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The social and behavioral sciences seem to have been painted with a big bull’s-eye, given the escalating number of attacks against National Institutes of Health-supported research grants during the 2014 election season. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., invoked several during his stump speech in support of Republican candidates. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., cited a few more in his latest “Wastebook.” Readers interested in federal support for science might well wonder: Has the NIH, renowned worldwide for high-quality science, lost its collective mind by funding grants of questionable utility, as some Republicans claim? Or have these congressmen merely misunderstood what the social and behavioral sciences have to offer NIH’s health mission?
Nothing better reflects a mashup of neglected issues than the designation of November as national recognition month for Alzheimer’s Awareness, Family Caregivers, Home Care and Long-Term Care. No significant headway has been made on any of these fronts — from sorely underfunded research on this fatal neurodegenerative disease, to caregivers as the “second victim,” to the bankrupting financial health consequences for families and society.
In the impoverished areas of West Africa hit with Ebola, clean water is a luxury. When family and community members come in contact with an infected person, or the deceased, they risk deadly infection simply because they cannot adequately wash their hands.
By choosing Frank Pallone Jr. to be ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee for the 114th Congress, House Democrats tapped a lawmaker with a track record for helping some of the poorest Americans gain access to medical care.
The number of Ebola cases in the United States may have subsided, but the epidemic in Africa is far from over. And while it is clear the U.S. health care system ultimately rose to the challenge of caring for multiple Ebola patients, the grave mistakes made in Texas should serve as a wake-up call. We must ensure our health care system is better prepared to diagnose, treat and prevent the spread of Ebola and other diseases, which is why we are proposing specific legislation to advance this vital goal.
Political games are de rigueur in Washington and the Supreme Court is no exception. With its grant of review in King v. Burwell, the nation’s highest court has set the stage for yet another Affordable Care Act showdown.
Among some Washington policymakers and the media, there is an unfair bias against Caribbean medical schools. Caribbean schools specialize in training primary care physicians, who often return home to serve communities all across our nation. Many of these physicians are first turned away from medical schools in the United States because there are not sufficient openings to meet the high demand.
A well-founded sense of urgency gripped the recent Senate Appropriations Committee hearing about the proposed $6.2 billion emergency funding bill to combat the Ebola epidemic. Lives are being lost as Congress deliberates.
People who bought insurance through the marketplaces created last year by the new health care law and who were then offered medical coverage through an employer may feel as if they have more choices than ever before. But the arcane rules about federal subsidies for buying coverage could wind up costing them in the long run.
This year, 37 states will use healthcare.gov as the website to enroll people through the marketplaces created by the health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152). The rest have their own websites. The sign-up period goes from Nov. 15 until Feb. 15.
White House emergency spending requests are taking a back seat to a debate about whether to use a wrap-up fiscal 2015 spending package to block executive actions on immigration.
It takes a crisis to raise an issue.
Senate Republicans lacking a filibuster-proof majority next year will need to attract crossover votes from a shrinking pool of centrist Democrats if they are to have any hope of making legislative changes to the health care law.
Veterans Day should be more than a once-a-year occasion for elected officials to pay tribute to the brave Americans who sacrificed and suffered to keep our nation free. It should also be a day when they ask themselves whether our government is doing enough to uphold the sacred compact we make with our veterans — that in exchange for their service, a grateful nation will do everything possible to ease their burdens and create opportunities for them to lead high quality lives when they return.
The average consumer faces a bewildering array of food labels and symbols in the grocery store aisle. Some of these are sanctioned or overseen by government regulators. Some bear the mark of voluntary, industry-led initiatives. Some come from third-party groups. Others occupy a gray area, making marketing claims that sound good but sometimes mean very little.
The governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, announced last week that people who have traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the past 21 days, regardless of any known exposure to anyone infected with Ebola, are not welcome in the state, lest they be “confined to [their] room.” This follows poorly thought out quarantines issued by Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey. The shortsightedness of these policies is now getting the media attention it deserves. These policies, based on fear and politics and not science, reinforce the growing global perception that the U.S. approach to the Ebola crisis is full of contradiction and inconsistencies.
With the advent of the few Ebola cases that have emerged in the U.S., Americans and the global community can and should turn their attention to the plight of fragile health care infrastructure in poor countries. This outbreak is a stark reminder that our own health and prosperity is directly linked to that of the developing world. Foreign aid is a catalyst for building healthier families and communities — and in turn, helping our own.
As leaves turn and campaign season signals colorful change ahead, politicians at the local, state and national levels debate what works in education programs designed to improve academic outcomes for America’s children.
Breakthrough medicines known as biologics are already benefitting millions of people in the United States and around the world. With the prospect of an emerging category of biologic drugs known as biosimilars, however, concerns about patient safety and the efficacy of biosimilars have been raised. Congressional and Food and Drug Administration oversight is critical to make sure patients will not be at risk.
Although Congress has publicly fretted over the threat of infectious disease pandemics, there have been few legislative attempts in the last two decades to address such health emergencies, leaving lawmakers with a limited set of policy options as they try to contain the Ebola outbreak.