Sunday, April 10, 2011

News Briefs: April 10

American under Medicaid Unable to Access Adequate Healthcare

Alex Sakers

Under Obama’s health care bill, Medicaid plays a vital part in providing health insurance, and thus access to healthcare for many uninsured Americans. Medicaid aims to reimburse doctors, dentists, hospitals, and other healthcare providers enough to ensure that its recipients have the same access to care as the general population. However, as payment rates have been cut in many states, many with Medicaid are finding it hard or impossible to find doctors and specialists to accept their insurance. For example, Kim Hardy, an OB-GYN in Lafayette, LA reported that Medicaid pays $1,000 for the same level of prenatal care that private insurance pays $2,400. The increasing disparity in reimbursement between Medicaid and private insurance has been driven by the need to control the Medicaid budget while accommodating the surge of people now insured under this program; it is expected that the number of people covered under Medicaid will surge from 56 million to 76 million in the next 10 years. Already, over 20 states have cut payments to healthcare providers by 15-20%. With each cut, it becomes harder for Medicaid enrollees to find specialists to provide the care they need. For example, Nicole Dardeau described her Medicaid card as “a useless piece of plastic” after being unable to find an orthopedic surgeon to treat three herniated disks in her neck that keep her from being able to work. Stories like hers are far too common; sadly Medicaid simply does not afford the same level of healthcare to its enrollees as private insurance.

Reference: Pear, Robert. (2011, April 1). Cuts Leave Patients With Medicaid Cards, but No Specialist to See. The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2011 from

Image: Available here.

Middle School Students Showing Early Symptoms of Cardiovascular Damage

Eriene-Heidi Sidhom

In a study conducted as part of the Project Health Schools in Michigan, children as young as 10 years of age were exhibiting symptoms of cardiovascular damage. In a first study, with 1,104 students, 16% of students had low HDL cholesterol levels and a second study with 1,276 students showed children with poor cardiovascular fitness. Additionally, these findings correlated with other risk factors: a low HDL cholesterol level correlated with higher BMI and well as at least two additional symptoms of metabolic syndrome (high LDL and triglycerides, elevated blood pressure or abdominal obesity). Project Healthy Schools is a school-based intervention program that is affiliated with the University of Michigan and focuses on educating children on diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices.

Reference: Neale, Todd. (2011, April 03). ACC: CVD Risk Seen in Middle School. MedPage Today. Retrieved April 10, 2011 from
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