Opinion writers weigh in on these health topics and others.
Stat: Hospitals Are A Missing Link In Easing The Opioid Crisis
Nearly half a million individuals with opioid use disorders are hospitalized each year in the United States. While they are in the hospital, medical providers often treat complications of this disorder, such as bloodstream infections, but rarely directly address their addiction. That’s like pumping up a flat tire without ever looking for the nail that caused the problem. Our national failure to treat opioid addiction in the hospital setting is costing lives and wasting valuable resources. (Richard Bottner and Christopher Moriates, 6/18)
The Wall Street Journal: Euthanasia And Organ Harvesting
One lesson from Holland’s experience with euthanasia is that doctors and nurses can powerfully influence a person’s decision to end his life. The most vulnerable people are those who are depressed and dependent on another’s care. They are easily influenced by the caregiver’s veiled cues. Slippery-slope arguments are often unpersuasive. Do this bad thing, and that really bad thing will necessarily follow. But in this case the really bad things are a tippy-toe down the slippery slope. That should give legislators in states like New York pause before they move to legalize euthanasia. Medical professionals should not be given the incentive to see their patients as sacks of valuable organs rather than as human beings. (F.H. Buckley, 6/17)
Stat: Data Scientists And Researchers Can Transform Cancer Treatment
At a time when data and data science are increasingly essential to improving cancer care, oncologists and cancer researchers often lack the training needed to understand and leverage the data to their fullest extent. Similarly, data scientists often lack an understanding of cancer biology and a patient’s journey through the disease, both of which are necessary to gather and query data appropriately to answer a myriad of important biological and clinical questions. (Stephanie Birkey Reffey and Jerome Jourquin, 6/18)
The New York Times: ‘This Is All So Deeply Personal, But I Too Will Speak Out’
In “The Story of My Abortion,” Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat from Washington, told of her painful decision to have an abortion in an effort to call attention to “the deeply personal nature of reproductive choice.” “I have never spoken publicly about my abortion. In some ways, I have felt I should not have to,” she wrote. In the comments, several readers agreed. “Abortion stories do not need to be told,” wrote Colleen, a reader in Washington. “We do not need others to concede that we probably did the right thing.” (Rachel L. Harris and Lisa Tarchak, 6/17)
The Washington Post: Living A Chronic Life In A Fix-It-Now World
I am sitting in my psychologist’s office. He specializes in behavioral therapy, which is wonderful, but I’m not sure how to behave anymore. Three summers ago, I wrote a memoir as a love letter to my family, a lasting gift to my young son after I was gone. I wanted to explain what it was like to try — and perhaps fail — to overcome my diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer in a culture that believes everything happens for a reason. I had spent my 20s becoming the leading expert in the American prosperity gospel, the message of health, wealth and happiness that populates megachurches with assurances that we can all “live our best lives now.” (Kate Bowler, 6/17)
The New York Times: We Must Prepare For The Next Pandemic
When the next pandemic strikes, we’ll be fighting it on two fronts. The first is the one you immediately think about: understanding the disease, researching a cure and inoculating the population. The second is new, and one you might not have thought much about: fighting the deluge of rumors, misinformation and flat-out lies that will appear on the internet. (Bruce Schneier, 6/17)
Los Angeles Times: Why On Earth Is It So Hard To Put Out Toilets For L.A.’s Homeless?
Of the 36,300 people who are homeless in the city of Los Angeles, about 27,000 are living outside or in their cars and RVs, according to the most recent count. Yet there are only 31 public toilets operated by the city for the homeless. That’s a lot of people waiting for a bathroom — if there’s one near them at all or open when they need it. That’s a profound problem, obviously, because no one should be compelled to use sidewalks and alleyways as toilets, and the rest of us shouldn’t have to live with the results of that. But it’s not just a moral issue or a quality-of-life issue — it’s also a serious public health threat that needs to be addressed. (6/18)
The Hill: We Need To Do Something To Help The Homeless
Outside my office, near Eastern Market, a depressing ritual enfolds about 10 a.m. every day.Just as the liquor store opens, a crowd of highly agitated and usually very loud people gathers around, some panhandling, others waiting to get their fix of booze for the next couple of hours. Just two blocks from the nation’s Capitol, this part of the Hill is ground zero for gentrification. The neighborhood is vibrant. There’s a Trader Joe’s across the street, expensive coffee shops down the block and Michelin-rated restaurants around the corner. (John Feehery, 6/17)
Kansas City Star: Missouri And Kansas Could Do More For Rural Residents’ Health Care Needs
One of the causes of declining rural health care access is hospital consolidation. The number of hospitals has declined dramatically over the past decade, and a focus on larger hospitals means that it doesn’t make sense for hospitals to open in sparsely populated areas. Government regulations are partly responsible for this trend. (Alex Muresianu, 6/14)
Sacramento Bee: We Should All Being Working To Provide Shelter To All
We cannot let the new Point in Time Count derail us from increasing allocations for shelter, as well as building truly affordable housing. Our mayor, along with the majority of our City Council, has demonstrated a willingness to tackle these issues and work to end and prevent homelessness. All of us in our community need to support that effort. (Gabby Trejo and Bob Erlenbusch, 6/18)
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio House’s Morally Repugnant Swipe At Workplace Injury Claims By Noncitizens Should Not Stand
In a party-line vote – Republicans for, Democrats against – the Ohio House is seeking to require those claiming compensation for injuries they suffered on the job in Ohio to answer a question about their citizenship. Approved 58-36, the amendment to Ohio’s pending workers’ compensation budget, House Bill 80, would ask a claimant if he or she is a U.S. citizen, or an “illegal alien or unauthorized alien” or someone who has an alien registration number, “or other signifier that the claimant is authorized to work.” (6/14)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.