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Viewpoints: The No Surprises Act Would Reduce Medical Debt; Medicare Expansion Long Overdue - Kaiser Health News

Editorial writers weigh in on these health care issues.

The Star Tribune: Americans Are Being Bankrupted By Medical Debt  American health care is too expensive. Exhibit A is a new study of Americans' medical debt published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That debt is twice as large as had previously been estimated — $140 billion in collections as of June 2020, compared with an earlier estimate of $81 billion. And it disproportionately affects the dozen states like Missouri that have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. (8/2)

Newsweek: Congress Must Expand Medicare I've worked my whole life—and for much of my working life I had health insurance. I paid my ever-increasing monthly premiums and rarely needed medical care. (I'm convinced that Aetna made a small fortune off me.) But now at age 63, after 10 years of physically intensive labor, my body is starting to wear down. As a result of health insurance not being affordable as a small business owner and not yet being eligible for Medicare, I've had to go years without regular health screenings. In fact, I didn't realize that I had developed a chronic condition until I injured myself this spring and landed in the emergency room at Metro Health Hospital. During my visit I had an X-ray taken and the report stated that I have arthritis. (Diane Morgan, 8/2)

Modern Healthcare: Together, Healthcare Organizations And Their Communities Can Do Great Things  “I can do things you cannot; you can do things I cannot. Together we can do great things.” —Mother Teresa. Innovative partnerships were redefining healthcare the same year Modern Healthcare’s magazine came on the scene in 1976, and these collaborations remain at the core to how hospitals and health systems care for patients and communities. These partnerships happen at the local, regional and national level, and will continue to transform the future of healthcare. (Rick Pollack, 8/2)

USA Today: All Health Care Should Be As Easy As Hospice, Even If You're Not Dying Imagine spending decades trying to unlock doors to secure your loved ones’ survival. You pull at frozen doorknobs, bang on doors, camp out waiting for them to open, try charming the bouncer to let you in. Finding the door often requires navigating a maze of dim corridors. You hit detours and dead ends. Sometimes you succeed and pass through. But inevitably, you encounter another locked door. (Stacy Torres, 8/3)

Modern Healthcare: Who Can Fix The U.S. Healthcare System? It Will Take All Of Us From my days in solo practice in rural Alabama, to organized medicine, to U.S. Surgeon General, to not-for-profit and corporate boardrooms, I have been working to improve the health of our patients and our communities. Throughout my career, I have discovered that trying to move our healthcare system from one focused on sickness and disease to one based on wellness and prevention is easier said than done. Following are few of my observations over the years. (Dr. Regina Benjamin, 8/2)

The Washington Post: The United States Still Doesn’t Mandate Paid Sick Days. That’s Sick I’m sick. For the past week, I’ve suffered from the very stuffy nose and barking cough that are the markers of this year’s summer cold that’s not covid. My doctor says I’ve got bronchitis. I don’t tell you this so you feel sorry for me — though, yes, I will accept all thoughts and prayers, not to mention pints of fresh chicken and vegetable soup — but because it got me thinking about the United States and its pathetically inadequate laws about sick days. (Helaine Olen, 8/2)

Modern Healthcare: The Power Of Partnership—Imagining A New Future For Public Health The past decade marked impressive advancements during the digital era of American medicine. Hospitals across the country digitized their medical records, innovators developed tools for care coordination like telehealth and remote patient monitoring, and patients and consumers increasingly turned to the internet and mobile devices to better engage with their physicians and take ownership of their health. (Dr. Karen DeSalvo, 8/2)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.