Editorial writers weigh in on these health care topics and others.
The Hill: Voters On Both Sides Chose People Who Pledged To Protect Social Security, Medicare And Medicaid
The results of November’s U.S. House elections were — among other things — a seemingly loud rebuke of right-wing economic policies. Yet, scarcely a month after the Democrats flipped at least 40 congressional seats, some right-wing groups disingenuously draw the opposite conclusion. FreedomWorks, a conservative nonprofit, which supported Tea Party candidates, contends that House Republicans lost because their economic policies were not draconian enough. (Max Richtman, 12/14)
USA Today: Democrats, Don’t Waste Time On Health Tweaks. Pass Medicare For All.
Democrats have the chance to be the champions of that reform if they don’t waste their energy on half-measures. Instead of thinking about how they can make small tweaks to the health care system, they should start thinking about how to enact dramatic reforms that will assure universal coverage while reducing costs and encouraging economic growth. Voters and taxpayers are asking for Medicare for All. It’s time to listen. (Wendell Potter, 12/14)
Boston Globe: Should We Use Mail-Order DNA Tests To Diagnose Ourselves?
There are more of these self-tests than I can keep track of, but of the ones I know, at least some are not scientifically valid; flipping a coin may be more accurate. There are food “sensitivity” tests that do not test for IgE, the antibody typically used to identify allergens. Also, direct-to-consumer companies increasingly request blood through a capillary sample — obtained by pricking your finger. (Amitha Kalaichandran, 12/13)
Stat: Genetic Testing Plus IVF Can Sidestep Genetic Disease
In the U.S., about 1 in 75 couples is at risk for passing on a serious, detectable, single-gene disorder. If every couple in the U.S. — not just those who know they are at high risk of passing on a genetic disease — opted into pre-conception genetic screening, followed by IVF+PGT when appropriate, we would sidestep thousands of cases of potentially lethal diseases for around $ 3.5 billion a year. That’s the cost of two or three Novartis-like gene therapies. (Lee D. Cooper, 12/14)
Louisville Courier-Journal: Opioid Epidemic: Lawmakers Must Focus On Illegal Drugs
Unfortunately, in a recent attempt to focus on the opioid epidemic, state lawmakers targeted legal opioid prescriptions. A bill that was considered last legislative session would have added a 25-cent-per-pill tax on doctor-prescribed opioid medications. While I understand the idea behind the bill, I can’t seem to figure out why lawmakers sought to tax the healthcare system and honest patients rather than grabbing hold of the criminal activity surrounding illegal drugs. (Danny Glidewell, 12/13)
Cincinnati Enquirer: OB/GYN On Abortion Bill: ‘I Am Very Worried For Women In Ohio’
I am very worried for women in Ohio. The Ohio Legislature appears ready to enact into law Senate Bill 145. This law would ban the medical procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D&E) to end a pregnancy, except to save a woman’s life or prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function. A doctor who used the D&E procedure in other circumstances would commit a felony and could be sued civilly. (David B. Schwartz, 12/13)
San Diego Union-Times: Why California Must Still Fight For Death With Dignity
So while we should rightfully celebrate the recent court decision protecting California’s EOLOA, we should also remember that Californians are still a long way from achieving the right to die with dignity now solidly embraced in countries like Switzerland, Denmark and our neighbor to the north, Canada.The easiest way to see the gap between these countries and California with regard to End of Life options is to think of a patient with advanced stage Huntington’s disease. (Barry L. Price, 12/12)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.