Editorial writers focus on how to improve health care.
Some cities and states are trying to fix the Affordable Care Act’s deficiencies all on their own. New York City, for example, has pledged to directly pay the medical bills of the city’s estimated 600,000 uninsured. Massachusetts is looking at some form of “Medicare-for-All,” at least in name, because that name polls very well (when details and costs are left out). And, despite the $400 billion price tag, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing a single-payer system that would combine all federal funds (including veterans’ health benefits) into a solitary system that the state would control. I say great! More power to them — and I mean that quite literally. More power to the states. (Robert Henneke, 1/28)
The new Democratic House enjoys a rich array of targets as it sets out to check the Trump administration. In prioritizing, congressional oversight committees should focus on those pockets of government where the Trump administration has effectively deployed a hidden tool of policymaking: using administrative burdens to make it harder for people to access public services. Start with the Trump administration’s obsession with work requirements. Last year, the president issued an executive order calling for deploying “work requirements when legally permissible.” (Pamela Herd and Donald Moynihan, 1/28)
As the latest threat to the Affordable Care Act bounces through the federal courts, Congress needs to recognize that the law must be amended to preserve key protections for millions of Americans. With or without a court ruling on its constitutionality, the ACA needs help. Much damage already has been done to the ability of patients to get adequate coverage and to hospitals and other providers that aim to deliver good care. (Thomas M. Priselac and John A. Romley, 1/28)
The proposed shift of billions of dollars to private health-care providers by the Veterans administration is controversial, but opens up opportunities for improvement. The advocates for contracting out services compare the proposal to TRICARE, the Department of Defense (DoD) program. The TRICARE system came into effect many years ago with the drawdown of the military after the First Gulf War. Looking back, it has improved access to primary and general medical health-care, but the DoD has incurred increased costs from the private insurers. (Ret. Brigadier General Dr. Stephen N. Xenakis, 1/28)
A new national report by the American Cancer Society disclosed recently that people in the poorest counties die of cancer at rates 20 percent greater than those in richer counties, based on data from 1991 to 2016. Similarly, data from the Ohio Department of Health for five years ending in 2015 show that Ohio’s poorest counties had cancer mortality rates 19 percent higher than wealthier counties. Now that we know poverty and cancer risk are linked, there is no reason not to put resources into addressing economic gaps for this preventable disease. (1/29)
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