Viewpoints: Texas Bills Punish Parents For Trans Kids Care; Urgent Action Needed To Halt Opioid Overdoses
Editorial pages tackle these public health issues.
Anti-Trans Bill Passed By Texas Senate Would Make Parents Like Me Criminals
Texas is my home. Since moving here 15 years ago, my husband and I have raised our two children, built careers, made friends and put down roots. But in the last few weeks, we have been slipping out of our children’s earshot to whisper about something I never imagined: deciding where will move if we have to leave the state. We, and other families of trans kids, are fearfully debating our limited options while the Texas Legislature considers a raft of anti-trans bills that would prevent us from caring for or protecting our children. These bills can be grouped into four major categories: bills that criminalize parents’ consent to gender-affirming medical care for trans children, bills that prohibit doctors from providing such care, bills that stigmatize trans children playing in school sports and a religious exemption bill that normalizes discrimination. (Jane Robinson, 4/29)
Needed: An Operation Warp Speed For The Opioid Epidemic
Despite early challenges in scaling diagnostic testing for Covid-19 and a halting start to the vaccine rollout, the U.S.’s rapid response to the pandemic has highlighted the importance of coordination between the government, private business, and citizen mobilization. Those efforts, orchestrated in part by Operation Warp Speed, delivered multiple effective vaccines in an unprecedented time frame. But even as the country rightfully focused on the pandemic, a record number of individuals in the U.S. have died from drug overdoses. Adults between the ages of 25 and 44 years have been more than twice as likely to die from opioid overdose than from Covid-19, yet no coordinated effort in the mold of an Operation Warp Speed exists to stop this epidemic. (Thomas McLellan and Jacob Crothers, 4/29)
Congress: Stop Dialysis Providers From Gaming Reimbursement
The Covid-19 relief bill that President Joe Biden signed into law in March temporarily expanded the subsidies available to people who buy their health insurance through marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act, and the administration has proposed to make those subsidies permanent as part of the American Families Plan. To help pay for that effort, Congress should end a game that big dialysis companies play with insurance to pad their profits at federal expense. (Erin E. Trish, Eugene Lin and Matthew Fiedler, 4/29)
Penicillin Wasn't Alexander Fleming's First Major Discovery
The development of COVID vaccines has spotlighted the ingenuity of 21st-century science. In a matter of months, researchers pinpointed the coronavirus’s spike protein, figured out how to provoke an immune response and produced vaccine candidates for trial. The inoculation, in its several forms, is being hailed as one of the greatest achievements in scientific history. But as we celebrate the power of targeted molecular biology, we should also continue to honor one of the most important pillars of scientific discovery: serendipity. (Claudia Kalb, 4/27)
Medicare For All Would Put Even More Strain On Doctors
Medicare for All is back on Congress's agenda. More than 100 House Democrats, led by Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Debbie Dingell of Michigan, are behind a bill that would outlaw private insurance and enroll every American in a government-run health plan within two years. They're joined by a surprisingly large share of health care professionals. National Nurses United, Physicians for a National Health Program and the American College of Physicians—the nation's second-largest doctors' group—have all come out in favor of a government takeover of the country's health insurance system. (Sally C. Pipes. 4/28)
New England Journal of Medicine:
Medical School Admissions — A Movable Barrier To Ending Health Care Disparities?
Disparities in health and access to care in the United States have been thrown into sharp relief by the disproportionate and deadly effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic on underserved communities of color and by the grassroots movement toward a racial reckoning that began in earnest in the spring of 2020. Over the past 30 years, an enormous body of literature has been devoted to health disparities. National committees have heard expert testimony, parsed the issues, and published recommendations — prominent among them, expanding and diversifying the physician workforce, beginning with initiatives to increase racial diversity in medical school classes. (Winfred W. Williams, 4/29)