Different Takes: Other nations can learn from Japan’s Covid response; Congress must help the ACA do the most good

Opinion writers review covid topics as well as health issues.

Bloomberg: Japan’s low-key Covid campaign is more durable than China’s efforts

Shanghai is in lockdown and some of its residents are running out of food. As China battles its biggest Covid outbreak, the rhetoric swings between two extremes: the country must embrace Covid Zero and sporadic, disruptive lockdowns; or he must live with the Western-style virus – and endure all the ensuing deaths. For the Chinese authorities, the first may no longer work, but the second is unacceptable. But there is an alternative: China should look to what it can learn from its neighbor Japan. (Gearoid Reidy, 4/10)

Chicago Tribune: Are you done with COVID-19? Alas, COVID-19 is not done with us yet.

In recent days, Matthew Broderick has been infected with COVID-19. Just like Sarah Jessica Parker. And Daniel Craig. These star names all appear on Broadway shows right now and their cases are enlightening not just because of their stardom, but because they work in rigorously tested environments where infections are detected quickly and public disclosures done. (4/8)

Stat: The ‘successful failures’ of Apollo 13 and Covid-19 vaccination

Doomed from the start. This phrase perfectly describes the Apollo 13 mission, which launched on this day in 1970, and the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination effort in the United States. Yet both can be considered “successful failures”. When astronauts James Lovell, John “Jack” Swigert and Fred Haise blasted off from Kennedy Space Center, they were anticipating mankind’s third trip to the surface of the moon. Two days into the mission, a faulty oxygen tank exploded while they were about 200,000 miles from Earth, putting their lives in jeopardy and making it impossible to complete their mission. The around-the-clock efforts of ground crews, infused with NASA ingenuity, helped the astronauts return safely to Earth in what was nothing short of a miracle. “Our mission was a failure,” Lovell later wrote, “but I like to think it was a successful failure.” (Christopher M. Worsham and Anupam B. Jena, 4/11)

As well –

The Washington Post: Biden administration finally offers to fix ACA family problem

The Biden administration is proposing a rule that would fix the so-called family problem, an arcane wording problem buried deep in the text of the law that prevents a surprisingly large number of people from getting cheaper health premiums. The law provides government subsidies for health insurance plans, but only if their employers do not provide affordable health coverage. The law considers an employer-sponsored plan unaffordable if the premiums exceed approximately 10% of an employee’s household income. So if workers were to pay exorbitant premiums for their employer-sponsored plan, they could still apply for coverage through Obamacare marketplaces and receive assistance from government subsidies. (4/9)

USA Today: Health care must be based on a strong doctor-patient relationship

I had never cried in a doctor’s office. But there I was, a few weeks ago, sobbing in the exam room. As a new resident of Fort Myers, Florida, I was trying to establish a relationship with a local primary care physician. From the start, the doctor focused on his computer, not on me. She stared at a screen, while I stared into space (Christine Bechtel, 4/10)

The Boston Globe: The future of healthcare shouldn’t be a battle of behemoths

Mass General Brigham didn’t become the medical freak he is today by not knowing the first rule of healthcare poker – knowing when to bend them. Faced with a wall of opposition to its three proposed new suburban outpatient surgical centers – not the least of which included a critical report from Department of Public Health staff – the organization formerly known as Partners HeathCare cut its losses. In the end, MGB settled for partial victories over expansion plans at Mass General’s main campus and at its Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital. (4/11)

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

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