Editorial pages focus on these health topics and others.
The Hill: States Have New Roadmap For Health Care Reform
A new federal report gives states a roadmap for improving access to health care and making it more affordable, and lawmakers across the nation should act on it soon. The report, a collaboration of several agencies, is a much-anticipated response to President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order to promote choice and competition in the health care marketplace. That order and the report are based on a recognition that state and federal regulations have created significant barriers to innovation in health care, declines in the quality of care, and cost increases that taxpayers cannot sustain. (Lindsay Killen, 12/18)
Forbes: The 5 Biggest Healthcare Stories Of 2018 And The Bad News Ahead
Dems take House. Kavanaugh confirmed. Trump undermines Obamacare. Baby genetically altered. Drug pricing under attack. Gawande becomes CEO.Bold, juicy and salacious, these headlines kept the spotlight on healthcare throughout 2018. And despite the hype these stories generated, here’s a rather boring prediction for 2019: Not much is going to happen to U.S. medicine next year. In fact, 2019 will be a year of ongoing inaction and erosion within the U.S. healthcare system. This puttering will ultimately set the stage for industry-wide change down the road. (Robert Pearl, 12/17)
The Hill: Health Care Will Suffer If Judge’s ACA Rule Stands
Though the Affordable Care Act has so far withstood Trump administration sabotage and two Supreme Court challenges, the health care system goes through unnecessary shocks every time the law is threatened — and everyday people (especially older Americans) must live in constant fear of losing coverage. If the federal judge’s decision is allowed to stand, tens of millions of Americans would lose health coverage — and the roughly 1 in 2 non-elderly Americans with pre-existing conditions might not be able to find an affordable plan. (Max Richtman, 12/18)
The Detroit News: Home Care Necessary In Health Care
According to caregiver.org, by 2050, the number of Americans in need of long-term care services is expected to double from the 13 million using services in 2000, to 27 million people. Medicare Advantage will be a critical introduction and, depending on coverage levels and reimbursements, it is expected to not only increase the quality of life and care for a growing population that is aging in place, but may also provide critical data in the years ahead for non-medical home care that effectively decreases hospital readmission rates and emergency department visits for seniors. (Steve Greenbaum, 12/18)
Miami Herald: Medicare Advantage Should Provide What Patients Truly Need, Not Just What’s Covered
Three in four Americans over 65 live with multiple chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma, and the cost of providing their care is rapidly increasing. Beginning in January, Medicare Advantage, or MA, Medicare’s managed-care plans, will offer some relief by providing health-related supplemental benefits to beneficiaries with chronic conditions. Some plans will offer new benefits such as smoking cessation programs, in-home personal assistance, caregiver support and adult daycare. But that’s not enough. (Katherine Jett Hayes, 12/17)
The Washington Post: A Proposed New ‘Public Charge’ Rule Puts Children’s Health Insurance At Risk
The obstacles to gaining citizenship in this country grow higher by the day. Some of these new hurdles are dramatic: The administration has placed severe restrictions on asylum seekers, and the military has been deployed to string concertina wire at the U.S.-Mexico border. Other changes are dry and bureaucratic, but no less potentially devastating. One especially consequential policy shift is the Trump administration’s proposal to modify the “public charge” rule — which it can do without consulting Congress. (Alicia Wilson and Catalina Sol, 12/18)
Boston Globe: Climate Change Threatens Public Health And Doctors’ Ability To Provide Care
The reality of climate change — and the need to combat it — could not be clearer. As health care professionals, we know that climate change harms those we seek to heal and we recognize that it compromises our ability to provide care. (George Q. Daley, Ashish Jha and Aaron Berstein, 12/18)
Stat: What Kidney Cancer Is Teaching Me About Serendipity, Persistence
When I think about all of the circumstances that had to go just right for me to be born and just wrong for me to be diagnosed with kidney cancer, I realize there is so much serendipity in this world that it cannot be understood or predicted. The same universal chaos that caused an artillery shell not to explode 75 years ago — allowing me to exist at all — also led to my diagnosis. It’s the same mysterious force that connected me to a stranger a thousand miles away with a foundation that sent me to meet one of the scientists working to find a cure for kidney cancer just down the street, who had his own serendipitous route to studying it. (Adam Philip Stern, 12/18)
Kansas City Star: Why Would Hawley And Blunt Fix Health Care Law They Broke?
You know that cliché about the kid who killed his parents and then begged the court to have mercy on his poor orphaned self? Meet Missouri’s top Republican lawmakers, Sen. Roy Blunt and Senator-elect Josh Hawley. After their many broad-daylight attempts to poison, strangle and shoot the Affordable Care Act as it drove away, they are all sad-faced innocence now that a Texas judge has ruled that Obamacare shouldn’t survive.Suddenly, Blunt says we needn’t worry because that’s not really going to happen. Wait, but aren’t you the Roy Blunt who spent years calling for just this outcome? (12/18)
Akron Beacon Journal: Again, Two Abortion Bills At The Extreme And Deserving Vetoes
The Republican legislative majorities approved last week two bills that severely restrict abortion rights. Now lawmakers await the decisions of John Kasich. The governor already has pledged to veto one of the measures, the “heartbeat” bill, which bars abortion once a physician detects a fetal heartbeat, as early as six weeks, or before many women know they are pregnant. He did so two years ago, reasoning, correctly, that the legislation is unconstitutional and would result in an expensive court battle. Nothing has changed since.What about the other bill, a ban on the dilation and evacuation procedure? It is the most commonly used method to end a pregnancy in the second trimester, from 13 weeks to 24 weeks. This editorial page argued a week ago the bill is just as extreme. With the governor now weighing his course, it is worth reiterating why the measure also deserves a veto. (12/17)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.