Longer Looks: Interesting Reads You May Have Missed
Every week, KHN finds longer stories for your enjoyment. This week’s selections include stories about the Affordable Care Act, covid, infertility, tick bites, body image, anorexia, and more.
Politico: Republicans have stopped trying to kill Obamacare. Here’s what they’re planning instead
For years, Republicans have had an easy talking point on health care: repeal and replace Obamacare. In 2017, with Washington in full control, the GOP did no such thing. Three visits to the Supreme Court, all prompted by Republican-designed legal challenges, also left the law standing. It might seem that if the GOP wins Congress again in 2022, the party will leave American health care alone. The only visible attempt at a broad agenda for Republican congressional candidates — Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) 11-Point Plan to Save America — makes no mention of health care policy. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) proposed last month in a Breitbart News radio interview that Republicans repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but backtracked days later. (McDonough, 4/26)
Stat: How Paxlovid was born: from an idea to a vital tool against Covid
Charlotte Allerton, head of drug design at Pfizer, was cooking dinner – omelets – with her teenage children when she got a call from one of the company’s top development managers. He was calling with the interim results of the study of an experimental antiviral for Covid-19. She pushed the food aside and went upstairs. “It’s like any news you expect,” she said. “You can kind of tell it just from the way the person is talking.” She went straight to work. (Herper, 04/28)
ABC News: Why is infertility so painful?
More than 6 million women of childbearing age in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, but infertility, and especially the emotional and physical pain that comes with it, remains a taboo subject, even among some women. L’Oreal Thompson Payton, a 33-year-old woman from Chicago, said she never heard discussions about infertility and infertility treatments when she was growing up. (Kindelan, 04/25)
The Atlantic: a tick bite made them allergic to meat
A few months ago, Candice Matthis and Debbie Nichols sat down with their husbands to eat bacon. It was a banal scene, except for two details. First, there were the EpiPens, which both Matthis and Nichols had ready for emergencies. Both women can’t eat red meat, not after they were each diagnosed with a dangerous red meat allergy that develops, oddly enough, after tick bites. They had bonded over their strange shared fate, where a slice of bacon could send them into anaphylactic shock. Matthis is so sensitive that even airborne particles emanating from a cooking pot of meat usually make her sick. But this time, nothing happened to him as the bacon sizzled. His EpiPen remained intact. Nichols got himself a BLT. “It had been years,” she told me. And for her, too, nothing happened, except that she remembered how good a BLT tasted. (Zhang, 04/25)
The Wall Street Journal: Russia’s war in Ukraine could have environmental impact that will last for decades
The war in Ukraine is poisoning the country’s air, water and soil, with environmental health experts saying pollutants released by the ongoing onslaught could take years to clean up while increasing the risk of cancer and disease breathing as well as developmental delays in children. Along with the crushing toll of thousands of lives lost in the conflict, experts worry about the health effects of exposure to heavy metals, as well as toxic gases and particulates from explosions, fires and cave-ins of buildings. Potential health impacts could extend beyond Ukraine’s borders as pollutants are transported downwind and downwind, experts say. (Subbaraman, 4/24)
As well –
NBC News: Influencers trade cheap cosmetic surgery for promotion on Tik Tok, but at a cost
Over the past two years, Awnuh, 19, has undergone various cosmetic procedures: cheek fillers, lip fillers, breast augmentation and rhinoplasty. These are expensive procedures. Her first, for lip fillers, cost around $1,200, paid for with money she earned from posting explicit content to her OnlyFans account, which she started on her 18th birthday. Since then, her online popularity has skyrocketed, especially on TikTok, where she posts about her physical transformation and her 60+ tattoos to more than 415,000 followers. (Tenbarge, 04/27)
The Washington Post: What Parents Need to Know About Hidden Body Image Issues in Boys
For decades, parents have understandably focused their worries about negative body image on their daughters, who are exposed to an avalanche of body pressures early on, from princess cropping to tiny Barbie waistlines. But boys grow up under similar influences and pressures to be stronger, thinner, taller. Despite the popular image of eating disorders and body shaming as a unique threat to girls, experts and clinicians who work with children are sounding the alarm about boys, who they say are probably underdiagnosed. (Joyce, 04/26)
The New York Times: Gymnast’s death was meant to be a wake-up call. What took so long?
In the uneven bars final of the 1989 World Championships, Christy Henrich fell within five hundredths of a point of perfection. It was a nice routine, topped off with a perfectly wedged exit, and Henrich was smiling as he waited for his score. She finished fourth. It is in this melting pot – women’s gymnastics after Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton, when commentators stomped to anoint their successors, when a 9.95 out of 10 might not win you a medal – that one of the best athletes from the United States concluded that she was not good enough. Between 1988, when Henrich missed the Olympic team by a fraction of a point, and the next Olympics four years later, she developed anorexia and bulimia. She left the sport in 1991 and died in 1994, aged 22, of multiple organ failure caused by starvation. (Astor, 04/26)