Health News Roundup

A big study seeks to solve cancer mystery affecting Black women, and more in this week’s roundup

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Largest study of its kind to investigate why Black women are more likely to die from most types of cancer 
Jen Christensen, CNN, May 8
The American Cancer Society is seeking participants for a national study intended to solve the mystery of why Black women have the lowest survival rate of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers. While Black and white women are equally likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, for example, Black women are almost 40% more likely to die from it. Yet Black women have historically been excluded from most clinical research that has focused mostly on white men.

Federal documents don’t provide enough checkboxes for all AAPI ethnicities. That may be about to change.
Mariel Padilla, The 19th, May 6
Many polls and surveys provide only one checkbox to represent all Asian-American people, even though more than 20 Asian ethnic groups live in the United States and examining more granular data is important. For example, when researchers examined disaggregated data, they found that breast cancer is a more prevalent cause of death for Asian Indian and Filipino women than Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Vietnamese populations. Soon it will be easier to see these distinctions. The federal government recently updated its race and ethnicity standards to require federal agencies to collect more detailed information.

Widening racial disparities underlie rise in child deaths in the U.S.
Emily Baumgaertner, The New York Times, May 4
After decades of progress, researchers last year uncovered a worrisome trend: Mortality rates for children in the U.S. were rising. A new study found disparities in child death rates across racial and ethnic groups. Between 2014 and 2020, the death rates for Black children and teenagers rose by about 37 percent, and for Native American youths, by about 22 percent — compared with less than 5 percent for white youths. Researchers said they expected to find disparities, but were shocked by the magnitude, and said they hoped the study would be a wake-up call to examine underlying factors.

CT bill cutting Medicaid decried by disability rights advocate; key lawmaker mostly agrees
Doug Hardy, CTNewsJunkie, May 7
A bill passed by the state House and Senate this week includes cuts to eligibility for HUSKY, Connecticut’s Medicaid program. “Thousands of low-income disabled people and older adults, disproportionately Black and Brown people, will be denied access to Medicaid, and incur more medical debt or just go without needed health services (including services needed to prevent institutionalization), as a direct result,” said Sheldon V. Toubman, a litigation attorney for Disability Rights Connecticut. Legislators said some of those who lose HUSKY will be eligible for no-cost coverage through the state’s Covered Connecticut program.

Many states are eager to extend Medicaid to people soon to be released from prison
Nada Hassanein, Stateline, May 2
A new federal policy that allows states to provide Medicaid coverage to incarcerated people at least a month before their release has drawn bipartisan interest and applications from 23 states, including Connecticut. Federal policy has prohibited Medicaid spending on people who are incarcerated. As a result, people who are released typically don’t have health insurance and many struggle to get treatment. In a population that is disproportionately likely to have chronic conditions, that can be deadly. Federal guidance now allows states to connect prisoners with case managers before being released, so they can develop plans and make post-release appointments for care and services.