Health care, politics, marijuana, bike-share | Opinion

The Washington Post: Bungling Bundle Payments

Nearly a fifth of every dollar spent in this country is spent on health care. Without reform, that number will only rise as the baby boomers retire. … It should go without saying, then, that if two hip implants are functionally equivalent, surgeons should use the cheaper of the two. It should be obvious that people who do not need to languish in a health-care facility should be sent home to recover. But Medicare discourages coordination and thriftiness by handing providers a fee for every individual service each provides. … Yet waste scored a victory when Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price decided to stop or scale back “bundled payment” experiments the Obama administration had begun. … Price should be expanding the programs he is trying to end. (Editorial, Sept. 13)

Bloomberg View: Political campaigning in the age of social media

When Facebook admitted last week that an operation connected to Russia bought some $100,000 worth of advertising on its network during the 2016 campaign, it raised some unsettling questions about the intersection of social media and politics. Those questions — both broad and narrow — will only get more urgent as the next U.S. election rolls around … As a first step, Facebook should come clean about what happened in the Russia case and what it intends to do about it. … It should publicly release the ads and explain how they were targeted. It should also open pertinent data to independent researchers, much as Twitter has done. That could yield insights about how its tools were used in the election and what affect they had on voters. Congress, for its part, should rethink how election law ought to apply to social media, and incline toward maximal transparency. For better or worse, it’s a new era in American politics. It needs new rules.” (Editorial, Sept. 12)

Los Angeles Times: Don’t step back on cannabis

Every year since 2014, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, has inserted an amendment into a federal spending bill to prevent the Justice Department from prosecuting medical marijuana businesses that comply with their state’s laws. It’s been a temporary but necessary fix to address a fundamental contradiction: that even though 26 states have legalized medical marijuana, the drug is still prohibited under federal law. … But last week, the House Rules Committee killed the amendment at the urging of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a marijuana prohibitionist … Congressional leaders cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand. Decades of experience have shown that the U.S. can’t win a war on marijuana. Moreover, waging such a war now would hurt the millions of people who rely on medical cannabis for relief and would overrule the majorities who have supported medical and recreational use. … Despite Trump’s campaign comments, his administration shows no sign of adopting a more pragmatic approach to marijuana policy. It’s up to Congress to show leadership. (Editorial, Sept. 10)

(Ashland) Daily Tidings: Bike-share on a roll

Ashland’s bike-share program could be part of the solution to the downtown parking crunch. The innovative transportation service started with just one station and now has three … Renting a bike costs $3 an hour, but users who buy a membership get the first two hours free and pay $2 an hour after that. … The bike-share program’s potential to reduce car traffic in town is obvious, and realizing that potential will depend on how well it is marketed. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival and local hotels should promote the program to visitors. The bike-share program won’t solve the parking problem by itself, but it’s one piece of a multi-pronged approach that can help make a difference in the long run. (Editorial, Aug. 25)

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