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December 2022

Biden Administration Continues to Expand Affordable Coverage and Protect Consumers

Washington DC — Yesterday, the Biden administration’s fix to the “family glitch” took effect, which will expand coverage and lower costs for more than one million Americans. This new rule means that more families can access premium subsidies for coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces. Fixing the family glitch will especially help children, people of color, rural Americans, and low-income families afford the health care they need. 

The news comes as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2024, which takes important steps to make ACA coverage more accessible, affordable, and equitable for the American people. Specifically, the new rules will expand access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment, promote prescription drug affordability, and make it easier for patients to enroll in and maintain their health insurance. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“President Biden is delivering on his promise to expand affordable health care for the American people. Fixing the ‘family glitch’ will build on the administration’s work to increase coverage, lower costs, and make health care more equitable. This step alone could save families hundreds of dollars a month on their insurance, giving them more breathing room to pay for other necessities. Meanwhile, new ACA rules from CMS will help ensure patients have access to critical treatments. At a time when ACA coverage is already more affordable than ever before and the uninsured rate is at an all-time low, these steps will only go further to improve the health and well-being of families nationwide.” 

Fixing the ‘Family Glitch’ Will Deliver Relief Families Nationwide:

The “Family Glitch” Impacts Millions of Americans. Millions of Americans qualify for affordable employer health coverage and are therefore not eligible for ACA premium savings on the Marketplace. However, as workers add dependents onto their health coverage, premiums rise, pushing the total cost of health coverage far beyond the percentage of income stipulated by the ACA. Because of the Family Glitch, workers are not eligible to receive premium subsidies through a Marketplace plan. It is estimated to impact more than five million Americans. 

Fixing The Family Glitch Benefits Children & Improves Health Equity. Of the estimated 5.1 million Americans in the family glitch, the vast majority are relatively low-income and 2.8 million are children who are not eligible for CHIP. This puts families in the terrible situation of having to choose between health insurance for their children and other necessities. Lack of affordability continues to be a significant barrier to health coverage and an obstacle that must be addressed to reduce health inequities. Fixing the family glitch will especially help people of color, rural Americans, and low-income families access the health care they need. 

Families Could Save Hundreds Of Dollars Per Month. A Health Affairs study estimated Americans in the family glitch pay an average of 15.8 percent of their income towards health premiums, nearly double what is permitted under the ACA. President Biden has proposed a rule that would eliminate the family glitch and allow families to purchase affordable coverage on the Marketplace with premium tax credits. Under this rule, 200,000 uninsured Americans would gain coverage and many families would save hundreds of dollars each much on health premiums.

THIS WEEK: HHS Regional Directors and Health Care Advocates Join Protect Our Care For Events in Georgia, Minnesota, and Michigan to Discuss Affordable Health Care During Open Enrollment


HHS Regional Directors Antrell Tyson and Joseph Palm, HHS Executive Officer Dennis González, State Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-MI-19), and Health Care Advocates to Discuss ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment in Georgia, Minnesota, and Michigan

This week, Protect Our Care will host events in three states with two regional directors and one executive officer of Health and Human Services, state officials, and health care advocates to discuss the ACA Open Enrollment 2023 period which began on November 1, 2022.

The Inflation Reduction Act will keep health care costs low for 13 million families purchasing plans through the ACA marketplace this year. On average, families will save thousands of dollars a year on health care, giving them the much-needed ability to pay for other essentials like rent, groceries, and gas.

Antrell Tyson, Health and Human Services Regional Director, Region 4
Treylin Cooley, Affordable Care Act Navigator with Georgians for a Healthy Future
Himali Patel, Affordable Care Act Enrollee
Joe Binns, Protect Our Care State Director
WHAT: Virtual Press Conference on 2023 Open Enrollment
WHEN: December 13, 2022, at 10 AM EST
WHERE: Register to join the Zoom event (Registration required)

Joseph Palm, Health and Human Services Regional Director, Region 7
Nate Clark, MNsure CEO
Peter Orth, founder of American Senior Benefits
Protect our Care MN
WHAT: Press Conference on 2023 Open Enrollment
WHEN: December 13, 2022, at 10 AM EST
WHERE: Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN, Press Conference Room B971 (basement of the MN State Capitol)

State Rep. Laurie Pohutsky 
Dennis González, Executive Officer – Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Amber Bellazaire, Policy Analyst at the Michigan League for Public Policy
Mindy Smith, Program Coordinator and Certified Navigator, Affordable Care Act, Ingham County
WHAT: Virtual Press Conference on 2023 Open Enrollment
WHEN: December 14, 2022, at 11:30 AM EST
WHERE: Register to join the Zoom event (Registration required)

REMINDER: Millions Can Get Covered for Less on the ACA Marketplaces Through December 15

Coverage is More Affordable Than Ever Before Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act 

Thursday, December 15 marks the end of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces in most states. While some state-based exchanges allow for enrollment beyond this deadline, there has never been a better time to get covered. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, high-quality coverage through the ACA marketplaces is more affordable than ever before. 

