Opinion writers weigh in on these health issues and others.
Bloomberg: Surprise Medical Expenses And The Scandal Of Balance Billing
Outrage can be a powerful motivator. Tale after tale of people hamstrung by astronomical medical bills they didn’t see coming have put lawmakers from both parties on a joint mission to repair the problem. In the U.S., the phenomenon of surprise medical bills isn’t new, but it’s been getting some overdue attention. It arises from the way in which health insurers restrict their coverage to specific doctors, hospitals and other care providers. To minimize out-of-pocket charges, people need to stay “in network.” But very often, they’re treated by an anesthesiologist, ambulance company, emergency-room doctor, laboratory or other provider not tied to their insurer — and only find out later. Their so-called balance bills from out-of-network providers can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. (3/13)
Seattle Times: A Measles Infection Could Cost My Patients Their Pregnancies Or Even Their Lives
I recently started telling my pregnant patients not to travel to parts of Washington state, because they might be exposed to measles. New cases of measles continue to be identified in Clark County along the southern Washington border, just outside Portland. Now, an outbreak in Vancouver, British Columbia, has Canadian health officials worried. Measles outbreaks are currently ongoing in 11 U.S. states, but the outbreak in Washington state is one of the largest. (Kristina Adams Waldorf, 3/13)
USA Today: Our Broken Health Care System Punishes Mothers Like Me For Sick Kids
Early one recent Sunday morning, my kids woke up not feeling well. Due to a health notice from their school, I knew I needed to get them to urgent care for medicine right away or they wouldn’t be allowed to go to school the next day.I am a single mother. I am also an entrepreneur, working in women’s leadership training and consulting. Keeping my kids home from school for a day means I can’t work. As the sole financial supporter of my children, not working is not an option. My family is insured through the Affordable Care Act and I pay $ 1182 a month for our insurance through Blue Shield of California. I expected that a doctor’s visit and getting the medicine we needed would be quick and easy. I couldn’t have been more wrong. (Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin, 3/13)
The Hill: March Is Military Caregivers Month: Understanding Their Long-Term Journey
March is U.S. Military Caregivers Month, celebrating and honoring the immeasurable dedication and sacrifice required of these “hidden heroes.” The United States is in the longest period of war in its history, with service members returning home wounded, injured or ill, and often in need of full-time caregivers. Many military caregivers must relocate to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, Md., arranging for childcare, emergency leave from jobs, as well as lodging and transportation, in order to arrive and remain by their loved ones’ sides. (Sean Spicer, 3/13)
The Detroit News: Fighting Back Against Michigan’s Opioid Crisis
Opioid overdose strikes without prejudice. We’ve both seen this firsthand. From Detroit to Grand Rapids, Staten Island to the Bronx, the epidemic isn’t just at our doorsteps — it’s inside our homes. It’s taking our loved ones at a higher rate than gun violence and car crashes, and it’s ravaging families and communities across our country. An American dies from an opioid overdose every 11 minutes. This is a public health crisis — and a full-blown national emergency. We need a response bold enough to stop it.In the last two years, we’ve heard a lot of talk from the White House, but we haven’t seen a lot of action. (Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michael Bloomberg, 3/13)
Miami Herald: Caregivers For Older Adults Must Have Proper Training, Security And Background Screening And Vetting. You Can’t Allow Just Anyone To Take Care Of Frail Adults.
As Florida’s population ages, we must strengthen safety net programs for home- and community-based care. These programs include the state-funded Community Care for the Elderly (CCE) and Home Care for the Elderly (HCE). Both are essential for helping older adults who do not qualify for Medicaid to continue living independently at home for as long as possible, preventing institutional care. (Carlos Martinez, 3/12)
St. Louis Post Dispatch: Family Planning Rule Endangers Public Health In Missouri
On March 4, the Trump administration published a final rule, “Compliance with Statutory Program Integrity Requirements,” amending Title X, the nation’s family planning program. These changes introduced unprecedented requirements and restrictions that will be destructive to patient-provider relationships and undermine the program. As clinicians within the Title X program, we are greatly concerned about their impact on the health of our patients. (Lucia Obergoenner, Hailey Kramer and Kate Wagner, 3/13)
Los Angeles Times: Gavin Newsom’s Death Penalty Moratorium Could Turn The Abolitionist Tide In California
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to suspend executions in California for as long as he is governor is, for the time being, a symbolic act. No one has been executed in San Quentin’s death chamber since Jan. 17, 2006, and few believe the next execution would have happened any time soon, given the array of legal hurdles embroiling the system. But Newsom’s moratorium — technically, he granted reprieves to each of the 737 people on death row — at a minimum adds further delays to the resumption of the machinery of death, as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun once described it. And that’s a good thing. (3/13)
Boston Globe: Massachusetts Can Do More To Fight Human Trafficking
Disrupting human trafficking requires a multifaceted approach, including focusing on the buyers of sex and giving law enforcement tools to spot and stop trafficking sooner. For many police departments, charging and naming johns has become an important enforcement tool in itself. (3/12)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.