Monday Health Blog Roundup
by The Opportunity Agenda, Mon Jun 09, 2008 at 09:10:28 AM EDT
* The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee is holding a meeting on disparities in health and health care in the United States. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, June 10 at 10:00 am in the main committee hearing room, 1100 Longworth House Office Building. Individuals not scheduled to give oral testimony at the hearing are able to submit a written report to the Committee. Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark (D-CA) said upon announcing the hearing:
While we can make a big dent in addressing disparities by getting everyone covered, we must recognize that these issues transcend access to coverage. We must pay special attention to ensure access to care and good outcomes for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity.
The Opportunity Agenda has been extensively involved in researching health disparities in the U.S. We collaborated with a number of organizations in publishing the CERD Working Group Report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, titled "Unequal Health Outcomes in the United States." The report, which can be accessed here, details the extent of racial and ethnic disparities in health care treatment and access, the role of social and environmental determinants of health, and the responsibility of the state.
In addition, The Commonwealth Fund issued a report, "Identifying and Evaluating Equity Provisions in State Health Care Reform," that was written by Brian Smedley and Betty Alvarez of The Opportunity Agenda along with Rea Panares, Cheryl Fish-Parcham, and Sara Adland from Families USA. The Report, which analyzes how recent state health care reforms have targeted health inequalities and disparities, can be accessed at The Commonwealth Fund website.
* On June 3 The New York Times published an article discussing the recent Urban Institute study on the introduction of mandatory health coverage in Massachusetts. The study, which was published in the Health Affairs and can be accessed here, found that Massachusetts was able to cut its uninsured population in half within the first year of instituting mandatory health coverage. The study also found that Massachusetts made significant gains in expanding access to routine preventative care. The NY Times analysis of the study emphasizes that:
Indeed, contrary to national trends, the share of residents receiving insurance through their employers increased in Massachusetts by nearly three percentage points from fall 2006 to fall 2007. Nationally, the percentages of employers that offer benefits and of workers who receive them have been sliding steadily throughout the decade.
* A recent Trusted.MD posting titled Where Shall We Turn For Leadership in REAL Wellness? contemplates the future of REAL Wellness in the U.S. According to Trusted.MD, health and wellbeing education has seen more expansion and innovation in countries in Europe, as well as Brazil, Australia and Japan, than it has in the U.S. Wellness education, which is an integral part of improving the quality of life of all Americans, is not focused on as much in the U.S. as it is in other countries. Trusted.MD says:
The whole point of wellness should be to promote/facilitate and otherwise boost this mission - better life quality. Corporate wellness programming today, at least in the US, is weighed down with features designed to reduce company health insurance costs. These efforts are well and good and should be continued. However, expanded endeavors would follow if wellness were recognized as larger than a health concern. With a greater perspective and higher expectations, the orientation would not be limited to testing, monitoring, lecturing, pressuring or even coaching and mentoring.