The Senate released its version of an ACA repeal bill. Among other things, the Better Care Reconciliation Act would repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund a year earlier than the House version, restructure Medicaid, finance tax cuts for the wealthy by cutting folks off Medicaid, cut federal funding from Planned Parenthood, slash employment in the healthcare industry, and cut funds for addressing the opioid crisis. Politico and the Washington Post covered PI’s joint statement with APHA, PHI and TFAH urging against the repeal of the Prevention and Public Health Fund and other destructive portions of the Affordable Care Act repeal bill.
Based on data collected through the 2015 American Community Survey, the Century Foundation projected likely impacts at the county level of repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with a bill like the American Health Care Act and Better Care Reconciliation Act.
A new study conducted by the CDC and the University of Texas covering 2012-2014 found that approximately 7,100 children are shot each year, with an average of 1,300 children dying each year. According to the Washington Post, “that works out to 19 children shot every single day in the course of a year — or 3.5 children killed by guns every single day.”
Last week, Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of all charges after he killed Philando Castile in a traffic stop, while Castile’s partner and her young daughter were also in the car. Over the weekend, police officers in Seattle killed a young black pregnant woman in her apartment, where her children were present. Charleena Lyles had a documented history of mental health issues, and a New York Times op-ed this week connected her death not only to recurrent issues of racial bias and brutality in policing but also to a society-wide failure to meet mental health needs.
Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS resigned last week in protest of the Trump administration’s indifference to HIV/AIDS. A joint letter published in Newsweek outlined their concerns: “While many members of the public are unaware of the significant impact that HIV/AIDS continues to have in many communities— or that only 40 percent of people living with HIV in the United States are able to access the life-saving medications that have been available for more than 20 years—it is not acceptable for the U.S. President to be unaware of these realities, to set up a government that deprioritizes fighting the epidemic and its causes, or to implement policies and support legislation that will reverse the gains made in recent years.”
Politico reports on an AHRQ report that finds women are now being affected by opioids as much as men. “The number of women being admitted to a hospital because of opioid or heroin abuse grew by 75 percent between 2005 and 2014. Hospitalizations for men increased by 55 percent over the same period. Women were hit hardest in West Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts, while the highest hospitalization rates for men were in Washington, New York and Maryland,” the article said.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he is not reopening regulation on the overhauled Nutrition Facts label, although compliance dates may be pushed back, Politico reports. “We are just using this time to develop additional guidance documents that we'll be issuing to help inform how people can comply," he said.
The Washington Post reports on a rise in opioid-related hospital visits in 2014—up 64% for inpatient care and 99% for ER care— compared to 2005. All told, hospitals faced 1.27 million patient visits for opioid-related problems in a single year.
Concerns about whether the American Health Care Act/Better Care Reconciliation Act will provide sufficient funding for efforts to curb opioid misuse and overdoses are causing rifts among Republican lawmakers, according to reports in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. At the center of the debate is funding for Medicaid. The bill is likely to bring significant cuts, both in terms of who gets covered and how much coverage is available for those who are eligible. Mediciad covers treatment for opioid misuse, including health care, medication, and counseling. In a Los Angeles Times article titled “Tens of thousands died due to an opioid addiction last year. With an Obamacare repeal, some fear the number will rise,” Noam N. Levey writes: “…in recent years, the safety-net program has emerged as one of the most important tools in the opioid crisis, as Obamacare funding allowed states to open Medicaid to poor, working-age adults, a population traditionally not eligible for coverage.” Some lawmakers contend that a plan to add extra funding dedicated to addressing opioid misuse will make up for the shortfall, but others argue the plan will fall short because it will fail to address related issues, STAT reports.
National Public Radio covered a new book, Supersizing Urban America, by Chin Jou, professor of American history at the University of Sydney. “Jou's book chronicles how policies put in place by the federal government actually made it easier for minorities to open fast-food franchises in their neighborhoods than grocery stores. Today the landscape of urban America reflects this history. There's a fast-food restaurant within walking distance in many low-income neighborhoods, but nary a green leafy vegetable in sight. ‘African-American consumption of fast food today is not a function of any longstanding preferences for fast food,’ Jou told NPR in an interview. She says that it's a consequence of ‘targeted relentless marketing,’ as well as historic developments like the Small Business Administration loan program and high unemployment rates among African-Americans.”
Noting the recent surge of lawsuits against opioid companies, Vox suggests that state and local officials are beginning to treat the drug manufacturers and marketers like Big Tobacco in decades past. Officials have filed lawsuits contending that the companies have underestimated opioids’ addictive properties and overestimated their effectiveness, and that they have continued to produce and distribute an oversupply the drugs when they should have been aware that a portion were making it to people who were misusing them. It remains to be seen if and when the lawsuits will result in any payouts and if so, if those payouts will successfully deter drug companies or be translated to any kind of significant public benefit.
The Guttmacher Institute released a new report on 10 common types of abortion restrictions, demonstrating how these policies run counter to the science-based claims anti-choice lawmakers make to support these bills