Opinion writers weigh in on these health topics and others.
The New York Times: What Can The U.S. Health System Learn From Singapore?
Singapore’s health care system is sometimes held up as an example of excellence, and as a possible model for what could come next in the United States. When we published the results of an Upshot tournament on which country had the world’s best health system, Singapore was eliminated in the first round, largely because most of the experts had a hard time believing much of what the nation seems to achieve. (Aaron E. Carroll, 4/22)
The Hill: Overdose Deaths Should Have Been A Public Scandal Before Middle America Became A Victim
Now, for the first time in U.S. history, American life expectancy has fallen two years in a row — and one of the causes is another epidemic. This time, however, it is not the “flu” or “mystery” diseases like HIV/AIDs. It is the tragedy of addiction and, in some cases, stupidity in the self-indulgent use of illegal drugs and prescription pain-killers.More Americans — more than 70,000 in 2017, according to U.S. health authorities — die annually from overdoses. That is more than the number of Americans killed during the entire war in Vietnam, from 1961 to 1975. (Raoul Lowery Contreras, 4/19)
Los Angeles Times: Calm Down, Everyone. Keeping Dead Pig Cells Alive Is Not ‘Brain Resuscitation’
It’s alive! Like something out of Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein,” a group of scientists at the Yale School of Medicine recently tried to revive dead brains from pigs. As reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, by pumping and filtering nutrient-filled fluid through the brains’ blood vessels, the scientists managed to preserve some brain cells that were dying and restore some cellular function.A technological feat, to be sure. Does this call into a question the finality and irreversibility of brain death as death? I think not. (Robby Berman, 4/22)
The Washington Post: Northern Virginia’s Health Rankings Mask Tremendous Disparities
Every March, a national study comes out showing that Northern Virginia is home to the healthiest counties in Virginia, with Arlington, Loudoun and Fairfax counties and the city of Falls Church reliably at the top of the list of counties (and Alexandria and Prince William County typically not far behind). Northern Virginia should be proud of our overall health and well-being — but also well-informed about what’s missing from the county health rankings story. The rankings are based on averages that mask tremendous disparities in Northern Virginia. (Patricia Mathews, 4/19)
Los Angeles Times: L.A. County Can Safely Release And Treat Thousands Of Mentally Ill Inmates. So Do It
Jails across the nation are crowded with mentally ill inmates who are there because of a broken promise. Over the course of several decades, states closed mental hospitals and vowed to replace them with community-based psychiatric treatment and housing. But the treatment and housing failed to materialize.Now people whose mental health problems go unaddressed get arrested for conduct they often can’t control. They sit in jail, awaiting trial. They are convicted, return to jail, serve a few weeks or months, and are released with no continuing care and often no place to live but the street. With their illnesses still untreated, they offend again, and the cycle repeats. The sick remain sick, the streets and jails fill, the costs mount. (4/22)
St. Louis Post Dispatch: Sandy Hook Parents Might Finally Break The Gun Industry’s Immunity Shield
Toymakers whose toys injure kids can be sued. Carmakers that put dangerous cars on the highways and kill people can be sued. The U.S. cigarette industry is paying more than $ 200 billion for the toll of its deadly products. Yet the manufacturers of guns that kill almost 40,000 Americans yearly are protected from liability by federal law. Relatives of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre may have found a way around that injustice, suing in state court over the way the guns are marketed. The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled their lawsuit can go forward. If it survives a U.S. Supreme Court challenge, it could provide the ammunition America needs to finally make these merchants of death legally responsible for the blood they’ve helped shed. (4/21)
Kansas City Star: All People Deserve Health Care
Do people have a right to health care? Over and over again, many Republicans answer no. They have stranded both Kansas and Missouri among just 14 states that refuse expansion of Medicaid to help 450,000 of their poor uninsured citizens. Thirty-six other states and the District of Columbia have approved Medicaid expansion. (Charles Hammer, 4/18)
The Billings Gazette: Healthy Victory In Montana Legislature
The 96,000-plus Montanans currently covered by Medicaid expansion can breathe a sigh of relief — along with their families, employers and health care providers. The Legislature finally approved continuation for at least six years of the program that offers needed health care to low-income Montanans regardless of age or disability. Montana hospitals, physicians, nurses, faith leaders, advocates for low-income families and health care organizations produced mountains of data confirming the benefits of Medicaid expansion since it started here in 2016. (4/21)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.