Just in case you missed it, here’s some of the latest health disparities news, posts and reports from this past week.
Urban Institute: The Combined Effect of Not Expanding Medicaid and Losing Marketplace Assistance – “As of April 2015, 21 states have chosen not to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. All but one of those states have also chosen to rely on federally facilitated marketplaces. If the Supreme Court finds for the plaintiff in King v. Burwell, the combined effect of not expanding Medicaid and losing federal support for marketplace coverage for the low-income population would be dramatic for the 20 states affected by both decisions. In total, 9.8 million people would be uninsured who would have otherwise been insured. Assuming that marketplace financial assistance is not replaced and assuming those states do not choose to expand Medicaid, the total loss in federal spending from 2016 to 2025 would be $721 billion.” >> Read more
Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut: Health Insurance Does Not Equal Affordability or Care – “Two new reports confirm that affordability is still a concern, even for those with health insurance. Families USA and the Kaiser Family Foundation both released reports about people enrolled in non-group plans (The Commonwealth Fund has a similar report). Non-group plans include all individual plans—those sold on the state exchange and in the individual market.” >> Read more
The New York Times: The Case for Black Doctors – “The usual explanations for these health disparities — poverty, poor access to medical care and unhealthy lifestyle choices, to name a few — are certainly valid, but the longer I’ve practiced medicine, the more I’ve come to appreciate a factor that is less obvious: the dearth of black doctors. Only around 5 percent of practicing physicians are black, compared with more than 13 percent of Americans overall. As a general rule, black patients are more likely to feel comfortable with black doctors. Studies have shown that they are more likely to seek them out for treatment, and to report higher satisfaction with their care. In addition, more black doctors practice in high-poverty communities of color, where physicians are relatively scarce.” >> Read more
Miami Herald: When paying the Obamacare penalty is cheaper than buying insurance – “Who chooses to pay the penalty rather than pay for insurance tends to vary by income bracket. Health centers that generally enroll lower-income consumers say they have seen more people who decide to pay the penalty. Conversely, health advisers with clients who have a variety of income levels say they see fewer people deciding to pay the penalty.?” Read more
The CT Mirror: The doctor is online, and lawmakers are prescribing some rules – “Telemedicine — also referred to as telehealth — is expected to become a larger part of medical care as technology evolves, the emphasis on reducing health care costs grows and the demand for care outstrips the supply of medical providers, particularly in primary care. But regulation of the practice has lagged. Many states in recent years have adopted laws or standards to address telehealth. In Connecticut, where little regulation currently exists for telehealth, lawmakers are considering adopting standards. And that’s brought forward a debate about the exact shape that telemedicine should take.” >> Read more
The Commonwealth Fund: The Problem of Underinsurance and How Rising Deductibles Will Make It Worse – “New estimates from the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 2014, indicate that 23 percent of 19-to-64-year-old adults who were insured all year—or 31 million people—had such high out-of-pocket costs or deductibles relative to their incomes that they were underinsured. These estimates are statistically unchanged from 2010 and 2012, but nearly double those found in 2003 when the measure was first introduced in the survey. The share of continuously insured adults with high deductibles has tripled, rising from 3 percent in 2003 to 11 percent in 2014. Half (51%) of underinsured adults reported problems with medical bills or debt and more than two of five (44%) reported not getting needed care because of cost. Among adults who were paying off medical bills, half of underinsured adults and 41 percent of privately insured adults with high deductibles had debt loads of $4,000 or more.” >> Read more
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