Opinion writers weigh in on these public health issues and others.
The New York Times: Don’t Forget Our Frontline Caregivers In The Opioid Epidemic
America’s opioid epidemic will go down in history alongside the Spanish flu, typhoid, polio and AIDS as one of our worst public health disasters. Between 1999 and 2017, almost 218,000 people in the United States died from overdoses connected to prescription opioids, and almost as many more died from overdoses connected to illicit opioids. Of the 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017, two-thirds of them were opioid-connected. Deaths continue at the rate of 130 a day. The impact on our health care system and our hospitals has been staggering. (John Kasich and E. Gordon Gee, 9/17)
The Wall Street Journal: Safe Or Deadly: College Students Debate Vaping
It’s past time to smoke out the hysteria surrounding e-cigarettes. The numbers don’t lie. While seven unfortunate deaths related to e-cigarettes have recently made the headlines, about 150,000 Americans died last year of lung cancer—with tobacco as the major culprit.To vape is to choose the much lesser of two evils. One randomized trial from the U.K. found that vaping was twice as effective as nicotine patches and gum at getting smokers to quit their habit successfully. Even if vaping is somewhat detrimental to lung health—mostly due to modified or illegal cartridges—we allow people to harm their bodies in all kinds of ways. That’s part of the American vision of freedom. (9/17)
St. Louis Post Dispatch: I’m A Gun Lover, But I Can No Longer Remain In The NRA
This decision is based more on the organization’s tactics than its mission. They seem to have decided to defend the Second Amendment solely through vilifying liberals. I wish I could count the number of fundraising phone calls I’ve received whose script started telling me whom to be afraid of, who I needed to fight. The names have changed over the years, but the fear-based marketing has remained amazingly consistent. (Jeremy Grojean, 9/17)
Lexington Herald Leader: Your Second Amendment Right To Own Guns Can’t Outweigh Our Safety
A recent poll by the PBS NewsHour, NPR and Marist reveals that most Americans support federal legislation requiring background checks (83%) and licenses (72%) to purchase guns and to ban both the purchase of high-capacity ammunition magazines (61%) and semi-automatic assault rifles (57%). Representative Andy Barr recently wrote in the Herald Leader that Republicans are being “falsely accused” of failing to curb gun violence in the U.S., citing some actual or proposed legislation “aimed at preventing violence.” Only one of his items (a ban on “bump stocks’) addresses gun restrictions and none focus on the actions favored overwhelmingly by both Democratic and Republican voters in these polls.So why are many politicians ignoring the wishes of their constituents? (Donald J. Mullineaux, 9/17)
The New York Times: What’s The Right Way To Reverse The Obesity Epidemic?
James Corden drew on his own experience with weight management and stigma over the weekend in a rebuttal to Bill Maher, who, confusing cruelty for wit, declared that “fat shaming doesn’t need to end, it needs to make a comeback.” Mr. Corden responded: “You’re working against your own cause. It’s proven that fat shaming only does one thing: It makes people feel ashamed.” (Spencer Bokat-Kindell, 9/17)
The New York Times: The Abortion Mysticism Of Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., has made his Christian piety a minor theme of his presidential campaign — quoting Proverbs on the debate stage to critique Republican opposition to a minimum-wage increase, attacking conservative evangelicals over their “porn star presidency” and un-biblical approach to refugees, urging his party to court religious voters and take religion more seriously. (Ross Douthat, 9/17)
Los Angeles Times: Why California Public University Students Should Have On-Campus Access To The ‘Abortion Pill’
When Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill last year that would have provided California’s public university students access to medication abortion — widely known as the “abortion pill”— at their on-campus student health centers, he justified it by saying most students lived within five to seven miles of an off-campus abortion provider. He saw the distance as not “unreasonable.” But this reasoning is an oversimplification of the barriers students face in trying to secure abortion services. I’m one of those students who had to travel to an abortion provider off campus, but I attended a private California university. About 500 students a month at the state’s public universities are forced to seek medication abortions off campus. (Jackie Castellanos, 9/18)
Kansas City Star: Missouri Should Scrap Statute Of Limitations For Clergy Abuse
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has referred the cases of a dozen former Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing minors to prosecutors after a year-long investigation. That potential for justice for any of those so long denied is appreciated, though it’s impossible to say how many of the dozen men will be charged, much less convicted. But charges can’t even be pursued against 46 other ex-clergy because the statute of limitations on the allegations against them has expired.That’s wrong, and it doesn’t have to be this way. (9/18)
San Francisco Chronicle: Newsom On Wrong Side Of Environmental Bill
Gov. Gavin Newsom has signaled that he will veto the most significant environmental protection bill to emerge from the California Legislature this past session: Senate Bill 1, a measure tailored to safeguard the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta from water grabs if, as expected, the Trump administration weakens the Endangered Species Act. The governor who fancies himself as a leader of the resistance to Trump administration policies that undermine this state’s laws and violate its values needs to reconsider his position on SB1. (9/16)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.