Viewpoints: Remove Police From Mental Health Care; Medicaid Expansion Leads To Earlier Cancer Screenings
Editorial writers weigh in on these public health topics.
We Need To Depolice Mental Illness Health Care—Now
On October 18, 2016, police officers shot and killed Deborah Danner, a woman with schizophrenia experiencing a mental health crisis, in her apartment. Ms. Danner was not alone in suffering this fate. Nearly 25 percent of all people killed by the police in America since 2015 have had mental illness, a total of almost 1,500 people. And they have been disproportionately Black, like Ms. Danner. But it's not only marginalized people of color with mental illness who are targeted by police. A dangerous policing mentality toward the mentally ill also routinely sabotages hospital treatment, even of the more privileged. It's why as a board-certified psychiatrist, I have come to believe that depolicing healthcare is essential for protecting all of us. (Carmen Black, 10/22)
Black Women Don't Get The Cancer Screenings We Need. Too Many Die.
I was a single mother just starting law school when I found the lump in my breast. The lump itself was scary enough, but my fear was magnified because I didn’t have health insurance. There was no way I could afford costly medical treatment. Nor could I afford the peace of mind of having the lump biopsied – there was a chance it was benign, but if it was malignant, I’d be labeled as having a preexisting condition. (Vangela M. Wade, 10/24)
Why Cancer Stigma For Asian Americans Is So Dangerous
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2017 that cancer is the leading cause of death among Asian or Pacific Islander Americans. Asian Americans have the lowest rate of cancer screening among all ethnic/racial groups in the country. It’s a complicated problem, with complicated cultural roots, like the shame and fear that stems from thousand-year-old East Asian traditional beliefs. Some believe that illness results from karma or bad choices. And Chinese Americans may be especially vulnerable to cancer self-stigma, according to research published through the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer and the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2019. (Yvonne Liu, 10/23)
Biden's Goal To End Cancer Undermined By His Own Administration
While the pandemic seemingly has been the health crisis receiving the most attention for nearly two years, other generational health care challenges remain — including, of course, cancer, a disease that in one way or another has impacted the lives of nearly all Americans. That’s why the recent announcement by the Biden administration proposing cuts to cancer therapy treatments came as a shock to many. (Mario H. Lopez, 10/25)
The Washington Post:
The Special Torment Of Mysterious Chronic Illness
It is bad enough to be sick, but worse still to stay that way for months and years on end. And some of the worst agony is reserved for the people with mystery ailments — or those who believe themselves to be suffering from a disease such as chronic Lyme, which most doctors doubt exists. (Megan McArdle, 10/25)
The Boston Globe:
Let Medicare Negotiate Lower Drug Prices
America is at a crossroads when it comes to paying for prescription drugs. Down one path, pharmaceutical companies will continue hiking drug prices much faster than wages grow for typical Americans. They’ll continue launching headline-grabbing drugs at outrageous list prices, even when there are questions about whether those drugs truly work. In this scenario, the result of drug companies’ unchecked power could be that many more Americans will borrow for life-saving treatments the way they borrow for homes and educations. Taking out a mortgage for survival is a grim prospect. (Ron Wyden, 10/25)