Quality preventive medical care remains one of the most important tools for mitigating diseases like cancer, hypertension and heart disease, which are leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. However, due to persistent social and economic inequities, preventive services remain inaccessible to many people.
Despite having one of the lowest poverty rates and highest median incomes in the U.S., New Jersey has the fourth-highest maternal mortality rate and one of the highest maternal morbidity rates in the nation. One of the most diverse states in the country, New Jersey has significant maternal health disparities by county, race, and ethnicity, yet few studies have investigated the extent or the underlying causes of these geographic and racial/ethnic disparities.
Ten years after the passing of the Affordable Care Act—the most comprehensive health care reform of the past half-century—most of the previously uninsured continue to lack coverage. Policymakers and members of the public have expressed growing support for expanding the role of public financing of health care. The “public option” and “Medicare for All” have emerged as important contenders for health policy reform. Both policies are rooted in widening access to the lower prices of the public system to make health care more affordable for all.
In January 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued policy guidance for states interested in requiring workforce participation or other community engagement activities as a condition for Medicaid eligibility among working aged beneficiaries. To date, these policies have received mixed reviews: proponents say that these requirements promote financial independence for families and individuals, while opponents argue that requirements disenfranchise the nation’s most medically vulnerable citizens.
From 2013-2015, more than 3 million U.S. workers became unemployed and nearly a third were unable to return to work by 2018. Unexpected job losses can be devastating for individuals and families. However, a job loss and a sudden gap in health coverage creates an added layer of financial distress for households with costly medical needs. These households must absorb the costs of their health care needs or risk experiencing negative health effects.
Approximately 16 percent of children in the U.S. live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, potentially creating negative long-term effects that are experienced over the life-course. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides cash assistance to low-income children with disabilities, expanding family budgets and potentially allowing low-income parents to better protect the health of vulnerable children. However, few studies have evaluated the impact of this policy.
People who receive vouchers or other forms of federal or local housing assistance are not protected from discrimination by federal fair housing or civil rights laws, and in most places, landlords can legally refuse to rent to voucher holders. Researchers will assess whether and under what conditions state and local protections reduce landlord discrimination and improve the rate at which voucher holders are successful at finding housing.
Greater scheduling predictability may reduce parental stress and increase child care stability, job stability, and income. Researchers will use qualitative and quantitative methods to evaluate the implementation of the Oregon law and analyze the impacts on family and child health outcomes.
Birth outcomes, including infant mortality and low birth weight, are shockingly poor in the U.S. Researchers will assess whether the ACA increased intended pregnancies, reduced prepregnancy smoking, and affected contraception and birth outcomes among women covered by Medicaid--and whether these changes reduced disparities across racial and ethnic groups.
Public health practitioners and tobacco control advocates agree that pre-emption (a higher level of government stripping lower levels of government of their authority over a specific subject matter) has an adverse impact on tobacco control efforts. Pre-emptive state laws may prohibit local tobacco control measures, such as restrictions on marketing and promotion of tobacco products, licensure of tobacco products, smoking in public or private sites, and on youth access to tobacco products.