Opinion writers weigh in on these health issues and others.
Los Angeles Times: Trump Cuts Poverty Food Stipends Just Before Christmas
In a rare moment of bipartisanship, Congress rejected President Trump’s efforts on last year’s farm bill to impose new food stamp restrictions that would have cut benefits for more than a million needy people. So Trump decided to pursue the changes through executive action. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture finalized the first of three new regulatory changes to food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, just in time for the holidays. And boy, it is just as punitive and miserly as we feared. Bah, humbug! (12/9)
Stat: Cutting 700,000 Americans From SNAP Will Increase Health Costs
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is our nation’s first line of defense against food insecurity. It’s a lifeline that can provide enough food for all household members to lead healthy and active lives. As a fundamental component of America’s public health and economic infrastructure, SNAP helps sustain people when the economy goes into recession, disasters happen, life takes unforeseen turns, wages are too low, or work is hard to find. The research is clear: food insecurity and hunger are linked to negative health outcomes across the lifespan, like anemia, developmental delays, and suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents, and depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure in adults. This is why SNAP is important medicine. (Stephanie Ettinger De Cuba, Diana B. Cutts and Allison Bovell-Ammond, 12/6)
Stat: Aducanumab: The Beginning Of The End Of Alzheimer’s Disease?
In histories written about Alzheimer’s disease, 2019 will turn up as a landmark year, one in which researchers, clinicians, patients, and their families were whipsawed from crushing despair to giddy optimism. The year unfolded with a string of disappointments. One of the biggest came on March 21 when Boston-based Biogen announced it had pulled the plug on two clinical trials of aducanumab, a promising treatment for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Five months later, at the Clinical Trials in Alzheimer’s Disease (CtAD) conference on Thursday, December 5, I and other Alzheimer’s researchers gathered once again in California. This time the mood was giddy.( Jason Karlawish, 12/6)
The New York Times: We Beat Sleep Apnea. It Should Be Easier For You To Do It, Too.
Both of us have sleep apnea, and both of us receive treatment that makes a world of difference. It could make a big difference in your life, too. Sleep apnea is quite common, with estimates that it affects up to 17 percent of men 50 to 70, and 10 percent of men 30 to 49. But there’s a problem. In the American health system, we often make it hard for people to get care, and the same is true here. (Aaron E. Carroll and Austin Frakt, 12/9)
The Washington Post: A Better Way For The Trump Administration To End HIV/AIDS
The Trump administration announced last week a new program that will provide HIV prevention medications free of charge for uninsured patients. These pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) drugs are highly effective in preventing HIV, but with a cost of $ 2,000 a month, they are far too expensive for people without insurance. This new program will provide PrEP at no cost for up to 200,000 uninsured patients a year. Supporters have lauded this move as a major step toward President Trump’s plan to end HIV in the United States. Others have criticized it as not going nearly far enough: They would rather the government expedite generic drug production and lower the cost of PrEP. (Leana Wen, 12/8)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.