Health News Roundup

CT’s health inequality, the financial reality of being really sick, and more in this week’s round up


Special report: In a state of great wealth, all the health care some can afford
Keith M. Phaneuf, The Connecticut Mirror, October 15
For tens of thousands of Connecticut residents, access to health care is hanging on by a thread, health care advocates say. Among the challenges are potential steep cuts to Medicaid and the growth of high-deductible health plans that require people to pay thousands of dollars for care before their plans begin picking up the tab. This means that while the overall health care system in one of the nation’s wealthiest states ranks high, hundreds of thousands of middle-class residents are seeing their earnings gobbled up by a health care system with outcomes as disparate as income is in Connecticut.

1,495 Americans describe the financial reality of being really sick
Margot Sanger-Katz, The New York Times, October 17
A survey of some of the country’s most seriously ill people found that even with health insurance, more than a third of respondents had spent all or most of their savings while sick. They are often faced with deductibles and co-payments; treatments their insurance won’t cover; and financial challenges — like lost work — that health insurance alone can’t address. Those in the survey who were uninsured were even more likely to face mounting bills and debts.


Study: Without Medicaid expansion, poor forgo medical care
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press, October 15
Low-income people in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid are much more likely to forgo needed medical care than the poor in other states, according to a new government report. Compared to low-income people in states that expanded Medicaid, low-income people in states that did not expand Medicaid were twice as likely to say they had passed up needed medical care in the past 12 months because they couldn’t afford it, and nearly twice as likely to have skipped medication doses to save money or taken less than prescribed.

mental health

As U.S. suicide rates rise, Hispanics show relative immunity
Charlotte Huff, Kaiser Health News, October 15
Even though Latinos face economic disadvantages and other stress in their lives, their suicide rate is about one-third that of non-Hispanic whites. What accounts for this “suicide paradox”? Some experts cite the practice of “colectivismo” — the building of a latticework of relationships through extended family, work colleagues and friends — that is prevalent in the Latino community and can help provide an emotional safety net. Others suspect some Latino suicides are misclassified, in part due to the stigma associated with it.


Distrust of health care system may keep black men away from prostate cancer research
Rachel D. Cohen, NPR, October 17
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers for men in the U.S. and especially deadly for black men, who are more likely to get it and twice as likely as white men to die from it. Yet black men tend to be underrepresented in research for prostate cancer treatment. A study published Wednesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine captured a snapshot of the attitudes black men have regarding prostate cancer research and the evolving field of genomic testing, finding significant mistrust of the health care system and medical research.