The Inflation Reduction Act lowers health care costs and expands coverage to millions of Americans. In 2021, the American Rescue Plan expanded premium subsidy eligibility to those making over 400 percent of the federal poverty line and capped premium costs at 8.5 percent of family income across the board. The Inflation Reduction Act extends those subsidies through 2025, keeping a lifeline available for families across the country. A record number of Americans are now covered under the ACA, with 13 million Americans saving an average of $800 per year on health care.

These enhanced premium subsidies, as well as substantial funding increases for Marketplace education and outreach, have boosted the number of people of color who are now covered by health insurance. Black Americans saw a nearly 50 percent increase in health care enrollment since 2020, Hispanic Americans saw a 53 percent increase, and Alaska Native Americans saw 32 percent increase. 

President Biden and Democrats in Congress have been laser-focused on making health care more affordable for Americans. Ahead of this open enrollment period, the Biden administration announced the single-largest investment ever in the Navigators program to help connect even more people to coverage, with a focus on outreach to racial and ethnic minorities, people in rural communities, LGBTQ+ communities, and other particularly underserved communities. President Biden also finalized a fix to the “family glitch,” which will allow even more families to access affordable coverage. 

The open enrollment period is crucial for not only those looking for coverage but also for families who may already be covered. At a time of rising costs, even people who already have health coverage should go to to check if more affordable options are available to them.

BY THE NUMBERS: Americans Will Save Big On Health Care

  • In 2021, 14.5 million people signed up for coverage through an ACA marketplace, the highest number of Americans to ever enroll during open enrollment
    • Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, 3 million more Americans will gain health insurance
  • 4 out of 5 enrollees qualify for a marketplace plan that is $10 or less per month
  • 13 million Americans, or 89 percent of people with an ACA plan, will save an average of $800 per year and $2,400 per family on health insurance premiums

What’s New This Open Enrollment:

Caps on the Amount of Money Families Pay for Health Insurance. The Inflation Reduction Act ensures families pay no more than 8.5 percent of their income towards coverage. This helps middle and working-class families, as well as older Americans, who have traditionally faced excessive premiums or live in high-premium areas. Before these expanded subsidies, middle-class families spent an average of 15 percent of their incomes on health insurance. 

No More Family Glitch. The Biden administration implemented a new rule to fix the “family glitch,” which blocked families from receiving premium subsidies if someone in their household had access to health care through employment, even if the whole family wasn’t covered by that insurance. The new rule will more realistically determine what is considered affordable for families, allowing an additional 1 million people to be eligible for affordable health care on the marketplace and receive premium subsidies. 

Eliminating Premiums For Low-Wage Workers. The Inflation Reduction Act ensures no American with an income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level buying their coverage on the Marketplace pays a premium.

Making Health Care More Equitable For The American People:

Expanding Coverage for Communities of Color. The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities estimates the increased savings continued under the Inflation Reduction Act will cause a sharp decline in the uninsured rate across every racial group, with one in three uninsured Black adults expected to gain coverage. The premium savings continued in the Inflation Reduction Act have made more than 65 percent of uninsured Black adults eligible for zero-dollar premium plans and 75 percent eligible for plans less than $50 a month. For uninsured Hispanic and Latino adults, now more than 68 percent are eligible for zero-dollar premium plans and nearly 80 percent can access plans for less than $50 a month. Health coverage is imperative to reducing racial disparities across the nation. 

Cutting Costs For Rural America. Thanks to the provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, roughly 65 percent of rural Americans have access to zero-dollar premium health coverage, and more than 76 percent are able to find a plan for less than $50 a month, narrowing the coverage differences between rural and urban America.

