Opinion writers weigh in on these health care topics and others.
The Washington Post: In Other News — A Rare Political Victory For Poor And Sick Americans
With relatively little fanfare, poor and sick Americans around the country were just handed a series of sweeping victories. That’s because a growing number of states appear to finally be backing off from an organized effort to rip away their health care. I’m referring to Medicaid work requirements, policies that kick low-income people off their insurance if they don’t register sufficient work hours. Until recently, it looked as if these programs were on an unstoppable march, with two dozen states pursuing them. (Catherine Rampell, 11/7)
Stat: Not So Conscientious Objection: When Can Doctors Refuse To Treat?
In overturning the Trump administration’s attempt to expand the so-called conscience rule for health care workers this week, a federal judge has brought renewed attention to a long-simmering debate in medicine over when doctors can decline to provide treatment to patients without abdicating their professional responsibilities. The revised rule, issued last spring by the Department of Health and Human Services, was aimed at protecting doctors, nurses, and others from, in the words of HHS, being “bullied out of the health care field” for refusing to participate in abortions, gender reassignment surgery, or other medical procedures based on religious beliefs or conscience. Critics of the rule charge that it would enable discrimination by allowing providers to deny health care to certain patients, particularly women and LGBTQ+ individuals. (Sarah C. Hull, 11/8)
The New York Times: We Can Help Men Live Longer
All over the country, men are dying. Every kind of man: rich and poor, blue collar and white collar, men of all races, religions and ethnicities. In addition to sex, these dying Americans share another trait: They are no longer young. How can it be that men by the millions are dying while their female counterparts are not — and no one seems to notice or care? Overall in the United States, males make up 49 percent of the population. (Louise Aronson, 11/7)
The Hill: Violent Rhetoric Hinders Access To Abortion Services
With the election of President Trump, those who are more zealous in their opposition to abortion have become emboldened. As a direct result, just two days after Trump’s election, our Wichita clinic was vandalized. It was also reported across the country that threats to reproductive health clinics had immediately risen. Trump even went as far to say that women must face some form of punishment for having an abortion. In 2017, the National Abortion Federation (NAF) confirmed what we were then witnessing across the country. They reported that violent acts against abortion providers more than doubled from the prior year. (Julie Burkhart, 11/7)
The New York Times: Is There A Right Way To Be Deaf?
“Your whole life, they’ve been trying to take you away from me,” my father says to me, referring to the deaf community. But the deaf community could just as easily say the same about my father. More than 90 percent of deaf and hard-of-hearing children are born to hearing parents like mine, who have little to no experience interacting with deaf people. (Sarah Katz, 11/7)
Stat: A Plasma Product Keeps Me Alive. The Plasma Shortage Worries Me
I’ve become something of a connoisseur of blood donation, especially plasma donation. That’s because my life depends on it. Nearly 20 years ago, when I was just out of college and beginning my career in Houston, where I still live, I was diagnosed with a primary immunodeficiency disease. Since then, I’ve relied on immunoglobulin (Ig), a type of protein extracted from plasma. Without it, I would likely suffer multiple and persistent serious infections, any one of which could be fatal. (Megan Ryan, 11/8)
Los Angeles Times: California Is Improving Obamacare, Not Trump
Open-enrollment season is now underway for health insurance plans across the country, which means many Americans will be receiving unpleasant news about how much more their coverage will cost in the coming year. But for one group of consumers, premiums will actually go down for the second straight year. Those would be individuals and families whose healthcare isn’t covered by their employers, and so shop in the insurance exchanges created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare). At the 28 state exchanges run by the federal government, the average premium for the “benchmark” plan — a policy covering roughly 70% of a person’s expected medical expenses for the year — will be 4% less expensive in 2020 than it was this year. California, which runs its own insurance exchange, will see an average increase in its benchmark plans of a little less than 1% in 2020. (11/8)
The Philadelphia Inquierer: Pa. College Should Look To N.J. On Student Mental Health Services
Voters in two suburban New Jersey public school districts approved ballot measures Tuesday to invest in mental health services for their students. Kudos to Collingswood and Metuchen for OK’ing a modest boost in their local property taxes to raise money to better serve young people, especially in this era of heightened national concerns about student safety, as well as addiction, depression, and suicide among the young.The forward-thinking message from New Jersey is in startling contrast to Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC), which has implemented an ill-conceived and ill-advised plan to reduce its $2.7 million budget deficit by $2.4 million through laying off 20 counselors and passing off student mental health services to outside providers. HACC, the largest community college in Pennsylvania, has 17,000 students across five campuses. (11/8)
The Washington Post: Kentucky Democrats Found Trump’s Kryptonite
Tuesday’s governor’s race in Kentucky showed there is kryptonite to beat President Trump even in red America, and that kryptonite is health care. Democrats should take that lesson to heart as the 2020 election nears. Democrat Andy Beshear, who claimed victory in the race on Tuesday, had one unmistakable advantage while running in the overwhelmingly Republican, pro-Trump state: an opponent who had made notable and consistent efforts to take health care from people. Like Trump, Gov. Matt Bevin (R) made cutting health care a top priority for his administration, seeking to end Kentucky’s insurance exchange and making the first attempt in the country to add work requirements to Medicaid. (Andy Slavitt, 11/7)
Los Angeles Times: Gun Control Wins Big In Virginia Elections
Much of the focus on results from Tuesday’s off-year elections has been on whether they might be proxies for the 2020 prospects of President Trump and many of his fellow Republicans. But in Virginia, the bigger takeaway might involve a potentially seismic shift in gun policy.Virginia, to remind, has endured several mass shootings, generally defined as a single episode in which at least four people were wounded; that differs from a federal definition of at least four people killed. Unfortunately for Virginia, it has experienced a lot of both. (Scott Martelle, 11/6)
Meanwhile, views on ”Medicare For All” proposals —
The Wall Street Journal: Universal Health Care Makes Politics Sick
London — Elizabeth Warren is making socialized health care her signature campaign issue. Were British politicians not embroiled in their own election season, they might be weighing in with a question about this: Is she insane? Britain’s political class knows all too well the perils of a state-run health system. And I don’t mean the abysmal health outcomes the U.K.’s National Health Service delivers— cancer survival rates that lag far behind other European countries with more market-oriented health systems, winter crises, shortages of doctors and nurses, rationing and interminable waiting times. (Joseph C. Sternberg, 11/7)
The Washington Post: The Numbers On Elizabeth Warren’s Health Care Plan Just Don’t Add Up
The telltale sign of political flimflam is a promise to deliver all the benefits associated with a particular policy without any of the costs. Tax cuts that pay for themselves. A quick and easy military victory in Iraq. A border wall financed by Mexico. Now comes Elizabeth Warren with the false promise of national health insurance as good and as cheap as they have in France and Canada, but without the higher taxes, the wait times or the two-class health-care system. (Steven Pearlstein, 11/7)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.