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What We're Reading: Hailing a Ride to the Hospital


What we're reading, August 16, 2016: hospitals are partnering with ride-hailing services to get patients to their appointments; Democrats look to repeal a ban on federal funding for abortion; and Colorado will vote on a right-to-die bill this fall.

Hospitals are trying unconventional methods to get patients to their checkups. The Atlantic highlighted partnerships between hospitals and Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing services, to make trips to the hospital easier. In some cases, the fares for these rides are even covered by insurance. These services make it much less likely patients with access to private transportation will miss medical appointments. An analysis of 25 studies has found that up to 51% of patients said a lack of transportation is a barrier to access to healthcare.

Democrats are looking to repeal a ban on federal funding of abortion that has been in place for 40 years. According to The New York Times, the amendment, which includes exceptions for rape, incest, or when the women’s life is endangered, has typically had bipartisan support in Congress—but that is changing. However, even within the Democratic party there is dissension. Hillary Clinton’s own running mate, Tim Kaine, holds the stance that the amendment should not be repealed. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that if the bill were repealed, the number of abortions among women covered by Medicaid would rise by about 33,000 a year.

Another state could allow the terminally ill to end their own lives. Colorado’s Medical Aid in Dying measure received enough petition signatures that it will be on the ballot this fall for voters to decide on, reported AP. California was the most recent state to pass a right-to-die law, but Oregon was the first in 1998. Colorado’s law would require 2 physicians agree the patient is terminally ill with 6 months or less to live. The patient must be at least 18 years old and mentally competent. This fall, Colorado voters will also decide on a universal healthcare measure.

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