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What We're Reading: Improvements in Health Disparities Stall; Reanimating Hearts; Aging Population Concerns


Since 2016, racial and ethnic healthcare disparities have not improved; a new method of "reanimating" hearts from recently deceased donors for transplants is being tested; the new decade prompts concerns about an aging population.

New Research Shows Healthcare Disparities Haven’t Improved Since Trump Took Office

The Commonwealth Fund released a report detailing how between 2013 and 2016, the rates of uninsured black, Hispanic, and white Americans fell. However, starting in 2016 that progress stalled. The study examined data from 2013 to 2018 of adults aged 18 to 64 to measure how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affected racial and ethnic healthcare disparities. Individual states’ decisions to expand Medicaid under the ACA benefited black and Hispanic Americans, ABC News reports. In comparison, those populations suffered in states that did not expand their Medicaid programs.

US Tests New Heart Transplant Method

STAT reports a new method of “reanimating” donor hearts from patients who have died from cardiac failure is being testing in the United States. Currently, more than 250,000 patients are at the end stage of heart failure, and nearly 15% of these patients could benefit from a transplant. The procedure involves retrieving hearts from those who have passed and keeping the heart “alive” for several hours via a machine that supplies the heart with warm blood. A team at Duke University performed the procedure in December, and last week teams at Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Wisconsin reported their first transplants.

New Decade Brings Concerns for Aging Boomer Population

Census Bureau projections predict that within 10 years, the nation’s 74 million baby boomers will be aged 65 or older. By 2025, the US will be home to 65 million seniors, for the first time surpassing that of children age 13 and under (58 million). Kaiser Health News reports existing healthcare systems will struggle to keep up with demands for higher quantity and quality of care. In addition, adjusting attitudes about end-of-life care, retirement, and ageism will be imperative to navigating the shift.

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