Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: diabetes

March
17th

A chance to get poor adults back to the dentist

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Since the Great Recession hit five years ago, the Legislature has had to do dumb things with money – short-term spending cuts that, long term, were bound to cost more money than they saved.

One of these forced errors was the elimination of Medicaid dental coverage for more than 400,000 poor adults in recent years. For every dollar saved, the state forfeited another dollar in federal matching funds – and set itself up for higher medical expenses down the road.

It’s now time to reverse that penny-wise decision. With the Affordable Care Act about to supplement state Medicaid spending with federal, the restoration of dental care would leverage far more federal dollars than it would cost.

Dental infections are like other infections: Let them fester, and the problems only get bigger and more expensive.

After the Medicaid cut in 2011, adults who’d lost their coverage either had to seek charity care or go to the emergency room when they got a toothache.

Pain in the jaws and the teeth can be symptoms of nasty conditions, including abscesses turning into massive bacterial infections. Emergency room staffs can provide painkillers and antibiotics, but they can’t treat the underlying dental diseases.

Diabetes is the best illustration of pay-now-or-pay-more-later.
Read more »

Sep.
30th

Put down that sugary drink – or put on the pounds

Studies have linked sugary drinks to obesity. (The Associated Press)

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

The nation’s obesity rate has nearly tripled in the last 40 years, and scientists say new research has solidly pinpointed the No. 1 culprit.

It’s all those liquid sugar bombs Americans have been consuming – soda pop, sports drinks, juices, blended coffees and other sweetened drinks – most of which have little or no nutritional value.

During the last four decades, we’ve doubled our caloric intake of beverages sweetened with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup – but we haven’t been cutting back calories at mealtime. If anything, we’ve been supersizing our meals.

That net caloric gain is why more than a third of American adults are considered obese. And it’s why you can put school photos of today’s kids next to ones from 40 years ago and see a glaring difference in the number of overweight children. Doctors are seeing such an alarming increase in the number of young people with Type 2 diabetes – a condition directly linked to weight – that it can hardly be called adult-onset diabetes anymore. Read more »

June
26th

Food stamps: No SNAP for buying sugary soda pop

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Should “nutrition assistance” money – food stamps – be used to buy items that have no nutritional value whatsoever and often make people sick?

We’re talking chips, cookies, sugary sodas and other junk food associated with Americans’ disturbingly high rates of obesity, diabetes and other conditions that help kill people and drive health costs higher.

Those conditions are more prevalent among the low-income – and they’re the ones who use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). That program (formerly called food stamps) provides funding assistance through cards that look like regular credit cards.

Increasingly, health experts and some lawmakers are saying that SNAP money should have some strings attached – like no junk food. Read more »