Health News Roundup

A new health policy podcast, and more in this week’s roundup

Steven Ross Johnson, Modern Healthcare, October 21
Low-income urban communities are seeing much higher rates of pharmacy closures than other areas, which researchers worry will widen socio-economic health disparities. According to a new analysis, 1 in 8 pharmacies closed between 2009 and 2015. Most of those closures involved independently owned pharmacies and providers located in poorer urban areas.
Nicole Leonard, WNPR, October 22
Stress, anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses affect people of all races, but studies show that black Americans and other ethnic minorities are far less likely to seek treatment, leading to racial disparities in mental health outcomes. Wellness experts in Connecticut said that’s because black residents may face unique barriers to services in addition to problems with stigma, access and cost.
Abby Goodnough and Margot Sanger-Katz, The New York Times, October 22
Nationwide, more than a million children have disappeared from the two main state-federal health programs for lower-income children, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Some state and federal officials have portrayed the drop as a success story, arguing that more Americans are getting coverage from employers in an improving economy. But there is growing evidence that administrative changes aimed at fighting fraud and waste — and rising fears of deportation in immigrant communities — are pushing large numbers of children out of the programs, and that many of them are now going without coverage.
Dan Gorenstein, Sayeh Nikpay, and Anupam Jena, Tradeoffs, October 16
Tradeoffs is a new podcast exploring the country’s confusing, costly, and often counterintuitive health care system. It goes beyond the problems, delving into the pros, cons, and consequences of potential solutions. The first episode discusses the Urban Institute’s latest analysis of the Democratic debate over how to fix our health care system.
Gunilla Carlsson, Katie Dain, and Rico Gustav, STAT, October 21 
If universal health care is truly meant to reflect meaningful community engagement, governments need to invest in the leadership and capacities of the diverse communities of people directly affected. Scaling up health prevention and treatment from millions of people to billions of people cannot be achieved by governments alone. It will require more training and resources for community-led services that enable communities and governments to better work together. Support for communities has never been so urgent to help them challenge exclusion from decision-making, poor public services, corruption, and the inequality they see daily.