Viewpoints: Medicaid Expansion Reveals How Liberal Policies Make For Good Politics; Hey, Congress, What’s The Hold Up With Surprise Medical Bills? -…

Opinion writers tackle these and other health issues.

The New York Times:Progressives Are The Real PragmatistsWhen left-wing Democrats push for universal benefits and expansive new policies, they do so with a theory of politics in mind. It goes like this: The reason to fight for debt-free college or Medicare for all isnt just to improve life for Americans, but to build new ground for progressive political activity. New programs create new constituencies, and new programs with broad benefits can give more Americans a stake in the expansion and preservation of the welfare state. Conservatives know this. Thats why theyve fought so hard to block or undermine even modest new programs. (Jamelle Bouie, 1/13)

The Washington Post:Congress Needs To Settle Its Differences And Put An End To Surprise Medical BillingWashington seemed to be working, for once. Last month, key members of the House and Senate House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) had negotiated legislation that would end so-called surprise medical billing. Example: when you have emergency surgery, then get slammed unexpectedly with a huge bill from an out-of-network anesthesiologist you didnt choose. The legislation was set to be included last month in a must-pass funding bill. (1/12)

Cleveland Plain Dealer:There Is No Excuse For Surprise Medical Billing. Ohio Should Act.Voters concerned about surprise billing should let those legislators know of their concerns, and share any personal experiences with surprise billing that theyve had. According to a report by the Commonwealth Fund (a philanthropy founded by the Harkness family, which had Cleveland ties), as of July, 28 states had enacted measures to protect patients against surprise medical billing.Ohio should do the same. (1/10)

The Hill:Where Women's Health Care Is Lacking, Women Are DyingA woman is more likely to die of cervical cancer in Alabama than in any other state in the country. An African-American woman in the state is twice as likely to die of cervical cancer than a white woman.While these statistics are harrowing, they are not surprising. Alabamas disproportionately high cervical cancer mortality rate is reflective of a more significant trend: States that limit access to womens health services tend to have the worst health outcomes for women. (Nakisa B. Sadeghi and Dr. Leana S. Wen, 1/10)

Colorado Sun:We Are Colorado ObGyns. Words Matter On Abortion Rights.If pregnant people and a medical procedure are going to be used as fodder for a political dispute, we all have an obligation to get the medical science and facts right. That means relying on doctors and medical professionals for their expertise, not politicians who are trying to use stigma, shame and inflammatory language to keep pregnant people from exercising their constitutional rights. Recently, Facebook took down a fact check of an anti-abortion video by three doctors after four male Republican senators objected. Thats not OK. (Dr Emily Schneider and Dr. Kristina Tocce, 1/12)

The Washington Post:I Thought My Second Baby Would Be Easier. And Then I Started Drowning.After four years, three miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy, the second baby I had yearned for entered the world. Armed with four years of parenting experience, I thought I was better equipped to handle life with a newborn than I had been as a new mom. I had survived the sleepless nights, weathered the scary fevers that precede budding teeth and coached myself through the irrational fears that accompany caring for a completely helpless human. (Danielle Campoamor, 1/10)

Bloomberg:Obamacare Marches On As Republicans FlailState by state, my prediction that the Medicaid expansion made possible by the Affordable Care Act would eventually be universal is slowly coming true. Most Republican governors had originally rejected expansion and the federal money that finances it, but plenty of them are agreeing to compromises to make it happen. The latest? Kansas. That leaves 14 states to go, although those 14 still include both Texas and Florida, so were still talking about a lot of uninsured people. (Jonathan Bernstein, 1/10)

The New York Times:The F.D.A. Is In Trouble. Heres How To Fix It.The Food and Drug Administration is in distress. The agency is still the worlds leading regulator of food and medical products, responsible for ensuring the safety of some $2.6 trillion in consumer goods each year. That represents 20 cents of every dollar that Americans spend. But critics both inside and outside the sprawling agency say that the F.D.A.s standards have been slipping for some time. (1/11)

The Hill:China Has A New SARS-Like Virus How Serious Is It?The last several days of infectious disease headlines have been focused on a mysterious outbreak in Wuhan, China, that has many concerning harbingers. This cluster of pneumonia cases some of which are severe involves individuals who had exposure to a, since decontaminated, seafood market that housed many types of animals. (Dr. Amesh Adalja, 1/9)

