Leading physicians at Harvard University appealed Friday for US health care professionals to speak out against the government shutdown by contacting their elected leaders.
The shutdown began October 1 and has sent some 800,000 federal workers home without pay. It was driven by a resurgence of Republican opposition to President Barack Obama’s health care reform plan that lawmakers passed in 2010.
“We must lead by example,” said the piece in the New England Journal of Medicine, written by the magazine’s editor-in-chief Jeffrey Drazen and executive editor Gregory Curfman.
The journal itself does not take a position on the reform package, known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, and aimed at offering cheaper health insurance to tens of millions of uninsured Americans.
However, as doctors practicing in a northeastern state that has had a similar program in place for years, “we strongly support it,” they said.
“Before reform in Massachusetts, we saw too many patients who were devastated by a freak accident or an unexpected diagnosis of cancer; we saved bodies and bankrupted lives.
“Now, when fate strikes a cruel blow to citizens of Massachusetts, we can fix their bodies and preserve their lives,” the authors added.
“To us, supporting the ACA makes moral and medical sense.”
Approving drugs and devices, conducting surveillance for emerging infectious diseases and researching biology and treatment are among the “important services” provided by the government health sector, Drazen and Curfman said.
“Make your views known to your representatives in Congress,” they wrote. “Your voice will become part of the wave that eventually spurs the House of Representatives to act.”
The New England Journal of Medicine says it has the “largest paid circulation among medical journals,” with 200,000 paying subscribers and a weekly worldwide readership of more than 600,000.
The shutdown has sent home 40,000 employees of the Department of Health and Human Services, or about half the staff of the government’s umbrella agency that includes the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The shutdown has stopped preparations for the upcoming flu season by the CDC, treatment of new patients in clinical trials at the NIH and food safety inspections and import monitoring by the FDA.
Confederate battle flag banned — Marine Corps declares it a ‘threat to our core values’
The United States Marine Corps banned the public display of the Confederate battle flag on Friday.
"Depictions of the Confederate battle flag are unauthorized in public and work spaces aboard an installation," the Marine Corps wrote in guidance to the troops.
The ban applies to bumper stickers, clothing and flags among other items.
"The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps," the Marines explained.
"Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has had on our society," the continued. "The presents a threat to our core values, unit cohesion, security, and good order and discipline."
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Trump is ‘a soulless man with a broken mind’: George Conway calls out his wife’s boss in scathing op-ed
George Conway, the prominent Republican attorney married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, blasted his wife's boss in a new Washington Post op-ed published online on Friday evening.
"Until three brief months ago, President Trump never faced a serious crisis, at least one not of his own making. But now he has faced two, and is failing two, in short order: the covid-19 pandemic, with its concomitant economic devastation; and now social unrest, and rioting, stemming from the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody," Conway wrote. "Lacking in humanity, Trump has had no idea how to handle either one."