First Opinion

A physician shares how patient choice can open the door to racist comments to doctors. A professor writes that vaccinations will take a hit if the Trump administration topples the ACA. A medical officer and health economist describes how snakebites are on the rise due to climate change. And those are just a few of this week's First Opinions. Read on for the rest. Have an idea for First Opinion? Send it to

Prejudice and patient choice: an insidious confluence in medicine

By Uchenna Ikediobi

Alex Hogan/STAT

Viewing health care as a menu of services from which patients can choose opens the door to their making racist comments to doctors.

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Vaccinations will take a hit if the Trump administration topples the Affordable Care Act

By John Aloysius Cogan Jr.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance plans must cover recommended vaccines with no out-of-pocket costs. Ousting it threatens public health.

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Snakebites are on the rise as snakes migrate with climate change

By Walter Ochieng


Snakebites kill as many as 100,000 people a year, a number that is likely to grow as snakes migrate in response to climate change.

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Ignoring evidence begot Medicare’s dangerous hospital readmissions penalty

By Stephen Soumerai and Kip Sullivan


The pay-for-performance program that penalizes hospitals for "excess" readmissions wasn't based on evidence. It has ended up harming patients.

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Diagnostics are essential for universal health coverage to succeed

By Madhukar Pai and Catharina Boehme and Ilona Kickbusch


As countries make progress towards implementing universal health coverage, diagnostics must be included as a key component of such packages.

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Sunday, May 26, 2019


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