KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Longer Looks: Understanding Downsides Of Saturated Fat, Sugar; Will Innovation Save U.S. Health Care System?

Every week KHN reporter Marissa Evans finds interesting reads from around the Web.

New York: The Day I Started Lying to Ruth
The streetlights in Buenos Aires are considerably dimmer than they are in New York, one of the many things I learned during my family’s six-month stay in Argentina. The front windshield of the rental car, aged and covered in the city’s grime, further obscured what little light came through. When we stopped at the first red light after leaving the hospital, I broke two of my most important marital promises. I started acting like my wife’s doctor, and I lied to her. I had just taken the PET scan, the diagnostic X-ray test, out of its manila envelope ?(Dr. Peter B. Bach, 5/6). ? ?

The Health Care Blog: Dad, You Have To Inhale
Our lives are enhanced and modified by the most unexpected of teachers, our children. The mentoring of our progeny keeps those of graying years at least partially youthful. Still, I was astonished to hear this week, the words, “Dad, you need to starting doing drugs.” The “dad” being addressed is 93 years old and has advancing cancer. He is tired, nauseas, anxious and sleeps poorly. Though he likely has a number of months to live, he has become withdrawn. Despite my usual medical brew, his incapacitating symptoms are without palliation. Dad is miserable. Enter his daughter with the solution. The “drug” she is talking about is the treatment de jour, marijuana (Salwitz, 5/6).

Politico Magazine: Why Both Sides Are Losing The Health Care Debate
In a word, the solution to America’s health care woes is innovation — the cost-cutting innovation we’ve seen in almost every other industry. Genomics, 3-D printing, nanobots, wearable sensors, social media, telecommunications, ... The ACA will impede innovation by, among other things, homogenizing the delivery of care and funneling resources toward well-entrenched providers. ... To seize the offensive, ACA opponents will have to define a new vision, based on innovation. To do so, they will have to cross swords with hospitals, physician groups, academicians, attorneys, medical schools, state governments, federal agencies and more (Robert F. Graboyes, 5/6).

The Wall Street Journal: The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat And Heart Disease
"Saturated fat does not cause heart disease"—or so concluded a big study published in March in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. How could this be? ... The new study's conclusion shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with modern nutritional science, however. The fact is, there has never been solid evidence for the idea that these fats cause disease. We only believe this to be the case because nutrition policy has been derailed over the past half-century by a mixture of personal ambition, bad science, politics and bias (Nina Teicholz, 5/2).

Maclean's Magazine: Death By Sugar
Between 1985 and 2011, the obesity rate among Canadian adults more than tripled; by 2019, overweight and obese adults will outnumber those of normal weight in half of our provinces, predicts a new report in Canadian Medical Association Journal Open. Childhood obesity, too, has risen significantly in the past few decades. Obesity is now seen in babies as young as six months old, and it’s become a global crisis. We all know we’re supposed to eat less and exercise more, but that mantra doesn’t seem to be working. What if the accepted wisdom on obesity—that to lose weight, we simply need to burn off more calories than we consume—is dead wrong? (Kate Lunau, 5/6).

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