Throughout our nation’s history, the strength of our country has been deeply rooted in the daily acts of service that so many people render to their communities and their loved ones. Yet for others, the right to realize their full potential, as citizens and as unique individuals, is endangered by the overwhelming limitations imposed upon them by poor health.
In 2014, Catherine Horine developed a persistent cough that would not go away. Within three months of first seeking treatment for the cough, even though her doctors had been unable to find a cause for her cough, they told her she would not live to see the end of the year without a lung transplant. At that time, Catherine was diagnosed with idiopathic bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare and irreversible disease that is extremely difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mimic chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The condition causes inflammation and blocks airways in the lungs.
Not measuring and paying for equity risks worsening disparities and it is a key missed opportunity for reducing disparities. This issue brief describes actionable opportunities at the state and federal level to measure and pay for equity.
It took Zoey Salsbury six years to get an incorrect diagnosis for her constant pelvic and joint pain.
The first time she mentioned her pain to her doctor, during her freshman year of high school, her pain was dismissed as “growing pains.” She remembers thinking, “Well this growing thing is absolute [garbage] if this is how it feels.”
Broad bipartisan majorities in the Maryland Senate and House, by margins of 46-0 and 120-9, have approved legislation to establish a simple and seamless system for obtaining health coverage. Under the bill, an uninsured Marylander can start the enrollment process by simply checking a box on their state income tax return. That single step will let the state’s health care exchange determine eligibility for free or low-cost health insurance, based on information in the tax return. Those who qualify for Medicaid will be enrolled automatically.
On March 14, 2019, federal judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will hear oral arguments on the legality of Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky. The Arkansas work requirement program took effect June 1, 2018, resulting in approximately 18,000 people losing Medicaid coverage so far; it is estimated an additional 30,000 people will lose coverage if the program continues in 2019.
Throughout American history, the tenacity that women advocates have shown in combating systematic inequities has proved to be an invaluable source of inspiration for each successive generation of health care activists. The significance of this legacy is well-captured in a quote from the late Dr. Gerta Lerner, an esteemed scholar of Women’s History, and a lifelong advocate for women’s rights: “Women’s history is women’s right — an essential, indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and a long-range vision.”
This guide outlines model policies for states to consider to rein in drug prices in 2019 and beyond. Those discussed first most directly target drug prices and therefore are likely to have the greatest impact. This piece also cautions against prioritizing approaches to import drugs from Canada, as these policies are less likely to bring savings despite their public appeal.