What The Biden Administration And The Inflation Reduction Act Are Doing For American Health Care

President Biden and Congressional Democrats fought tirelessly to pass the health care investments included in the Inflation Reduction Act. This historic legislation reduces the cost of prescription drugs by reining in Big Pharma and slashes costs for millions of Americans purchasing coverage on their own through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces. Not only does this law address our most pressing health care challenges, it puts downward pressure on rising costs and was backed by more than 120 world renowned economists. 

Health care lies at the heart of the Inflation Reduction Act, and the law’s provisions to reduce costs and expand care are overwhelmingly popular with voters across the political spectrum. The Inflation Reduction Act reduces racial inequities in health care, improves the health and well-being of seniors and people with disabilities, strengthens families, and saves lives. 

By The Numbers:

  • 49 million Medicare Part D beneficiaries will have out of pocket costs for prescription drugs capped at $2,000 per year beginning in 2025.
  • 80 prescription drugs will have Medicare price negotiation by 2030.
  • $35 insulin copays for Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes beginning in 2023.
  • 13 million Americans will save on their health insurance premiums immediately. 
  • $2,400 in average annual savings on health insurance premiums.

The Inflation Reduction Act Lowers Prescription Drug Prices

Gives Medicare The Power To Negotiate Lower Drug Prices. For nearly 20 years, Medicare has been banned from negotiating the price of prescription drugs for seniors, and Big Pharma has been able to dictate prices while Americans pay three times more for their medications than people in other countries. Under the Inflation Reduction Act, Medicare is empowered to negotiate prices for select drugs for Medicare Part D’s 49 million beneficiaries. Beginning in 2026, 10 drugs will be negotiated with that number increasing to 15 drugs in 2027, and 20 drugs in 2029 and into the future. By 2030, more than 80 drugs will be eligible for Medicare price negotiation, in addition to insulin products. 

Caps Out-Of-Pocket Spending For Seniors. Seniors with serious conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis could save thousands of dollars on prescriptions under the Inflation Reduction Act, which will help the more than 1.4 million Medicare enrollees who paid more than $2,000 in out-of-pocket costs in 2020. Medicare Part D out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs will be capped at $2,000 per year beginning in 2025. The bill will also allow out-of-pocket spending to be smoothed over the course of the year beginning in 2025, so patients are not forced to pay the entirety of their out-of-pocket cost all at one time.  

Makes Insulin Accessible And Affordable. Insulin copays for Medicare beneficiaries will also be capped at $35 each month starting in 2023.

Puts An End To Outrageous Price Increases. The Inflation Reduction Act stops Big Pharma from raising Medicare drug prices faster than the rate of inflation beginning NOW. For example, Humira, a medication commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, is one of the nation’s highest revenue generating drugs, raking in $21 billion in sales in 2019. AbbVie, Humira’s manufacturer, has hiked the price of Humira 27 times, including in January 2021 when it raised its cost by 7.4 percent. Over the past 20 years, price increases for brand-name drugs in Medicare Part D have risen at more than twice the rate of inflation.

The Inflation Reduction Act Lowers Health Insurance Premiums

Lowers Health Insurance Premiums for Millions of Americans. A record breaking 14.5 million Americans enrolled in an ACA marketplace plan in 2021. Right now, nearly 13 million people, or 89 percent with an ACA plan, are receiving enhanced premium tax credits, making their coverage affordable and accessible. The Inflation Reduction Act saves the average American family $2,400 a year and is extended through 2025. After two years of these subsidies, the Department of Health and Human Services released an analysis showing that just 8 percent of Americans lacked health insurance at the beginning of 2022 — an all-time low for the nation. 

Caps the Amount of Money Families Pay for Health Insurance. The Inflation Reduction Act ensures families pay no more than 8.5 percent of their income towards coverage. This helps middle and working class families facing excessive premiums or living in high-premium areas. Before the American Rescue Plan, middle class families spent an average of 15 percent of their incomes on health insurance. The subsidies are designed to benefit those who need it most, and they are already means tested, which means the higher your income, the smaller your tax credits become. A family whose health insurance premiums alone — not including deductibles — are less than 8.5 percent of their income receive no tax credits at all. 

