Editorial pages focus on these health care topics and others.
The Washington Post: Seema Verma: No, The Administration Is Not Cutting Medicaid
The Trump administration released the Healthy Adult Opportunity last week, providing a historic level of flexibility for states to design a Medicaid program tailored to the unique needs of their adult beneficiaries, while holding states accountable for improving quality and ensuring access. Unfortunately, it hasn’t taken long — even by Washington’s standards — for talking points with a dubious relationship to reality to start circulating among defenders of the status quo. (CMS Administrator Seema Verma, 2/6)
The Washington Post: The Trump Administration’s New Attempt To Gut Medicaid
Thwarted on the issue in Congress, the Trump administration announced last Thursday that it was inviting states to end Medicaid as we know it. That’s not what President Trump’s health officials said, of course. In a detailed letter, they encouraged states to submit proposals to change the way that a big chunk of Medicaid — the joint federal-state health program for the poor — is paid for. Once accepted, these proposals will afford states “new levels of flexibility” while “providing federal taxpayers with greater budget certainty.” (Nicholas Bagley, 2/6)
Los Angeles Times: Coronavirus Panic Recalls Racist Chapters In California History
The images out of Wuhan are chilling. In the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, health officials in white hazmat suits hover over the body of a victim. Crowds of ordinary people, their faces obscured by surgical masks, try to carry on as normal. As the United States, Australia, Russia, Japan and many other countries announce travel restrictions to and from China, it was only a matter of time before paranoia about coronavirus and Asians would spread as well. On Jan. 30, Los Angeles officials warned that a fake letter circulating on Facebook and email falsely claimed that five people in Carson, a city south of downtown Los Angeles, had contracted coronavirus and named five local businesses in an Asian neighborhood as being connected to the outbreak. (Tamara Venit-Shelton, 2/7)
The Hill: How Much Should We Worry About The New Coronavirus?
Just in the last few days, as the World Health Organization declared a Global Health Emergency and a similar Public Health Emergency declaration was made in the U.S., there has been growing evidence of possible person to person transmission of the Wuhan coronavirus, and it is increasingly likely that people can be contagious even before the appearance of symptoms. So, it should come as no surprise that public concerns about this new public health threat are also on the rise. Still, many questions remain unanswered and unanswerable at the moment. (Irwin Redlener, 2/6)
The Detroit News: 21st Century Cures Act Is Working
A recent report from the American Cancer Society says the U.S. cancer death rate fell by 2.2% in 2017 alone, the biggest single year drop ever recorded. Part of this success stems from new immunotherapy treatments and so-called targeted therapies that stop the action of molecules key to cancer growth. This means that the 21st Century Cures Act is doing its job: accelerating medical innovation and streamlining the advancement of treatment options and products. (Sarah Chamberlain, 2/6)
The New York Times: What South Dakota Doesn’t Get About Transgender Children
Early in my medical training, I read a landmark case study about a 12-year-old boy who wrote a suicide note to his mother saying he would rather die than go through puberty. I later met teenagers who tightly bound their chests — knowing that it could result in fractured ribs — because the emotional pain of seeing their breasts was much worse than any imaginable physical pain. These children are transgender, and they account for almost 2 percent of youth in the United States. They are suffering from the psychological pain of having a body that doesn’t match their gender identity. I’ve dedicated my medical and research career to better understanding their mental health. (Jack Turban, 2/6)
USA Today: Sandra Fluke: Rush Limbaugh Deserves Health Care, Not Medal Of Freedom
In 2012, when Rush Limbaugh spewed hateful rhetoric about me because I was fighting for access to reproductive health care, it was a national scandal. In 2020, when President Donald Trump spews hateful rhetoric about access to health care and awards Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, it’s the State of the Union. In 2012, I was a law student. In 2020, I’m proud to be the president of Voices for Progress, where we fight for comprehensive, affordable access to health care for all, among other issues. We’re committed to not allowing Limbaugh and Trump’s hateful, discriminatory views about who deserves what health care to become this nation’s policy. (Sandra Fluke, 2/7)
Stat: Genetic Counseling Should Be Available To All After Home Testing
Results like what I received from 23andMe can be difficult to understand. Although the online service offers plenty of tutorials and explainer videos, those don’t feel like enough when faced with a serious health situation. I still had many questions. Did the results mean I would definitely get cancer? Were there other parts of my DNA that were keeping me safe? What was my next step? Was surgery inevitable? To answer these questions, I needed more than a tutorial. I needed a genetic counselor — a human being to hear my questions and give me guidance based on deep knowledge. Fortunately, I was able to connect with a counselor just a few days after I received my 23andMe results. (Dorothy Pomerantz, 2/7)
The Wall Street Journal: The 90-Day Prescription Isn’t For Everyone
‘Why were you given that much medication in the first place?” I often find myself wondering that as I treat patients with a history of suicide attempts who have intentionally overdosed on their 90-day supply of medication. As an inpatient psychiatrist, I see the lucky ones—those who are still alive. Many of these patients struggle with chronic suicidality and shouldn’t be prescribed large quantities of medication as a matter of safety. Yet with regularity they tell me their insurers wouldn’t pay for smaller amounts. I know this problem well, encountering it frequently when prescribing. (Brian Barnett, 2/6)
San Francisco Chronicle: SF’s Meth Epidemic: City To Open 24-Hour Sobering Center As Crisis Devastates The Streets
When it comes to the scary behavior San Franciscans see on our streets — people ranting at no one, stripping off their clothes or threatening strangers — there’s often a clear culprit: methamphetamines. Starting this spring, there will finally be a clear, short-term answer: a sobering center designed specifically for those high on meth. Believed to be the nation’s first sobering center aimed at people experiencing meth-induced psychosis rather than high on any sort of drug, the facility will open late this spring on a city-owned parking lot at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin. (Heather Knight, 2/6)
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-pros-cons-of-administrations-attempts-to-transform-medicaid-racially-charged-reactions-to-coronavirus-merely-fuel-inequality/