Health Policy Happenings, 11.04.21

Health Policy Happenings, 11.04.21

I feel like a broken record on Groundhog’s Day, but like the past few weeks, there is still so much movement and fluidity to the spending package deal that it’s anyones guess how long this news will be accurate for…there were reports of vote whipping (a process undertaken to determine who will be voting in favor/opposition of a piece of legislation) for the Build Back Better plan, as the spending bill is known as but its unclear when a vote might actually take place. But while BBB is front and center, there’s still so much more going on!

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It’s Open Enrollment Day!

It’s Open Enrollment Day!

Today is the official opening day of the open enrollment period for anyone needing health insurance in 2022. This open enrollment period on the Marketplace (aka the Exchange aka healthcare.gov) will end on January 15, 2022 so if you need health insurance, you’ve got two and a half months to enroll. However, if you need coverage by January 1, 2022, you’ll need to enroll by December 15, 2021 to make sure you’re all set for the New Year. [And of course, if you lose coverage, move, get married, have a baby, or adopt a child, you’ll qualify for a special enrollment period outside of open enrollment.] Before you go any further, make sure you brush up on all the health insurance terms you need to know!

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Supreme Court to Rule on Access to Abortion in Louisiana

Supreme Court to Rule on Access to Abortion in Louisiana

I would say “how has it been 6 months since I posted here?!” but then again, I know that happened – the last semester of my second year of medical school and Step 1 happened. So here I am, 6 months later, getting back on the horse. I’ve still been posting over on Instagram, but I’m also just getting back to posting there after a break for my dedicated Step 1 study period.

A while back, I posted on my Instagram stories about oral arguments at the Supreme Court for June Medical Services v. Russo and asked if folks wanted to learn more about the role of the judiciary in abortion care. After hearing a resounding yes, I’m finally getting around to it. This was initially intended to be a post on IG, but the judicial system and processes that go with it are *complicated* to say the least and resulted in a post that was far too long. So I’m going to share here instead.

At first I thought I’d work my way forward from Roe v. Wade to today, but it seems more relevant to start in the present and look back to see how we got here. This post is going to look at the specifics of June Medical (and I’ll update it as soon as there is a decision!) and then forthcoming posts will look at Roe, Casey, Whole Woman’s Health (in more detail than presented here), and others.

So let’s head down to the land of beignets and jambalaya and get to it.

The Supreme Court is due to hand down a decision any day now in June Medical Services. At issue in the case is this: does the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit’s to uphold Louisiana’s law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital conflict with the Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

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Podcasts for All Your Health Policy + Medicine Needs

Podcasts for All Your Health Policy + Medicine Needs

I love Monday’s – time to make a new weekly to-do list and the possibilities for what I can accomplish during the week seem endless. (Although I don’t love Monday mornings with an exam as much as Monday’s without exams). Over on Instagram, I’ve been sharing about public health and health policy on Monday’s. I’m trying to make #MPHMonday happen! And I thought it was finally time to migrate some of that fun over to the blog!

I typically listen to podcasts for news or current affairs analysis but I also love them as an opportunity to learn about new topics or fun trends.

Fun fact about me: I actually used to edit two podcasts as part of my job in graduate school! One focused on innovations in emergency medicine and the other centered on improving the quality and value of health care.

I wanted to share some of my public health, health policy, and medicine favorites!

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I’m Still Here: Life + Photo Dump

I’m Still Here: Life + Photo Dump

Well, it’s been much longer than I anticipated since my last post! I’m still here, just decided to take some time off to enjoy my summer and then once school started again I felt like I’ve barely had a moment to breathe. And truth be told, I should be thinking about starting to study right now but here I am, about to give you a huge life update instead – and tons of pictures that will probably convince you to take a trip out West. Keep reading to see what I’ve been up to since May!

I still cannot believe that my first year of medical school is over already! It really is true what they say – the days are long but the years are short. And that’s true thus far into second year as well. Once I finished up with my last neurology exam in May, I had to do my clinical competency assessment to ensure that I’ve learned how to take a full history and physical this year. It was a lot – you never realize how much doctors think about until you’re the one trying to think like a doctor!

