Each week KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
Pacific Standard: A Tale Of Two Abortion Wars
While pro-life activists fight to rescue IVF embryos from the freezer, pregnant women in their third trimester with catastrophic fetal anomalies have nowhere to turn. ... Perhaps there is no other issue that touches on so many core dimensions of American society—legal, medical, scientific, theological, political, philosophical, biological, ethical, and ecological. What some on one side of the debate call reproductive justice, others call taking a life. What some call a person, others call a cluster of cells. This seemingly intractable split is part of the larger culture wars that have fractured the nation for decades, pitting traditionalist and progressive values against each other (Ananda Rose, 8/25).
Vox: An Interview With Healthcare.gov’s Chief Executive
Connecticut's health exchange had one of the most successful open enrollment seasons of any Obamacare marketplace this year ... It's no surprise then that the White House has now tapped AccessHealthCT executive director Kevin Counihan to run Healthcare.gov as chief executive. ... Counihan and I last spoke in June, to debrief about the first open enrollment season ... SK: How do you think the 2015 open enrollment will go? ... KC: It's going to be very complex. Not only are people going to be enrolling and going to be renewing, but there are going to have to be new determinations of what tax credits people qualify for. The education is going to be critical (Sarah Kliff, 8/26).
The Economist: Paternalism 2.0
American exceptionalism takes many forms. In the corporate world, one example is particularly odd: companies choose health insurance for their workers. Almost all firms with over 200 employees offer health coverage. Company-sponsored insurance is common for working-age Americans. In no other big and rich country is it the norm. But this form of paternalism is diminishing fast, accelerated by Barack Obama's health reform. ... Some employers are going further, asking workers to shop not only for health care, but for insurance. Workers can use their firm’s money to choose among plans from new private health exchanges. ... Eventually companies might relinquish their grip on health insurance completely (8/23).
San Jose Mercury News: Drugging Our Kids
They are wrenched from abusive homes, uprooted again and again, often with their life’s belongings stuffed into a trash bag. Abandoned and alone, they are among California’s most powerless children. But instead of providing a stable home and caring family, the state's foster care system gives them a pill. With alarming frequency, foster and health care providers are turning to a risky but convenient remedy to control the behavior of thousands of troubled kids: numbing them with psychiatric drugs that are untested on and often not approved for children. An investigation by this newspaper found that nearly 1 out of every 4 adolescents in California's foster care system is receiving these drugs — 3 times the rate for all adolescents nationwide (Karen De Sa).
The Boston Globe: Brave And Afraid, And Heading Down The Longest Road (Three-Part Series)
Mike was 33 years old. He'd been in and out of institutions for half his life, since he first got sick when he was 17. His diagnosis had changed over the years — it was schizophrenia, then bipolar disorder, then schizoaffective disorder — and his medications were in constant flux. Things stayed good for a while, then went bad again. Now Mike's medications seemed to be working, and he was saying that he wanted to stay on them — a view he didn't always take. But there had been so many days like this, so many hopeful new beginnings (Jenna Russell, 8/23-8/25).
The Atlantic: Healthcare In The Time of Grey's Anatomy
A 2005 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the majority of primetime TV viewers reported learning something new about a disease or other health issue over six months of viewing. About one-third of viewers took some kind of action after learning about a health issue on TV. Many medical shows have physicians consult for accuracy, and an article in the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics notes that starting with ER in the 90s, TV shows began using more detailed medical jargon to describe conditions and procedures. But there are still inconsistencies. Treatments for patients with seizures are sometimes downright dangerous, with doctors trying to hold patients down, or put things in their mouths (they could choke) (Julie Beck, 8/26).