Underfunded And Under Threat
Hollowed-out public health system faces more cuts amid virus.
For new medical residents, this has been a year like no other. In part that’s because getting from here to there — from medical school to residency training sites — has been complicated by the coronavirus.
To assess the state of the public health system in the United States, KHN and The Associated Press analyzed data on government spending and staffing at national, state and local levels. Here’s what data we used and how we did it.
KHN and The Associated Press sought to understand how decades of cuts to public health departments by federal, state and local governments has affected the system meant to protect the nation’s health. Here are six key takeaways from the KHN-AP investigation.
California is cutting off funding for COVID-19 testing just when counties say they need more resources in rural and disadvantaged areas.
Carmen Quintero had symptoms of COVID-19, couldn’t get tested and ended up with a huge bill. She also was told to self-isolate and assume she had the coronavirus — which is hard when you live with elders.
For Art Ballard, the local gym was like his second home. The 91-year-old former jeweler relied on his near-daily workouts to stay healthy and for social interaction. But when California instituted its stay-at-home order, Ballard’s physical health suffered. So did his mental health.
At $3.6 billion a year, California spends more on prison health care than other states spend to run their entire prison systems. But despite the spending, and federal court oversight, prisons across California are struggling to contain deadly outbreaks of COVID-19.
The pandemic has been marked by a significant amount of misinformation — some spread on purpose — that could prove deadly.
Easy-breezy guest writer Rachel Bluth fills you in on a healthy dose of news from this past week.
On their own in dirty buildings with little guidance or support, vulnerable older residents worry about unchecked transmission of the potentially deadly virus. “We felt abandoned.”
While federal and state officials continue to wrangle over coronavirus testing, the population testing positive is skewing younger. Meanwhile, the Trump administration wins a round in court over its requirements for hospitals to publicly reveal their prices, and the fight over the fate of the Affordable Care Act heats up once again. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews former Obama administration health aide Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who has written a new book comparing international health systems.
California Healthline’s Samantha Young helped lead a discussion about the state’s response to the novel coronavirus. Infections and hospitalizations are surging across the state.
State officials are pointing to reopened bars as a cause of local spikes in coronavirus cases. Bars are tailor-made for the spread of the virus, with a cacophony of conversations that require raised voices and alcohol, which can impede judgment.
Local governments around the country are declaring racism a public health crisis. That could be lip service, or it might lead to shifting resources from policing to health care, housing and other services, experts say.
Cancer patients seeking care during the coronavirus pandemic face an array of obstacles as states reopen, such as heavily restricted in-hospital appointments and new clinical trials on hold.
Public health officials have been alarmed by the increase in COVID-19 cases linked to family gatherings and socializing. While Gov. Gavin Newsom is defending the state’s reopening, local health officials worry the situation could get worse this summer.
Rochester, New York, and other cities have already weathered the first blasts of excessive heat, and they have done it while cooling centers and spray parks have been closed due to the pandemic.