The vaping epidemic is a major public health threat to our kids

(CNN)It’s a new version of an old battle. As a novice congressman, I ran up against the most powerful lobby in Washington. It was explained to my class of freshman Democrats that we should not attack tobacco. It was a big local issue in Kentucky, the Carolinas and beyond. Southern Democrats were linked by tobacco even if production was negligible in their individual districts. In the minds of many, looking the other way on this issue produced Democratic votes for scores of other fights. But this image of a unified House Democratic Caucus was not as powerful as another image I carried my whole life. declined from 28% in 2001 to less than 8% today. However, anyone who believed the …

I’ve lived the difference between US and UK health care. Here’s what I learned

(CNN)Earlier this year, I shattered my elbow in a freak fall, requiring surgery, plates and screws. While I am a US citizen, several years ago I married an Englishman and became a UK resident, entitled to coverage on the British National Health Service. My NHS surgeon was able to schedule me in for the three-hour surgery less than two weeks after my fall, and my physical therapist saw me weekly after the bone was healed to work on my flexion and extension. Both surgery and rehab were free at the point of use, and the only paperwork I completed was my pre-operative release forms. With debate raging in the US among Democrats about whether to push for a government health …

FDR had a military event, too

(CNN)Some time ago, I was surprised to learn that Donald Trump wanted a military parade in Washington like the one he’d seen in France, and I wrote the commentary below about his childish demand for a grandiose spectacle. This commentary first published February 7, 2018. “I want a parade like the one in France,” President Donald Trump reportedly said to a military official, who passed that information on to The Washington Post. Trump had been the guest of French President Emmanuel Macron on Bastille Day in July 2017, and after attending the parade he enthusiastically exclaimed that it was “one of the greatest parades” he’d ever seen. And so, he wanted to preside over an equally spectacular one in Washington …

Kamala Harris: It pays to attack

(CNN)It pays to go on the attack. That was the message of the first Democratic debates, as Senator Kamala Harris discovered when her exchange with former Vice President Joe Biden over 1970s school busing catapulted her into what was widely viewed as the winner’s slot. Writing in advance of the first debate, Paul Begala said, “There is only one question: Who can beat Trump? The questions may sound like they’re about health care or taxes, Iran or North Korea, but believe me, the subtext is simple: Democrats want to beat Trump, period. If you’re asked a question about the border and give an answer about the border, you’ve given an incomplete response. You must use your answer to illustrate why …

We are at the beginning of a global mental health revolution

(CNN)Access to mental health services has never been more critical — no matter where you live. Mental health disorders are increasing globally, and depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. One in four of us will experience a mental illness at some point in our lives, according to the World Health Organization. In the United States, mental disorders among children and adolescents have reached a crisis level, with the country experiencing its highest suicide rate in 50 years. Chris Cuomo’s one wish ‘if a genie came out of a bottle’ Internationally, mental disorders — ranging from something more common like depression to a more complex illness like schizophrenia — affects hundreds of millions of people. And in …

Alabama’s abortion law addresses an urgent human rights issue

(CNN)The Alabama pro-life law signed into law Wednesday addresses a human-rights issue: the right to life. The argument that only a woman’s body is at stake doesn’t work: from conception, a pregnancy involves at least distinct bodies that of the fertilized egg which contains a distinct and new blend of DNA (from mother and father), all that is needed to become a baby, and that of the mother. It is dangerous when a society ignores the rights of the young and innocent. There are various statistics about the prevalence of abortion. The Guttmacher Institute claims that nearly “one in four women in the United States … will have an abortion by age 45.” There were more than 3.78 million babies …

What’s behind the absurd gamble on women’s rights and health

(CNN)Last week, Georgia joined the ranks of states in a sudden rush to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks after conception — before a woman may even know that she is pregnant. Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio passed similar laws this year. Alabama is taking its fight against choice even further, with a bill that not only bans abortions but makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion. The Supreme Court, first in Roe v. Wade in 1973, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, and yet again in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016, has made it clear that placing an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose …