Health News Roundup

New strategies to keep people covered, and more in this week’s roundup

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How can states keep people insured after Medicaid protections lapse? Connecticut has an idea
Rachel Cohrs, STAT, March 7
It’s hard to shop for health insurance, especially without help. Yet in 2021, in Hartford, Bridgeport, and New Haven, there were no licensed health insurance brokers. So James Michel, CEO of the state’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT, came up with a plan: Have people there help each other, formally. The state launched a “Broker Academy” in June, training mostly candidates of color in the jargon and the specifics of how to sign people up for health insurance. Other states are now considering the model.

HUSKY Health is helping immigrants. A CT proposal would expand it further.
Jared Weber, Stamford Advocate, March 4
His family’s journey from Honduras to Norwalk was most taxing for Juan’s 5-year-old daughter. “She suffered a lot during the trip…at times, you don’t have anything to eat,” Juan said. Upon arriving in Connecticut, the girl’s parents fed her vitamins to replenish the nutrients she had lost. But she also needed professional care. Through the Stamford nonprofit Building One Community, the family learned of the state’s expanded Medicaid program for undocumented children under 13. It’s been a vital resource, Juan said. 

State preparing for health care changes as public health emergency ends soon
Cassidy Williams, WFSB, March 7
Thousands of Connecticut families covered by Medicaid will need to show they are eligible for benefits over the next year, a renewal process that was paused at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and will soon resume. The work is now to get the message out, and that’s where people like Angela Harris come in. “My biggest concern is that people will get caught off guard and surprised,” said Harris, the health ministry chair at Phillips Metropolitan CME Church in Hartford. She’s among the “trusted messengers” bringing resources and information directly to impacted communities.

With CRISPR cures on the horizon, sickle cell patients ask hard questions about who can access them
Megan Molteni, STAT, March 7
A new field of science known as CRISPR gene editing offers hope for millions of people living with sickle cell disease — a disorder long subjected to scientific neglect and medical racism. But the fast-approaching reality of a one-time cure for the disease is also forcing the gene-editing world to grapple with tough questions of equity and access. The thorny question: How to prevent this technology from falling into the same traps as every other one that’s come before.

How one medical school became remarkably diverse – without considering race in admissions
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, March 7
Medical school leaders fear a looming U.S. Supreme Court decision to restrict or ban race-conscious admissions policies could lead to precipitous declines in the diversity of medical school classes. There’s reason for concern: In states where affirmative action is already banned at public universities, medical school classes are less diverse. One school, the University of California, Davis, has defied the odds.