5 Things to Read on Health Care Access

Problems obtaining diabetes test strips and insulin and how homelessness can harm pregnant women are among the topics in this week’s reads on health care access.

Diabetes test strips on the resale market

Blood sugar testing strips are part of daily life for many people with diabetes. But they’re not always easy to get, especially for people who are uninsured. Enter the resale market. The New York Times spotlights the (legal) way unused test strips are sold at lower cost to people without coverage.

[Related: An Approach to Diabetes Prevention That Works]

Lack of insurance can leave insulin out of reach

Insulin is life-saving for people living with diabetes. But it can be nearly impossible to afford for people who don’t have insurance or who are underinsured. And when people ration or forego insulin, it can be deadly. The Washington Post tells one such story.

Individual mandate’s repeal could undo coverage gains

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, it included a tax penalty for people who declined to get health coverage. But the 2017 tax law took that penalty down to $0. Now a survey shows 19 percent of people who got insurance through California’s marketplace in 2017 would have gone without coverage if there had been no penalty — and many of them were Hispanic, young, healthy or poor. Read more from Kaiser Health News.

[Related: The Individual Mandate: Repealed, But Not Gone Yet]

Overdose-reversing drug to get easier to find

Naloxone, the drug that can undo an opioid overdose, is about to get easier to find. The Food and Drug Administration recently announced changes that will let drug manufacturers make over-the-counter versions of the drug. CNBC has more details.

Homelessness can harm pregnant women and their babies

If a pregnant woman is homeless, she is much more likely to develop pregnancy complications, according to a study in Health Affairs. She’s also more likely to have a low birthweight or preterm baby. The researchers noted “less consistent health care use before and during pregnancy” is likely why. “Policies that encourage health care providers to identify pregnant women in unstable housing and help them quickly access safe, affordable housing during pregnancy are essential for ensuring healthy pregnancies,” they concluded.

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