The Department of Housing and Urban Development charged Facebook with violating the Fair Housing Act for allowing advertisers on their platform screen viewers based on race, sex, religion, age, family status, disability, and neighborhood. CityLab reports that “a toggle button that excludes men or women from seeing an ad facilitates potential housing discrimination at an enormous scale. The charges even describe a mapping tool that allows advertisers to block people from seeing the ad by drawing a red line around those areas, an iteration of the historic and illegal practice of redlining updated for the social-media age.”
A New York Times op-ed responds to the release of a new drug to treat postpartum depression and argues that “if we really want to tackle postpartum depression, we need more than a drug… Research has shown that postpartum depression is more common in countries with high income inequality, high rates of maternal and infant mortality, and a work-life balance skewed toward work. (Hello, America.) The clinical definition of postpartum depression is a “medical complication of childbirth,” but this doesn’t take into account women’s emotional lives, and the fact that the way our culture treats some new mothers amounts to abuse. Pregnant women are often pickled in horror stories about birth, then subjected to unnecessarily intrusive care. Many suffer pelvic trauma; one in three wind up with major abdominal surgery. Then they are sent home with a newborn, typically without support. According to 2015 data, a quarter of women return to work in two weeks. Everyone says that “breast is best,” but new mothers get a decent place to pump at work only if they’re lucky. Most won’t see their doctor again for six weeks. No wonder depression is so common.”
Two survivors of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have died by suicide in recent weeks, as Parkland looks at how to address trauma. At Vox, one student writes, “My generation is the generation of mass shootings. We all grew up with regular active shooter drills in our classrooms. The unluckiest of us experienced real violence firsthand. Yet a deeper understanding of mental health lacks precedence in the national conversation. When the shock wears off and the news cameras leave, we can’t abandon the survivors. If we do, we risk more tragedies… Two weeks after the shooting occurred, students and teachers were expected to return to the campus and the crime scene. The mental health professionals made available were largely inaccessible and insufficient for the more than 3,000 students and staff navigating their trauma and grief. In the following months, my graduating class walked across the stage without any information or resources now that we were in the real world. There was no plan for us.”
On Monday, the Department of Justice issued a letter to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that the ruling of a Texas district court judge invalidating the Affordable Care Act as a whole should be upheld. This reverses the previous position by the Administration that only certain elements of the ACA should be struck down under the Texas ruling. The Washington Post analyzes the implications of this move for the administration’s stated public health priorities, including addressing the opioid epidemic: “A decision overturning the ACA would endanger the agency’s anti-opioids effort by leaving around 25 million Americans without health coverage and removing the law’s requirements for insurers to cover substance abuse services as part of 10 essential health benefits.”
Purdue Pharma, which manufactures OxyContin, and the Sackler family will pay $270 million to the state of Oklahoma to settle a lawsuit over Purdue’s role in the opioid crisis. Other opioid manufacturers have yet to settle with Oklahoma, and other litigation targeting Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies is moving forward. The settlement will fund a new research and treatment center at Oklahoma State University, and flow to city budgets, medication-assisted treatment, and legal fees.
A federal judge blocked Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky. The judge had previously ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to “re-evaluate the impact of Kentucky’s work requirement in a ruling last June, saying it had not adequately considered whether it “would in fact help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid.” In the first of his new decisions, he found the approval of Arkansas’s work rule by Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, was “arbitrary and capricious” for a similar reason. Mr. Azar had failed, the judge wrote, to “consider adequately” the impact of Arkansas’s plan on Medicaid coverage.