Health News Roundup

“A call to action” on maternal mortality, and more in this week’s roundup

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Maternal deaths in the US more than doubled over two decades. Black mothers died at the highest rate 
Laura Ungar, Associated Press, July 3
Maternal deaths in the U.S. more than doubled over two decades, and the tragedy unfolded unequally. Black mothers died at the nation’s highest rates, while the largest increases in deaths occurred in American Indian and Native Alaskan mothers. “It’s a call to action to all of us to understand the root causes — to understand that some of it is about health care and access to health care, but a lot of it is about structural racism and the policies and procedures and things that we have in place that may keep people from being healthy,” said study co-author Dr. Allison Bryant, senior medical director for health equity at Mass General Brigham.

Black Americans living in disadvantaged neighborhoods age faster than white peers, study finds
Ambar Castillo, STAT, July 5
Black Americans who live in neighborhoods with lower levels of income and education may age faster than their white neighbors, according to a new study. This can be true even when an individual Black person has a higher income or education level — underscoring the extent to which a person’s surroundings can impact their health.

We have a cure for hepatitis C — so why aren’t more people getting treatment? 
Abdullahi Tsanni, STAT, June 29
Over the past decade, scientists have developed new therapeutic drugs to combat hepatitis C. Simple, orally administered direct acting antiviral drugs can cure the highly contagious disease effectively within 12 weeks. But these breakthrough treatments are not getting to the people who need them, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. Only one 1 of 3 adults diagnosed with the disease have been cured since 2013, when those highly effective curative drugs for hepatitis C were first approved in the U.S.

Health care costs are rising in CT. Here’s how new laws aim to fix that. 
Erica E. Phillips, The Connecticut Mirror, June 26
Among the top priorities for Gov. Ned Lamont and state lawmakers during this year’s legislative session was a slate of measures aimed at controlling the swiftly rising cost of health care for Connecticut residents. A bill passed on the final day of the session contains several of those measures — although many were pared back from what the governor originally proposed. This article details what the new regulations will mean for you.

Opinion: A governor’s playbook for improving youth mental health should catch on
The Washington Post Editorial Board, July 4
Governors across the country are putting the youth mental health crisis at the top of their agendas. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and his team prepared a playbook with 35 nonpartisan policy recommendations. This article highlights several being tried across the country.