5 Things to Read on Health Care Access

Our roundup includes needle exchanges, Medicaid work requirements, why some parents are pulling their children out of Medicaid, and a new legal debate over coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Needle exchanges, though successful, are banned in 15 states

Needle exchanges provide clean syringes and give people a place to dispose of dirty ones. Despite the fact that several studies show such programs to be key to the success of fighting the opioid epidemic and bloodborne diseases associated with shooting up, they’re illegal in 15 states, Vox reports.

Dr. Atul Gawande on finding humanity in health care

Dr. Atul Gawande, noted surgeon, author, public health researcher and newly named leader of the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan Chase health care partnership, addressed a crowd of medical school graduates on June 1. He explored the unique position providers have in society, rubbing shoulders with people from all walks of life. “The foundational principle of medicine, going back centuries, is that all lives are of equal worth,” he said. “You don’t have to like or trust everyone to believe their lives are worth preserving.” Read his full speech in The New Yorker.

Immigrant parents pull children out of Medicaid over deportation fears

Undocumented immigrants have started to withdraw their children from Medicaid and other government support systems because they are scared they’ll be deported, NPR reports. Some claim Texas changed the applications for those programs — now, “they are investigating one’s life from head to toe,” one mother told NPR. One statistic of note: about 10 million children who are United States citizens have at least one parent who is not a citizen.

5 key points on Medicaid work requirements

In January, the Trump administration granted states permission to require people to work or volunteer to be eligible for Medicaid. Those work requirements are currently facing a legal battle in federal court. Kaiser Health News breaks down five key points about work requirements and the pending legal battle.

New legal arguments over coverage for preexisting conditions

About 52 million people in the U.S. have a pre-existing condition, and under the Affordable Care Act they can’t be denied health care coverage because of those conditions. In a recent court filing in a lawsuit against the ACA, the U.S. Department of Justice took the position that the pre-existing condition rule is invalid now that Congress has eliminated the tax penalty for failing to have coverage. Larry Levitt, a health care researcher with the Kaiser Family Foundation, gives details in News @ JAMA.

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