Viewpoints: Reopening Economy Will Help More Than A Stimulus Bill; $15 Minimum Wage Can Prevent Suicides
Opinion writers weigh in on these topics and others.
The Wall Street Journal:
Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Great Society Remake
President Biden is poised to put his signature to what is arguably the largest expansion of the welfare state since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. And if past is prologue, liberals are poised to take credit for any positive trend lines that follow implementation, regardless of whether credit is warranted.Even the Biden administration has come around to acknowledging that its Covid-19 relief package—the “most progressive piece of legislation in history,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki bragged the other day—has little to do directly with Covid. The Journal reports that only $50 billion, or 7% of the $1.9 trillion price tag, is directed at testing and contact tracing, and only $16 billion is earmarked for vaccine distribution. Most of the rest consists of state bailouts, student-debt relief and various income-redistribution schemes involving tax credits, health-insurance subsidies and unemployment benefits. (Jason L. Riley, 3/9)
The New York Times:
Raise The Minimum Wage To Prevent Suicide
Nearly every week for the past two years, I have gotten on the phone with a director of suicide prevention at a very large mental health system in the United States, and we review cases of suicides. For the dead, we go over their demographics, psychiatric diagnoses, how they died by suicide and all of their interactions with the mental health system, from clinic intakes to the last notes from their final therapy sessions. It is grueling and depressing research for a book I am writing on suicide. Some people’s files are filled with no-show appointments or drop-ins for medication refills. Others contain information from inpatient stays and crisis calls. (Jason Cherkis, 3/10)
The Washington Post:
Vaccine Hesitancy Is Not The Problem Among People Of Color. It’s Vaccine Access.
When the pandemic first exploded last year, it was common to hear that covid-19 would be a “great equalizer.” After all, no one had ever been exposed to the disease before, so everyone was vulnerable. We were all in it together. Within weeks, it became clear that far from being an equalizer, covid-19 instead preyed upon and exacerbated existing disparities in the United States — particularly along racial and ethnic lines, with Black people, Latinos, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders more than twice as likely as White people to die of the disease. (Karen Bass, Marc Morial and Cheryl Grills, 3/9)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
The Pandemic Broke Through Opioid Treatment Red Tape. Let’s Keep It That Way.
As fentanyl drives opioid overdose deaths ever higher in Philadelphia, the public health system needs as many tools as possible to fight back. Washington is able to offer long-term help, based on lessons learned from the pandemic, but it needs to act now. To help limit coronavirus spread, federal regulatory agencies made a special exception to let patients start buprenorphine—one of the best ways we have to treat opioid use disorder—after a first visit using telemedicine. The rules usually require an in-person visit. Now one of these agencies says that only Congress can extend this flexibility once the public health emergency is over. As regulatory experts, we disagree. While we welcome a legislative fix, our new report finds that the agencies can go it alone to extend this life-saving relief. (Bridget C.E. Dooling and Laura E. Stanley, 3/9)
Clubhouse Is Helping Medical Professionals Battle COVID
New audio-only social networking app Clubhouse is known for hosting billionaires like Elon Musk and Bill Gates in a not-so-formal setting—where 10 million users listen to wisdom, dating advice and heated debates on their iPhones. The app is now estimated to be worth $1 billion. Aside from Clubhouse making headlines, some medical professionals have found the app to be a lifeline during the pandemic. The authentic, trusting atmosphere created by real time audio has allowed Clubhouse rooms to be places of sanctuary and support for doctors to share everything from COVID treatment experience, coping skills for handling long working hours and even time-saving cooking tips. Clubhouse can be a blueprint for how frontline workers can use social media to increase their capacities and abilities, and a reminder of how important communication tools are in helping individuals and countries adapt to varying crises. (Shaz Memon, 3/9)
My Journey Through Fertility Treatments In The Pandemic
Finding out you can't have a child without fertility treatment is devastating enough. Trying over and over again to get pregnant is taxing -- emotionally and financially. But going through these motions during a pandemic is a surreal, disorienting and intensely lonely experience. There are so many unknowns. (Dalia Hatuqa, 3/9)
Disasters Leave For-Profit Dialysis Centers In The Dark. We Need A Plan To Protect Kidney Patients.
Just 50 years ago, the diagnosis of kidney failure was a death sentence. With the advent of dialysis, patients with kidney failure can live and have the opportunity to receive a kidney transplant. Dialysis treatments to remove excess fluid and waste from blood require a treatment session lasting three to four hours, usually in an outpatient facility, three times each week. In 1972, because of this life-saving procedure, Medicare began to support dialysis programs. Today, more than 800,000 patients in the United States have kidney failure and the vast majority, more than 70 percent, receive dialysis. The remainder live with a kidney transplant. A disproportionate number of minority patients have kidney failure, which affects Black and Hispanic persons at excess rates. Texas has a disproportionate share of the U.S. kidney failure population with 73,000 patients, 55,000 on dialysis and 18,000 having received kidney transplants. (Paul Klotman and Wolfgang Winkelmayer, 3/10)