Addresses Health Care Equity By Expanding Coverage for Communities of Color. The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities estimates the increased savings continued under the Inflation Reduction Act will cause a sharp decline in the uninsured rate across every racial group, with one in three uninsured Black adults gaining coverage. Prior to the American Rescue Plan, more than 11 million uninsured adults were eligible for premium tax credits, with people of color making up roughly half of the group. The premium savings provided in the American Rescue Plan have made more than 65 percent of uninsured Black adults eligible for zero dollar premium plans and 75 percent eligible for plans less than $50 a month. For uninsured Hispanic and Latino adults, now more than 68 percent are eligible for zero dollar premium plans and nearly 80 percent can access plans for less than $50 a month. Health coverage access is imperative to reducing racial disparities in health coverage across the nation. 

Eliminates Premiums For Low-Wage Workers. The Inflation Reduction Act ensures no American with an income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level buying their coverage on the Marketplace pays a premium.

Cuts Costs For Rural America. Thanks to the provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, roughly 65 percent of rural Americans will have access to zero dollar premium health coverage and more than 76 percent will be able to find a plan for less than $50 a month, narrowing the coverage differences between rural and urban America.

Georgia Reelects Reverend Raphael Warnock, Sending Back a Fearless Health Care Champion to the Senate

Washington DC — Today, Georgia voters elected Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), supporting a true health care champion and expanding the Democratic majority in the Senate. Warnock campaigned on his health care record in the Senate and his continued advocacy for making health care a right for every American. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement

“Senator Reverend Warnock has already made his mark as a health care champion in the U.S. Senate. Warnock helped deliver lower prescription drug and insulin costs for seniors, extended premium savings for hardworking families, and ensured better care for millions in the future. He will continue to advocate for expanding Medicaid and protecting abortion access in Georgia and across the nation. Once again, Georgia voters rejected the Republican agenda of raising health care costs and ripping away critical protections. Mirroring other tough races across the country, this runoff sent a clear message: protecting and expanding access to affordable health care is a top priority for the American people.” 

Senator Reverend Warnock Ran and Won on Health Care.

  • Warnock Travels Throughout Georgia Touting Health Care Record. “His pitch to voters was heavy on accomplishments during his brief time in office, touting legislation that lowered health care costs for senior citizens and painting himself as a champion of bipartisan problem solving in a gridlocked Congress.” [NPR, 11/9/22]
  • Warnock Touts Lower Insulin Costs As He Makes Final Pitch to Georgia Voters. “The pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta has pitched himself as willing to work across the aisle on policy that benefits Georgians, touting lowered health care costs for insulin and other legislative victories since winning in a Jan. 2021 special election runoff.” [GPB, 12/2/22]
  • Warnock Holds Rally for Supporters of His Health Care Policies. “Sen. Raphael Warnock gathered a crowd of about 100 people to one of his final campaign stops in Talbotton before Election Day. Melinda Milner was an attendee at the rally and she told WRBL she supports Sen. Warnock strongly for his healthcare bill that would affect diabetics across the Peach State. ‘We do need healthcare here. I am a diabetic and I’ve been one for four years and it’s hard to get service from anyone,’ said Milner.” [WRBL, 11/7/22]

Senator Raphael Warnock is a Health Care Champion. Some of Senator Reverend Warnock’s most influential policies passed while in Congress have been to lower costs and to expand health care access to more Americans than ever before. 

  • Sen. Warnock voted for the Inflation Reduction Act, which will lower health care costs for millions of Americans. The Inflation Reduction Act is the most historic piece of health care legislation since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which has allowed over 700,000 Georgians to access quality and affordable health care. Due to its passage the HHS estimates that 2,954,000 more Americans including nearly half a million Black Americans, will have access to health insurance next year compared to without the Inflation Reduction Act. With Georgian Medicare beneficiaries spending, on average, $591 annually, the $35 a month insulin cap introduced by Senator Warnock will save Georgian seniors hundreds every year. Additionally, a projected one in three of uninsured Black adults will gain coverage over the lifetime of this legislation, making it one of the largest balancers of racial health equity in history. This legislation works to reduce the urban-rural health divide by providing over three-quarters of rural Americans with access to health care plans for less than $50 a month. In all, around 46.6 million Americans will see their health care costs fall directly due to the Inflation Reduction Act, with millions more likely seeing their costs fall as this reverberates through health care markets.
  • Sen. Warnock introduced legislation with Sen. Booker aimed at advancing health equity. The Health Equity and Accountability Act works to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities throughout the U.S. health care system through the strengthening of data collection for health outcomes among marginalized groups, improving the diversity of the workforce within the health care system, and improving health care access to historically marginalized groups. Senator Warnock has reached across the aisle and through chambers of Congress to help improve racial health equity for Georgians and all Americans.
  • Sen. Warnock voted for an amendment expanding Medicare coverage for dental, hearing, and vision. Although amendment S.Amdt. 5211 was rejected, Senator Warnock took a stand with fellow Senators Ossoff and Sanders to continue the fight to expand all types of health care coverage for all Americans.
  • Sen. Warnock reached across the aisle to pass legislation increasing mental health funding for children and families. Under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, Senator Warnock was able to work with multiple Republican Senators to increase federal investment for child and family mental health. It appropriates $250 million to states to expand mental health services, $120 million for community member and first responder training for mental illness, $80 million in grants for pediatric primary care providers, $60 million for mental health training for clinicians, and more all aimed at increasing mental health awareness and treatment.

