Editorial writers weigh in on these public health topics.
Tampa Bay Times:
Florida Spurns Youth Survey
Without adequate justification, Florida officials have made a poorly timed decision to pull out of a wide-ranging national survey measuring health and behavior risks among the state’s teenagers. The survey polls high school students anonymously on topics including diet, smoking, alcohol use, sexual behavior and mental health. Florida officials say they’ll run their own survey instead, but there’s no logical case for reinventing the wheel to collect this vitally important data. (5/22)
Los Angeles Times:
The U.S. Needs Paid Sick Leave. Here’s How To Get It Right
Paid leave has emerged from the pandemic as a popular policy, frequently invoked as one route to move America forward from COVID-19 and its brutal impact on workforces nationwide. The U.S. is the only wealthy nation in the world that does not guarantee workers paid time off when they are sick. Instead, we have a patchwork of state and local paid sick leave laws that leave big gaps in coverage for workers. If the country passes a national sick leave policy to make existing state-by-state protections more universal, the hope is that workers will get necessary protections for their health, protecting their workplaces at the same time. (Shefali Milczarek-Desai, 5/24)
The Benefits Of Medicare Advantage Plans For Seniors
The latest federal review of Medicare is out and it says taxpayers are getting a raw deal. The review is from MedPAC— the congressionally chartered review commission that advises lawmakers on the state of Medicare. MedPAC’s mandarins have concluded the government is paying the private insurers who administer Medicare Advantage too much. The seniors flocking to Medicare Advantage would beg to differ. (Sally C. Pipes, 5/21)
How ‘This Is Us’ Should Be Remembered
Coming out as a queer teenager. Fostering a child to adopt. Grappling with transracial adoption. Examining how addiction and body image affect behavior. Coming to terms with dementia, depression, and anxiety. Taking stock of mental health across time. “This Is Us” showed all of this and more during six outrageously successful seasons. This NBC series explored the lives of three children — twins Kevin and Kate, whose parents adopted a third baby, Randall, whose father had abandoned him at a fire station. As avid fans, we debriefed weekly to discuss the twists, turns, and tears of the Pearson family saga, which wraps up on May 24. From our public health and ethnic studies perspectives, the series accomplished a rarity for a fictional TV show: It showed the ways the conditions in which people live, work, and play can influence their health. (Sarah MacCarthy and Jalondra A. Davis, 5/24)
Innovation Should Be Part Of All Health Care Professionals’ Training
When it comes to fostering innovation, most academic medical centers, medical schools, and health systems use the “pull” approach: they open technology transfer offices, hire staff, create industry relationships, and then wait for physicians, investigators, trainees (students, residents, and fellows), and other health care providers to initiate contact, submit new inventions, or navigate the typically opaque path of medical innovation and discovery. That approach works for only the most self-directed, enterprising innovators, largely ignoring the majority of an institution’s health care professionals. There’s a better way: pushing fundamental health innovation knowledge, skill sets, opportunities, and ground-level support to every health care professional who enters an institution’s doors. (Marc Succi, 5/23)
Health Systems Can And Must Do More To Address Health Disparities
The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on a social problem that has been part of the American landscape for generations: Healthcare continues to fail people of color. We hear that social determinants of health are the culprit for such disparities. Experts estimate that medical care accounts for under 20% of health outcomes. While that is true, a mantra has taken hold across the health care industry that the rest are social influences out of our control. (Eugene Woods and Kinnell Coltman, 5/23)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.