Editorial pages focus on these health care topics and others.
The Wall Street Journal: Medicare Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be
Democrats enamored by the idea of Medicare for All should keep in mind that the standard existing Medicare benefit package falls well short of what they are proposing. If Medicare were a private insurance plan, it wouldn’t even qualify as adequate health insurance on the Affordable Care Act’s exchange. Medicare currently leaves enrollees who lack supplemental coverage exposed to potentially catastrophic out-of-pocket expenses and steep deductibles for prescription drugs—one of the primary political concerns of seniors. (Chris Pope, 5/14)
Bloomberg: Study Suicide Like Any Other Public Health Problem
Suicide poses a mystery to science. How do people manage to get up the nerve to shoot themselves, hang themselves or take a lethal dose of a drug, when doing so violates the strongest instinct that’s been bred into us over millions of years of evolution? This is not morbid curiosity. The answer could be key to addressing a persistent public health problem: Suicide kills about 800,000 people every year, according to the World Health Organization. In the U.S., the rate has been climbing over the last two decades. (Faye Flam, 5/14)
The Wall Street Journal: Roundup Of Cancer Evidence
A California jury awarded a stunning $2.055 billion Monday to a couple who claim that Bayer AG’s Roundup weed killer caused their cancer. But would the judgment have been different if the judge had allowed the jury to see contradictory evidence? That’s the question Bayer will raise in its appeal thanks to Judge Winifred Smith, who presided over the trial. The Alameda County Superior Court judge denied a request by Bayer’s lawyers to inform the jury that the Environmental Protection Agency concluded last month that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is noncarcinogenic and poses no risk to public health when used as directed. (5/14)
The New York Times: Don’t Visit Your Doctor In The Afternoon
It’s 3 p.m., I’ve been seeing patients for a few hours and I feel my focus fading. I need to stay sharp for those still to come, so I grab a snack and some coffee. This has become my afternoon ritual during my 20 years as a primary care doctor. Now, a new study confirms that my feared “3 o’clock fade” is real — and that it could affect patients’ health. (Jeffrey A. Linder, 5/14)
Arizona Republic: AHCCCS Should Cover More Than 1 Opioid Addiction Drug
If you have private insurance, it’s likely you and your physician have the choice of multiple treatment options in the event you need them.But if you’re among the 1.8 million Arizonans on Medicaid, you mainly have access to just one buprenorphine product: Suboxone film. That’s because our state’s Medicaid program — AHCCCS — gives Suboxone “preferred” status, meaning physicians and addiction medicine specialists seeking an alternative treatment for their patients need to navigate their “prior-authorization” process for approval. (Will Humble, 5/14)
The Washington Post: Tennessee Moves To Sabotage Its Own Health-Care System
Republicans failed to undermine the Medicaid program, the federal-state partnership that provides health-care coverage for the poor and near-poor, when they tried to repeal Obamacare two years ago. But the Trump administration might have found a way — by issuing waivers allowing states to volunteer for “block granting.” Tennessee lawmakers decided this month to make their state the first to try. That’s a bad decision for Tennessee and an alarming portent of the next potential assault on the nation’s safety net. (5/14)
San Francisco Chronicle: Trump Abolished The Health Care Mandate. California Needs To Restore It.
Once again, we are hearing the threat to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act as distant thunder rumbling at the federal level. The story in California is much different, however, as Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature are working to put our state on the path to universal coverage. One element includes bringing back the individual mandate penalty to individuals who can afford health insurance but do not to buy it. (Peter Lee, 5/14)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Source : Kaiser Health