Viewpoints: Thank Trump And Conservatives For Putting Health Law’s Protections At Risk Again; Get Rid Of ACA, Return Health Care Choices To Americans
Editorial pages focus on these health topics and others.
The New York Times:
The Legal Threat To Obamacare Is Back. Again.
Judge Carolyn Dineen King was a voice of reason on Wednesday as her fellow members of a three-judge appeals panel sustained a legal threat to the Affordable Care Act. In a 2-to-1 ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed with Judge Reed O’Connor of Federal District Court for the North District of Texas that the law’s requirement that Americans buy health insurance is unconstitutional. The majority ruling did not accept Judge O’Connor’s reasoning that the mandate’s unconstitutionality made the rest of the law void. (12/19)
Ditch The ACA. Give People More Power In Their Health Care Choices.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Wednesday holding the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate unconstitutional does two things. First, it affirms the argument we’ve been making all along — that despite the promises and assurances all Americans received, Obamacare hurt families by taking away their insurance, taking away their doctors, limiting their choices and pricing them out of health care. And second, the decision reinforces the principle that the federal government’s powers are limited. It cannot force Americans to purchase products they don’t want and don’t need, nor can it consign their welfare to a system — whether it’s Obamacare of Medicare-for-All— that fails to meet their needs and even puts them at risk. (Robert Henneke, 12/19)
The Washington Post:
Stop Tilting At Windmills, Conservatives. Come Up With Actual Health-Care Solutions.
Wednesday’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit invalidating Obamacare’s individual mandate has raised the possibility that the entire bill might be struck down as a result. That’s highly unlikely to happen given legal doctrine and the Supreme Court’s makeup. Opponents should instead think about how to reform health policy rather than hope for a judicial lightning bolt to strike Obamacare down. (Henry Olsen, 12/19)
The New York Times:
Who Should You Blame If You Lose Your Health Care?
Almost exactly a year ago, a federal judge in Texas who is widely known for his anti-Affordable Care Act rulings wiped the entire health care law off the books. That’s right. Not only the quality-control measures and the requirements of coverage for pre-existing-conditions and that young adults can remain on their parents’ plans but also the Medicaid expansion, Medicare’s new drug benefits and countless other reforms. Many Americans don’t realize how many benefits they currently enjoy come from the Affordable Care Act, which has given tens of millions access to health care over the past decade. (Abbe R. Gluck, 12/19)
Medicare-For-All Opponents Aren’t Murderers
Health care is a major point of contention in the Democratic primary campaign. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren favor a single-payer system, while Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg support a federal insurance program to compete with private insurers, also known as the public option. Some fans of single-payer have begun to deploy a dire-sounding argument: failing to implement Medicare for All, they claim, would be tantamount to murder. (Noah Smith, 12/19)
Los Angeles Times:
I'm On Medicare And I Still Got A $25,000 Hospital Bill
Unfortunately, Medicare Part A has a major gap in its coverage. As a senior citizen with Medicare Part A, I fell through that gap. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, entered the hospital for a radical prostatectomy and spent the following two nights on a general surgical ward. Several weeks later, I was blindsided with a $25,334 bill for my hospitalization. The surgeon’s bill was an additional $4,695 that was not covered by Part A. Certain the bill was a mistake, I contacted the hospital billing department to remind them that I had Medicare Part A, and that Medicare Part A pays the cost of hospitalization. “That is correct,” the hospital representative replied. But I hadn’t been “admitted,” I was told; I had been hospitalized as an “outpatient” under “observation status.” (Andrew Taylor, 12/20)
A Hospital Staffer Diverted Drugs, And I Got Hepatitis C. Diversion Is Common
In 2009, I checked into the surgical ward of Denver’s Rose Medical Center to have a kidney stone removed. It was a minor procedure, and I emerged from the hospital a bit groggy but otherwise seemingly unscathed. Little did I know that I was soon to be plunged into the shadowy world of drug diversion. About six weeks after the operation, I was overcome by a crush of debilitating symptoms — it felt like I had the flu on steroids. As a single parent of a 1-year-old, I was terrified it would get worse. When I went to a local urgent care center, the doctor sent me straight to Rose’s emergency department. Blood tests showed I had hepatitis C — a life-threatening condition that can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. (Lauren Lollini, 12/20)
The Washington Post:
The Government Spending Bill Includes A Major Victory For Gun Safety Advocates
Scholars at the nonpartisan Rand Corp. last year published the findings of a two-year study that assessed available scientific evidence on the real effects of gun laws and policies. One of their biggest takeaways was that there was no good evidence on key questions of gun safety and violence. Why not? Because many issues have gone unstudied as the result of congressional appropriations language that chilled U.S. government investments in gun research. Now this ridiculous situation is about to change. (12/19)
Aducanumab Isn't The Simple Solution To The Alzheimer's Crisis
This year’s Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease meeting began in mid-December with a bang and ended a few days later with hallway conversations laced with worry. The topic, in both cases, was aducanumab, an experimental drug for treating people with Alzheimer’s disease. The meeting got off to celebratory start as a top Biogen scientist presented results showing that the highest dose of aducanumab may benefit people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and elevated amounts of a protein called amyloid in the brain. That presentation represented an about-face for the company, which had pulled the plug on two trials of the drug in March. (Jason Karlawish, 12/20)
Medicaid: Andy Beshear's Rejection Of Barriers Helps All Kentuckians
Health coverage is foundational to good health, and in Kentucky no single insurer is as foundational as Medicaid. In a very real way, Medicaid is for all of us. From childhood, through our working years, to senior care, Medicaid covers all Kentuckians in all stages of life. For that reason, we have a lot to celebrate now that a proposed battery of barriers to Medicaid coverage has finally been rejected thanks to Gov. Andy Beshear. These barriers would have led to at least 100,000 Kentuckians losing their health coverage and finding themselves one accident or bout of sickness away from financial ruin or a health catastrophe. (Dustin Pugel, 12/19)