Opinion writers weigh in on these health topics and others.
USA Today: Measles Outbreaks Underscore Risks Of Allowing Nonmedical Exemptions
Measles outbreaks continue to lacerate communities from coast to coast, and there’s absolutely no reason for it. The latest involve dozens of new cases in New York and in Clark County, Washington, across the Columbia River from Portland.These shouldn’t be happening. The highly contagious disease — which can lead to pneumonia and, in uncommon cases, to encephalitis or even death — was all but eradicated in 2000. (2/19)
The Washington Post: Darla Shine Doesn’t Get It. Childhood Illnesses Of Old Are No Joke.
Everyone has nostalgia for parts of our childhoods: spending summer days from sunrise to sunset outside playing with neighborhood kids, grandma’s cooking, television shows and movies. But last week Darla Shine, the wife of the White House communications director, expressed nostalgia for a strange part of her childhood: the diseases we now have vaccines for. (Bethany Mandel, 2/19)
Stat: Don’t Villainize The Biopharma Industry. It Offers Hope To People Like Me
From my perspective as someone with a rare disease, the conversation about the biopharma industry — which is essentially “bad pharma” — appears scarily without nuance. I am not advocating on behalf of companies that act immorally, unethically, or illegally. But I don’t believe that the industry is villainous, as media coverage suggests. (Jean Walsh, 2/20)
The Washington Post: We Don’t Need Government-Run Health Care To Get To Affordable, Universal Coverage
America can insure everyone without changing anyone’s existing health coverage. It won’t require replacing Obamacare with a single-payer, government-run system. Instead, we can build upon Obamacare with two simple, game-changing features: a universal cap on premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, and an automatic coverage system that places the uninsured in a plan they can depend on and afford. (David Kendall and Jim Kessler, 2/19)
Seattle Times: Single-Payer Health Care Is The Only Moral Prescription For America
I am growing tired of practicing two versions of medicine: one for well-insured patients who receive all the doctor visits and prescriptions they want, and another for poorly insured patients who pay more out-of-pocket and work harder to get health care. If we want to address the moral crisis in our health-care system, it’s time we sign America’s much-needed prescription: single-payer now. (Devesh Madhav Vashishtha, 2/19)
The Washington Post: I Was Hospitalized For Depression. Faith Helped Me Remember How To Live.
When the Dean of the Washington National Cathedral and I were conspiring about when I might speak, I think he mentioned Feb. 3 as a possibility. A sermon by me on that date would have been considerably less interesting because I was, at that point, hospitalized for depression. Or maybe it would have been more interesting, though less coherent.Like nearly one in 10 Americans — and like many of you — I live with this insidious, chronic disease. (Michael Gerson, 2/18)
The Philadelphia Inquirer/Philly.com: Hold EPA To Its Promise To Address Dangerous Threats To Drinking Water
Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s promise last week to attack a dangerous threat to drinking water may have sounded soothing to thousands of residents of Bucks and Montgomery Counties, who have lived with contaminated groundwater for decades. But as U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D., Del.) pointed out, Wheeler’s words cynically masked just another federal government dodge on cleaning up the toxic chemicals because he didn’t have a timeline and worse, the EPA did not even commit to actually setting safe standards for the toxic family of chemicals known as PFAS. (2/19)
The Washington Post: How Often Do You See Fruits And Veggies On Billboards? The Answer Depends On Who You Are And Where You Live.
Eric O’Grey, who lives in Rockville, gave me some advice for sticking with the new healthy eating plan I’ve started. Go all in on a whole-food, plant-based diet. And get a dog. That’s what he’d done: changed his diet, adopted a dog from a shelter and begun walking the new companion. He’d made the change in 2010, at age 51. At the time, he weighed 340 pounds. That’s considered morbidly obese for a man who stands 5-foot-10. “Tying my shoes would leave me out of breath,” he recalled. (Courtland Milloy, 2/19)
The Star Tribune: Minnesota Bill Would Counter Dangerous Vaccine Disinformation
Why are so many parents in Wadena and Renville counties putting their children at risk of contracting measles, polio and other serious but vaccine-preventable illnesses? With measles cases now confirmed in 10 states, there’s an urgency to ensuring that as many Minnesota kids as possible get potentially lifesaving childhood immunizations. Drilling down into county-by-county data provided by the state Department of Health is an alarming exercise. While 100 percent of kindergartners in three counties are fully vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, others fall far short in protecting kids. (2/20)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.