Viewpoints: Time To Recognize Deadly Mix Of Dementia And Guns; Finally, The Right Message About Vaccines Is Delivered
Editorial pages focus on these public health topics and others.
Dementia And Firearms Make A Lethal Combination
Nationwide since 2012, firearms have been used in at least 15 homicides and more than 95 suicides related to dementia, a Kaiser Health News investigation found. This is probably a severe undercount, because dementia often goes undiagnosed. Consider the 76-year-old Milwaukee man who was considered mentally competent when he was convicted of murdering his neighbor, a 13-year-old boy he had accused, without evidence, of stealing some of his guns.Partly in response to mass shootings, more than a dozen states have enacted red flag laws, which enable family members or law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily remove guns from a person who could be a danger to self or others. (1/16)
What Andy Samberg And Sandra Oh Got Right At The Golden Globes: Vaccines Are Worth Celebrating!
Last week at the Golden Globes, hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh made headlines as they tried to give out free flu shots to celebrities in the audience. This surprise stunt showed famous stars looking shocked and nervous as needle-wielding nurses descended from the stage to offer vaccinations. Samberg joked, “If you are an anti-vaxxer, just put a napkin on—perhaps over—your head and we will skip you.” (Bill Frist, 1/16)
Diversity In Clinical Trials Defines Good Science And Better Medicine
Hispanic Americans have higher levels of diabetes and less access to health care services, yet they live on average about three years longer than non-Hispanic whites and six years longer than African-Americans. Why? No one really knows. Hispanics are underrepresented in both clinical trials and the genome-wide association studies that have informed our understanding of the molecular foundation of health and disease, so we can only guess. (Jane L. Delgado and Edward Abrahams, 1/17)
The New York Times:
Can States Fix The Disaster Of American Health Care?
Last week, California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, promised to pursue a smorgasbord of changes to his state’s health care system: state negotiation of drug prices; a requirement that every Californian have health insurance; more assistance to help middle-class Californians afford it; and health care for undocumented immigrants up to age 26. The proposals fell short of the sweeping government-run single-payer plan Mr. Newsom had supported during his campaign — a system in which the state government would pay all the bills and effectively control the rates paid for services. (Elisabeth Rosenthal, 1/16)
Congress Must Join Appeal To Defend The ACA
Seeking to assist in the appeal to protect the ACA, Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell on Wednesday joined in a Senate resolution that seeks to authorize the Senate’s legal counsel to assist in the appeal and defend the ACA and its protections. The resolution notes that ordinarily the federal Department of Justice defends laws when challenged in court, even when an administration disagrees with the law. The Trump administration did the opposite, bucking precedent and arguing against the ACA’s constitutionality in the Texas case. (1/17)
Doctor Burnout Is Real. And It’s Dangerous
Burnout — a condition characterized by emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of reduced effectiveness in the workforce — impacts all caregivers and, in particular, threatens to undermine the physician workforce, endangering our health care system. So profound it has been described as “moral injury,” burnout results from a collision of norms between the physician’s mission to provide care and increasing bureaucratic demands of a new era. (Alan Chaoui, Steven Defossez and Michelle Williams, 1/17)
The Wall Street Journal:
Masculinity Isn’t A Sickness
In my practice as a psychotherapist, I’ve seen an increase of depression in young men who feel emasculated in a society that is hostile to masculinity. New guidelines from the American Psychological Association defining “traditional masculinity” as a pathological state are likely only to make matters worse. True, over the past half-century ideas about femininity and masculinity have evolved, sometimes for the better. But the APA guidelines demonize masculinity rather than embracing its positive aspects. In a press release, the APA asserts flatly that “traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.” The APA claims that masculinity is to blame for the oppression and abuse of women. (Erica Komisar, 1/16)
Everyone Calm Down, The Gillette Ad Is Just Fine
Back to the ad. Nowhere does Gillette say “all men are rapists” as outraged critics claim (and to all those guys with their panties in a wad, maybe you should just man up and get over it). Nowhere does the ad say that we should dress little boys in petticoats and force them to play with dolls. Gillette simply says “the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow” — and that’s making them all pansies? Please. That declaration is exactly right, and, frankly, impossible to refute. So everybody just calm down. What Gillette is preaching is perfectly fine. (Joseph Curl, 1/15)
Kansas City Star:
Gun Violence Costs Missouri $1.9 Billion Per Year
Gun violence in Missouri costs the state $1.9 billion per year, according to a new report from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. And taxpayers are on the hook for much of the tab.About 85 percent of victims are either uninsured or reliant upon some form of publicly-funded insurance. (1/16)
New Moms Should Get More Than Two Months Of Health Care
The Medicaid program in Texas, which covers more than half the births in the state, phases mothers out of Medicaid for Pregnant Women two months after they’ve given birth. But new moms aren’t out of the woods then: Among the 382 Texas women who died within a year of giving birth between 2012 and 2015, more than half — 215 — died after that two-month mark, according to the state task force on maternal mortality. (1/16)
Indiana AG Curtis Hill: After Obamacare, What's Next For Healthcare?
Across the nation, meanwhile, individual states are also taking their own steps to increase the number of people covered by health insurance. You need look no further than Indiana. A waiver from the federal government allows Indiana to opt out of certain Medicaid state plan requirements in order to operate the Healthy Indiana Plan. This consumer-driven program provides health insurance coverage for adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The Healthy Indiana Plan serves the state well, providing quality healthcare at low cost to several hundred thousand Hoosiers. (Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, 1/17)
Los Angeles Times:
How The Teachers’ Strike Is Playing Out At The School With The Most Homeless Students In The District
Telfair Elementary School Principal Jose Razo returned to his roots Tuesday, filling in as a pre-K teacher while the L.A. Unified strike continued. His text for the day: “How I Became a Pirate.” But first he asked his students whether anyone knew what a pirate does. “A pirate lives on the ocean and sometimes steals things,” said a future valedictorian. (Steve Lopez, 1/16)