Health News Roundup

Advocates applaud extension of postpartum Medicaid eligibility, and more in this week’s roundup

To get these headlines delivered to your inbox every week, sign up for our weekly health news roundup.

Advocates applaud extension of postpartum Medicaid eligibility
Harriet Jones, Connecticut Health I-Team, March 3
Beginning on April 1, women whose labor and delivery are covered by Medicaid, but who do not qualify for full Medicaid coverage, will be eligible for one year of postpartum coverage. The current policy only allows for two months of postpartum care. While there’s still more to be done, the extension is one step in addressing the glaring racial inequities in maternal health outcomes.

Conn. health experts propose lower childhood blood lead levels to trigger early intervention
Nicole Leonard, Connecticut Public Radio, March 8
State leaders are looking to lower the childhood blood levels that would initiate parental notifications, educational outreach, and interventions like home inspections. Data from 2020 show that non-Hispanic Black children under 6 were more than twice as likely to have escalated levels than white children. The legislation, which aligns with updated federal standards, would help accelerate efforts to close this gap.

Delaware is shrinking racial gaps in cancer death. Its secret? Patient navigators
Yuki Noguchi, NPR, March 7
Delaware has a comprehensive cancer screening program that covers the cost of all screenings and up to two years of treatment if needed. Patient navigators play a crucial role in getting people connected to this program; they help with scheduling, transportation, insurance, and translation. As a result, Delaware has reduced its cancer death rates and narrowed – in some cases even eliminated – racial disparities in some forms of cancer.

Coalition seeks restoration of voting rights
Lisa Backus, CT News Junkie, Feb. 28
Advocacy groups, individuals, law clinics, and the state’s Sentencing Commission are seeking to reverse restrictions that prevent most incarcerated people from voting. The restrictions disproportionately affect people of color, and advocates for removing them say allowing people to vote makes them more likely to positively engage with government and their communities.

Even on his birthday, a Black funeral director can’t escape COVID deaths
Rachel Chason, The Washington Post, March 8
As the nation edges toward normalcy two years after the pandemic began, Hari Close, a funeral director in Baltimore, can’t. There has been too much death. It’s been concentrated in the mostly Black community he serves, and it’s haunted the historically Black funeral organization he leads. Dozens of his fellow Black funeral directors have died. By contrast, the leader of a predominantly white national association of funeral directors says he’s not aware of any members dying from COVID-19.