Editorial pages weigh in on these health care topics and others.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Much Progress Made, Much Work Remains On HIV/AIDS Crisis
According to the CDC, the annual number of new HIV diagnoses has remained relatively stable at about 40,000 in recent years. Yet, within some demographics, those numbers are on the rise. About one in seven people still aren’t aware they have HIV, close to 50% are not engaged in care, and less than 50% are virally suppressed.The urgency of HIV/AIDS is ever-present. (Claire Sterk, 7/27)
USA Today: Strained Health System Means Patients Can’t Count On Doctors Or Plans
Just this week, another patient came to see me for the last time because her employer’s health insurance plan was changing to one that my practice doesn’t accept. I have known this patient for several years and have followed her through two births, a bout of depression, a divorce and remarriage, two episodes of flu and one of pneumonia, and an ongoing struggle to keep her cholesterol down. She has always been polite and appreciative through all this care. I am sad to see her go. She wanted to stay, too, and tried to change her insurance plan to one I accept but was ultimately not successful. (Marc Siegel, 7/29)
Axios: A Small Group Of Patients Facing High Drug Costs Drive Health Care Spending
A very small group of patients with major illnesses is responsible for an outsized share of health care spending, and new data show that prescription drugs are a big part of the reason their bills are so high. The big picture: Among people who get their coverage from a large employer, just 1.3% of employees were responsible for almost 20% of overall health spending, averaging a whopping $ 88,000 per year. Between the lines: “Persistently high spenders” are people who have accumulated big health care bills for at least 3 consecutive years. (Drew Altman, 29)
The New York Times: It’s Not Just A Chemical Imbalance
The antidepressant Prozac came on the market in 1986; coincidentally, it was the year I was born. By the time I saw my first psychiatrist, as an early-2000s teenager, another half-dozen antidepressants belonging to the same class of drugs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or S.S.R.I.s, had joined it on the market — and in the public consciousness. The despondent cartoon blob from a memorable series of TV ads for the S.S.R.I. drug Zoloft became a near-instant piece of pop culture iconography after its May 2001 debut. (Kelli Maria Korducki, 7/27)
Fox News: Planned Parenthood Isn’t About Health Care, It’s About Abortion – That’s Why I Quit
I am not prone to shedding tears or being overly emotional. I prefer to use my innate sarcasm and wit instead of crying when emotion hits harder than I expect. But when I read Dr. Leana Wen’s tweet about being shoved out of Planned Parenthood, where she served as president, I cried. Tears seemed like an appropriate response as I stood in solidarity with Wen. I was reminded of my own loss of security and friendships when I left Planned Parenthood 10 years ago. (Abby Johnson, 7/28)
The New York Times: At A Clinic Threatened By Trump’s Rules, She Asks, ‘Why Attack Women?’
You might think that since President Trump opposes abortion, he’d want to help young women get birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancy. You might think that someone who claims to be “pro-life” would want to help young men and women get cancer screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. (Nicholas Kristof, 7/27)
The New York Times: Can This Ancient Greek Medicine Cure Humanity?
Over my 54 years, I’ve pinned my hopes on my parents, my teachers, my romantic partners, God. I’m pinning them now on a shrub. It’s called mastic, it grows in particular abundance on the Greek island of Chios and its resin — the goo exuded when its bark is gashed — has been reputed for millenniums to have powerful curative properties. Ancient Greeks chewed it for oral hygiene. Some biblical scholars think the phrase “balm of Gilead” refers to it. (Frank Bruni, 7/26)
Boston Globe: 90,000 In Mass. Could Be Affected By Trump’s Callous Food-Stamp Cuts
Food stamps are a lifeline for about one in nine Massachusetts residents. This isn’t filet mignon money: The subsidies work out to about $ 1.38 per meal per person, according an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. If the new rules go into effect, the state estimates that about 90,000 residents will be affected. (7/25)
Austin American-Statesman: Cutting Food Stamps Won’t Lessen The Need
As a nation we should all want to get more people off food stamps — not by shrinking the eligibility requirements or tinkering with the poverty index, which the Trump administration is also trying to do, but by supporting policies that help families boost their earnings. …It could be done through long-overdue adjustments to the minimum wage. But it won’t be accomplished by telling hungry people they’re just not destitute enough. (7/26)
San Francisco Chronicle: Growing Homeless Crisis Could Spur Awareness Needed To Solve It
No corner of San Francisco is free from the sight of sprawled bodies, makeshift camps, or tin cup panhandlers. Homelessness is a shared worry, and that should be a starting point for serious work. This week The Chronicle will explore the changes, both positive and negative, in life on the streets. The series will offer a close look at the mix of people mired in homelessness, answer questions on the topic and offer ways for readers to help. (7/27)
San Francisco Chronicle: More And More Californians Are Old, Sick And On The Streets. Here’s How We Can Fight Senior Homelessness.
With rising housing costs, fewer pensions, and a fraying safety net, many older adults are one crisis away from losing the roof over their head. This is particularly true for black Americans, who are at three to four times the risk of homelessness nationally. In San Francisco, the disparity is worse: while fewer than 6% of San Franciscans are black, 37% of those who experience homelessness are. (Margot Kushel and Kevin Prindiville, 7/28)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.