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What We’re Reading: How Spending Bill Affects Medicaid; Widening Disparities in Insulin Use; Confiscated Fentanyl in 2022

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The new federal spending bill includes changes to Medicaid enrollment, postpartum coverage, and other health programs; new research shows widened disparities among US adults with diabetes using insulin; in 2022, the Drug Enforcement Administration confiscated more than 379 million fentanyl doses.

Health Care Program Changes Under the Federal Spending Bill

Under the $1.7-trillion federal spending bill announced Tuesday, states will be able to evaluate Medicaid enrollees’ eligibility and redetermine their Medicaid coverage starting April 1, 2023, CNN reported. Estimates say this change can lead to up to 19 million Americans losing Medicaid benefits, but many individuals would be eligible for other coverage. In other changes under the bill, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will offer 12 months of continuous coverage for children, allowing the 40 million children on Medicaid and CHIP to have uninterrupted health care access throughout the year. The spending bill also makes permanent states' ability to offer 12 months of postpartum coverage for low-income mothers through Medicaid, rather than 60 days. Finally, more funding will be provided to certain programs, including the CDC, to improve responses to pandemic threats.

Widened Racial, Ethnic Disparities in Insulin Use

Over the past 3 decades, glycemic control has stagnated while racial and ethnic disparities have increased among US adults with diabetes using insulin, according to a new study published in JAMA Network Open. As reported by STAT News, the proportion of Mexican Americans taking insulin who achieved good glycemic control dropped from 25% between 1988 and 1994 to 10% between 2013 and 2020. Meanwhile, the proportion of non-Hispanic White patients achieving good glycemic control stayed roughly the same over time, with 33% achieving it between 2013 and 2020. Adults who were Mexican American, non-Hispanic Black, uninsured, or had low family income had the highest prevalence of severe hyperglycemia.

DEA Seizes More Than 379 Million Fentanyl Doses This Year

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confiscated more than 379 million doses of fentanyl in 2022, The New York Times reported. The DEA also announced it caught twice the amount of fentanyl-laced pills this year compared with 2021, seizing more than 50.6 million fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills and more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder. This is in contrast to the 20.4 million fake prescription pills confiscated in 2021; there is no clear number on how much fentanyl powder was confiscated in 2021. The DEA also seized nearly 131,000 pounds of methamphetamine; more than 4300 pounds of heroin; and more than 444,000 pounds of cocaine in 2022.

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