Health News Roundup

Why shopping for health care doesn’t work, the lasting impact of racial profiling and more in this week’s roundup

Health equity

New York City launches initiative to eliminate racial disparities in maternal death
Annie Waldman, ProPublica, July 30
The rate of maternal death in the U.S. is substantially higher than in other affluent nations, and has climbed over the past decade, mostly driven by the outcomes of women of color. Regardless of their education, obesity, or poverty level, black mothers in New York City are at higher risk for harm than their white counterparts. A new initiative to address these disparities will include staff training, hiring maternal care coordinators to assist high-risk pregnant women, and strengthening prenatal and postpartum care.

To keep women from dying in childbirth, look to California
Renee Montagne, NPR, July 29
Since 2006, California has cut its rate of women dying in childbirth by more than half. It’s the result of study, planning, and protocols, which have not only saved women from dying, but they have also dramatically reduced the rate of women who nearly died.

Health care costs

What to know before you buy short-term health insurance
Margot Sanger-Katz, The New York Times, August 1
So-called short-term plans will be offered for relatively long periods — just under a year at a time, with renewals for up to 36 months — and they will be marketed extensively in most states. They will tend to have substantially lower prices than the insurance people can buy in Obamacare markets, and for some people they may look like a better option. But the plans are cheaper for a reason: They tend to cover fewer medical services than comprehensive insurance, and they will charge higher prices to people with pre-existing health problems, if they’ll cover them at all.

Shopping for health care simply doesn’t work. So what might?
Austin Frakt, The New York Times, July 30
Each year, for well over a decade, more people have faced higher health insurance deductibles. The theory goes like this: The more of your own money that you have to spend on health care, the more careful you will be — buying only necessary care, purging waste from the system. But that theory doesn’t fully mesh with reality. 


The weight of trauma: Racial profiling on black citizens has lasting effects
Chad Davis, St. Louis Public Radio, July 27
A study from the Journal of Mental Health Counselling found that 81 percent of the African-Americans who reported racial discrimination were more likely to experience symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.