Each week, KHN’s Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
Medicaid Expansion’s Troubled Future
In 2012, the Supreme Court’s decision in the NFIB v. Sebelius case sent shockwaves through the health-policy community, with Chief Justice John Roberts’s majority opinion causing much teeth-gnashing all around. Among many conservatives, the preservation of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate constituted “one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in American history.” For supporters of the law, the decision to turn the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid into a state-optional program threatened to destabilize the entire project of expanding coverage to the poorest Americans. For them, Roberts’s decision was, to borrow a phrase from The Atlantic’s first editor James Russell Lowell, “a good umbrella but a poor roof.” (Vann R. Newkirk, 3/13)
National Geographic Magazine:
For Decades, National Geographic’s Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It
It is November 2, 1930, and National Geographic has sent a reporter and a photographer to cover a magnificent occasion: the crowning of Haile Selassie, King of Kings of Ethiopia, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah. There are trumpets, incense, priests, spear-wielding warriors. The story runs 14,000 words, with 83 images. If a ceremony in 1930 honoring a black man had taken place in America, instead of Ethiopia, you can pretty much guarantee there wouldn’t have been a story at all. Even worse, if Haile Selassie had lived in the United States, he would almost certainly have been denied entry to our lectures in segregated Washington, D.C., and he might not have been allowed to be a National Geographic member. According to Robert M. Poole, who wrote Explorers House: National Geographic and the World It Made, “African Americans were excluded from membership—at least in Washington—through the 1940s.” (Susan Goldberg, 3/13)
The New York Times Magazine:
Does Recovery Kill Great Writing?
The first time I felt it — the buzz — I was almost 13. I didn’t vomit or black out or even embarrass myself. I just loved it. I loved the crackle of Champagne, its hot pine needles down my throat. We were celebrating my brother’s college graduation, and I wore a long muslin dress that made me feel like a child, until I felt something else: initiated, aglow. The whole world stood accused: You never told me it felt this good. The first time I drank in secret, I was 15. My mom was out of town. My friends and I spread a blanket across the living-room hardwood and drank whatever we could find in the fridge, the chardonnay wedged between the orange juice and the mayonnaise. We were giddy from the sense of trespass. (Leslie Jamison, 3/13)
Researchers Are Restoring Kinesthesia In Prosthetics Patients
The bionic hand closes slowly. Its slender metal digits whirr as they jitter into a loose fist, as though they are wrapping around an invisible baton. “OK, closed,” says the test subject. The test subject is Amanda Kitts. In 2006, a Ford F350 hit her Mercedes sedan head-on. The collision rent the truck’s tire from its chassis and shoved the axle into Kitts’ car, where it nearly severed her arm. “It wasn’t completely off, but it was mincemeat,” she says. “There was no saving it. So the surgeons pretty much cut it straight off, like you would a piece of wood.” (Robbie Gonzalez, 3/14)
Female Doctors Make $105,000 Less Than Male Peers, Review Finds
Female doctors made about 28 percent less than their male peers last year, a gender wage gap that persisted across different medical specialties and different parts of the country, according to a survey of U.S. physicians. On average, male doctors made $380,866, while women made $275,311. While women were more likely to practice medicine in lower-paying specialties like primary care, even in more lucrative fields like orthopedic surgery or plastic surgery they were also paid substantially less than men, said Christopher Whaley, an assistant adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health who wrote the report for Doximity Inc. (Levingston, 3/14)
The New York Times:
Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Who Explored Babies’ Mental Growth, Dies At 99
Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, America’s most celebrated baby doctor since Benjamin Spock and the pediatrician who revolutionized our understanding of how children develop psychologically, died on Tuesday at his home in Barnstable, Mass., on Cape Cod. He was 99. His daughter Christina Brazelton confirmed the death. Before Dr. Brazelton began practicing medicine in the early 1950s, the conventional wisdom about babies and child rearing was unsparingly authoritarian. It was believed that infants could not feel pain. Parents were instructed to set strict schedules, demand obedience and refrain from kissing or cuddling. Babies were to be fed every four hours, by the clock, preferably from a bottle. When children were hospitalized, parents were allowed few if any visiting hours. (Sandra Blakeslee, 3/14)
Why Do Dieters Succeed Or Fail? The Answers Have Little To Do With Food.
As a longtime health reporter, I see new diet studies just about every week, and I’ve noticed a few patterns emerge from the data. In even the most rigorous scientific experiments, people tend to lose little weight on average. All diets, whether they’re low in fat or carbs, perform about equally miserably on average in the long term. (Julia Belluz, 3/13)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.