Sen. Warnock voted for the American Rescue Plan which helped significantly lower health costs for Georgians. Thanks to the passage of the American Rescue Plan, uninsured rates have fallen to some of the lowest levels in history. This is due in part to the premium tax credits which allowed for millions of more Americans to access quality and affordable health care for the first time, as well as other systemic factors such as the child tax credits which helped ease the cost-burden of childcare on families and raised millions out of poverty. Senator Warnock was a critical vote for the American Rescue Plan and it would not have passed without his support.

This Week on Health Equity

This week, we spotlight state-level action to better measure the impact of equity programs, other health equity initiatives across the nation, and new global and national research that underscores the urgency of these issues. Protect Our Care is committed to making health care a right for every American. 

Addressing systemic racial, ethnic, and other inequities in health care is among the most pressing issues in America. The causes of these inequities, and the corresponding actions needed to tackle them head on, are multi-faceted. As it stands, marginalized communities, including people of color, rural Americans, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities, face worse access to quality, affordable health coverage, which contributes to dangerous health outcomes.


Bloomberg: New York to Require Data on Health Equity From Insurers. “Adrienne A. Harris, superintendent of the Department of Financial Services, has issued a mandatory request for information to health insurers to gauge the impact of programs aimed at reducing health disparities, according to New York State DFS Wednesday. Information on race/ethnicity and language data collection efforts, health equity programs, and workforce initiative has been requested, said the department. This RFI plans to identify programs and best practices to address the industry-wide issue, DFS said.” [Bloomberg, 11/30/22]

Delaware Business Times: With NIH Grant, DSU to Open Up New Health Equity Research Center. “The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded DSU with a $18.36 million research grant over the course of five years, which will aid in bringing researchers to the HBCU to study health disparities in the state, particularly on underserved populations. Identified research projects include: how social determinants impact sleep health; integrating low-cost immunotherapeutics to treat triple negative Breast Cancer; and machine learning-based imaging biomarkers for metabolic and age-related diseases.” [Delaware Business Times, 12/1/22]

Pittsburgh Business Times: UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Increases Focus on Addressing Health Equity. “Researchers continue to make significant advancements in the arenas of cancer prevention, early detection and treatment. Unfortunately, social and economic factors still play a big role in determining the access patients have to such innovations. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is expanding its focus on health equity. The organization recently hired a leading researcher in the field, Monica Baskin, Ph.D., to serve as associate director of community outreach and engagement and associate director for health equity. She spent two decades leading a nationally recognized research program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham that developed programs to reduce racial and geographic disparities associated with cancer.” [Pittsburgh Business Times, 11/28/22]

WBOC: Worcester County Health Department Awarded Grant from Maryland to Address COVID-Related Health Disparities. “The health department said that during the pandemic, routine preventive health screenings and care were often delayed. The goal of this new project is to increase access to and participation in health screenings, education programs, and the adoption of healthy lifestyles. The project will address social determinants of health which are the environmental conditions where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship that affect health outcomes. This includes factors like socioeconomic status, education, physical environment, employment, social support networks, and access to care.” [WBOC, 11/30/22]

Akron Beacon Journal: Local Clinic Helping to Significantly Reduce Racial Health Disparities. “The ICARE program, which stands for Integrating Clinical and Resource Evaluations, is funded through donations at Akron General. It is part of a larger campaign called Neighbor to Neighbor, which was launched in 2020 by Akron General President Brian Harte to specifically address health disparities in Summit County. So far, more than $2 million has been raised for the program, which includes efforts to address infant mortality and the Center for Family Medicine, which addresses health disparities and chronic diseases at its clinic. The goal of Akron General’s new program is to have someone, and hopefully eventually a larger team, helping patients through the “complex fragmented health care ecosystem,” which often has gaps that people fall through and to close those gaps, Harte said. Harte hopes Neighbor to Neighbor and programs such as ICARE can be a model for similar program at other Cleveland Clinic locations as well as other area health systems.” [Akron Beacon Journal, 12/2/22]


