Opinion writers weigh in on these health care issues and others.
The New York Times: Who’s Profiting From Your Outrageous Medical Bills?
Every politician condemns the phenomenon of “surprise” medical bills. This week, two committees in the House are marking up new surprise billing legislation. One of the few policy proposals President Trump brought up in this week’s State of the Union address was his 2019 executive order targeting them. In the Democratic debates, candidates have railed against such medical bills, and during commercial breaks, back-to-back ads from groups representing doctors and insurers proclaimed how much the health care sector also abhors this uniquely American form of patient extortion. (Elisabeth Rosenthal, 2/14)
The Washington Post: Medicare-For-All Isn’t What’s Holding Elizabeth Warren Back. Here’s What Is.
In the fall of last year, it looked increasingly as though Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) would go the distance in the Democratic primary. She was in the top tier of candidates, sometimes leading in the polls. On the left and the right, it was clear that almost every other campaign saw her as the one to beat. And then suddenly, she wasn’t. (Helaine Olen, 2/13)
Axios: What Iowa And New Hampshire Tell Us About Medicare For All
Health care was voters’ top issue in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and it benefitted Sen. Bernie Sanders as well as his more moderate rivals. The big picture: Sanders has emerged as a national front-runner thanks in part to a base that’s deeply committed to his Medicare for All plan, even as polling data indicate that more moderate ideas like a public option have a broader base of support. (Drew Altman, 2/14)
The Wall Street Journal: Culinary Union Vs. Bernie Sanders
Now that Bernie Sanders is the Democratic presidential candidate to beat, his socialism is drawing fresh scrutiny—and not merely from capitalists. With Nevada’s caucuses coming on Feb. 22, the state’s powerful Culinary Union is pointing out that Mr. Sanders wants to abolish the health benefits it has spent years bargaining to get. (2/13)
Los Angeles Times: Being Rich Is The Best Defense Against Heart Disease
Because I am a cardiologist, people often ask me how they should live to help their hearts. The truth is, it matters more where you live than how you live. Traditionally, heart disease was considered a disease of affluence; today, it is more an economic ailment than a medical disorder, correlated far more closely with one’s ZIP Code and bank balance than with one’s gene pool. As medical treatments have rapidly advanced, the chasm in heart disease risk between haves and have-nots has stretched farther. Closing this gap will require more from public officials and politicians than from doctors and nurses. (Haider J. Warraich, 2/14)
The New York Times: The Supreme Court In The Mean Season
The Freudian concept of psychological projection refers to the behavior of people who, unable to acknowledge their own weaknesses, ascribe those same failings to others. President Trump provides a striking example in his multiple post-impeachment rants calling those who sought his removal “vicious” and “mean.” His choice of the word “mean” caught my attention, because I’ve been thinking for some time now that the United States has become a mean country. There has been meanness, and worse, in the world, of course, long before there was a President Trump. But it doesn’t require suffering from the agitation of Trump derangement syndrome to observe that something toxic has been let loose during these past three years. Much of it has to do with immigration: the separation of families at the border and the effort to terminate DACA, the program that protects from deportation undocumented young people brought to the United States as children. (Linda Greenhouse, 2/13)
The Wall Street Journal: The Dangerous Denial Of Sex
Transgender ideology can take on a comical character, as in a recent American Civil Liberties Union commentary objecting to sales tax on tampons and similar products while pondering: “How can we recognize that barriers to menstrual access are a form of sex discrimination without erasing the lived experiences of trans men and non-binary people who menstruate, as well as women who don’t?” Yet it’s one thing to claim that a man can “identify” as a woman or vice versa. Increasingly we see a dangerous and antiscientific trend toward the outright denial of biological sex. (Colin M. Wright and Emma N. Hilton, 2/13)
The New York Times: Are ‘Near-Death Experiences’ Real?
“Have you stood at the gates of doom? Or looked through the gates of death? Have you been to the edge of the universe?” In the Old Testament, The Voice from the Whirlwind poses these questions to Job. The implied answer is no, for these seem to be divine prerogatives. For humans, heaven is a gated community, and we typically can’t even peer through. This is one reason (among many) near-death experiences inspire awe: They seem to give us a “God’s eye” view of what really lies beyond. They take us to the edge of the universe. (John Martin Fischer, 2/13)
Los Angeles Times: For Doctors, Second-Guessing May Do More Harm Than Good
You always remember the first patient who died on your watch. Mine was an older man with a faulty heart — the main pump had failed and his heart was beating irregularly and far too fast. We tried to slow it down with medications, but later that night, it suddenly stopped beating completely. In the following months, I kept questioning if I should have done something differently. Whenever I would have a case like that one, I found myself second-guessing my clinical management. However, it turns out that thinking twice may actually cause more harm than good. (Abraar Karan, 2/13)
The New York Times: Searching For Meaning In My Epilepsy
Among the many special causes entrusted to the patronage of St. Valentine — beekeeping, love — is epilepsy, though no one seems to know exactly why. The great 20th-century psychiatrist Leo Kanner guessed in a 1930 paper on epileptic folklore that the association was earned by the similarity between the sound of Valentine’s name spoken in German and the epithet “fallende Sucht,” “the falling disease.” It may have been that over time, entreaties to Valentine from epileptics were answered with particular generosity. They needed all the help they could get. Kanner cites several other saints known to be patrons of epilepsy, whose names were given over time as euphemisms for the disease — St. John, St. Donato, St. Cornelius and scores more. (Elizabeth Bruenig, 2/14)
The Washington Post: Makenzie Anderson, Homeless Baby Killed At D.C. Quality Inn, Compared To Relisha Rudd
“We knew that baby was in trouble,” she said, turtle-hunched inside her jacket against the rain as she waited for the D6 bus with a knot of other women who live in a hotel on one of the District’s ugliest stretches of street. “It’s Relisha all over again.” She’s remembering Relisha Rudd, the 8-year-old girl whose disappearance from the largest family shelter in the nation’s capital nearly six years ago awakened the city to its staggering crisis of homeless children. (Petula Dvorak, 2/13)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Syndicated from https://khn.org/morning-breakout/viewpoints-no-surprise-that-no-one-seriously-plans-to-fix-surprise-medical-bills-medicare-for-all-isnt-whats-hurting-warren-other-dems/