THIS WEEK IN REVIEW: Monday, Mar. 12th – Friday, Mar. 16th

THIS WEEK IN REVIEW: Monday, Mar. 12th – Friday, Mar. 16th

This week the youth in America took a stand on health policy. On Wednesday morning, thousands of students around the country staged a walkout to protest against gun violence. This large coordinated effort was primarily planned and implemented by students who are not even eligible to vote. This protest was a message to lawmakers to implement stricter guns policies.

In Virginia, GOP lawmakers are debating over whether to expand Medicaid to 300,000 low-income adults and thus embrace more liberal policies. Because of this dispute, Virginia lawmakers had to adjourn the regular 2018 legislative session without passing a state spending plan. This stalemate could cause a potential government shutdown on July 1 – however, Democrats are continuing to heavily campaign expanding Medicaid in Virginia in an effort to cover more low-income adults that cannot afford health insurance.

In tandem with this heated expansion debate, some lawmakers in states such as Ohio are pushing to cap their expanded Medicaid program in addition to the proposed federal cuts in Medicare and other safety-net programs. This is consequently putting a strain on hospital revenue which has led to cuts in various hospital-based obstetrics programs. With already 45 percent of rural communities not having dedicated maternity care, increased efforts to control Medicaid costs and implement barriers for low-income, rural beneficiaries would undoubtedly shrink the amount of essential services that Medicaid-accepting hospitals can provide.

After advocating for stricter law enforcement regarding the opioid epidemic, Trump took action by including the death penalty for drug dealers in his potential opioid plan. The idea is said to apply to drug dealers that are “directly responsible” for deaths. Another movement that the president championed for, the right to try, faces uncertainty in the House of Representatives, as Republicans need about 50 House Democrats to vote in favor of the bill for it to pass.

Moving on to a drug with more regulatory flexibility, the FDA is moving forward on dramatically reducing the amount of nicotine produced in cigarettes with the hopes of reducing the nation’s smoking addiction rate by 15% to 1.4% by the end of the century. Tobacco companies are projected to take a big hit but R.J Reynolds, Executive VP of research and development, says that he is looking forward to “establishing framework that is based on tobacco harm reduction and recognizes the continuum of risk.”

Student Contributors on this Article:
Marissa Alvarez, Chad Fletcher, Shaina Haque, Virginia Wright