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Viewpoints: The Costs Of Defective Medical Devices; Holding A Teenager Hostage

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

The Des Moines Register: When A Pacemaker Gets Recalled: Defective Heart Devices Cost Medicare A Fortune
If you own a vehicle, you’ve likely received a recall notice about a potentially defective part. You can schedule an appointment with a mechanic who will replace everything from an airbag to a sun visor at no cost to you. Nearly 900 vehicle recalls affected 51 million vehicles in 2015. Contrast this with a recall on a medical device implanted in your chest. You may not be notified of a problem. The medical costs associated with replacing it are not covered by the manufacturer. And you’ll need to do more than spend a half hour sipping coffee in a car dealership waiting room. (10/23)

The Washington Post: The Government’s Grotesque Abuse Of Power Over A 17-Year-Old Seeking An Abortion
Under the directorship of E. Scott Lloyd, an antiabortion activist appointed by President Trump to lead the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, ORR began preventing federally funded shelters from “facilitat[ing]” access to abortion services unless Mr. Lloyd approved. Instead, shelters for undocumented minors may support only “pregnancy services and life-affirming options counseling.” Mr. Lloyd has personally reached out to several pregnant teenagers to counsel them against seeking abortions, reportedly viewing himself as a “foster father.” … Mr. Lloyd’s behavior toward J.D. is not just unconstitutional. It is also a grotesque abuse of government power over a vulnerable young woman far from her home. The government should not need a court order to do what is obviously right. (10/24)

The Washington Post: The Trump Administration Is Holding A Teenager Hostage Over Abortion
All the Trump administration/“Handmaid’s Tale” comparisons seemed overwrought. Then came J.D. She is a 17-year-old detained by federal authorities after illegally crossing the border in Texas without her parents, who she claims abused her. She is also pregnant — 15 weeks and counting — and wants an abortion. In fact, she’s been seeking one for nearly a month. (Ruth Marcus, 10/23)

Stat: As A Doctor, Did I Just Feed An Addiction? Or Ease A Man’s Pain?
Opioids — whether it’s Vicodin or oxycodone or many others — have transformed dental and other pain into a moral and clinical cage fight. This struggle is lost in the headlines that blame physicians for the opioid crisis. It ignores the on-the-ground experiences of many of us who strive to do the right thing when the “right thing” is the very thing in question. Will the opioid pills Sonny is asking for treat his pain, feed an addiction, or both? (Jay Baruch, 10/23)

The Washington Post: The Problem With Hospitalizing Opioid Addicts Against Their Will
Court-ordered opioid treatment, known as civil commitment, gives judges the authority to hospitalize people against their will. Commitment is not a criminal charge, only a decree that has the force of law, obliging a person to receive medical treatment. In Massachusetts, which has one of the highest rates of opioid deaths nationally, addiction-related civil commitments have doubled in the past decade, to more than 6,000 last year, largely in response to the opioid crisis. More than 30 states now have commitment laws for substance users on the books. But while policymakers and families might be desperate for tools to address the opioid crisis, we need to recognize that we don’t yet know know the impact of commitment laws. We need to carefully and empirically review these laws as we consider sequestering and treating more opioid users against their will. (Michael Stein and Paul Christopher, 10/23)

San Jose Mercury News: Opinion: Santa Clara County Can Do More For Mental Health
When we encounter someone eating out of a garbage can that believes they are on the planet Pluto, this is the person we must help, and not necessarily someone who claims trauma due to political events. Our county government has expanded to include programs and services that were never intended, taking away funds from core services such as mental health. (Pierluigi Oliverio, 10/23)

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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