A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
JAMA: Making A Case For Sanctuary Hospitals
In July 2017, Jose de Jesus Martinez, an undocumented immigrant, wept at the bedside of his 16-year-old son Brandon, who was comatose in the intensive care unit of a San Antonio, Texas, hospital after being found in a parked unventilated trailer. Several agents from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) entered Brandon’s hospital room and aggressively began questioning Jose. The incident was just one in a recent trend of disturbing actions by ICE agents at or near hospitals and other health care facilities. … everyone deserves to feel secure when in need of medical care, particularly the most vulnerable members of communities. Under previous government administrations, even ICE recognized that hospitals, like schools and places of worship, were sensitive locations where enforcement actions should not take place unless “exigent circumstances” existed. (Altaf Saadi, Sameer Ahmed and Mitchell H. Katz, 10/16)
Modern Healthcare: Puerto Rico Deserves Fair Medicaid And Medicare Funding
The Puerto Rican healthcare system, which serves the 3.4 million people devastated by Hurricane Maria, operates under patently unfair Medicaid and Medicare funding rules. As Americans gear up to help their fellow citizens, it’s critical that Congress and the Trump administration correct this injustice. Not only should they offer immediate aid, they should revise the inequitable formulas that systematically shortchange the 69 hospitals and approximately 20 federally qualified health centers with nearly 90 facilities that dot the Caribbean island. (Merrill Goozner, 10/14)
The Washington Post: Congress Wants To Make Americans With Disabilities Second-Class Citizens Again
Led by the hospitality and retail industries, special interests want to shift the burden of [the Americans With Disabilities Act] compliance away from business owners and onto individuals with disabilities. They’re backing a bill that has already passed the House Judiciary Committee, the so-called ADA Education and Reform Act, which would reward businesses that fail to comply with the law. The bill would allow businesses to wait until they are notified of their failure to meet legal obligations before they even have to start removing barriers that prevent Americans with disabilities from leading independent lives. (Sen. Tammy Duckworth, 10/17)
The Des Moines Register: Not Even Death Spares You From Iowa’s Budget Cuts
[G]overnment may now be too small for many Iowans, including those with complaints about a nursing home, those seeking a court date or those trying to get someone on the phone to ask questions about their now privatized Medicaid health insurance. And not even death can deliver people from the negative consequences of failing to adequately fund state government. A shortage of forensic pathologists at the Iowa Medical Examiner’s Office is delaying autopsies, which can leave families waiting weeks for their loved one’s remains. This means not only waiting for answers about a death, but also waiting to schedule funerals and burials. (10/17)
Detroit Free Press: Parents Need Honest Answers To Questions About Childhood Vaccines
My heart aches for Rebecca Bredow, the young Metro Detroit mom jailed for violating an Oakland County Circuit Court judge’s order to immunize her son against vaccine-preventable diseases. As I watched Michigan and national media coverage of Rebecca’s case, I saw a young woman who, from all indications, loves her son and is trying to do what is best for him. When Rebecca shared her story with the public, memories came flooding back of my family’s experiences with childhood immunizations. (Veronica McNally, 10/16)
Cleveland Plain Dealer: GOP’s Drastic Medicaid Cuts Would Be Devastating For HIV-Positive Ohioans Like Me
I have been living with HIV for 20 years. HIV is a very smart and dangerous virus – it can become out of control in your body quickly, and it can make the common cold a deadly illness. To manage my HIV, I take a daily medication that has the dual benefits of keeping the virus from spreading and boosting my immune system. Missing even one dose of my medication is not an option. … Medicaid expansion meant that, for the first time since I was diagnosed HIV-positive, I was able to afford all of the treatment I needed in the same month. I no longer had to choose what I would treat from month to month. (Olga Irwin, 10/18)
Stat: Canada Needs A National Registry Of Drug Company Payments To Doctors
The province of Ontario recently took a historic step for Canada by introducing legislation that would shine a light on interactions between drug companies and prescribers. The use of the term “historic” here is not hyperbole, since the extent of payments towards physicians in Canada has never been known. Other countries, such as the United States and France, have been making such information public for a few years now. But Ontario’s bill would provide a wider scope of transparency by including all sorts of prescribers — not just doctors — into the mix, and even bringing in medical device companies. (Nav Persaud, Joel Lexchin and Andrew S. Boozary, 10/17)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.