Viewpoints: The Debate On Planned Parenthood Rhetoric; Bailing Out Insurers
A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
Politics, Rhetoric And The Planned Parenthood Killings
Jim Pouillon was murdered in 2009 by a man who objected to the anti-abortion pamphlet he was distributing. Press coverage was scant, but some pro-choice groups, to their credit, denounced the murder. The New York Times didn't run articles suggesting that over-the-top pro-choice rhetoric -- likening pro-lifers to the Taliban, accusing them of seeking to oppress women, urging a crackdown on their ability to protest abortion -- had set the stage for the murder. Pro-lifers refrained from suggesting that pro-choice groups bore responsibility for the murder. (I'm not aware of any exceptions to this generalization.) That was to their credit: The suggestion would have been obscene. Pro-choicers have been less restrained in the wake of the recent murder of three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. (Ramesh Ponnuru, 11/30)
The Washington Post:
Antiabortion Rhetoric Unwittingly Unleashes The Unhinged
Though we do not know everything about Robert Lewis Dear, the alleged killer in the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting, it’s probably safe to say he’s not a transgender liberal. Ted Cruz, however, isn’t so sure. “The media promptly wants to blame him on the pro-life movement when at this point there’s very little evidence to indicate that,” the Republican presidential candidate said in Iowa on Sunday afternoon. Um, but what about the law enforcement official telling The Washington Post and others that Dear (who distributed anti-Obama pamphlets, according to a neighbor) explained the shooting by saying “no more baby parts”? (Dana Milbank, 11/30)
The Washington Post's The Plum LIne:
Where Do GOP Investigations Of Planned Parenthood Go Now?
The shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday was a vivid reminder that the organization isn’t just a political lightning rod for conservatives who oppose abortion rights. It’s also under constant threat of harassment and violence from radical anti-abortion advocates, ranging from hate mail and vandalism all the way up to arson, bombings, and in a few cases, the murder of clinic staff or patients. (Paul Waldman, 11/30)
Will There Be An Obamacare Bailout Of Insurers?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not working out the way many insurance companies thought it would. Despite the individual mandate and massive new government subsidies delivered directly to insurers, many participating insurers, whose continued participation is essential to the ACA’s future, are losing substantial money. In order to assist those insurers, the administration is now seeking a taxpayer-financed bailout for them. Congress can block taxpayer funds from being used for this purpose by extending language contained in the 2015 government funding bill. Congress could also look to end the back-end subsidy that transfers money from people with workplace coverage to insurers selling ACA plans – plans that satisfy all of the new rules of the law. (Brian Blase, 11/30)
Good News: Medicare End-Of-Life Spending Declines With Age
A new CBO working paper has good news about Medicare: end-of-life health care spending declines as seniors grow older. Lest this appear intuitively obvious, let me remind you of another finding from the same study: Medicare spending per beneficiary rises dramatically with age. Average Medicare spending in 2012 was less than $3,000 per 65-year-old, steadily rising to a peak of nearly $14,000 for 97-year-olds. After that, it actually declines. (Chris Conover, 11/30)
Raise The Smoking Age To 21
Public health in the U.S. has come a long way from the 1960s, when almost half of adults were still smoking. Today that rate is 14.9 percent. The problem is, that's still far too high. Bolder steps to prevent and reduce tobacco addiction are needed -- like the one Hawaii took last summer when it raised the legal age for tobacco purchases to 21. (11/30)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Doing More To Fight Addiction
I have seen firsthand the destruction of addiction. Alcoholism has hit my family, close friends, and relatives, causing heartbreak and snatching away lives, relationships, and careers. My family and I aren't alone. An addiction epidemic is taking hold throughout Pennsylvania and the country as more people are turning from prescribed painkillers to the cheaper alternative of heroin. ... We need to fundamentally change our approach in dealing with this heroin epidemic - which means treating it as a health issue, not simply as a criminal justice issue. (Katie McGinty, 11/30)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
More Resources Needed For Pediatric Mental Health Emergencies
All the perpetrators in the Columbine High school shooting in 1999, the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, and the Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 suffered from mental illness. Events similar to these have led to increased awareness of the disastrous consequences of untreated depression, suicidality, and aggression among adolescents and young adults. As a result, there has been a dramatic increase in youth presenting to the ED for psychiatric care. ... Unfortunately, most EDs which carry this burden are unprepared and unsupported to meet this demand. (Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, 11/30)