Buyer's remorse over medical device tax

There appear to be a few glimmers of constructive activity in Washington, D.C. Last week, the Senate moved the ball forward on an issue that is extremely important to innovation and jobs in the United States. By passing an amendment to repeal the medical device tax by an overwhelming 79-20 votes, the Senate has done the right thing for patients and the U.S. economy.
The United States Senate has now joined a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives calling to repeal the 2.3 percent medical device excise tax that has already damaged the U.S. economy and claimed thousands of jobs.


Sequestration cuts threaten to undermine VAWA programs

The recent reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was an event to be celebrated, not just because it reaffirmed the importance of the act itself, but also because in the course of the media clamor, countless Americans heard of VAWA for the first time, and learned just how vital it is in the lives of American women.
Yet just as VAWA and other critical programs such as the federal Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) are transforming American communities’ responses to gender-based violence, sequestration is threatening to undo the advances we’ve made, as well as stopping any forward movement.


Congress, schizophrenia and Obama's proposals

Congress and the Obama administration have expressed great interest in the problems caused by individuals with untreated severe mental illnesses following the mass killings in Tucson, Aurora and Newtown. The fact that Jared Loughner, who had untreated schizophrenia, was specifically targeting Gabby Giffords as a member of Congress is a reminder that public figures are disproportionately targeted by untreated mentally ill individuals responding to their delusions and hallucinations.


Restricting drug patent settlements would result in protracted litigation

When it comes to the U.S. healthcare system, generic drugs stand out as a remarkable success story, generating tremendous cost savings for American consumers and the federal government, while improving the public health. Generic medicines have produced more than $1 trillion in healthcare savings over the past decade and now provide savings at an accelerated rate of more than $1 billion every other day.

At this rate, consumers will save nearly another $1 trillion over just the next five years by using generics. Very often, these savings result when the generic maker agrees to accept consideration to settle a patent infringement lawsuit brought by a brand company, ending litigation and getting the generic to market before the brand patent expires. Yet patent settlements, and their savings, are now at serious risk of restriction, to the detriment of patients across the country.


Millennial generation must play active role on HHS federal advisory committees

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act now fully underway, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a historically unprecedented ability to shape our health care system over the coming decades. This means that now, more than ever, it is critical to have citizen input and oversight on these reforms. The principal vehicles for this oversight — known as federal advisory committees, or FACs — are required by law to represent a broad cross-section of America, including but not limited to a diversity of gender, race, sexual orientation, profession, and physical able-ness. However, these FACs lack one key demographic in their membership: young people. Despite the long-term time horizon of reform measures and the fact that 27.9 percent of Americans age 19-25 still lacked health insurance as of 2011, this group that will be most affected by the implementation of health reform is also the one singularly underrepresented in the decision-making process.


US is unprepared to face another TB epidemic

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released new data showing that the number of people contracting tuberculosis in the U.S. has been declining for twenty years. Last year, 9,951 people in the U.S. became sick with TB, compared with 25,103 people in 1993.

This should be good news. Yet as a physician and advisor working to control TB for more than forty years, I’m more concerned than ever before about our ability to protect the public from this deadly airborne disease.


Repeal of 'ObamaCare" must remain a top priority

Passed under the guise of legislation that would provide better healthcare to more people, the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare has revealed itself as a gimmick designed to take away our individual liberties. As the Affordable Care Act approaches its third anniversary, it further proves itself to be unaffordable and ineffective. ObamaCare is already killing jobs, taking away our freedom of choice, and completely eroding the quality of healthcare in this nation.


Arbitrary soda ban does nothing to resolve obesity

Soda is a hot topic. The conversation is full of opinions and myths but not enough facts. The number one myth is that the obesity epidemic can be reversed if people stop drinking soda. This argument ignores the complexities of obesity by assuming – insisting – that there’s a silver bullet to this serious health issue.
Let’s clear it up. Calories from soda and other sweetened beverages like teas, fruit drinks, and sports drinks, are in decline. Calories in the average American diet from added sugar in soda has declined 39 percent since 2000. Sales of full-calorie soft drinks have declined 12.5 percent from 1999 to 2010. If calories and consumption are down, and obesity is up, it makes no sense to focus on soda as a unique driver of obesity.


Stemming the tide of military suicide

Senior military leaders have been working tirelessly on the challenge of preventing suicide among the men and women who serve our country, from the secretary of Defense to commanding officers to sergeants. Yet the problem of military suicide continues to increase. So what can the military do to begin to reverse this trend and save lives?


Regular dust monitoring can help prevent silicosis - not more regulation

In his State of the Union speech President Obama talked about “smart savings” instead of “reckless cuts” and “smarter government” rather than “bigger government.”  For the last two years, a proposal has been under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that, if modified, could become an example for the administration of “smart regulation” as opposed to overregulation or ineffective regulation.