World Health Organization: Release of the Global report on Health Equity for Persons with Disabilities. “An estimated 1.3 billion people – or 16% of global population worldwide – experience a significant disability today. [T]he WHO Global report on health equity for persons with disabilities demonstrates that while some progress has been made in recent years, the world is still far from realizing this right for many persons with disabilities who continue to die earlier, have poorer health, and experience more limitations in everyday functioning than others. These poor health outcomes are due to unfair conditions faced by persons with disabilities in all facets of life, including in the health system itself.” [WHO, 12/2/22]

Montgomery Advertiser: 50 Years on, Racial Health Disparities Still Remain Due to the Unethical “Tuskegee Syphilis Study.” “Fifty years after officials halted one of the most unethical public health studies in United States history, the societal effects of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and the health injustices it represents remain prevalent in the area, according to new research from Tulane University and Auburn University. From 1932 until 1972, doctors from the U.S. Public Health Service ran a study in Macon County that included 600 Black men, many of whom were sharecroppers and had never been to a doctor’s office. Of that number, 399 of the men had the bacterial infection syphilis, and the remaining 201 men did not. Doctors told all of them that they were being treated for “bad blood.” About 11 years into the study, penicillin became the widely available treatment for syphilis. However, the doctors in Tuskegee opted not to provide effective care to the participants, instead watching them suffer from severe side effects from their untreated infection with the goal of tracking syphilis’ progression to death. In a summary of his work, Chae states that almost half of the Black population living in rural areas across the country resides in high-poverty counties, whereas about 10% of the rural white population lives in high-poverty counties. This proves true when comparing Macon County to surrounding counties. In the summary of the study’s findings, Chae states that some residents were “understandably skeptical of participating in this work.” He attributes the skepticism in part to the lingering impact of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Its effects have played out in more ways than one, including contributing to the mistrust of the COVID vaccine among Black Americans. Still, Chae said residents were committed to making their communities healthier.” [Montgomery Advertiser, 11/27/22]

Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research: Inequalities in U.S. Infant and Maternal Mortality Rates Point to Access Issues Due to Structural Racism. “Newly released research from Stanford’s Petra Persson and Maya Rossin-Slater finds that… Black mothers and their newborns of all income levels do significantly worse, health-wise, than their white counterparts. The disparities identified in the study of California births are so large, in fact, that Black women and their infants of the highest-income households fare worse on average than the lowest-income white mothers and their infants.That Black mothers and their newborns at all income levels are worse off than whites is one of several remarkable insights from the study about inequality in infant and maternal health. The study, released this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, also compares the patterns in California to those found in Sweden, a country known for its universal health care system and high performance on international health rankings. The researchers find that even the richest mothers and newborns in California fare worse along multiple measures of health than the poorest mothers and newborns in Sweden.” [SIEPR, 11/28/22]

USA Today: Children of Color Less Likely to Receive Elective Pediatric Surgery. “Latino, Black and Asian children are less likely to undergo elective surgeries compared with white children, according to a recent study. The study, published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, analyzed data on more than 200,000 children from a national health survey of parents. Roughly 10,000 of those children reportedly had  surgery. Between 40% and 60% fewer surgeries were reported by parents of Black, Asian and Latino children, and Latino children were more likely to have emergency surgery. The research shows children of color could be suffering amid delays in important surgical interventions, experts say.” [USA Today, 12/2/22]

Forbes: AI Used in Health Care Often Leave Minority Patients Behind. “[T]he desire to see data and AI used to transform the way we receive healthcare remains high [but] research from the University of Michigan reminds us that such an approach is only as strong as the data behind it, and that this could freeze out minority patients and lead to growing health inequalities. This is because the data that is used to train AI systems is either not representative of the diverse population or reflects what is already unequal care.” [Forbes, 12/2/22]

