Viewpoints: Talking At Thanksgiving; Moving To Value-Based Care; Doctors And Torture
A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
A Psychologist's Guide To Talking Politics — Or Not — This Thanksgiving
The task that lies before many of us at the Thanksgiving table is not unlike the task that faces us all as Americans: How do we connect across difference, especially when that difference truly hurts? Psychotherapy strategies for improving relationships, especially coping with strong feelings, might be useful. (Patricia Harney, 11/22)
Value-Based System Is Still A Worthwhile Endeavor
In this time of uncertainty, some things are still clear. Transitioning from fee-for-service medicine to a value-based system is still a worthwhile endeavor supported across the aisle. By paying for better — instead of simply more — care, the government highlights and rewards high-quality health plans, hospitals and physicians. But a glitch is causing unintended consequences for millions of seniors, leaving 2.5 million Medicare beneficiaries in 18 states without the improved benefits, reduced premiums and lower cost-sharing Congress intended to provide. (Ceci Connolly, 11/22)
Could Healthcare IT Be The Key To Better Addiction Treatment?
In a new, landmark report on addiction, the U.S. surgeon general made a solid argument for the role of health information technology in improving the treatment of patients with drug or alcohol abuse as well as behavioral health problems. Dr. Vivek Murthy's office pushed for greater health IT adoption and use by providers of alcohol, drug abuse and behavioral health treatment. But it took no position on a pending federal rule that could relax the current strict privacy protections covering the medical records of many patients receiving those treatments. (Joseph Conn, 11/22)
The New York Times:
When Doctors First Do Harm
President-elect Donald J. Trump on Tuesday expressed reservations about the use of torture. But he did not disavow the practice, or his promise to bring it back. And if he does, C.I.A. doctors may be America’s last defense against a return to savagery. But they’ll need to break sharply with what they did the last time around. (M. Gregg Bloche, 11/22)
Los Angeles Times:
The IRS Could Instantly Help 387,000 Disabled Americans. What's It Waiting For?
The Department of Education and the Social Security Administration jointly are doing yeoman’s work in identifying about 387,000 severely disabled and insolvent Americans saddled with federal student debt they can’t repay and informing them that the law allows their loans to be forgiven. But one agency still needs to act to make sure these people aren’t hit with a tax penalty when that happens: the Internal Revenue Service. (Michael Hiltzik, 11/22)
The New York Times:
My Life With Tourette’s Syndrome
I was born with a neurological disorder that causes involuntary movements, vocalizations and tics — sometimes mild, sometimes wildly disruptive: Tourette’s syndrome. Since my youth, I’ve often been stopped in public by the police and questioned because of my symptoms. Questioned: That sums it up in a single word. My whole life has been questioned. (Shane Fistell, 11/23)
More Mass. Prisoners Should Have Chance For Compassionate Release, Too
To die in prison is, in most cases, to die without autonomy. Dying behind bars will become more common as the prison population becomes older and sicker. Often, dying in prison happens even in cases like [former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore] DiMasi’s that were never meant to be life sentences. To pass away in prison, separated from your family, seems tragic under the best of circumstances. (Elisabeth Poorman, 11/22)
My Turn: Anti-Smoking Campaign Gives Arizonans A Shot At Better Health
There are 200,000 fewer smokers in Arizona than existed in 2011. This decrease is in part due to the contributions of the health-care community, community-based organizations and tools like the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline. But, we know it is also due to the effort of folks committed to quitting and their loved ones who encouraged and supported them. Arizona wants to have the lowest smoking rate in the U.S. by 2020. This means there is still more to do. (Jay Tibshraeny, 11/22)