Wen: Revised Health Care Bill 'Even Worse,' (WBAL)

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, already against Republican plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, issued a statement Thursday calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's new rewrite "even worse."

The bill, which faces a do-or-die vote next week, lets insurers sell skimpy policies, but attempts to mollify moderates with billions in funding to fight the opioid epidemic. However, the bill retains Medicaid cuts that moderate Republican senators have fought.

Wen called those cuts and eventual caps on future funding outlays "deep, devastating and dangerous." In Maryland, she said, 1.3 million children, adults and seniors use Medicaid for a range of services, including chronic diseases, prenatal care, prescriptions and nursing home care.

“Gutting Medicaid would force families to choose between basic needs—such as paying for food and rent—and life-saving care," Wen said.

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Dr. Leana Wen Interviewed on Matter of Fact

Dr. Leana Wen was interviewed by Soledad O'Brien on Matter of Fact on Sepember 13, 2017 about the opioid crisis. WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore televised the interview live. You can view it here.

Declare a true state of emergency (The Hill)

Several weeks ago, President Trump stated that the opioid crisis was a “national emergency.” To many of us in public health, it was a confusing statement. Just a few days earlier, the president and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price stated that they would not declare a state of emergency, claiming that emergencies are time-bound and resource-finite situations.

As an emergency physician and Commissioner of Health in Baltimore City — where approximately two people a day die from overdose — I can tell you that is not the case. Addiction is a disease, treatment exists and communities around the country are succeeding in fighting the epidemic.

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Federal funding cut to teen pregnancy prevention programs will hurt Baltimore, health commissioner says (BaltimoreSun)

The Trump administration’s decision to cut short a grant program that would have spent $214 million to support teen pregnancy prevention programs will have far-reaching consequences in cities across the United States, including Baltimore. After the program ends next June, the city will lose the equivalent of $3.5 million in funding for a variety of programs aimed at curtailing unintended teen pregnancies. Another $880,000 grant funds research at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health to evaluate a program to reduce sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy among American Indian teens, City Health Commissioner Leana Wen called the decision shocking and “unprecedented.” “We have not ever received a cut to an existing program without explanation, and when the funds were readily available,” she said.

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