What We’re Reading: Medicaid Reenrollment May Cause Insurance Gaps; FDA Seeks Baby Food Lead Limit; Long COVID and Workers

After 3 years of continuous enrollment due to the pandemic, those on Medicaid will need to sign up again for coverage in April; fears about heavy metal levels in baby food prompt FDA to decrease lead exposure; long COVID is keeping large numbers of people out of work or needing medical care after returning.

Medicaid Reenrollment Hurdles May Cause Millions to Lose Insurance

Continuous enrollment for Medicaid will end on March 31, 2023, despite the determination that the United States is still involved in a public health emergency as of January 11, NPR reported. The disenrollment was part of the $1.7 billion spending bill passed by Congress last month. This will leave about 5 million to 14 million Americans without insurance unless they reapply. Past trends indicate that paperwork and administrative tasks related to reenrollment, or state obstacles, make it difficult to renew.

New FDA Proposal to Restrict Lead Levels in Baby Food

Baby-food manufacturers say they ensure the safety of their products, but the FDA took new action to decrease the amount of lead in baby food, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. A draft proposal was issued by the FDA outlining limits to lead presence in some processed baby food, coming after consumer groups and a congressional committee expressed worry about heavy metal levels in some baby foods. The offered lead limitations, depending on the type of baby food, vary from 10 to 20 parts per billion.

Long COVID Prevents Substantial Amount of People From Re-Entering Workforce, Study Finds

Long COVID is impacting the United States workforce by blocking people from returning to work or necessitating medical care after return. In a study published Tuesday by the largest worker compensation insurer in New York, 71% of people the fund said met the criteria for long COVID either needed continuing medical treatment or couldn’t work for 6 or more months after infection throughout the initial 2 years of the pandemic, said The New York Times. More than 12 months after contracting COVID-19, 18% of those had still not come back to work, with more than 75% of them under the age of 60. An official employed by the insurer said that the results might not show the whole picture due to some people with long COVID going back to work regardless of severe symptoms.

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