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June Policy Brief: Healthy Women

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1. The Affordable Care Act lives to fight another day

On June 17, 2021, the United States Supreme Court rejected a claim that would have made the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional. The argument, put forward by several Republican state attorneys general, was that Congress had effectively overridden the individual mandate by making the tax penalty for not having health insurance to be $ 0. As a result, they claimed, the entire law should fall. The Supreme Court voted seven to two states and individual plaintiffs did not have standing to sue, meaning that they did not show that the law had directly harmed them. The justices did not weigh in on the merits of the arguments and the net effect is that the ACA remains intact.

This month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also Announced which will provide $ 80 million in funding for navigators, individuals and organizations trained to help consumers choose Marketplace health insurance to support enrollment in 2022 in states using the ACA federal health insurance Marketplace. This funding increase comes after the previous administration cut funding for browsers to just $ 10 million nationwide.

2. Medicaid enrolls 9 million more people during the pandemic

The economic chaos caused by Covid-19 led to millions of additional Americans qualifying for Medicaid, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Medicaid enrollment increased nationwide from 71.3 million enrollees in February 2020 to 80.5 million in January 2021. Federal requirements that states could not disenroll members from Medicaid until after the end of the national emergency also contributed to increased Medicaid enrollment.

3. New Approaches to the Treatment of Breast and Ovarian Cancer Offer New Hope

New research published by the American Society for Clinical Oncology before its annual meeting and published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that a drug initially approved for ovarian cancer it also effectively reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence or death in patients with BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic variants. The results can affect the way some aggressive breast cancers are treated.

Another promising development emerged this month when researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute published data That suggests that an antibiotic developed in the 1950s effectively kills tumor cells with damaged BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. These genetic defects are commonly found in cancers of the breast, ovarian, prostate, and pancreas. The new findings, which need to be studied further in clinical trials, point to a possible new approach in difficult-to-treat cancers.

4. The gender gap holds back innovations for women’s health

A new article published this month in Science suggests that the world is likely missing out on many innovations aimed at improving women’s health. Women are more likely to create biomedical inventions that solve women’s health problems, and men are more likely to invent solutions for men. But given that women own only 16% of biomedical patents, the paper suggests that technological advancement for women’s health is likely to be suppressed as a result of gender disparities in the biomedical field. If women had patented inventions at the same rate as men between 1976 and 2010 (the period covered in the study), there would probably have been approximately 6,500 more inventions focused on women.

5. New Moms Are More Likely To Seek Mental Health Care During A Pandemic, New Study Shows

More than half (56%) of postpartum women in a to study in Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice Reported Postpartum Depression Symptoms During Covid-19. The study documented the impact of Covid-19 on women and suggests that the pandemic has had adverse effects on women during perinatal care. To meet the health needs, including mental health, of postpartum women, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) gave states the option to extend Medicaid benefits to postpartum women for up to 12 months after delivery, instead of just 60 days. Currently, Medicaid covers about half of all births in the United States.

Several US states are expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage as allowed by ARPA. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Illinois, Missouri and Georgia have already extended Medicaid coverage for postpartum women, and several more states are awaiting federal approval to do so. Other states They are also working on efforts to improve access to care for postpartum women. Representative Ayanna Pressley from Massachusetts has introduced the Safe delivery law to make extended postpartum coverage mandatory, but that bill has yet to go through the legislative process.

6. Vaccination of pregnant women against the flu did not harm babies

A new to study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that babies whose mothers received the flu vaccine during pregnancy were not more likely to have negative health outcomes than babies who were not exposed to the vaccine in utero. Despite the fact that there are no major health risks to infants, only 36% of women had been vaccinated against influenza during pregnancy, suggesting that there may be lingering questions about influenza vaccines.

7. Biosimilars may be the key to lowering drug prices

TO to study published this month in Health Affairs analyzed how quickly biosimilars, low-cost versions of biologics, have taken off in the United States. Although the first biosimilars were relatively slow to gain popularity, newer products have grown more rapidly, suggesting that biosimilars adoption is accelerating. This trend is good for patients and the healthcare system, as biosimilars work just as well as their reference products, but at a much lower cost. These lower costs help counteract the general trend toward rising prices for organic products, according to the study.

8. The Biden administration extends Title IX protections to LGBTQ students

This month, the US Department of Education. Announced which will also enforce the enforcement of Title IX prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of sex for LGBTQ students. Title IX. prohibits educational programs or institutions that receive federal funds from denying students access to activities or benefits based on the student’s gender. The Biden Administration’s policy is based on a 2020 US Supreme Court. decision which expanded workplace protections against sex discrimination for LGBTQ people. The new guidance reverses a Trump-era policy, issued at the end of his last term, that took the opposite interpretation of the Supreme Court’s decision.

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