Syndicated from Kaiser Health News
Opinion pages focus on these health care issues and others.
The Washington Post:
Surprise! Congress Might Actually End Big, Unexpected Medical Bills.
Congress is broken. Except, in increasingly rare cases, when it isn’t. See, for example, a surprisingly calm and reasonable movement on Capitol Hill to eliminate surprise medical billing, a symptom of the nation’s unwieldy health-care system that saddles people with massive, unexpected financial debts stemming from the care they receive. Too many Americans have been there. They carefully choose hospitals or clinics that are inside their insurance networks, expecting to minimize their out-of-pocket costs. (7/29)
Los Angeles Times:
How Do We Reduce Gun Violence? By Treating It Like A Disease
To truly address gun violence, we need to view it through a public health lens — one that reframes the issue as a preventable disease that can be cured with the help of all community members.This disease-control approach to gun violence is an effective one. Cure Violence, for example, a Chicago-based NGO, uses a public health perspective to help cities around the world reduce their gun violence levels. Under its model, outbreaks of violent behavior are responded to with three common epidemic-control methods: interrupting transmission, containing the risk and changing community norms. Cities that have applied these methods have seen as much as 73% drops in shootings and killings. (Michelle A. Williams and Mary T. Bassett, 7/29)
The Washington Post:
Another Day, Another Mass Shooting. When Will They End?
Put “Gilroy Garlic Festival” into Google and limit the search to anything on or before Saturday, July 26. You’ll discover a popular, three-day event, that draws “tens of thousands” of people to a small Northern California city that likes to think of itself as “the garlic capital of the world.” There are garlic-flavored snacks, including garlic scampi and garlic calamari. In fact, there are all sorts of “great garlicky food” served at something called “Gourmet Alley.” There’s country music and celebrities, and children under the age of 9 don’t need to pay an admission. (Helaine Olen, 7/29)
Protect Living Kidney Donors To Shorten Transplant Waiting List
It’s illegal to pay for a human kidney, but it’s perfectly fine to beg for one. So if you’ve driven through Alabama, Indiana, South Carolina, Manhattan or Los Angeles recently, you may have seen billboards taken out by patients urging passers-by to part with their kidneys. Hundreds more patients seek living donors online; others search abroad (often with grim results). There just aren’t enough organs to go around. For every 1,000 Americans who pledge to donate their kidneys after death, only three die in a way that permits a transplant. That frees up about 14,000 kidneys a year — about one for every seven people on the 90,000-strong transplant waiting list. The longer they wait — five years, on average — the sicker they get. Every day, some 13 people die waiting. (7/29)
Immigrant Women Aren’t Getting Access To Health Care Due To Fears
At the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health we encourage our Latinx community — many of whom are immigrants — to embrace their power and fight for access to health care in their communities. But for many of the people we work with, fulfilling their basic human right to health care is not easy. The Trump administration seemingly tries every opportunity to scapegoat, brutalize and instill fear in our immigrant communities — the challenge to access health care is greater than ever. (Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, 7/29)
Disclosing Genetic Information: Not As Worrisome As Once Feared
When the Human Genome Project began in 1990, bioethicists feared that giving people the results of genetic tests would do them a lot more harm than good. Experts feared that individuals who received genetic information about their future health status would be overwhelmed by depression or anxiety. Or as genetic testing became more widely available, it would increase the stigmatization of people with genetic variants. Others worried that people would turn into genetic essentialists and determinists, seeing themselves and others as nothing more than their genes, helpless to alter their behavior or shape their future. (Erik Parents and Paul S. Appelbaum, 7/30)
The Washington Post:
I’m A Female Surgeon. I Feel Uncomfortable Telling Girls They Can Be One, Too.
Every time a little girl or a young female student has asked me if she can be a surgeon, I wonder if I’m about to sell her a lie. The answer, of course, is yes, she can — I’m living proof. After all, I finished my specialty training to become one of the minuscule 5 percent of heart and lung surgeons who are female. But while I think women can do anything, the problem is that the people who think otherwise are often the ones in power with the ability to make or break you. This information is never divulged to young hopefuls. (Nikki Stamp, 7/29)
Dallas Morning News:
New Federal Policy Allows Doctors To Discriminate Against LGBTQ Patients
In Texas and most other states, there are no explicit state-level laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination like this. That lack of protection leaves people vulnerable to anti-LGBTQ harassment and mistreatment, on top of the other challenges they may already face, including racism, mental health issues and tenuous familial ties, to name a few. (Cece Cox, 7/29)
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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Some stories produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation. Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit health newsroom whose stories appear in news outlets nationwide, is an editorially independent part of the Kaiser Family Foundation.