Opinion writers tackle these and other health issues.
Boston Globe: Forget Medicare For All — Americans Are Being Overcharged For Health Care
In sharp contrast to how German legislators behave, despite drug prices in the United States rising 139 percent between 2000 and 2016, Congress continues to forbid the Department of Health and Human Services from negotiating prescription drug prices on behalf of Medicare and Medicaid. These entities are the largest buyers of pharmaceuticals in the world, with massive purchasing power. While DHH is required to shop for the cheapest ballpoint pen, when it comes to chemotherapy medication, it is obligated to pay whatever price drug manufacturers want to charge. (David Dodson, 1/15)
The New York Times: Why Does America Hate Its Children?
The other day a correspondent asked me a good question: What important issue aren’t we talking about? My answer, after some reflection, is the state of America’s children. Now, it’s not entirely fair to say that we’re ignoring the plight of our children. Elizabeth Warren, characteristically, has laid out a comprehensive, fully financed plan for universal child care. Bernie Sanders, also characteristically, says he’s for it but hasn’t provided details. And as far as I can tell, all the other Democratic presidential candidates support doing more for children. (Paul Krugman, 1/16)
The Washington Post: Using A Child’s Identified Pronouns Might Feel Complicated, But It’s Crucial. Here’s Why.
Last summer, my two older kids went to sleepaway camp. The camp is Jewish, but not religious, and it has a social justice mission. Like many Jewish camps in North America, it also sprinkles in Hebrew words here and there. Over the past few years, the camp has worked to foster an environment of LGBTQ inclusivity. As such, words in Hebrew that are gendered have been neutralized, unisex bathrooms have been introduced, and kids and counselors using “they/them” pronouns, or otherwise subverting traditional gender norms, have become more common. (Ellen Friedrichs, 1/16)
Stat: Microglia: A New Brain Target For Depression And Alzheimer’s?
More than a decade ago, I was diagnosed with a string of autoimmune diseases, one after another, including a bone marrow disorder, thyroiditis, and then Guillain-Barré syndrome, which left me paralyzed while raising two young children. I recovered from Guillain-Barré only to relapse, becoming paralyzed again. My immune system was repeatedly and mistakenly attacking my body, causing the nerves in my arms, legs, and those I needed to swallow to stop communicating with my brain, leaving me confined to — and raising my children from — bed. (Donna Jackson Nakazawa, 1/17)
The Hill: Dangers Of Artificial Intelligence In Medicine
Two of the most significant predictions for the new decade are that AI will become more pervasive, and the U.S. health-care system will need to evolve. AI can augment and improve the health-care system to serve more patients with fewer doctors. However, health innovators need to be careful to design a system that enhances doctors’ capabilities, rather than replace them with technology and also to avoid reproducing human biases. (Enid Montague, 1/16)
Stat: Goop’s Pseudoscience Ministry Comes To Netflix
Gwyneth Paltrow’s reaction to the description of the vulva in episode three of her Netflix show, ironically titled “the goop lab,” appears like she didn’t know that the vagina is inside the body and the vulva is outside, or that she didn’t know much about pelvic floor muscles. While this knowledge gap is common among women, I expected more from Paltrow, whose lifestyle business is partially built on monetizing the vagina. Her comment makes me wonder what body part she is really referencing with her “This smells like my vagina” candle. (Jennifer Gunter, 1/17)
Undark: How Bots Spread Mistruths About Cannabis On Twitter
There has been a lot of talk in the U.S. about legalizing recreational cannabis, and about cannabis’ potential to help with health issues. Scientists working in medicine may have a lot to discover about cannabis’ ability to improve health. However, the medical community does know that short-term health consequences of cannabis use include impaired short-term memory, impaired attention, impaired coordination, and sleep problems. (Jon-Patrick Allem, 1/14)
The New York Times: Why Mothers’ Choices About Work And Family Often Feel Like No Choice At All
If liberals and conservatives can agree on anything about family policies, it’s this: Parents should have choices. Senator Elizabeth Warren said her plan for universal child care would give parents “the freedom to choose the best work and child care situation for themselves.” Ivanka Trump, at a White House summit about family policies, said, “Our vision is to give each parent the resources and support they need to make the best choice for their children.” (Claire Cain Miller, 1/17)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.