Health News Roundup

What happens when people lose Medicaid, and more in this week’s roundup

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Medicaid rolls are being cut. Few are finding refuge in ACA plans.
Amy Goldstein, The Washington Post, Sept. 28
As states prepared to end a pandemic-era promise earlier this year that everyone on Medicaid could keep their health coverage, the Biden administration sought to quell fears that millions of people would become newly uninsured by noting that they could get coverage through Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces. Yet so far, the insurance marketplaces selling low-cost, private health plans are serving a surprisingly small role as a backstop for 2 million people across the country dropped from Medicaid because they no longer are eligible.

For Black mothers, birthing centers, once a refuge, become a battleground
Emily Baumgaertner, The New York Times, Oct. 4
Across the United States, which has the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world, receptivity toward birthing centers varies. Proponents say the facilities, which focus on autonomy in childbirth, could lead to better health outcomes. For some Black women, birthing centers represent an important alternative to hospitals, where they experienced disrespect and trauma during previous deliveries. But in some states, officials are tightening rules on birthing centers, making them nearly impossible to operate.

A new COVID booster is here. Will those at greatest risk get it?
Amy Maxmen, KFF Health News, Sept. 15
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends new COVID-19 booster vaccines for all — but many who need them most won’t get them. The intensive outreach efforts that successfully led to decent vaccination rates in 2021 have largely ended, along with mandates and the urgency of the moment. Data now suggests that the people getting booster doses are often not those most at risk, which means the toll of COVID in the U.S. may not be dramatically reduced by this round of vaccines.
Related: The new COVID-19 vaccine is rolling out. Here’s What Black Americans should know. Margo Snipe, Capital B, Sept. 26

A third of Medicaid recipients with opioid use disorder aren’t getting medication to treat it
Emily Baumgaertner, The New York Times, Sept. 29
More than half a million Medicaid recipients diagnosed with opioid use disorder did not receive medication to treat it in 2021, according to a new report released by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services. The report also found major disparities in medication rates across states, ages and racial groups. It suggested the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services work to close these gaps. “Medicaid is uniquely positioned to achieve these goals given that the program is estimated to cover almost 40 percent of nonelderly adults with opioid use disorder,” the report said.

News from the Connecticut Health Foundation: Introducing our new strategic plan
We have a new five-year strategic plan that will guide our work starting in January 2024. Under this plan, we will continue to focus on health equity for people of color, with a new set of goals and objectives. Learn more at our website, or during webinars and in-person office hours around the state in the next few weeks.