Viewpoints: Will All These Health Care Ideas Make Dems Winners Or Losers In 2020 Election?; Stop Treating Doctors Like Criminals, Let Them Prescribe Opioids
Editorial pages focus on these health care topics and others.
The New York Times:
This Democratic Debate Issue Has Tremendous Promise — And Peril
It would be an exaggeration to say that the Democratic primary race is entirely about health care, but only a little bit of one. The standout moment from the first evening was Elizabeth Warren’s vociferous defense of eliminating private insurance companies, and much of the first half of last night’s debate was consumed with the issue as well. The candidates onstage were eager to recommend their plans and elaborate on their differences: Perhaps more than any other issue, this was one on which the different policy ideas in play were clear. Democrats were offering voters choices. (Peter Suderman, 6/28)
Stop Persecuting Docs For Legitimately Prescribing Opioids For Chronic Pain
It is time for Congress to direct the CDC to withdraw its guideline for a ground-up rewrite by an agency like the NIH or FDA that actually knows what it is doing. Likewise, the Veterans Health Administration must be directed to withdraw its closely related “Opioid Safety Initiative.” Veterans tell me that medical practice standards embedded in the initiative are driving vets to suicide by denying them treatment with opioid pain relievers. Finally, the DEA must be told to stand down and stop persecuting doctors who are legitimately prescribing opioids to their patients with chronic pain for “over-prescribing,” something for which no agency has yet created an accepted definition. (Richard A. Red Lawhern, 6/28)
Migrant Children Detention: The Centers I Saw Are No Place For Kids
While Democratic presidential candidates gather in Florida for the first set of primary debates, several of them are taking the time to visit the immigration detention center for children in Homestead, Florida. Their visits follow the news last week that migrant children are facing neglect and danger in a U.S. Border Patrol facility just outside El Paso. That story broke when a group of lawyers — two of my Human Rights Watch colleagues and I were among them — learned from interviews with detained children last week that hundreds of children were kept in filthy, overcrowded holding cells in Clint, Texas, for days and even weeks, many sleeping on cold cement floors. (Michael Garcia Bochenek, 6/27)
The Washington Post:
VA Ordered Fake Appointments To Cut Waiting List, Whistleblower Says
One day before Minu Aghevli testified at a House committee hearing about official Department of Veterans Affairs misconduct, she received a thick packet of documents that shook her life. It amounted to a pink slip more than 170 pages long, including about 140 pages outlining reasons VA plans to fire her, according to Kevin Owen, her lawyer. The packet arrived on Monday. She testified on Tuesday. (Joe Davidson, 6/27)
The New York Times:
Stonewall Hasn’t Ended
The New York police commissioner, James O’Neill, apologized this month for police harassment 50 years ago Friday at the Stonewall Inn, where trans women of color led the resistance that started the national L.G.B.T.Q.-rights movement.But trans people don’t want empty apologies. We want to live and thrive. That means the Police Department must stop aggressively going after members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community, and transgender women in particular, for minor offenses, a practice that has persisted in the decades since Stonewall. (Shelby Chestnut, 6/27)
The New York Times:
When An Abortion Doctor Becomes A Mother
Recently a colleague asked me if I’d had trouble working while I was pregnant. “Actually I was fine,” I said. “I know a lot of people have a hard time, but it wasn’t an issue for me.” She raised her eyebrows. “Wow. Good for you. I was a mess.” (Christine Henneberg, 6/27)
How Much Damage Are Smart Phones, Computers And Tablets Doing To Our Bodies?
Last week the media was briefly focused on the external occipital protuberance, a fancy name for a bony bump at the back of the head. This fascination centered on whether or not the bump was more common in millenials and Gen Zers as a bony compensation for neck muscle strain from excess screen time. The answer is not known, but the more important question was obscure. How much damage are smart phones, computers, iPads and video games doing to our bodies? The complete answer isn't in yet, more research needs to be done. (Marc Siegel, 6/27)
How Can Political Leaders Engage Voters?
Global health is a prime example of the impact we can achieve. America’s investment in fighting the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria has saved millions of lives, driving down disease rates and making whole populations healthier. Since 2000, overall life expectancy has increased by 10 years in sub-Saharan Africa. The HIV infection rate among children is down more than 70 percent since 2000. These successes are possible because the world, often led by the U.S., invested in innovative health research that produced new tools and then focused on delivering them through programs that achieved measurable results. (Chris Collins, 6/27)
Today Is HIV Testing Day — Overcoming Stigma To Prevent New Infections
June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, and it comes amid a sweeping federal campaign to reduce new HIV infections in the United States by 90 percent over the next decade. The Trump administration wants to target “hotspots” where more than half of new HIV infections occur. I practice in one of those hotspots — Franklin County, Ohio — where the annual incidence of HIV has not changed significantly for the past five years. When I look through records of my newly diagnosed patients, I often see they’ve had contact with the medical system in the past, but they were never offered an HIV test. (Carlos Malvestutto, 6/27)