Health News Roundup

Week of January 8, 2018

Delivery system

A baby girl, ready to go home, is still in the hospital 400 days later
Caroline Chen, Bloomberg, January 8
In Fairfield, CT, Lorena DeCarlo left her job to get her 9-month-old son Lucas out of the hospital, learning how to change the breathing tube that keeps him alive. Hospitals are far more expensive than home nursing, but the U.S. has no comprehensive system to finance it. Parents can go bankrupt trying to take their kids home.

health care

In states that didn’t expand Medicaid, hospital closures have spiked
Casey Ross, STAT, January 8
Hospitals in states that enacted the expansion got a wave of newly insured patients, while those in states that rejected it were left with large numbers of uninsured individuals. A new study reports a crucial consequence of that divide: Nonexpansion states have suffered a significant increase in hospital closures. States that expanded benefits, on the other hand, saw their rate of closures decline.

Parents agonize over their kids’ health as funding for children’s insurance program remains in doubt
Noam N. Levey, LA Times, January 9
Their two boys, Bobby and Dylan, may soon be uninsured, leaving 11-year-old Bobby without the costly medicine and blood monitors he needs to control his Type 1 diabetes. Like roughly 9 million children nationwide, Bobby and Dylan are covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program. “It’s easy to say, ‘There is short-term funding and there’s nothing to worry about.’ But for most of these families, there is no backup plan.”

American kids are 70 percent more likely to die before adulthood than kids in other rich countries
Sarah Kliff, Vox, January 8
A child born in the United States has a 70 percent greater chance of dying before adulthood than kids born into other wealthy, democratic countries, a new study has found. The research, published in the journal Health Affairs, shows that the U.S. lags far behind peer countries on child health outcomes. It estimates that, since 1961, America’s poor performance accounts for more than 600,000 excess child deaths — deaths that wouldn’t have happened if these kids were born into other wealthy countries.

health equity

Podcast: This racism is killing me inside
Code Switch, NPR, January 10
This episode explains how experiencing racism can lead to worse health outcomes and how the scientific community’s views of the causes of racial disparities in health have shifted in recent years to accept the reality of racism’s effect on health.