Different Takes: Lessons On Fighting Health Disparities, Getting People To Accept Vaccines, Testing, Masking
In addition to expressing views about pandemic-related issues related, editorial pages look at harmful health policies on display at immigration centers.
Comprehensive Race, Ethnicity Data Are Needed To Fight Covid-19
This year has challenged Americans to confront their understanding of society and to start rewriting the future of equity in many national institutions, including our health care system. As health care executives, we represent public health and medical experts fighting to eliminate health disparities. We are also members of one of the most vulnerable populations — Black Americans — who find themselves at a devastating confluence of risk for Covid-19 and for kidney disease, one of the chronic conditions that portends the worst Covid-19 outcomes. (Oliver T. Brooks and Lavarne A. Burton, 12/2)
The New York Times:
The Line For A Coronavirus Vaccine Is Forming
On Monday, Moderna became the second drugmaker, after Pfizer, to apply to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval of its coronavirus vaccine. If the companies get it, Americans could start receiving their first shots as early as next weekend — both vaccines require two, spaced several weeks apart — with enough doses for some 20 million people by January. (Spencer Bokat-Lindell, 12/1)
The Washington Post:
Yes, Coronavirus Testing Works. But Not In The Way You Might Expect.
The White House is planning to host large parties again for the holidays, only this time, officials are apparently not even bothering to test the guests in advance. Presumably the administration has finally, belatedly realized that testing alone won’t protect people from the virus. Unfortunately, officials still haven’t learned what they needed to, which is not “tests don’t work,” but “testing is a powerful tool with some major limitations.” If they’d absorbed that lesson, President Trump might have led on an issue where there’s still a whole lot of confusion. (Megan McArdle, 12/1)
I Jab Myself Daily To Stay Healthy, And People Can't Wear A Mask?
We've got this. That's what I thought when the Covid-19 pandemic first hit the US and experts were just asking Americans to wash our hands -- and then wear masks and avoid each other as best as we could. Those seemed like minor concessions to make for everyone's health and safety. Admittedly, I was looking at the pandemic through the eyes of someone with an incurable disease: Type 1 Diabetes. (Cristina Alesci, 12/1)
COVID-19 Is Causing Health Spending To Go Down
We have never seen a year in which health spending actually goes down. Now the seemingly impossible is happening, but the reason – COVID-19 – makes it both anomalous and more tragic than a cause for celebration. Year-to-date spending on health services is down about 2% from last year. Health spending for the calendar year may end up lower than it was in 2019. Adding spending for drugs, which are less affected by COVID-19 and have not fallen, total health spending is still down by about 0.5% from last year. At its low point in April when the pandemic first really hit, spending on health services had fallen an eye popping 32% on an annualized basis. (Drew Altman, 12/2)
The U.S. Must Support Innovation As Well As Access To Care For All
The deadly spread of Covid-19 around the world has highlighted the importance of innovation and cooperation between the various actors in the U.S. health care system. It has shown what can be achieved in an environment that rewards innovation and promotes scientific advances. But it has also exposed that the system does not work for everyone. (Giovanni Caforio, 12/1)
Los Angeles Times:
Why Are Some Churches So Determined To Hold Indoor Services?
California is arguing strenuously that places of worship have not been singled out for more restrictive rules. There are no limits on the number of people who can worship outdoors. Previously, indoor gatherings were restricted to 100 persons or 25% of building capacity, whichever was lower. But because coronavirus cases are spiking in most California counties, the governor has imposed an outdoor-only rule on large gatherings, including houses of worship. That’s an extreme measure for an extreme moment.The problem here is that worshippers are using the cover of the 1st Amendment to openly flout public health rules. Their behavior says, “I don’t care if I get infected, and I don’t care if you do, either.” This seems especially selfish on the part of the churchgoing folks who like to think they are their brother’s keeper. (Robin Abcarian, 12/1)
The New York Times:
The Supreme Court Was Right To Block Cuomo’s Religious Restrictions
The Supreme Court last week made a major move toward constitutional normalcy: It blocked enforcement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hyper-restrictive rules for in-person religious services in New York until the government provides logical justification for treating worship more harshly than seemingly comparable (or riskier) activities. Unfortunately, the substance of the decision has been drowned out by a single-minded focus on judicial politics — the first evidence that President Trump’s appointments to the court are making a difference. (Michael W. McConnell and Max Raskin, 12/1)
The New York Times:
Why Doesn't The U.S. Give Flu Vaccines To Migrant Children?
As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, Americans have another disease to worry about — the flu. Fortunately, there’s already a cheap, effective and readily available influenza vaccine. So why aren’t migrant children in U.S. detention facilities getting it when we know the flu can be deadly? Under the Trump administration, at least three children who were detained have died of the flu. (Mario Mendoza, 12/2)
Advice For The Next CMS Administrator's First 100 Days
This week four years ago, I was working for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, helping lead the national Medicaid program. The Affordable Care Act was hitting its stride. The number of uninsured people was at a historic low. The rate of people being readmitted to hospitals soon after being discharged was coming down. But costs were unsustainably rising, health care providers were burning out, and the opioid crisis was spiraling out of control. (Andrey Ostrovsky, 12/2)