Fierce BioTech: Lung Cancer Racial Disparities Start at the Research Level. “Although it is well documented that Black smokers develop lung cancer at younger ages than white smokers even when they smoke fewer cigarettes, the guidelines that doctors use to recommend patients for screening have been slow to reflect the disparity. But screening is only part of the issue, said experts who evaluate what happens both before and after a person is checked for signs of cancer. Researchers are concerned about the lack of diverse representation in the clinical studies on which the screening recommendations are based. For example, about 13% of the U.S population is Black but Black people made up just 4.4% of participants in the National Lung Screening Trial, a large, multiyear study in the early 2000s that looked at whether screening with low-dose CT scans could reduce mortality from lung cancer. But a 2019 study published in JAMA Oncology found that under those parameters, 68% of Black smokers would have been ineligible for screening at the time of their lung cancer diagnosis, compared with 44 percent of white smokers. In 2021, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force lowered the recommended screening age for lung cancer to 50 and reduced the number of pack years to 20.” [Fierce BioTech, 12/1/22]

Top Patient and Provider Groups Sound the Alarm to Protect Preventive Care Relied on by Millions of Americans

The Braidwood Management v. Becerra Lawsuit Puts Lifesaving Care for Millions At Risk

Washington DC — This week, two dozen patient and provider groups filed briefs warning that eliminating free preventive care services under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) puts the health and well-being of millions of patients at risk. The briefs follow a response from the Biden administration against the ideologically driven lawsuit seeking to rip away core preventive health protections. The Braidwood Management (formerly Kelley) v. Becerra lawsuit threatens the ACA requirement that guarantees free access to over 100 preventive health services, including health screenings, routine vaccinations, well baby and child visits, prenatal care, contraception, and more. In 2020 alone, more than 150 million Americans used these services.

In September, Judge Reed O’Connor ruled against a key set of preventive services covered under the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, including lifesaving colorectal and other cancer screenings, depression screenings, hypertension screenings, and access to PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). The conservative plaintiffs, backed by right-wing legal activists, have called on Judge O’Connor to throw out all of the guaranteed preventive services under the ACA.  In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“This is a politically-driven lawsuit that threatens the health and financial security of millions of Americans. If the plaintiffs get their way, American families will once again be at the mercy of their insurance companies and employers, who could make it harder to access cancer screenings, prenatal care, vaccinations, and more. Free preventive care has become a bedrock of the American health care system, improving health outcomes, reducing inequities, cutting consumer health care costs, and saving lives. Without free access to preventive care, Americans will face impossible choices between going to the doctor for routine cancer screenings and paying groceries and housing.”  

More From The Briefs:

Patient Groups Led By The American Cancer Society: “Ending No-Cost Access To Proven Preventive Services Nationwide Would Have A Profoundly Negative Effect On The Ability Of Millions Of Patients To Get The Care They Need.” “Ending no-cost access to proven preventive services nationwide would have a profoundly negative effect on the ability of millions of patients to get the care they need in a timely and effective manner. Numerous research studies have proven the benefits of these services. They ensure people can prevent, detect and treat their conditions as early as possible, improving health outcomes and saving patients and the health care system money. Whether it’s a doctor-recommended colonoscopy that finds a polyp before it becomes cancer, a low dose CT scan that identifies early stage lung cancer, a screening for diabetes that saves someone from developing potentially life-threatening kidney disease, a blood pressure test that alerts someone to their increased risk for a heart attack, smoking cessation services that help someone end a tobacco addiction, or medication that prevents the acquisition of HIV, these services are critical to people’s health.” [American Cancer Society, 11/30/22]

  • The following patient groups signed the brief: American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Kidney Fund, American Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, CancerCare, Cancer Support Community, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, Hemophilia Federation of America, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, National Minority Quality Forum, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Patient Advocate Foundation, The Aids Institute and WomenHeart.

Physicians Organizations Led By The American Medical Association: “No-Cost Preventive Care Saves Lives, Saves Money, Improves Health Outcomes, And Enables Healthier Lifestyles.” “The research is clear: no-cost preventive care saves lives, saves money, improves health outcomes, and enables healthier lifestyles. As medical professionals, amici know that preventive care can mean the difference between kicking a smoking habit or living with a heightened risk of dozens of illnesses; between taking a statin or suffering a life-changing heart attack; between providing essential prenatal care and screening or leaving children behind; and between catching a patient’s cancer early or catching it after it’s too late. Identifying and treating conditions before they worsen, or before they present at all, yields better outcomes for patients and saves money for the health system overall.” [American Medical Association, 12/1/22

  • The following provider groups signed the brief: The American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, The American Medical Women’s Association, The Infectious Diseases Society of America, The National Medical Association, and The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.