March 30, 2015 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Health Care

Michigan Democrat May Join With GOP on Health Law Tweaks

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. 

Congress: Honor Veterans by Acting Now | Commentary

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.

'Organic' Label Rules Attacked by Watchdog Groups

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.

Needed: U.S. Quarantine Policy Based on Facts Not Fear

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.

The Case for Foreign Aid: There Is No 'Them' Only 'Us' | Commentary

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.

A Clear Opportunity for America's Children | Commentary

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.

Congress, FDA Must Put Patient Safety First in Biosimilar Approval Process | Commentary

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.

Congress Has Thin Legislative Record on Combating Disease Outbreaks

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.

For Low-Income Children, Findings Reveal CHIP to Be a Vital Resource | Commentary

Between 1997 and 2012, uninsured rates among low-income children fell from 25 percent to 13 percent despite recession conditions that separated many families from employer-sponsored coverage and left them with fewer resources to purchase coverage on their own. Our findings attribute this persistent decline to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, whose coverage rates among children increased from 41 percent to 63 percent over the same 15-year period.

Preparedness Issues Linger as Ebola Worries Intensify | Commentary

With each passing day, unfortunately, comes more and more uncomfortable, gloomy, even downright terrifying news about Ebola, which the Boston Globe recent exclaimed in a headline as “the next great American panic.”

It's Time for Congress to Make Integrated Care Central to the Nation's Patient Experience | Commentary

The primary objective of our health care system is to ensure that quality health care is readily accessible for patients. However, as health care becomes increasingly entangled in a web of networks, insurers, and providers, the patient’s best interest can get lost.

Medicare Needs to Step Up, Ensure Patient Access to Home Dialysis Treatment | Commentary

As people whose lives have been touched by kidney disease, we are committed to making sure kidney patients have the chance to live a normal life on dialysis, something we believe wholeheartedly is made possible through home hemodialysis. With the support of members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, we have made some good progress — but there is more work to be done.

There Is Bipartisan Opposition to CMS Proposed Cuts to Radiation Therapy | Commentary

For those of us who have never personally been affected by cancer, it can seem a surreal and distant concept; something that happens only to someone else’s family. Until it reaches into your own life, cancer is just a word — though one seemingly laden with emotion. It is a struggle we watch from afar, a battle we don’t quite grasp. As we grow older, we start to understand the disease. As loved ones are diagnosed — young and old and without discrimination — we are forced to learn. Even among fear and sadness, we become deliverers of optimism because it is the only thing we can give to those in need.

New Insurance Exchanges Fail to Protect Colon Cancer Patients | Commentary

Colon cancer will claim more than 50,000 American lives this year. Affecting men and women almost equally, 1 in 20 people will be diagnosed at some point in their lives.

Ebola Crisis Creates Sense of Urgency to Restore NIH Funding Now | Commentary

The first case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the U.S. While this was anticipated and experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, assure us it will not lead to an outbreak here, it is concerning. The Ebola virus has taken the lives of more than 3,000 people in West Africa and the death toll continues to mount, breaking apart families and raising fears throughout the world of a devastating epidemic. Despite attempts to contain the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now predicting between 550,000 and 1.4 million cases by early 2015. And that’s just in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Veterans' Needs Must Come First | Commentary

Oct. 1 marks an anniversary many of us prefer to forget — the start of the 16 day partial government shutdown of 2013. Among the disruptions caused by the shutdown, work stopped on more than 250,000 veterans’ disability claims awaiting appeals, burials at national cemeteries were scaled back and vital medical and prosthetic research projects were threatened. Had it continued a couple weeks longer, even veterans’ disability compensation checks might have stopped.

Time to Let the Sunshine In | Commentary

Starting September 30, AARP members and consumers of all ages will be able to get a better idea of what may be driving their health care provider’s decisions thanks to the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, or Sunshine Act. The Sunshine Act requires drug and medical device manufacturers to publicly report virtually all payments, gifts, and other services provided to health care providers and teaching hospitals every year.

Electronic Health Care Program Threatens More Efficient Setting of Care | Commentary

Recently at National Health IT Week, health care experts gathered to emphasize the importance of improving the quality of health care delivery and strengthening the interaction between patients and healthcare providers. For good reason, adoption of Electronic Health Records is largely lauded as a necessary, even overdue step to improve efficiency and ultimately the quality of patient care.

Zohydro ER Approval Still Under Debate in Congress

The powerful painkiller Zohydro ER has been a lightning rod in the prescription drug abuse debate. Amid a backdrop of steadily increasing opioid abuse rates, the Food and Drug Administration cleared Zohydro for the market last fall, against its advisory board’s recommendation. The drug is the first of its kind.

New DEA Rules Aim to Balance Risks, Benefits of Prescription Painkillers

Prescription painkillers have been objects of increasing concern in recent years, blamed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a national epidemic of drug abuse. But starting next month, it will be more difficult to access certain pain medicines — thanks to a rule being implemented by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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