the plight of a subset of people diagnosed with a condition known as persistent vegetative state who are actually trapped in this way. (Jacob M. Appel, 1/9)
The Washington Post:
2019 Saw A Major Setback In Fighting Polio
LAST YEAR was dispiriting for those struggling to eradicate polio, especially in Pakistan. The goal of eradication seemed at least possible when there were only eight cases in 2017, and 12 cases in 2018. Now, the latest data show there have been 128 cases of polio in Pakistan in the past year. Moreover, the global campaign to eradicate polio, which began in 1988, is facing a whole new set of uncertainties. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the three remaining countries where polio is endemic, and Nigeria had been free of wild poliovirus for three years. (1/8)
Prospects For Long-Term Health In The US Continue To Decline
For a state and nation already on notice that our long-term health is deteriorating, news at the beginning of this week sounded disturbing wakeup calls. The health of millennials is worse than the Generation Xers that they follow; and a 40% increase in uninsured rates for the youngest Ohioans — infants to preschoolers — could have long-term consequences not only for their health but also their brain development and overall well-being. Combined, these developments raise serious questions about the likelihood that trends toward decreased life expectancy can soon be reversed. (1/9)
The Florida Times:
Florida Drops In Health
Florida and Maine wouldn’t appear to have much in common, but both lead the nation in the slipping health of their residents. Maine slipped five spots in an annual ranking from 16 to 21 while Florida slipped four spots from 29 to 33. The ranking is produced by the United Health Foundation. It includes a number of factors. Florida’s slippage was due to worsening rates of diabetes, obesity and a low rate of mental health providers. Obesity is out of control in Florida with rates affecting nearly 1 in 3 adults. As a result, diabetes has increased, too, affecting 1 in 10 adults. There is one major contrast between Maine and Florida, however. Maine does a much better job of providing mental health services to its residents with a ladder of more efficient and effective services. (1/9)
Kansas City Star:
Kansas Is Failing Mental Health Patients In State Hospitals. Lawmakers Must Act
Better pay and working conditions for mental health workers must be a priority issue for Kansas lawmakers in the 2020 session, which begins next week. There are two primary mental health hospitals in Kansas, one in Larned and the other in Osawatomie. In late 2019, the federal government told the state it found deficiencies at an acute care unit in Osawatomie, and ordered it to develop a plan to rectify the problems. The state has submitted a plan, but faces loss of federal Medicare payments in March if the government remains unsatisfied. Even if those immediate challenges are addressed, the 60-bed Adair unit is “not a therapeutic environment,” according to Gov. Laura Kelly. (1/7)
After PR Quake, Trump Declares State Of Emergency. Now, Release Fund For Hurricane Maria Recovery
Puerto Rico is now dealing with the aftermath of a powerful 5.8 earthquake and equally powerful aftershocks. Casualties are low, and electrical power is slowly returning. But the quakes are just the latest natural disasters to cripple the U.S. commonwealth. Puerto Rico still is healing from the hit it took two years ago from Hurricane Maria. Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced has declared a state of emergency. President Trump has done the same. That’s the very least the Trump administration should do. It would be unconscionable for it to repeat its appalling response to Hurricane Maria’s destruction in 2017, when Trump practically mocked islanders’ pain and suffering, and recovery efforts became a political football between island leadership and Trump. (1/8)