A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
Tuesday was the last day to sign up for Obamacare in 2017. But it might or might not have been the last chance ever. Because predictably, now that we’re about to lose the Affordable Care Act, Republicans who have spent years swearing that there’s nothing good about the health care law are panicking.
Surgeon-author Atul Gawande recently penned an article underscoring the importance of “incremental care” in solving medical problems. The slow and steady, often trial-and-error, approach of family physicians or local clinics that are familiar with the patient, he wrote, often produces better results than the intensive interventions of specialists. There’s a parallel in how we should think about constructing a health system in America – or replacing one.
Communities thrive when they have a strong foundation made up of things like good schools and quality healthcare. The Affordable Care Act empowered Kentucky to bring healthcare to half a million of our citizens, protect ourselves from harmful insurance practices and boost our economy. Repeal would undo all of that progress.
In my earlier piece, I exploded the DailyKos claim that Republican plans to repeal Obamacare will lead to an “annual death sentence” of 21,000 people as well as Nicholas Kristof’s assertion that prior to Obamacare, 1 person died every 24 [hours] simply due to lack of health insurance. My critique was based on the various ways in which evidence from observational studies had been cherry-picked or mis-used to exaggerate the potential impact of Obamacare repeal on premature deaths in America. Today, I will focus on a different category of studies called “quasi-experimental” studies.
The telephone operators who answer questions about Healthcare.gov, the website for buying Affordable Care Act insurance, have been busy lately. That’s not surprising, given that Tuesday is the last day to purchase coverage for the rest of 2017. But this year, something is different: Obamacare’s future is in doubt. And that’s made for some difficult moments.
In December 2016, Congress overwhelmingly passed the 21st Century Cures Act. Implementing that bipartisan legislation now falls to Trump and the 115th Congress. Having spent decades fighting to improve treatment and safety for cancer patients, I was thrilled by the bill’s passage. It promises indispensable changes that will let the Food and Drug Administration take advantage of the most advanced science to tackle cancer without sacrificing safety. The bill’s first test is the implementation of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence.
State officials in Washington last week announced there were 278 confirmed and probable cases of mumps across five counties in recent months. The contagious disease can cause deafness and inflammation of the brain. The best prevention is the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, said Dave Johnson, a spokesman for the state’s health department. Meanwhile, back in Iowa, a few of our public officials had vaccines on their minds, too. But they were busy trying to ensure fewer children here are protected against communicable diseases, including mumps. The House Human Resources subcommittee passed a bill that would allow parents to cite a “personal conviction” as a reason to exempt their children from state-required immunizations to attend school.
To curb the ongoing tidal wave of opioid addiction and overdose deaths, state and federal governments have put in place policies that restrict doctors’ ability to prescribe opioids such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet. Although well-meaning, these policies are unleashing several unintended — yet entirely predictable — consequences. One is an unprecedented spike in drug overdose deaths, quite rightly described as a nationwide epidemic. When opioid pills become difficult to obtain, some patients who depend on these prescription medications to get through the day relatively pain-free switch to heroin. … Another consequence is the needless stress inflicted upon patients who legitimately and responsibly rely on opioids for various medical conditions but now find it far more difficult to access them.
Forty-nine other states aren’t wrong. Missouri is the sole outlier in a national effort to curtail the devastating impact of prescription drug abuse. Standing alone on this issue is an embarrassment with deadly consequences. Every other state in the country has enacted prescription drug monitoring systems.
Thanks to the Women’s March on Washington, which predictably devolved into a pro-abortion rally, and the recent March for Life, the debate over “abortion rights” in the U.S. is beginning anew. So it’s worth debunking one of the most persistent (and lazy) myths about pro-lifers that impede an honest and open discussion: the notion that the pro-life community is not really pro-life.