Opinion writers weigh in on these and other health topics.
SunSentinel: ‘We Barely Hear Anything About Common-Sense Gun Legislation Anymore’
So here we are, almost 365 days later. For the families whose world was destroyed, the time has practically stopped, but for everyone else, our attention has been grabbed by something else, some other “newsworthy” story. We barely hear anything about a fight for common-sense gun legislation anymore. Maybe as the Democratic presidential candidates start turning up their propaganda machines, we will hear about the need for reform, but will it be more than just words. Will those words turn into action? We must keep up the pressure, we must keep fighting state-level preemption laws, like the one in Florida, where local governments are not allowed to pass ordinances from changing or implementing restrictive firearm policies. (Joshua Simmons, 2/13)
The Wall Street Journal: He Has A Purple Heart, But The VA Wouldn’t Call Him A Veteran
The Department of Veterans Affairs often moves at a glacial pace. Stories of delayed disability claims and long wait lists for treatment are legion. What has gone unnoticed, however, is that thousands of former U.S. service members wait an average of four years before they can even get in the long lines for benefits or health care. What’s the holdup? Service members with less-than-honorable discharges must wait for the VA to decide formally whether they are veterans. (Rose Carmen Goldberg, 2/12)
USA Today: Too Many Patients Risk Opioid Addiction After Routine Surgery.
Two VA patients were discharged from the hospital on the same day. One, a 70-year-old retiree, had an arthritic knee replaced. The other, a 24-year-old auto mechanic, underwent a hernia repair. The woman and man (names are being withheld to protect patient privacy) came to the operating room for very different reasons. However, both left the hospital with an item that patients all too often take home: a sizable supply of prescription opioids. One year after surgery and unknown to their surgeons, both are still taking painkillers. (Sesh Mudumbai, Randall Stafford, and Caleb G. Alexander, 2/12)
The Washington Post: Blackface Is Just A Symptom Of American Medicine’s Racist Past
The racist images on Ralph Northam’s yearbook page raise significant questions about the Virginia governor’s attitudes toward race. But they also reflect the culture of the time at Eastern Virginia Medical School and in the profession he later joined. For historians who study racism, science and medicine, the discovery of racist imagery in a medical school yearbook was hardly surprising. Morbid racism has a long history in American medical schools, as well as the broader medical culture. (Christopher D. E. Willoughby, 2/11)
The Wall Street Journal: Medicare For All Is A Trap
A political party is asking for trouble when it embraces a position on a high-profile issue that most Americans oppose. But it isn’t easy to avoid this pitfall when a majority of the party’s own members endorse that position. As the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination heats up, the Medicare for All plan first proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders risks pushing candidates into this trap.The stakes are very high: This unforced error could give President Trump his best chance to win re-election in 2020. (William A. Galston, 2/13)
Stat: The Unethical Behavior Of Forensic Dentists At Our Southern Border
Parents who entrust the care of their children to doctors and dentists do so based on the belief that these professionals will act in the best interest of their children. A profound breach of that trust occurs when those professionals not only violate the “do no harm” maxim they pledged when taking the Hippocratic oath, but do so through the misuse of the licenses and privileges they’ve been granted in exchange for our trust. That’s happening right now on our southern border. (Brendan Parent and Nancy Neveloff Dubler, 2/13)
Los Angeles Times: Barbara Ehrenreich On The Absurd Contradictions Of Trying To Age ‘Successfully’
Barbara Ehrenreich, at 77, is learning to just say no – no to the kind of intensive, intrusive medical tests that may tell her absolutely nothing, no to the books and the nostrums that say that you can live forever or make your body grow younger, not older. Once she realized she was old enough to die, Ehrenreich, the author of the new book “Natural Causes,” said she decided she would put up with no more “suffering, annoyance and boredom” in pursuit of a longer life. Instead, the woman who also wrote the groundbreaking book “Nickel and Dimed” chooses the foods she likes, the exercise that suffices, and the doctor visits that address only the pains she actually feels. Is American medicine — is American life — ready for this? (Patt Morrison, 2/13)
USA Today: On Infanticide, Abortion Lobby Out Of Step With Americans
Infanticide shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Every single public servant should be able to say it’s wrong to leave newborn babies to die. Sadly, that’s not happening. Ralph Northam, Virginia’s disgraced Democratic governor, described late last month what might happen to a baby who survived a late-term abortion under a bill that had been proposed in his state: “The infant would be delivered,” he explained. “The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated, if that’s what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.” (Sen. Ben Sasse, 2/12)
Los Angeles Times: L.A. County Needs A Mental Hospital. It Also Needs A Smart Plan For Building One
The recent evolution in the Board of Supervisors’ thinking about how to replace the dangerous and decrepit Men’s Central Jail has been breathtaking. After years of insisting on building a multibillion-dollar treatment-oriented replacement jail, the supervisors in a matter of weeks have soured on the idea and are considering instead an actual psychiatric hospital, operated by mental health professionals. (2/12)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
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