Opinion writers weigh in on these health care topics and others.
Los Angeles Times: Trump Comes To His Senses On Prescription Drug Imports
President Trump would prefer that you think he’s working tirelessly to protect Americans from soaring drug prices. His administration announced this week it wants to create a system that allows people to legally access lower-cost prescription meds from Canada. “For too long American patients have been paying exorbitantly high prices for prescription drugs that are made available to other countries at lower prices,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. (David Lazarus, 8/1)
Bloomberg: Congo’s Ebola Outbreak Is A U.S. National Security Threat
In 2014, the U.S. led the effort by governments to blunt the world’s biggest outbreak of Ebola, which took more than 11,000 lives in West Africa before it was declared over in mid-2016. Now, a smaller but more complex outbreak rages in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the U.S. response has been shaped by indifference and bureaucratic haggling. The consequences are potentially disastrous, and not just for those immediately at risk. (8/1)
The Hill: Fear And Distrust Are Fueling The Ebola Outbreak
Crossing the border on foot from Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo, it was immediately apparent that we were entering a place at war. War has been a part of the landscape of Eastern Congo for decades, and it is the home of the largest U.N. peacekeeping operation in the world. But at the border there were no guns or peacekeepers. This border was at war with an invisible but potentially even more deadly foe: Ebola. August marks the one-year milestone for this Ebola outbreak — and the end is not yet in sight. (Allyson Bear, 8/1)
Stat: Why The Term ‘Natural’ Is So Seductive — And Possibly Misleading
Several years ago, a friend asked two of us if an over-the-counter drug that promised to increase one’s lifespan actually had evidence to support this claim. We couldn’t find any research on the drug and suggested that our friend refrain from using it since it hadn’t been tested for safety. Her response: “But it’s natural, so it can’t hurt you.” We were dumbfounded by this statement. After all, substances like arsenic and botulinum toxins are natural — but they are also deadly poisons. After much discussion, we wondered if her belief was isolated or representative of a general belief. In other words, do people have a default belief that “natural” items are safer and better than non-natural or human-made items? (Barry Meier, Amanda Dillard and Courtney Lappas, 8/2)
Los Angeles Times: Homeless And Need To Find A Shelter Bed In Los Angeles? Good Luck
It turns out that a single homeless woman, without a child in tow, who is a victim of domestic violence and decides after 5 p.m. that she would like to stay in a shelter for the night is generally out of luck in the city of Los Angeles. Overnight emergency shelter beds are in dwindling supply.If Michelle had had a child with her, the 211 operator probably could have gotten her a motel room for the night with a county-funded voucher. But many shelters won’t take a victim of domestic violence, fearing that her abuser could find her and endanger the other shelter residents. (The locations of domestic violence shelters are kept confidential for this reason.) I understand that, but turning away a homeless person who might need to be off the street to avoid an abuser seems particularly cruel. (Carla Hall, 8/2)
The Wall Street Journal: The Fasting Cure Is No Fad
Fasting is one of the biggest weight-loss trends to arise in recent years. Endorsed by A-list celebrities and the subject of a spate of best-selling books, it was the eighth most-Googled diet in America in 2018. But fasting shouldn’t be dismissed as just another fad. At the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, I’ve employed what’s called intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating, to help patients with an array of chronic conditions. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatism and bowel diseases, as well as pain syndromes such as migraines and osteoarthritis. (Andreas Michalsen, 8/1)
San Francisco Chronicle: California Needs Master Plan For Aging
Newsom noted in his State of the State address in February that California’s over-65 population will nearly double to 8.6 million in the next decade. Recently, he issued an executive order to devise a plan that will help the aging population of the Golden State better enjoy its golden years.In charging a cabinet-level workgroup with developing a Master Plan for Aging by Oct. 1, 2020, Gov. Newsom is tackling a formidable, long-term challenge. (Jeannee Parker Martin, 8/1)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.