Tap Dance Dreams & ACA Open Enrollment

Happy Monday!! I always enjoy the early morning sunshine after we “fall back” but boy do I hate the darkness at 6pm. I am usually an early morning studier but with an exam coming up on Wednesday, I was at it later than usual yesterday. As soon as I realized it was pitch black out, it felt like my brain turned off. So I watched the magnificent PBS broadcast of 42nd Street and did some light studying. I don’t know how I’ve never seen 42nd Street before but I AM OBSESSED.

I actually learned how to tap dance a few years ago and for one of our performances (yes, we had performances and no I won’t share the video!) we learned the opening to 42nd Street. But to see it done by professionals, holy smokes, the tapping in this show out of the stratosphere incredible! I was literally on the edge of my seat watching it. There’s a pretty good chance (like approaching 100%) that I will watch it again this week, but I’m going to do my *best* to wait until after my exam.

And since it is Monday, I think it’s time for a little MPH Monday lesson. It’s the perfect time to talk about open enrollment for 2020 ACA Marketplace health insurance, which began on Friday, November 1 and will end on Sunday, December 15th.

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This Week in Health Policy #9

This Week in Health Policy #9

This week has been a mixture of watching lectures, reviewing material for the 100th time, and having a few “ah-ha” moments, which are always oh so welcome! I’m a week into renal (allllll about the kidney) and it’s HARD. So much movement of salt and water and lots of other little molecules in such a balanced little dance. I also had another standardized patient this week focused on motivational interviewing (MI), a technique to assess and help patients regarding behavior changes like smoking cessation or weight loss. No matter what specialty I go into, I know it will come in handy! One area I hope to use MI in the future is persuading parents (and kids!) to have healthy eating habits, especially cutting down on soda and juice. What we eat and how policy impacts our food was a serious driver for my graduate work – and I love sharing ongoing work in this area!

The food industry is hooking kids on sugar through sweetened drinks.

A ban on sugary drinks in a California hospital led to health improvements for employees.

Instead of implementing Medicaid work requirements (which are onerous and don’t work!), Pennsylvania is connecting interested folks to employment training programs upon Medicaid enrollment. [States currently seeking to implement work requirements would require proof of employment to remain insured on Medicaid. It has not gone well in Arkansas.]

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This Week in Health Policy #8

This Week in Health Policy #8

There is nothing I love more than sitting in my bed with a steaming hot mug of coffee and reading the news. I usually put on some classical music from NPR’s WETA and lose track of time. It wasn’t in the cards for me this week to spend more than 30 minutes a day on the news (except for Sunday!) but I still think I’ve got a pretty diverse and interesting health policy round-up for you today!

The Annals of Internal Medicine published new guidelines indicating that there is not enough evidence to support cutting back on meat consumption, but there’s much more to the story.

Accountable care organizations (ACO’s) experience continued but slow growth after changes to the Medicare ACO program.

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Access to Health Care Isn’t Enough

Access to Health Care Isn’t Enough

We’re well into the 2020 presidential election cycle and there are a lot of health care proposals floating around. Most of them want to increase access to insurance and some have a plan to reduce the cost of care. But unfortunately, universal access to health insurance does not equate to health equity or better health outcomes. Health care systems are designed to handle individual medical needs, not the most critical causes of poor health – socioeconomic factors. In the United States, the development and provision of health care has fundamentally misunderstood what health is and what it requires.

A 2017 study in Health Affairs conveyed that the U.S. has one of the largest income-based health disparities in the world. Among the poorest third of Americans in the study, 38.2 percent reported being in “fair or poor health,” compared with 12.3 percent of the richest third. Most of the nations studied had an income-based health disparity, with the exception of Japan and Switzerland.

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This Week in Health Policy #7

This Week in Health Policy #7

There is just something overwhelming about reading the news these days. I haven’t been spending as much time keeping up and its freed up more brain space (and stress) for school. If it’s not one thing, it’s another?

The health policy world isn’t slowing down just because I have to study. And honestly, there’s so much going on!! Here are just a few of the stories I’ve been following this week.

Sexually transmitted infections are on the rise – according to the CDC, nearly 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and other STDs were reported in 2018.

As America’s population ages and demand outpaces supply, a physician shortage will intensify.

A federal appeals court isn’t sold on the Administration’s enthusiasm for letting states compel some poor people to work or engage in job training in exchange for health insurance.

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This Week in Health Policy #6

This Week in Health Policy #6
Welcome to the sixth edition of “This Week in Health Policy!” There seems to be a never ending supply of interesting stories these days, so here are just a few I wanted to share with you today! The first article is especially timely, as my class is having a mock debate about vaccination laws today. I hope you find something engaging and thought provoking!

As a medical student, I was told we had conquered measles. I wish.

“In the 1980s, when I was a medical student and later a pediatrics resident, grizzled old pediatricians would tell us how lucky we were that we’d probably never see a case of measles or diphtheria or polio. Images and descriptions of these diseases were still classic favorites on medical board exams, though, so we dutifully committed information about them to memory. That was a good thing.”

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This Week in Health Policy #5

This Week in Health Policy #5

Welcome to the fifth edition of “This Week in Health Policy!” It’s been a while since I shared some health policy happenings with you all – between spring break and getting caught up with lectures, I haven’t much time to read the news. But, I’ve finally gotten back on track and have some interesting items to share with you to share today! I hope you find something interesting and engaging!

High-Deductible Health Policies Linked To Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment

“Women with low incomes who had high-deductible insurance plans waited an average of 1.6 months longer for diagnostic breast imaging, 2.7 months for first biopsy, 6.6 months for first early-stage breast cancer diagnosis and 8.7 months for first chemotherapy, compared with low-income women with low-deductible plans. In some cases, delays of that length might lead to poorer health outcomes, says J. Frank Wharam, an internist and specialist in insurance and population health, who led the study. More research needs to be done to confirm that, he says.”

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