Longer Looks: The Rural Medicaid Vote; Losing Laura; And South Carolina’s Infant Mortality Experiment
Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
Many Rural Citizens Vote Against Their Own Medicaid In State And Federal Elections
Most of Betty Rosengrant’s extended family needs Medicaid. They’re also mostly Republicans. Rosengrant says she knows Republicans have proposed cuts to the federal/state health care system, but that “people just vote the way their parents voted, and that’s Republican.” (Dave Lindorff, 11/4)
The Boston Globe Magazine:
This is the story of how my wife’s life was wasted by the actions of people whose job it is to save lives. It is the story of how our entire emergency-response system can completely fail us, from the moment we dial 911 and the satellite GPS “ping” of the cellphone can get our location wrong by hundreds of feet. It is the story of how cracks and flaws not just at Somerville Hospital, but throughout our health care system — communication errors, overburdened staffs, lack of fail-safes — can snowball into someone’s unimaginable death. And it is the story of how there will be no justice through our legal system for what happened to Laura, as public hospitals in Massachusetts, and throughout most of America, are largely protected by state laws against malpractice and negligence claims, leaving thousands who rely on such institutions little recourse when harmed or lied to. (Peter DeMarco, 11/5)
Sit In A Circle. Talk To Other Pregnant Women. Save Your Baby’s Life?
When [Amy] Crockett first started her job running a women’s clinic here in the mid-2000s, South Carolina was one of the most dangerous places for a baby to be born. It had the 49th worst infant mortality rate in the United States in 2005, doing better than only Mississippi. Rural counties had infant mortality rates similar to Third World countries. Crockett began running an experiment to try to fix this problem. (Sarah Kliff, 11/2)
Mental Health Providers Can’t Stop Mass Shootings
Every time America is terrorized by another episode of mass gun violence, gun lobbyists and their Republican allies swoop in to divert any action that could curb access to guns. Often, they attempt to pivot the conversation to an even more fraught problem: mental health. (Ankita Rao, 11/2)
Stacey Abrams's Plan For Georgia's Health-Care Crisis
The issues facing much of the Georgia electorate are fairly simple: The state is the fifth-poorest in the nation. Its median wages and minimum wages are both below the national average. Across all races, the poor are underserved, often lack insurance, and face remarkably high rates of mortality and morbidity from preventable diseases. (Vann Newkirk, 11/2)
The New Yorker:
Why Doctors Hate Their Computers
I’ve come to feel that a system that promised to increase my mastery over my work has, instead, increased my work’s mastery over me. I’m not the only one. A 2016 study found that physicians spent about two hours doing computer work for every hour spent face to face with a patient—whatever the brand of medical software. In the examination room, physicians devoted half of their patient time facing the screen to do electronic tasks. And these tasks were spilling over after hours. The University of Wisconsin found that the average workday for its family physicians had grown to eleven and a half hours. The result has been epidemic levels of burnout among clinicians. (Atul Gawande, 11/5)
The New York Times:
What If The Placebo Effect Isn’t A Trick?
The Chain of Office of the Dutch city of Leiden is a broad and colorful ceremonial necklace that, draped around the shoulders of Mayor Henri Lenferink, lends a magisterial air to official proceedings in this ancient university town. But whatever gravitas it provided Lenferink as he welcomed a group of researchers to his city, he was quick to undercut it. “I am just a humble historian,” he told the 300 members of the Society for Interdisciplinary Placebo Studies who had gathered in Leiden’s ornate municipal concert hall, “so I don’t know anything about your topic.” He was being a little disingenuous. He knew enough about the topic that these psychologists and neuroscientists and physicians and anthropologists and philosophers had come to his city to talk about — the placebo effect, the phenomenon whereby suffering people get better from treatments that have no discernible reason to work — to call it “fake medicine,” and to add that it probably works because “people like to be cheated.” He took a beat. “But in the end, I believe that honesty will prevail.” (Gary Greenberg, 11/7)