Health News Roundup

Why can’t America get rapid tests right? and more in this week’s roundup

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Why can’t America get rapid tests right?
Erica Wilkinson, Slate, Dec. 10
Rapid at-home tests for COVID-19 are often expensive and hard to come by. Testing sites often require an appointment, a drive, and a wait. However, in the state of Colorado, people are able to receive up to eight free at-home COVID tests per week. Free at-home tests are not a silver bullet for mitigating the pandemic, but can be a tool to better track and control the spread of the virus.

Access Health CT extends enrollment deadline
Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie, Dec. 15
Connecticut’s health insurance exchange is giving residents more time to sign up for health insurance that will begin January 1. Access Health CT announced on Tuesday that people who enroll by December 31 will be covered at the start of the new year.
Related: 2022 open enrollment messaging toolkit from CT Health

How much air pollution do you live with? It may depend on your skin color. 
Erin McCormick, The Guardian, Dec. 15
Although levels of air pollution have dropped in recent decades, a new study confirms that racial and ethnic disparities in air pollution exposure persist in all 50 states. The research also showed that race mattered more than income in determining who lives with the most air pollution.

With medical bills soaring, nonprofits, crowdfunding, payment plans offer some debt relief
Sujata Srinivasan, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, Dec. 15
Medical debt is a crushing problem for many in Connecticut. Despite some efforts at the state and federal levels to limit, lower, or cover costs, several of the causes of medical debt remain unchecked. As a result, hundreds in Connecticut have turned to fundraising websites like GoFundMe, while others are seeking help from nonprofits or negotiating a payment plan.

In Minneapolis, home to George Floyd, heavy policing is tied to higher rates of preterm births
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT News, Dec. 8
A research team has published a study showing that the impact of even routine policing extends pervasively into communities, and may adversely affect the health of pregnant people and their babies. Although the researchers found that white mothers were also adversely affected, this work sheds light on the deep roots of longstanding maternal health disparities.