Viewpoints: Air pollution causes heart attacks; Marijuana legalization will hurt drug company profits

Editorial writers examine these various public health topics.

The New York Times: Enough on climate change. Air pollution is killing us now.

During the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, doctors noticed a surprising silver lining: Americans were having fewer heart attacks. One likely reason, according to an analysis published last month by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, is that people were inhaling less air pollution. (Binyamin Appelbaum, 04/20)

Los Angeles Times: Big Pharma won’t be happy about marijuana cutting profits

Before we start talking about pot and why the federal ban should end, here are some numbers to consider. Seventy-two U.S. senators accepted pharmaceutical industry donations ahead of the 2020 election. That number was 302 for the House. Combined, that’s more than two-thirds of Congress. If this makes you sick, you might want to sit down for this: More than 2,400 state lawmakers across the country have cashed checks from drug lobbyists, including 82% of California state lawmakers, who has a deep blue legislature. That’s tied with 84% of lawmakers in Louisiana, a redder state than Mississippi, in case you’re tempted to see that as a partisan issue. (LZ Granderson, 04/20)

Kansas City Star: KS seniors with chronic illness need Biden’s Medicare plan

With a fixed budget, it is impossible for me to pay the monthly $3,000 for my multiple sclerosis medication. Some months, I am lucky to have financial assistance from health care associations. But when I don’t, I have to go without. It’s a choice that nearly cost me my sight — and it’s a choice I shouldn’t have to make. (Sharon Hendrix, 04/20)

Houston Chronicle: Our Schools’ Heroes Are Saving Mentally Ill Children in Texas. They need help.

Today, somewhere in Texas, a deeply depressed young adult may wait for hours to speak to a helpline volunteer. A sixth-grade student from suburban Houston may find herself anxious due to family troubles. Undoubtedly, there is a caring parent or family member, responding to a mental breakdown, who will be forced to navigate a maze of bureaucracy and understaffed facilities to find some semblance of care for a loved one. Some of us know the dire state of mental health care in Texas all too well, but for those who needed an education, Chronicle’s ongoing “In Crisis” series certainly provided. (4/20)

Columbus Dispatch: Rural and Underserved Communities Will Be Helped by Expansion of Bone Marrow Program

For nearly four decades, Congress has partnered with the National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match because it serves as a single point of access for patients with blood cancers and blood disorders who need a bone marrow transplant to find adult volunteer donors. As the home of the National Registry, our efforts have been remarkably successful, and now Congress can take another positive step forward to ensure we continue to expand our reach to historically underserved populations. (Dr. Jeffery Auletta, 04/19)

Nature: the future of cancer research

Cancer care has advanced at an impressive rate in recent years. New insights into the immunology and biology of tumors, combined with advances in artificial intelligence, nano-tools, genetic engineering and sequencing – to name a few – promise ever more powerful capabilities in the prevention, diagnosis and personalized treatment of cancer. How to exploit and take advantage of these advances? How can we make them work in different global contexts? In this issue, we present a Focus on the Future of Cancer Research, in which we take stock of progress and explore ways to deliver innovative, sustainable and patient-centred research and care. (4/19)

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