Health News Roundup

Could body cameras address medical racism concerns? And more in this week’s roundup

Lost Medicaid health coverage? Here’s what you need to know
Samantha Liss, KFF Health News, Aug. 10
The nation’s health insurance system is undergoing tremendous upheaval as an estimated 8.2 million people will need to find new coverage since pandemic protections for Medicaid enrollees came to an end this spring. That’s leaving many patients confused about how to get new medical insurance. Experts say it’s important that those losing Medicaid know that other coverage is available (often with deep discounts), that their children could still be eligible for Medicaid, and to be wary of people charging them for assistance.

Yale doctor: Body cameras could address medical racism concerns
Brian Zahn, New Haven Register, Aug. 12
Dr. Amanda Calhoun, a child psychiatry fellow at Yale Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine, said she was thinking about the effects of medical racism on patient outcomes when an idea popped into her head: what if medical professionals wore body cameras to provide documentation and create accountability? Calhoun proposed the idea in an opinion piece in The Emancipator. Calhoun said feedback from stakeholders would be required before implementing the concept, and suggested an opt-in pilot at a hospital.

How heat makes health inequity worse, hitting people with risks like diabetes harder
Yuki Noguchi, NPR, Aug. 10
Record heat scorching the country is especially dangerous for the many people with common conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Many vulnerable communities face greater exposure to heat, fewer resources to address it or escape it, and higher rates of the diseases that make heat more dangerous for people. “Like most public health issues in the United States, extreme heat is also a health equity issue,” said Dr. Sameed Khatana, a cardiologist at the University of Pennsylvania and the Veterans Affairs hospital in Philadelphia.

Patient advocates warn FDA proposal on salt intake could do fatal harm to people with kidney disease
Nicholas Florko, STAT, Aug. 15
Patient advocates say a proposal from the Food and Drug Administration meant to reduce salt intake could inadvertently kill those with kidney disease, particularly Black Americans. Critics say it could lead to unnecessary deaths by increasing the use of the salt substitute potassium chloride. Patients with chronic kidney disease can’t properly excrete potassium from their bodies and excess potassium levels in the blood can lead to cardiac arrhythmias and sudden heart failure. The American Association of Kidney Patients, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the National Kidney Foundation warned that the proposal could particularly impact Black Americans, who have higher rates of kidney disease.

Latino kids in states with more anti-immigrant laws are in poorer health, study finds
Edwin Flores, NBC News, Aug. 15
Latino children living in states with more anti-immigrant laws and policies — and the resulting inequities in access — had higher odds of chronic physical or mental health conditions, according to a study published in the medical journal Pediatrics. Researchers used multiple data sources and ranked states based on policies toward immigrants in areas including health services, employment, discrimination prohibition, and access to rental housing. The research also included information from a national study about attitudes toward immigrants and Latinos.