Opinion writers tackle these and other health issues.
The Washington Post: The Supreme Court Saves Republicans From Themselves
The latest Republican legal assault on the Affordable Care Act has gone through a strange inversion as it passes through the courts: Democrats are eager for it to be decided, and Republicans want to delay it indefinitely, lest they actually succeed in having the ACA struck down. (Paul Waldman, 1/21)
The New York Times: I’ll Never Be Ashamed Of My Abortion
I am medium-brown-skinned — neither rich dark chocolate nor creamy cafe au lait. I am a B cup and have, for a black girl, a barely there butt. I have flat feet and oily skin. And like so many American women of reproductive age, I’ve had an abortion. I, and I alone, made the decision to terminate a pregnancy more than a decade ago so that I could be the best mother I could be to the two children I already had. (Ylonda Gault, 1/22)
The Wall Street Journal: Waiting For A Moderate Democrat On Abortion
Hundreds of thousands of Americans will gather in Washington Friday for the 47th annual March for Life. Those who march come together to stand against abortion, the most significant human-rights abuse of the modern era. This cause unites people across party, color and faith. Yet many politicians throughout the U.S. are surprisingly out of step with what a majority of Americans—and in many cases a majority of Democrats—believe about abortion. (Carl Anderson, 1/21)
The Inquirer: As Roe V. Wade Anniversary Approaches, Reproductive Rights Continue To Be Challenged
As we mark the 47th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22, we are facing a critically important juncture in the fight to protect sexual and reproductive health and rights. As we look back on the escalation of attacks on abortion rights in 2019, we recognize that the promise of Roe v. Wade has never been fully realized by all. Unabated neglect of the health and rights of marginalized communities has continued to place access to reproductive health care out of reach for many. Looking ahead, we must diligently work to ensure the right to abortion. (Dayle Steinberg, 1/20)
USA Today: Roe V. Wade Anniversary: Strategy To Abolish Abortion Needs To Change
Most state legislatures convened this month and, as states react to the abortion policies passed in 2019, more bills expanding or eliminating protections for abortion will likely be filed across the country. The most extreme will be bills likely patterned after New York’s Reproductive Health Act, abolishing legal protections for virtually all viable unborn children — children who could be safely delivered and placed with adoptive families instead of aborted by mothers who reject them. (Teresa S. Collett, 1/21)
Cleveland Plain Dealer: There’s No Need To Be Angry At Poor People Getting Free Health Care
Because making poor people work for health care isn’t going to make health care any more affordable for people who are already getting insurance from their employers. There’s no reason, then, for people who are struggling with the high costs of employer-subsidized health insurance to make people on Medicaid their enemies. Jarvis DeBerry, 1/21)
The New York Times: Are My Friends’ Deaths Their Fault Or Ours?
When my wife and I wrote about my old schoolmates who had died from “deaths of despair,” the reaction was sometimes ugly. “They killed themselves,” scoffed Jonathan from St. Louis, Mo., in the reader comments. “It was self-inflicted.” Ajax in Georgia was even harsher: “Natural selection weeding out those less fit for survival.” (Nicholas Kristof, 1/18)
Los Angeles Times: Homeless Service Center In Old L.A. Hospital Just Might Happen
Sometimes the wheels grind slowly in the halls of power, but L.A. County supervisors approved a plan Tuesday afternoon to waste no time preparing a bid to buy St. Vincent Medical Center and turn it into a homeless services center. Supervisor Hilda Solis, citing the county’s growing crisis — on the same day the latest homeless count was set to begin — introduced a motion calling on the county to enter the bidding process once the hospital clears bankruptcy court proceedings. And the groundwork was already being laid by Sachi Hamai, the county’s chief executive officer. (Steve Lopez, 1/21)
The Washington Post: Don’t Expect A Trump-California Alliance To Fix The State’s Homelessness Problem
Who thought it possible? After months of blasting California Democratic officials for their failure to address the state’s “disgusting” homelessness crisis, President Trump seems to have had a sudden change of heart. He’s now reportedly looking to cooperate with an unlikely bedfellow — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) — to strike a deal that would send federal dollars and workers to support the city’s efforts to clean up the streets. (Bill Whalen, 1/20)
The Hill: VA Leader Must Demonstrate Commitment To Ending Harassment
Last week, news outlets reported Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie sent a letter to Rep. Mark Takano (D. Calif.), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, with an update on the department’s response to staffer Andrea Goldstein’s allegation of being sexually assaulted at the D.C. VA Medical Center. Wilkie wrote that the matter has been closed with no charges filed. The letter stated that “VA is a safe place for all Veterans to enter and receive care and services” and further called Ms. Goldstein’s claims “unsubstantiated.” (Kayla Williams, 1/21)
The Washington Post: School Nutrition Was Improving. Now The Trump Administration Is Set To Undo It.
The Agriculture Department last year released results of a comprehensive study of school nutrition programs to gauge the impact of new, strict standards implemented in 2010 by the Obama administration. The news was all good. The nutritional quality of school-provided breakfasts and lunches had improved significantly, schools that had the healthiest meals had the greatest rates of student participation and — contrary to worries about more students dumping and not eating the food — “plate waste” was about the same as before the law went into effect. (1/21)
The Washington Post: How Ayanna Pressley’s Baldness Has Expanded The Definition Of Black Beauty
Black women’s hair has always been political. States across the country are finally passing legislation to prevent employers from discriminating against black women who wear natural hairstyles. Black beauty queens around the world are wearing their unprocessed curls on the competition stage. Ayanna Pressley, the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts, proudly wore Senegalese twists as she took the oath of office. Pressley and millions of women around the world continue to show the diversity and breadth of black beauty, setting examples for many young black girls. (Nana Efua Mumford, 1/21)
Boston Globe: From Lab To Clinic: Hope For Those Suffering From Depression
As other areas in medicine move rapidly forward with findings in their fields — for instance, targeted cancer therapies are extending the lives of oncology patients — psychiatry lags decades behind in providing new answers. The options we give a patient today are largely the same ones we offered a patient 30 years ago. (Donna Jackson Nakazawa, 1/21)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.