Opinion writers weigh in on these health topics and others.
Boston Globe: Ending The Long Reach Of Tobacco
As the leading cause of preventable death, smoking causes 1 in 5 of all deaths in the United States, totaling more than 480,000 annually. Tobacco is also linked to about one-third of all cancers in the United States, including cancers of the pancreas, bladder, kidney, mouth, and throat, as well as the lung. Even with all of the recent advancements in cancer research and care, these remain some of the most lethal and difficult cancers to treat. (Laurie Glimcher, 6/13)
Stat: Shopping Blindly For Post-Acute Care Is A Recipe For Disaster
Many Americans have stories to tell about failures in care when a family member became ill. Mine runs from 2005 through 2016, when I was a family caregiver for my mother, father, and aunt.During the last few years of their lives, they were in and out of hospitals and received treatment after discharge in almost every possible setting — rehabilitation units, home health care, nursing homes, hospice, and more. Yet I can’t recall ever having a discussion with a hospital staff member about how to choose post-discharge care. Instead, I was often handed a list of facilities or agencies and, with little guidance about what to look for, was sent on a shopping expedition. (Lynn B. Rogut, 6/17)
The Washington Post: ‘The American Healthcare System Has Just, Quite Literally, Ruined My Future,’ A Disabled Georgetown Student Tweeted. Then This Happened.
Less than a week after she left Georgetown University for summer break, Anna Landre clicked on an email and realized everything she had worked for was about to slip away. The 20-year-old rising junior has spinal muscular atrophy Type 2 and relies on paid aides to help her with basic tasks, from getting dressed to going to the bathroom. The email that day came from her lawyer and informed her that her aide services were about to get cut. (Theresa Vargas, 6/15)
The New York Times: Marijuana Damages Young Brains
Recent efforts to legalize marijuana in New York and New Jersey have been stalled — but not killed — by disputes over how exactly to divvy up the revenues from marijuana sales and by worries about drugged driving. Those are both important issues. But another concern should be at the center of this debate: the medical implications of legalizing marijuana, particularly for young people. It’s tempting to think marijuana is a harmless substance that poses no threat to teens and young adults. The medical facts, however, reveal a different reality. (Kenneth L. Davis and Mary Jeanne Kreek, 6/16)
The Hill: Lack Of Personal Hygiene Products: Violation Of Human Rights For Incarcerated Women
Oregon’s recent legislative mandate to provide free of charge a variety of sanitary products, including tampons, to incarcerated women and girls is both a victory and a shame. It is a victory because now more incarcerated women and girls will have access to a basic necessity that supports personal hygiene and confidentiality. It is a shame because a woman’s basic need for sanitary products has to be legislated and dependent upon the sympathetic nature of those with decision-making power. This is particularly disturbing given that the growth in the number of incarcerated women has outpaced the growth of incarcerated men in the United States. (Aney Abraham and Janice Phillips, 6/16)
The New York Times: Can Marijuana Help Cure The Opioid Crisis?
The idea that legal cannabis can help address the opioid crisis has generated much hope and enthusiasm. Opioid misuse has declined in recent years at the same time that cannabis use has been increasing, with many states liberalizing marijuana laws. Based on recent research, some advocates have been promoting this connection, arguing that easier access to marijuana reduces opioid use and, in turn, overdose deaths. (Austin Frakt, 6/17)
Los Angeles Times: Lesson From A Pre-Roe Vs. Wade Experience: Men Cannot Be Silent On Abortion Rights
I was behind the wheel, Charlene beside me, in her powder-blue MG convertible, making our way from the Philadelphia suburbs, through Pottsville and up Route 61 to Ashland, a small, quiet village in the heart of Pennsylvania’s fading anthracite region. The beautiful two-hour drive turned somber as we approached 531 Centre Street, the office of Dr. Robert Spencer. Charlene was two months pregnant. We were both 19 — students at Haverford and its sister college, Bryn Mawr. We had hoped the legendary physician, known for performing thousands of illegal and affordable abortions, could help us. (Norman Pearlstine, 6/16)
The Washington Post: Postoperative Delirium Puts Patients In Deranged State
It is a ghost disease. More than 2 million Americans are haunted every year by postoperative delirium, a strange, creeping state of confusion that the medical profession admits it neither understands nor can cure. It is a problem that affects the brain, divorces its victims from reality and plunges them into a state of derangement — and few doctors can tell them why. Indeed, physicians usually cannot even see the symptoms of this disease until the patient already is in its grip. (Muriel Dobbin, 6/16)
The Washington Post: What Is A Good Death? How My Mother’s Plans Helped Me.
Years ago, I called my brother to ask whether he would serve as my health proxy, charged with making decisions about my care in the event of some unforeseeable disaster. “Sure,” he said affably, and then added: “You should be mine, too. I mean, if I lost a leg or something, I wouldn’t want to live. You’d pull the plug, right?” Unsettled by our widely disparate visions of a good life — and a good death — I quickly hung up and called my sister instead. (Miller Idriss, 6/16)
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio House’s Morally Repugnant Swipe At Workplace Injury Claims By Noncitizens Should Not Stand
Approved 58-36, the amendment to Ohio’s pending workers’ compensation budget, House Bill 80, would ask a claimant if he or she is a U.S. citizen, or an “illegal alien or unauthorized alien” or someone who has an alien registration number, “or other signifier that the claimant is authorized to work.” The amendment’s sponsor is state Rep. Bill Seitz, a suburban Cincinnati Republican.The amendment wouldn’t deny compensation to injured workers if they are undocumented, Seitz said (which would be against current Ohio law). Instead, Seitz argues the amendment is aimed at gathering data so the General Assembly can determine what, if anything, needs to be done about such claimants. (6/14)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.