Editorial writers weigh in on these health topics and others.
The Wall Street Journal: Modest Cuts Could Save Medicare From Disaster
Instead of debating how to expand Medicare coverage, politicians should focus on fixing the fatal financial flaws in the existing program that threaten to bankrupt the nation. Medicare spent 3.6% of gross domestic product in 2016, more than six times the share it consumed in 1967, the first full year it was implemented. The forecasts I have analyzed show that the share of GDP will rise to at least 9% within 75 years—and that’s the good-news scenario. Other plausible forecasts show that Medicare could spend more than twice that. (John F. Early, 6/10)
The Hill: We Don’t Need More Reasons To Reject Heritable Genome Modification
We don’t actually need more evidence to understand how irresponsible and dangerous He’s actions were. We also already have good reason to conclude that heritable genome modification is unacceptably risky and that medical justifications for it are tenuous. It would not treat any existing patient, and there are already safe and proven techniques, including embryo screening, to prevent passing on inheritable diseases. Editing eggs, sperm, or embryos produces changes that are passed down to all future generations. (This is distinct from somatic gene therapies, which are already being used to produce treatments for existing patients). (Katie Hasson, 6/10)
The Washington Post: Banning Fetal Tissue Research Like Mine Will Kill Kids. You Call That Pro-Life?
To say that the new government restrictions could be devastating to scientific research in the United States is an understatement. As a consequence of this policy, our ability to understand and fight many types of human disease may be significantly slowed or completely halted. For example, an ongoing study at the University of California at San Francisco using fetal tissue to generate mice with humanlike properties to improve HIV therapeutics was halted last week. I anticipate that our own research and the research of others studying the placenta will be similarly halted or delayed in the coming months. (Carolyn Coyne, 6/11)
The New York Times: When Will Congress Get Serious About The Suffering At The Border?
Last week, as American and Mexican officials haggled over how to address the migrant crisis at their countries’ shared border, United States Customs and Border Protection released its monthly migration statistics. They tell an alarming story.In May, 144,278 migrants were taken into custody. It was the third consecutive month in which apprehensions topped 100,000 and the highest one-month total in 13 years. Unequipped to deal with the crush, border facilities and migrant shelters are dangerously overcrowded, and the staff is overburdened. Dysfunction, disease and even death are a growing reality. (6/9)
Stat: Attacks On CDC’s Opioid Prescribing Guideline Erode Public Health
A public health document that counsels physicians to not overprescribe opioids would seem to be an unlikely candidate for attack. Yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain,” published in 2016, has attracted constant criticism since its inception. The attacks come from two directions: groups and physicians who receive money from opioid manufacturers and patients with chronic pain. (Ben Goodwin, Judy Butler and Adriane Fugh-Berman, 6/11)
The New York Times: Your Organs Might Not Make It To Patients In Need
In the video Op-Ed above, people on the organ wait list argue that it’s time for the government to step in, provide oversight and require transparency in the organ recovery system. Research shows that organ procurement organizations (O.P.O.s), responsible for recovering organs, are inefficient and lack accountability. While a record number of organs have been transplanted in the past five years, that is not evidence of a well-working system: These numbers are bloated by a recent increase in opioid-related deaths. (Tonya Ingram, Angelo Reid, Melissa Bein and Maddi Bertrand, 6/11)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.