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Viewpoints: Health Care Costs Are About More Than Economics; Did The Danger Of Painkillers Go Unnoticed By The FDA?

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.

RealClear Health: Health Care Costs Aren’t Just About Economics
Reimbursement incentives are crucial in health care. The bottom line is, well, the bottom line. But one reason we still have haven’t got a tight handle on health care costs is that they are too often treated only as an issue of economics, rather than medicine. The limits of this approach are clear. Health care costs in the United States have been rising much faster than inflation for a long time. When Medicare was created in 1965, for example, the United States was spending about 6 percent of GOP on health care. Today the number is about 18 percent, or $3.4 trillion in 2016. (Marschall S. Runge, 10/9)

Columbus Dispatch: FDA Overlooked Danger Of Painkillers
For better or worse, the FDA is the primary gatekeeper separating dangerous drugs from the American public. It feel asleep at the wheel, and states like Ohio are facing the consequences. (J.D. Vance, 10/11)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: GOP Is Failing Children Of All Ages On Health Care
In their abortive last-ditch effort to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (and gut Medicaid in the process) before the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year, Senate Republicans didn’t get around to reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program. For 20 years, CHIP has enjoyed broad bipartisan support, and still might if GOP lawmakers can stop turning every health care issue into an argument about Obamacare. (10/9)

San Jose Mercury News: Renew California Kids’ Health Insurance Funding
Congress needs to reauthorize CHIP for five years. It’s up to the Republican leaders who’ve been stalwart supporters of care for children to keep their party from using CHIP as a weapon in the war on Obamacare. (10/10)

The Des Moines Register: Will Congress Prevent Costs Of Another Las Vegas Shooting?
Congress has essentially unlimited power to impose regulations on firearms. But lawmakers do not want to act. So this country’s epidemic of gun deaths will continue. Considering that reality, Congress should at the very least ensure Americans have health insurance. (10/10)

JAMA Forum: Building Blocks For Addressing Social Determinants Of Health
Our health care system is waking up to the fact that the health of individuals and families does not depend solely on good coverage and good medical care; it also requires us to address social and other factors that are major contributors to a person’s physical and mental well-being. That’s why more and more clinics are screening incoming patients for challenges in areas ranging from housing conditions, nutrition, access to transportation, and even their ability to afford utilities. It’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics urged its members not only to screen all patients for food insecurity but to refer parents to appropriate agencies. It is also why some hospitals, to reduce readmissions, have brought organizations like Health Leads into their discharge planning to connect patients with social services. (Stuart Butler, 10/5)

The Wichita Eagle: The Interminable Race Against Depression
I know that there are many places and people out there, right now, who are trying their best to reach out and help those who are struggling with depression. And it seems simple enough to those on the outside. Reach out, get help and you can beat depression. But like I said, depression is relentless and doesn’t give up so easily. Just like with alcoholism and drug addiction. Depression keeps pounding at you, whispering in your ear, trying to bring you back in to its fold. So even those people who are fortunate enough to have all the resources in the world can still end up bowing down to its will. (Becky Galloway, 10/10)

Boston Globe: If You Can Pay For Aspirin, You Can Pay For Birth Control
The White House is right to end the burden on religious objectors. But it is the birth-control mandate itself that should be scrapped. Contraception is legal, cheap, and available everywhere. Why are the feds meddling where they aren’t needed? (Jeff Jacoby, 10/10)

The Kansas City Star: Kansas Isn’t ‘The Religious Police’ In Vaccine Case
A Kansas couple trying to keep their 2-year-old grandson from being vaccinated sees themselves as fighting “the religious police.” Which makes it sound like they’re comparing the State of Kansas to Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, who until not that long ago went around beating Islamic dress code violators with canes. (Melinda Henneberger, 10/9)

Chicago Tribune: Finding Hope, Promise In The Wreckage Of The Cook County Soda Tax
Was it really so unreasonable for Cook County to try to add a “sin tax” to sugary drinks? I’m asking now that the hugely unpopular tax appears dead — Tuesday’s committee vote at the County Board presaged a full repeal Wednesday — and perspectives are less clouded by rage and indignation. (Eric Zorn, 10/10)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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