Health News Roundup

CT Medicaid to cover doulas, breastfeeding support, and more in this week’s roundup

CT Medicaid to cover doulas, breastfeeding support
Lau Guzmán, Record-Journal, Aug. 8
Connecticut’s Medicaid provider HUSKY Health announced a new maternity bundle that would allow parents to pay for doula care and breastfeeding support with Medicaid funds starting next summer. The goal of the maternity bundle is to help address disparities in maternal health; a recent report by the Connecticut Department of Public Health found that people who receive Medicaid made up 68% of pregnancy-related deaths.

New data from several states show racial disparities in monkeypox infections
Usha Lee McFarling, Katherine Gilyard, Akila Muthukumar, STAT, Aug. 11
New data emerging from some states and localities closely tracking monkeypox outbreaks show extreme racial disparities that are alarming experts. The disparities appear to be further compounded by a lack of vaccine access by people of color. Nationally, white men appear to be getting a far larger share of the vaccine, a factor that public health experts say is harming efforts to protect vulnerable populations with less access to health care resources.

Public health agencies adapt COVID lessons to curb overdoses, STDs, and gun violence
Katheryn Houghton, Kaiser Health News, Aug. 17
Local health departments across the country are applying lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to other aspects of their work. Many health departments are using direct outreach to address issues like substance use and violence prevention. These changes come in part due to increases in federal funding, but some worry how much of the change will be sustained when the funding runs out.

Alleviating the financial burden of poverty with Medicaid
Joseph Benitez, Tradeoffs, Aug. 16
Medicaid has improved access to health care, but it also may work as an anti-poverty program more generally. A recent study examined changes in measures of financial security among people who benefited from Virginia’s Medicaid expansion. The researchers found that people who received Medicaid coverage reported fewer incidences of financial distress including lower health care costs and fewer concerns about non-health care expenses.

Despite insurance coverage, few people with hepatitis C get treatment
Arielle Dreher, Axios, Aug. 10
A recent report revealed that only a fraction of the more than 2 million American adults with Hepatitis C are getting antiviral treatments, even when their insurance will pay for it. Medicaid patients had lower odds of starting treatment in states with prior authorization restrictions and other barriers to care. The report also shows that Medicaid recipients who were white were likelier to start treatment than nonwhite patients.