Viewpoints: The Health Law Is Working, According To Trump’s Figures; Why Punish People With Pre-Existing Conditions?
Editorial pages look at these and other health issues.
Los Angeles Times:
Trump's Own Figures Show That Obamacare Is Working Well For The Vast Majority Of Enrollees
Overall, according to the figures released by the agency, 10.6 million Americans had signed up for ACA coverage by February and paid their first month’s premium. That was about 3% ahead of the 10.3-million enrollment at the same moment in 2017, the agency said. The increase came in the face of Trump administration policies that would have the effect of discouraging enrollment. (Michael Hiltzik, 7/3)
Americans Deserve Affordable Health Care
When I was 27, I woke up one morning with no vision in my left eye. I went to the doctor, and I’ll never forget sitting on the examination table, anxiously awaiting my diagnosis. What he told me would change my life forever: “Ellen, you have MS.”Multiple Sclerosis is a lifelong disease that attacks your central nervous system. For many, it can result in a wheelchair-bound life. I thought in that moment that my life might be over. ...This month, Trump’s Department of Justice has announced that it won’t defend ACA provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions. This move is a moral outrage and a cruel and unnecessary punishment for people like me—people who need good health care to give them a chance for a healthy, productive life. It also means that insurers could charge older patients much higher premiums, both in the individual market and for small business employees. It threatens the insurance that we all access, whether employer-provided or through an exchange. (Ellen Lipton, 7/5)
Student-Led Mental Health Groups Are Important — With Supervision
It’s no secret that college students have increasingly been reporting more mental health difficulties, including suicidal thoughts. Because university counseling centers and staff sometimes struggle to care for all the students in need, the students themselves have formed mental health support groups. While there’s a lot to celebrate in regards to student-led mental health help initiatives across college campuses, such groups can have drawbacks, particularly if not overseen or supported by mental health professionals in some way. (Joan Cook, 7/3)
The Washington Post:
It Ain’t Broke Yet, But Federal Disability Insurance Still Needs Some Big Fixes
Every so often, the federal government’s financial performance surprises on the upside. Recent case in point: new data in the annual report of the Social Security trustees showing unexpected resiliency in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Just three years ago, in July 2015, the Obama administration warned that the program’s reserves were so low that it might not be able to cover expected benefits in 2016. Now, the trustees say the program will be solvent until 2032. Declining disability insurance receipts may be one reason that labor force participation by “prime-age” workers, those between the ages of 25 and 54, has ticked up from 80.6 percent in September 2015 to 81.8 in May 2018. (7/2)
Los Angeles Times:
Rules For Gay Blood Donors Are Based On Outdated Fear, Not Science
In my senior year I helped organize a blood drive in my high school gymnasium. I felt newly mature as I signed the consent form; the idea that my transient discomfort potentially could help save a life inspired me, and I committed to making blood donation a habit. When I received my American Red Cross Donor Card weeks later indicating that I was “O-negative” – a universal donor – I became all the more motivated.I’m now, years later, a physician who sees patients benefit from transfusions every day, from children with sickle cell disease to adults with leukemia. My husband sees blood products being put to work even more dramatically on his shifts in the emergency department, as they’re rapidly infused into trauma patients. When there’s no time for matching blood types, it’s O-negative blood like mine that is pumped into these patients’ veins. (C. Nicholas Cueno, 7/5)
The New York Times:
Americans Are Having Fewer Babies. They Told Us Why.
Americans are having fewer babies. At first, researchers thought the declining fertility rate was because of the recession, but it kept falling even as the economy recovered. Now it has reached a record low for the second consecutive year. Because the fertility rate subtly shapes many major issues of the day — including immigration, education, housing, the labor supply, the social safety net and support for working families — there’s a lot of concern about why today’s young adults aren’t having as many children. So we asked them. (Claire Cain Miller, 7/5)