Viewpoints: Why Won’t Agency Designed To Protect Consumers Do Anything About Vaping Dangers?; Striking Down Health Law In Court Will Spur Reforms
Opinion writers weigh in on these health topics and others.
Stat: Consumer Product Safety Commission: Act On Major Threats To Kids
We know a lot about how to protect children from injury and death. Car seats help protect them during a crash. Vaccines prevent them from developing polio, meningitis, and a host of other infectious diseases.We know this because years of careful research and data collection prove it, and based on that information we’ve been able to advise families about ways to protect their children. As a pediatrician, it’s alarming to me how much the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) knows about two real and present dangers to children — crib bumpers and poisoning by liquid nicotine — and has failed to act on them. Action to make consumer products safer is the very mission of this government agency. This isn’t the only area in which the CPSC’s failure to act has put children at serious risk. Another threat on the market is liquid nicotine, the kind used to refill certain types of e-cigarettes. As e-cigarette use has become more and more common, these vials are found in a growing number of households across the country. (Kyle Yasuda, 12/16)
Nashville Tennessean: Court Striking Down ACA Would Not Leave People Without Health Insurance
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas is expected to rule soon on the constitutionality of Obamacare. While its decision will have significant implications for American health care policy, it won’t affect people’s health coverage for at least a couple of years as the appeals process plays out. In the meantime, a ruling striking down Obamacare would give the country the opportunity and the impetus to unite behind a health care reform plan that actually lowers costs, increases choices and improves the doctor-patient relationship. (Thomas Price and Alfredo Ortiz, 12/12)
Axios: Private Health Insurance Costs Are Skyrocketing
The cost of private health insurance is out of control, compared to Medicare and Medicaid. You see that clearly if you take a long-term view of recently released federal data on health spending. Why it matters: This is why the health care industry — not just insurers, but also hospitals and drug companies — is so opposed to proposals that would expand the government’s purchasing power. And it’s why some progressives are so determined to curb, or even eliminate, private coverage. By the numbers: Per capita spending for private insurance has grown by 52.6% over the last 10 years. Per-capita spending for Medicare grew by 21.5% over the same period, and Medicaid 12.5%. Private insurance generally pays higher prices for care than Medicare, which generally pays more than Medicaid. (Drew Altman, 12/16)
St. Louis Post Dispatch: Administration Rings In The Season By Yanking Food From Vulnerable Americans.
President Donald Trump likes to present himself as a tireless defender of Christmas. But in the most Grinchy policy decision in recent memory, the administration says it is moving forward with work requirements for food stamp recipients that ignore the real-world circumstances faced by the poor. The changes will cause almost 700,000 struggling Americans to lose their access to needed assistance. The rule change announced last week affects only childless, able-bodied adults, but there’s coal coming down the pike for other stockings as well: Additional restrictions expected to be announced later would affect another 3 million poor Americans — and close to 1 million children who could lose their subsidized school lunches. Merry Christmas, kids! (12/15)
Des Moines Register: Expand Medicare To Cover Cost Of Long-Term Care: It’s A Crisis.
You work hard all your life, save some money and look forward to retirement. Maybe you’ll take up a new hobby, volunteer or just putter around the yard. Then you have a massive stroke. Or a serious car accident. Or are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. All your plans change.Instead of taking care of grandchildren, you need a caregiver. Instead of bicycling with your wife, she’s pushing your wheelchair. The money saved for travel will be needed to pay for long-term care. (12/12)
Stat: Congress Needs To Stop The Health Insurance Tax Before It’s Too Late
Washington again finds itself up against a deadline. This time, lawmakers must act before Dec. 31 to keep the government running and to extend critical tax provisions that individuals and businesses are counting on. One such provision is to delay the looming Health Insurance Tax (HIT), an annual fee placed on 142 million Americans’ health coverage. The tax is levied on health insurers based on their market share, and the Congressional Budget Office found that it would be passed along to consumers in the form of higher premiums. This tax will affect everyone with health insurance. But it has especially harsh consequences for the 24 million seniors who receive their coverage through Medicare Advantage. A 2018 study found that the Health Insurance Tax could equate to a premium increase per Medicare Advantage beneficiary of $ 3,052 over the next decade. (Allyson Y. Schwartz, 12/13)
Los Angeles Times: Don’t Buy A Gun As A Christmas Gift
During my emergency medicine internship in the Midwest, one of my first patients was a 4-year-old boy with a gunshot wound. The bullet came from his father’s .357 magnum, which the youngster had found. As he played with the gun, he accidentally shot himself in the upper thigh. The bullet’s kinetic energy was so powerful in his tiny body, that despite being shot in the leg, many of the boy’s internal abdominal organs were traumatized. He died as we frantically tried to save his life. (Steven Sainsbury, 12/15)
The New York Times: Women Have Always Had Abortions
Over the course of American history, women of all classes, races, ages and statuses have ended their pregnancies, both before there were any laws about abortion and after a raft of 19th-century laws restricted it. Our ignorance of this history, however, equips those in the anti-abortion movement with the power to create dangerous narratives. They peddle myths about the past where wayward women sought abortions out of desperation, pathetic victims of predatory abortionists. They wrongly argue that we have long thought about fetuses as people with rights. And they improperly frame Roe v. Wade as an anomaly, saying it liberalized a practice that Americans had always opposed. But the historical record shows a far different set of conclusions. (Lauren MacIvor Thompson, 12/13)
Louisville Courier-Journal: Planned Parenthood Forced Out Of Title X By Trump Administration
“When I lost my virginity, that same month the recession hit and my dad lost his job as an engineer. So we lost our insurance.” Riece Hamilton of Louisville was 15 years old when she realized she needed access to affordable birth control. Riece’s aunt told her she could get affordable birth control from Planned Parenthood. …I proudly stand with Planned Parenthood because I believe all people deserve the ability to control their bodies and their lives. (Kim Greene, 12/16)
Cincinnati Enquirer: Drug Company Ripoffs Don’t End With Price Gouging And Tax Dodging
Taming Big Pharma can also be a first step toward ensuring that all corporations contribute to society instead of preying on it. That’s how we build an economy and restore a democracy that works for all of us, not just those at the top. (Margarida Jorge and Frank Clemente, 12/16)
Los Angeles Times: The House Takes A Much-Needed Swipe At Lowering Your Drug Prices
Although lawmakers and President Trump have talked a good game about bringing down prescription drug prices, they’ve managed to take few, if any, steps toward that goal. Trump’s most dramatic proposals — tying the price of certain Medicare drugs to their prices overseas and barring payments from drug manufacturers to middlemen — have either been dropped or held up by internal bickering. And a Senate committee’s proposal to rein in drug price hikes, which garnered a rare degree of bipartisan support, has been stalled by opposition from Republican senators. (12/13)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.