Health News Roundup

Artificial intelligence learning to be racist, addressing health disparities in boys and men of color in CT, and more

Health Equity

How do we address health disparities for men and boys of color?
Carmen Baskauf and Lucy Nalpathanchil, WNPR, January 22
Black and Hispanic men and boys in the U.S. experience worse health outcomes than other groups. Where We Live takes a look at Connecticut’s first-ever report card on the health of men and boys of color in our state.


Yes, artificial intelligence can be racist
Brian Resnick, Vox, January 24
If not used properly, machine learning can make decisions that perpetuate the racial biases that exist in society. It’s not because the computers are racist. It’s because they learn by looking at the world as the way it is, not as it ought to be. If we’re not careful, AI will perpetuate bias in our world. Computers learn how to be racist, sexist, and prejudiced in a similar way that a child does.

A special series: Segregated in the heartland
Governing, January 23
Residential segregation between blacks and whites persists today, even though Congress outlawed overt housing discrimination a half century ago. The most segregated metropolitan areas, though, are not the Southern cities that were the battlefields of the civil rights movement; they are older cities in the Northeast and Midwest that absorbed black residents during the Great Migration. But why are so many cities and metropolitan areas still split along racial lines? And what is the role of local government in reinforcing those divides? To answer those questions, Governing conducted a six-month investigation of black-white segregation in the small cities of downstate Illinois.

Health Care Policy

Affordable prescription pricing, public insurance option among legislature’s health care goals
Christopher Hoffman, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, January 22
Although Gov. Ned Lamont said nothing about health care policy in his inaugural speech, it’s likely to be a major theme of at least his early months in office. Why? Depending on how it’s calculated, health care makes up 25 to 30 percent of the state budget and Lamont will have to balance the need to save money with the desire of many to expand and improve health care coverage and lower costs for consumers.

Can states fix the disaster of American health care?
Elisabeth Rosenthal, Kaiser Health News, January 22
California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom has challenged the notion that states can’t meaningfully tackle health care on their own. And he’s not alone. In his opening speech he promised to pursue sweeping changes to his state’s health care system: state negotiation of drug prices, a requirement that every Californian have health insurance, more assistance to help middle-class Californians afford it and health care for undocumented immigrants up to age 26.