Politico reports that President Donald Trump’s crackdown on opioids is backfiring.
Hundreds of patients told the political news website they have been suddenly refused prescriptions for medications they relied on for years — sometimes just to get out of bed in the morning — and have been left to suffer untreated pain on top of withdrawal symptoms.
Many … described being tapered off narcotics too quickly or, worse, turned away by doctors and left to navigate on their own. Some said they coped by using medical marijuana or CBD oil, an extract from marijuana or hemp plants; others turned to illicit street drugs despite the fear of buying fentanyl-laced heroin linked to soaring overdose death numbers. A few … contemplated suicide.
Axios reports that President Donald Trump envies countries that execute drug dealers, tells confidants a softer approach to drug reform will never work and that America needs to teach its children they’ll die if they take drugs.
His administration is looking into triggering five-year mandatory minimum sentences for traffickers who deal as little as two grams of fentanyl. Currently, the threshold is forty grams.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be lethal in extremely small doses. Overdose deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids have increased sixfold since 2013, outstripping those from every other drug.
Health Insurance Sticking Point in German Coalition Talks
One of the sticking points in attempts to form another grand coalition government in Germany is the country’s mixed public-private health insurance system.
The Social Democrats campaigned on merging the two. Their argument is that the one in ten Germans with private insurance (mostly people with yearly incomes over €50,000) get better care: shorter waiting lists, more services. Read more
Democrats Should Campaign for Dutch-Style Health Reforms
The other day, I explained the reason Americans can’t get a European-style health care is not opposition from health insurers but the fears of 155 million Americans who currently get insurance through their employers. They worry that a single-payer system, like Britain’s, would mean higher taxes and lower-quality care.
Such fears — largely unfounded, but not entirely inaccurate; Britain’s National Health Service has a lot of problems — would undoubtedly be amplified by drug companies, health providers and insurance companies if the Democrats campaigned on “Medicare for all”.
So instead of having an abstract, and possibly pointless, debate about the merits of single-payer, why not see if its objectives can be met without eliminating private insurance? Read more