The Washington Post:Puerto Ricans Should Never Forget How Trump Treated ThemHere's what Puerto Rico has endured over the past two years: a devastating hurricane that killed and displaced thousands of people and plunged the island into months of darkness; an incompetent and corrupt local government; a bungled and halfhearted emergency response from the federal government. Now, even as hurricane recovery remains incomplete, a new natural disaster: a 6.4-magnitude earthquake followed by powerful aftershocks. (1/12)

The Wall Street Journal:Cancel Culture Comes To ScienceAn unhappy side effect of the digital age is cancel culture. Anyone with an attitude of moral superiority and a Twitter account can try to shut down an event where opinions he dislikes are likely to be spoken. For several years the National Association of Scholars has inveighed against this infantile form of protest, which undermines free expression of ideas and legitimate debate. Now the cancel caravan has arrived at our door. (Peter W. Wood, 1/12)

The Washington Post:The Crisis In Foster CareThe theory behind foster care is grounded in an assumption of stability placing children whose parents are absent, dead or deemed unfit with stable families where community, schools and peers are roughly familiar. The reality is increasingly the opposite. An acute shortage of foster parents has produced a cohort of vulnerable children, many with drug-addicted parents, who are sent away, sometimes out of state, to live in juvenile detention centers, shelters and group homes. (1/11)

The New York Times:Trumps Weakening Of Environmental Rules Would Leave The Public In The DarkFifty years ago this month, President Richard Nixon signed one of the most effective laws ever written to protect the environment and strengthen democracy by ensuring that citizens would have a say over projects like highways and pipelines that directly affect their well-being. Now President Trump is trying to cripple it. (Sharon Buccino, 1/10)

Louisville (Ky.) Courier Journal:We Must Increase Access To Mental Health Care. Too Many People Are DyingWhen facing the homicide crisis in the U.S., nearly all of us, citizens and politicians alike, jump to the same questions: What industry is at fault? Who needs tighter regulations? Nobody is asking this about our nations mental health. Our healthcare system today clearly is not meeting the needs of Americans suffering from mental illness. Health insurance companies follow vague and unenforceable federal and state regulations that leave enrollees without access to timely mental health care. (Caitlin Liford, 1/10)

Stat:Welcome To The Bioengineering Culture ClashBioengineering, once viewed primarily as an academic discipline, is growing up. Our ability to engineer biology is on the verge of changing the landscape of health and health care. Tools and treatments that are engineered, not discovered CAR-T therapies for cancer, CRISPR for gene editing, stem cell therapies, and more are now making their way not just into new startups but into established industry. Just look at the first-generation CAR-T companies that have been acquired by major biopharma companies, like Bristol-Myers Squibb/Celgene acquiring Juno or Gilead acquiring Kite. (Vijay Pande, 1/10)

The New York Times:Everyone Knows Memory Fails As You Age. But Everyone Is Wrong.Im 62 years old as I write this. Like many of my friends, I forget names that I used to be able to conjure up effortlessly. When packing my suitcase for a trip, I walk to the hall closet and by the time I get there, I dont remember what I came for. And yet my long-term memories are fully intact. I remember the names of my third-grade classmates, the first record album I bought, my wedding day. (Daniel J. Levitin, 1/10)

The Washington Post:A Psychiatrist Feels Guilt For Making A Homeless Man Leave The ER.Tonight was yet another night on call in our emergency room a chilly winter night on which I did a cruel deed: I discharged a homeless man back out into the cold. This is a routine event in the life of psychiatry residents like myself. Normally, no one would bat an eye. It shouldnt have mattered to me, either except that the previous night Id had to walk home from the hospital parking garage in decidedly adverse weather. (Aarya Krishnan Rajalakshmi, 1/12)

The Washington Post:Prince Georges Countys Mental Health Programs Dont Work. When Will Someone Listen?Its Dec. 29, 1 p.m., and Im at a hospital in Prince Georges County. The emergency room is packed with people with varying degrees of illnesses. Many have severe colds; others have flu symptoms. Some have broken ribs or fractures and cuts and bruises from domestic violence (and broken hearts). Sadly, some have come here to die, their families clinging to the hope that this talented yet overwhelmed staff can whip up a miracle. (Sharon K. Vollin, 1/10)

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Viewpoints: Medicaid Expansion Reveals How Liberal Policies Make For Good Politics; Hey, Congress, What's The Hold Up With Surprise Medical Bills? -...

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