Opinion writers weigh in on these public health issues and others.
The Washington Post: Gun Reality Vs. Gun Fantasy In Virginia
Let’s talk reality and fantasy in Virginia. Just minutes into New Year’s Day, it rained glass inside Justin Tate’s car, as a celebratory bullet shot into the sky at midnight fell back to the earth through his sunroof as he drove down Interstate 64, not far from the Richmond airport, according to CBS 6 News. Less than half an hour later in the western part of the state, in the parking lot of Kickback Jack’s sports bar in Danville, a 25-year-old woman was shot in the leg by a 24-year-old man during a domestic dispute. (Petula Dvorak, 1/6)
Los Angeles Times: My Classroom Has A Poop Bucket For School Lockdowns
As my students return to class this week, the newest equipment needed for school lockdowns will be there to greet them. It was delivered to my 11th-grade Advanced Placement Language and Composition class in the fall during a lesson on how to construct a thesis. My juniors cheered its arrival and everyone jokingly asked for the right to try the “safety device” first. My public school classroom, like many others in Ventura County — and most counties in California — now has its very own poop bucket. There are few indicators of public surrender that can be applied to an entire country, but it seems clear that the placing of primitive portable toilets in classrooms speaks volumes regarding the mindset of U.S. officials on the issue of gun violence in schools. My bucket of preparation speaks for all to hear: “Shooting in schools is here to stay, so let’s just accommodate.” (Thomas Smith, 1/6)
The Providence Journal: Another Check On Gun Violence
There are wide disagreements about gun control in Rhode Island, but almost everyone seems to concur about one thing: Joseph Giachello of Westerly should not have been equipped with a gun. Giachello, 66, bought a .38-caliber revolver from a Richmond gun shop and used it to fatally shoot a manager at his Westerly housing complex, a mother of five. He wounded two other women before turning the gun on himself in his third-floor apartment.The man’s mental-health issues had been brought to the attention of police over the years. Westerly police had made repeated contacts with him, making nine calls for service between 2002 and January 2018, some related to mental health. (1/5)
The Hill: Marijuana Policies: A Call To Shift From A Criminal Justice Approach To A Public Health Approach
Despite the billions of dollars, marijuana prohibition has cost society; this strategy has failed to protect communities. Instead, it has caused great harm, particularly for marginalized populations. These adverse outcomes are rooted in policies enacted to tackle this public health problem that has little to do with public health. Marijuana possession continues to be treated as a criminal matter, even though, historically, there are no examples of criminal law solving a public health matter. In effect, this punitive approach has supported mass incarceration for relatively minor offenses, placing an excessive burden on taxpayers, destroying communities, and perpetuating racial biases. (Elizabeth Long and Diana Fishbein, 1/6)
The Hill: The Need For A Stronger Emphasis On Mental Health In Upcoming Election
As the 2020 presidential candidates continue to unveil their vision for ensuring health-care coverage for all, although varied in their approaches, candidates have vowed to provide health-care coverage through several governments or other funding options. While mental health considerations may be embedded in these options, a more robust public discourse on our nation’s mental health crisis is needed. Regardless of political affiliation or position on health-care coverage, the issue of mental health deserves our utmost attention and allocation of resources. (Janice Phillips, 1/6)
The Atlantic: How Much Does It Cost To Have A Baby In The U.S.?
For women in many developed countries, having the baby—not paying for it—is the hard part. Giving birth in Finland, for example, will set you back a little less than $ 60. But in the U.S., the average new mother with insurance will pay more than $ 4,500 for her labor and delivery, a new study in Health Affairs has found. For the study, researchers at the University of Michigan looked at 657,061 American women who had health insurance through their jobs and who gave birth between 2008 and 2015. (All costs were adjusted for inflation, and 2015 was the most recent year for which data were available.) (Khazan, 1/6)
St. Louis Post Dispatch: Superbugs Threaten Pregnant Women And Their Babies
The patient is nine months pregnant and in good health. With the proper care, she has much to look forward to.But then, her labor becomes complicated and her doctor prepares to perform an emergency cesarean delivery. Suddenly, she’s facing a life-threatening event. Her odds of contracting a deadly infection are high, putting both herself and her child at risk. This may sound like a scenario from the distant past. But it actually may be a glimpse of our not-so-distant future. (Caline Mattar And Megan Foeller, 1/6)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.