Opinion writers weigh in on universal health care and other health issues.
The Washington Post: Pete Buttigieg’s Disingenuous Attack On Medicare-For-All
When South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg released a list of the clients he worked for while at powerhouse consultant McKinsey a decade ago, one immediately leaped out to observers: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. After bringing the firm on, the nonprofit insurer downsized employees. When asked about it by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Tuesday night, Buttigieg denied having anything to do with those decisions, pointing out the downsizing came after he ceased working on that project. He then answered a question he wished had been asked. “What I do know is there are some voices in the Democratic primary right now who are calling for a policy that would eliminate the job of every single American working at every single insurance company in the country.” (Helaine Olen, 12/12)
The Washington Post: All Nations Should Have Universal Health Care
In the aftermath of the Second World War, Japan knew that the task of rebuilding a nation would require investments not only in new infrastructure but also in human capital. Japan made a political choice: a choice to invest in the health of its population through a universal health insurance scheme that ensured everyone was covered. Today, Japan has the world’s longest life expectancy and the world’s third-largest economy. (Shinzo Abe and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, 12/12)
USA Today: 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)
Fox News: A Health Care Revolution Is Coming – It Could Give You 24/7 Access To A Doctor
In Washington’s increasingly toxic atmosphere – filled with impeachment hearings, the jostling of the Democratic primary, and an obsession with trivial gaffes and scandal over substance – it can be hard to notice when members of both parties collaborate to try and achieve something positive. Fortunately, it does still happen. One example is a bipartisan bill in the House and Senate to expand telehealth services in Medicare. (Former U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich and Joe DeSantis , 12/12)
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)
The Detroit News: Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Is Urgent
For the last two years, the single most common issue Michiganians have raised with me hasn’t been ripped from the headlines. It is an issue that is dominating our kitchen-table conversations about family expenses: the price of prescription drugs. And Michiganians, regardless of party, are demanding that Congress do something about it. That’s why, shortly after being sworn in, I established advisory boards made up of seniors, patients, doctors, nurses and pharmacists to figure out how to tackle our skyrocketing drug prices. It quickly became clear that we needed to address three key areas: increasing transparency in drug pricing, driving down costs, and improving Medicare coverage. (U.S. House Rep. Elissa Slotkin, 12/12)
Boston Globe: We’re Desperately Short Of Psych Beds. We Could Fix That — If We Wanted To
Though several Boston hospitals have their own psychiatric units, none has enough beds to take everyone who comes in through its emergency department. Because of low reimbursement for mental health care, hospitals lose money on psychiatric services. As a result, they tend to have fewer psychiatric beds than medical and surgical beds. (Garrett Johnson, 12/12)
The New York Times: Would You Let A Robot Take Care Of Your Mother?
After Constance Gemson moved her mother to an assisted living facility, the 92-year-old became more confused, lonely and inarticulate. Two full-time private aides, kind and attentive as they were, couldn’t possibly meet all their patient’s needs for connection. So on a visit one day, Ms. Gemson brought her mom a new helper: a purring, nuzzling robot cat designed as a companion for older adults. “It’s not a substitute for care,” says Ms. Gemson, whose mother died last June at age 95. “But this was someone my mother could hug and embrace and be accepted by. This became a reliable friend.” (Maggie Jackson, 12/13)
The CT Mirror: Treating ‘Chronic Lyme Disease:’ Is It Medical Fraud?
There are few better examples of health care fraud than the promotion of so called “chronic Lyme disease.” Defined as “…a crime that involves misrepresenting information, concealing information, or deceiving a person or entity in order to receive benefits, or to make a financial profit,” this fraud is being perpetrated by a small group of physicians who profiteer by offering unproven treatment at high cost to people worriedly searching for answers for unexplained symptoms. (Lawrenace Zemel and Paul Auwaerter, 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.