Health News Roundup

Can stigma and racism be to blame for rising STDs, delaying chemotherapy because of cost and more in this week’s roundup

health equity

How Medicaid work requirements can exempt rural whites but not urban blacks
Dylan Scott, Vox, May 3
Michigan has a new plan that could disadvantage poor black beneficiaries while providing relief for poor whites. People who live in counties with higher unemployment rates are exempted from the requirement that people work or be looking for work to receive Medicaid coverage. That is likely to lead in practice to rural whiter counties, where unemployment is higher, getting a break from these work requirements while urban areas with a higher share of black residents would still be subjected to them. Which means that black Medicaid enrollees would be more likely to lose their health insurance.

Seeing things differently: Racial disparities In autism diagnoses
Diane Orson, Connecticut Public Radio, May 9
WNPR’s multi-part series, Seeing Things Differently: Autism Spectrum Disorder, looks at the persistent two-year gap between the time most children can reliably be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and the time they generally are. But research shows additional delays for children of color. According to one study by Dr. David Mandell of the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, “there is as much as a year to year-and-a-half difference in the age at which black children are diagnosed versus when white children are diagnosed.”

Linking clinical care with communities

STDs in L.A. County are skyrocketing. Officials think racism and stigma may be to blame
Soumya Karlamangla, Los Angeles Times, May 7
Many health experts say that public health problems are best tackled outside the doctor’s office — that fixing the culture that perpetuates them is more effective than changing a single patient’s behavior. For sexual health, that means combating the stigma around sex.

Recovery navigators in New London helping people get into a drug treatment
Lindsay Boyle, The Day, May 6
“The most important part of this is that the navigators are coming out and saving lives,” Human Services Director Jeanne Milstein said. “At the same time, they’re identifying some of the systemic barriers: Why couldn’t this person get into treatment? What are these barriers, and how do we address those?” The navigators then get to know their clients and help them access whichever treatment pathway seems most appropriate.


Women with breast cancer delay care when faced with high deductibles  
Reed Abelson, The New York Times, May 4
A recent study of women with insurance plans that carried deductibles of at least $1,000 underscores the danger to consumers required to shoulder a greater share of those costs. Women who had just learned they had breast cancer were more likely to delay getting care by an average of seven months if their deductibles were high.


Legislature overwhelmingly enacts bipartisan CT budget
Keith Phaneuf, The Connecticut Mirror, May 9
Legislators put $12 million back into the budget to reverse new restrictions on the Medicaid-funded health insurance program for poor adults, Husky A. Advocates say this funding would enable approximately 13,500 adults from households earning between 155 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level to retain state-sponsored coverage.