Health News Roundup

What it’s like to face health crises without insurance, and more in this week’s roundup

Study links language barriers to much lower access to health care
Lautaro Grinspan, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 6
Language barriers significantly limit access to health care for U.S. residents with limited English proficiency — a population of over 25 million people, according to a new study. Spanish speakers receive approximately one-third less care than other Americans, even with differences in baseline health, age, income and health insurance taken into account. Despite policy initiatives aimed at strengthening language services in hospitals and clinics, key language-based disparities in health care access have grown over the past two decades.

Undocumented people without health insurance live with fear, uncertainty
Brenda Leon, Connecticut Public, June 30
For years, Patricia Rosas suffered in silence — fearful that she’d be turned away from proper care due to her immigration status. “I had a sharp pain under my right rib cage that often left me without air,” Rosas said. “I suffered from it for many years.” About 6% of Connecticut’s population is uninsured. Among undocumented residents, however, the uninsured rate is far higher: 52%, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Related: Health care has few plans to address the aging immigrant population, Marisa Fernandez, Axios, July 7

Damage to children’s education — and their health — could last a lifetime
Liz Szabo, Kaiser Health News, July 1
Experts say many of the youngest Americans have fallen behind socially, academically and emotionally in ways that could harm their physical and mental health for years or even decades. Between school closures and reduced instructional time, the average U.S. child has lost the equivalent of five to nine months of learning during the pandemic, according to a recent report. Educational losses have been even greater for some. Black and Hispanic students missed six to 12 months of learning. Missing educational opportunities doesn’t just deprive kids of better careers; it can also cost them years of life.

Black people are more likely to die in traffic accidents. COVID made it worse. 
Char Adams, NBC News, June 24
Black people represented the largest increase in traffic deaths last year, even as Americans drove less during the pandemic, according to recently released data. Experts cite reasons rooted in infrastructure, design, and racism. Predominantly Black neighborhoods are less likely to have crosswalks, warning signs and other safety mechanisms. Many high-speed highways are in or go through communities of color, thanks to a federal effort in the 1950s to modernize roadways. Black people are more likely to walk. And a 2017 study found that drivers are less likely to slow down or stop for Black pedestrians than or white ones.