Syndicated from Kaiser Health News
Editorial writers weigh in on these health care topics and others.
Los Angeles Times:
Democrats And Republicans Both Want To End Surprise ER Bills. Good Luck With That
Lawmakers from both parties and President Trump have talked about their shared desire to end surprise medical bills and rein in rising prescription drug prices. But their ongoing feud over the Affordable Care Act may stop them from any meaningful legislative action on those problems.At issue are a set of proposals that would tweak the U.S. healthcare system, not overhaul it. The more ballyhooed and ambitious offerings that lawmakers have been touting — the single-payer Medicare for All model advanced by liberal Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and the block-grant-based alternative to Obamacare pushed by some Republicans — haven’t drawn any serious action. (Jon Healey, 7/1)
The Birmingham News:
The Long History Of Southern Women ‘Taking To Bed’
The American past—and the American present—prove it’s hard to resist evil. In some ways, we’re going backwards: In 2019 the states of Louisiana, Georgia, Ohio, Missouri and Kentucky banned abortion past 6-8 weeks, as soon as a “fetal heartbeat” can be detected, though there’s no “heart” in the fetus, no cardiovascular system, just a gradually developing group of cells displaying electrical activity. Alabama, of course, has banned abortions altogether, telling women that even if they’re raped, their lives as fully formed humans take second place to the rapist’s embryo–they’re mere hosts for a more important life. These retrograde attempts to control women’s bodies are enough to make you take to the bed and refuse to get up. (Diane Roberts, 7/2)
Cancer Doctors Are Guardedly Optimistic About Artificial Intelligence
Over the course of my 25-year career as an oncologist, I’ve witnessed a lot of great ideas that improved the quality of cancer care delivery along with many more that didn’t materialize or were promises unfulfilled. I keep wondering which of those camps artificial intelligence will fall into. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t read of some new AI-based tool in development to advance the diagnosis or treatment of disease. Will AI be just another flash in the pan or will it drive real improvements in the quality and cost of care? And how are health care providers viewing this technological development in light of previous disappointments? (Bruce Feinberg, 7/3)
Big Data Is Still Bad At Medical Diagnoses Based On Facebook
The news that researchers could use Facebook feeds to “predict” whether you suffer from any of 21 medical conditions came across as impressive, but also unnerving. The conditions included some potentially embarrassing ones, such as sexually transmitted diseases, several that might put people at risk of discrimination, such as depression and psychosis, and pregnancy, which some people might feel should be their news to tell. But don’t worry. Big Brother doesn’t really know about that infection. (Faye Flam, 7/1)
Lexington Herald Leader:
State Sen. Alvarado, A Medical Doctor, Wrong To Say Vaccinations Shouldn’t Be Mandatory
Last week, state Sen. Ralph Alvarado, who’s now Matt Bevin’s running mate as lieutenant governor, was at a rally when someone asked him about all the people dying from vaccines.According to an audiotape from the event, Alvarado, who is a medical doctor, didn’t contradict a possible voter on a patently false statement; he instead noted that was a matter of debate. He went on to say: “I think it’s good health policy to administer vaccines but if people don’t want them, we shouldn’t force people to take them.”Later on, he admitted it’s a fine balance, noting that “a lot of theses diseases can be fatal.” (Linda Blackford, 7/2)
The Washington Post:
Why I’ve Asked My District To Consider Tearing Down Columbine High School
Two thousand four hundred and one. That is the number of “unauthorized individuals” who came to Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., between June 2018 and May 2019. Even now, 20 years after the horrific murders of 13 people at the school in April 1999, the site continues to attract the interest of outsiders. Most mean no harm — they are tourists or others who are curious about the site. They roll up into the parking lot and start taking photos or selfies. The occasional tour bus comes to the school and attempts to unload sightseers. (Jason Glass, 7/2)
Los Angeles Times:
Smog Is Making A Comeback In Southern California. That's Beyond Unacceptable
For years, California has celebrated what is undoubtedly a great environmental achievement: the dramatic reduction of the lung-searing, eye-burning pollution that used to blanket Southern California and that made this region the smog capital of the United States.But smog is making a comeback. The worst effects are being felt in San Bernardino, Riverside and other inland communities, which have seen an uptick in unhealthful air days over the last few years, The Times reported. (7/3)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
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.