Health News Roundup

Week of February 19, 2018

health equity

Gene-editing technology could end sickle cell disease, but signing up black patients for clinical trials will be a hard sell
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, February 21
Clinical trials of sickle cell treatments that use CRISPR, a gene-editing technology, could start as soon as this year. But the long and ugly history of unethical experimentation and mistreatment of black patients could make recruiting volunteers to try largely untested CRISPR therapies a tough sell. People like Andre Harris will be hard to persuade. “To me, the risk greatly overshadows the benefits,” said the 28-year-old social work student from Fayetteville, Ark.

How dental inequality hurts Americans 
Austin Frakt, The New York Times, February 19
Many state Medicaid programs lack coverage for dental care. That can be bad news not only for people’s overall well-being, but also for their ability to find and keep a job.

federal health reform

White House moves to allow Obamacare rival
Ana Radelat, The Connecticut Mirror, February 20
The Trump administration on Tuesday moved forward on allowing Americans to purchase short-term health plans that may be more affordable than what’s on the market right now but would not contain the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections and would undermine the health care law.


Bad bedside manner: Bank loans signed in the hospital leave patients vulnerable
Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News, The Washington Post, February 19
Hospitals are increasingly offering “patient-financing” strategies, cooperating with banks and other financial institutions to provide on-the-spot loans to make sure patients pay their bills. Private doctors’ offices and surgery centers have long offered such no- or low-interest assistance for services not covered by insurance or to patients paying themselves for an expensive test or procedure with a fixed price. But health experts say promoting bank loans at hospitals and, particularly, in their emergency departments, raises concerns.