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The Real Reason I Became a Beautycounter Consultant

The Real Reason I Became a Beautycounter Consultant

I’ve been sitting on this post for a few months now and wasn’t sure I wanted to publish it. If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen me talk about Beautycounter and my side hustle as a consultant. I was unsure about posting it here because I try to keep this space focused on health policy and medical school. But then I realized that those parts of my life are exactly WHY I joined Beautycounter in the first place. So today, I’m going to let you in on why I really became a Beautycounter consultant and why I love it!

In all honestly, I never gave much thought to my skincare or makeup — I didn’t learn how to wear makeup until college and my idea of skincare until recently was taking off my makeup with a remover wipe at night. But as I’m approaching the big 3-0 this year, I decided it was time to be more proactive and take care of my, admittedly, pretty great skin (#thanksgenetics). I want it to look this good years down the road!

I had no idea what products I needed and I’ve always felt overwhelmed by the department store counters and Sephora. I start sneezing thanks to the perfume and then have no idea if something is good quality or worth the cost. So when a blogger I’d been reading for years mentioned that she was a Beautycounter consultant, I was intrigued. She shared a lot of concerning facts about the personal care product industry that spoke to my public health and almost-a-medical-student heart.

The Alarming Truth about the Personal Care Product Industry

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Engaging in Advocacy as a Medical Student

Engaging in Advocacy as a Medical Student

I wanted to write this post last week, but I had to play some serious catch-up with school work instead. I shared a little bit about the conference I attended in D.C. and the amazing celebs I met (!!) but I wanted to let you in about why I attended in the first place and why I think more medical students should be engaged in advocacy.

Prior to medical school, I worked at a policy non-profit in D.C. for three years. Part of my job included meeting with Congressional staff and legislators and running workshops to give high schoolers and adults the skills to be an advocate at the local, state, and federal level. I loved teaching about the basics of government, a little bit about a policy issue, and giving some tips for effective advocacy. [I’ll be back soon with my tips for effective advocacy!]

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I Miss My 45-Minute Walking Commute

I Miss My 45-Minute Walking Commute

This past week has been a whirlwind — it started with an exam and ended with my official induction into the medical profession at my medical school pinning ceremony. It’s been wonderful to have my whole family in town to celebrate and it’s kept me from staring at a screen all weekend. It has been a very welcome break from technology.

I’ll be back later this week to share about the pinning ceremony, but I wanted to make sure you had some podcast recommendations for your morning and evening commutes this week!

When I was in graduate school, I used to listen to at least two podcasts episodes a day — I walked the nearly 45 minutes from my apartment to work/school each morning and evening to get fresh air, but also it was faster than any public transportation option. Honestly, I actually really miss that walking commute. It was so good for my mental health to be outside each day, rain or shine. To say my podcast habits have shifted would be an understatement; if I get through two podcast episodes in one week, it’s a success. But, I still have some great recommendations for you!

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On a Scale of Pass to Fail, Many Medical Schools Fail Students on Health Policy

On a Scale of Pass to Fail, Many Medical Schools Fail Students on Health Policy

We are in a time when physicians are increasingly speaking the language of health policy and public health — “value-based care,” “co-payment,” “social determinants of health,” “accountable care organization” — and are increasingly asked by patients to ensure that a particular treatment or procedure is covered by their insurance before moving forward. This dizzying list of health policy terms (and the responsibility of a physician to understand the lingo) just keeps growing. And there is no better time to introduce students to this world than in medical school, when they are primed for learning and not yet overwhelmed with patient care.

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The Slow Rise of Telehealth

The Slow Rise of Telehealth

One of the reasons I wake up early each day is to have (hopefully) around 30 minutes to catch up on the news or some health policy research. Today I hit the snooze button a few too many times, but still managed to sneak in a glance through the December issue of Health Affairs. This month is all about telehealth — the practice of medicine utilizing a range to technologies to connect health professionals to each other and their patients.

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