“What health?” On KHN: (another) A very sad week

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This week’s mass shooting of elementary school students in Texas (just 10 days after a racially motivated mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York) has rekindled the gun debate in Washington, DC, and across the country. But political differences over guns and their proper role in American society are as unresolved as ever.

Oklahoma, meanwhile, is becoming the first state to try to ban all abortions as the nation awaits a Supreme Court ruling in a case it is expected to use to overturn the landmark. Rowe vs. Wade answer.

And on Capitol Hill, lawmakers have criticized the FDA for tackling infant food shortages, rekindling a debate over whether food should be regulated by a separate agency.

Panelists this week include Julie Rovner of KHN, Joan Kennen of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politics, Anna Edni of Bloomberg News and Rachana Pradhan of KHN.

Excerpts from this week’s episode include:

  • Although much of the nation is riveted by the May 24 shooting in Uwalde, Texas, thousands of Americans are killed each year in violence with weapons that do not make headlines. More than half of these deaths are suicides, and many others are the result of isolated shootings.
  • Despite the epidemic of gun violence, gun control in the United States has declined over the past few decades. Not only has the federal ban on assault weapons expired, but many states have moved to make weapons easier to buy and own.
  • After the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado, an entire generation came of age with the prospect of violence hitting their schools. The oldest of these people send their own children to schools where shooting practice is a fact of life.
  • Texas officials say the shooting in Uwalde shows a need for more security in schools, but the addition of metal detectors and more security does not make children feel safe, especially in communities where they may have reason to fear the police.
  • During a congressional hearing this week, lawmakers criticized the FDA for its slow response to reports that Abbott’s infant plant in Michigan had extreme pollution problems and dealt with the consequences when the plant closed and formula became scarce. The problem shows difficulties in the FDA when trying to deal with the covid pandemic and was also without a permanent leader. The Biden administration was slow to nominate anyone to head the agency; Dr. Robert Calif took the helm earlier this year.
  • Infant formula issues have revived the debate over whether food safety should be covered by a new, separate agency, as the FDA is so preoccupied with drug and medical device issues.
  • A report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 5 adults who develop covid will develop long-term problems, which can include neurological problems and certain organ disorders. However, long-term covid research has left many questions unanswered, including whether vaccination reduces the number of cases and how long the problems last.
  • The large number of long-term covid cases identified in the report suggests that there may be a significant increase in the population of people in need of services for people with disabilities.
  • While the country awaits a Supreme Court ruling on the future of access to abortion services guaranteed by its 1973. Rowe vs. Wade decision, states continue to adopt restrictive laws. The governor of Oklahoma this week signed a law banning abortions from the moment of fertilization. Some companies have pledged to help workers travel for abortion services, but this may run counter to state efforts. Texas lawmakers say they want to stop businesses from providing this benefit.

Also this week, Rovner interviewed Dr. Richard Barron, president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine. Baron co-authored a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine on how the medical community should deal with doctors who spread medical misinformation on social media.

In addition, for extra credit, panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories for the week, which they think you should also read:

Julie Rovner: The Strangerville Podcast “Episode 203: Jacob” by Jessica and Justin Van Wayne

Joan Kennen: NBC News Podcast “Needle In / Tiffany Dover Is Dead *” by Brandy Zadrozny

Anna Edney: “The Conspiracy to Maintain Open Meat Plants during COVID-19” by ProPublica, by Michael Grabel

Rachana Pradhan: “We ignore the main culprit behind the mental health crisis of teenagers” in The Washington Post, by Heather Turjan and Julie Wright

Also discussed in the podcast this week:

“School Shooting Generation Grows” on Vox.com, by Marin Cogan

Stat “Viruses that were paused during Covid are back – and behaving in unexpected ways”, by Helen Branswell

“More than 1 in 5 adult Covid survivors in the United States may develop long-term Covid, according to a New York Times CDC study by Pam White

“Businesses that help employees have abortions could be the next goal of Texas lawmakers if Rowe v. Wade is repealed,” by Zack Depart of the Texas Tribune

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KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism on health issues. Along with policy analysis and surveys, KHN is one of the three main operational programs of KFF (Family Foundation Kaiser). KFF is a gifted non-profit organization that provides information on the nation’s health issues.

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KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism on health issues. Along with policy analysis and surveys, KHN is one of the three main operational programs of KFF (Family Foundation Kaiser). KFF is a gifted non-profit organization that provides information on the nation’s health issues.

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