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SDOH Advocacy Update - 03/11/2024

SDOH Advocacy Update - 03/11/2024

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The Latest Advocacy and Government Relations News

The Root Cause Coalition is dedicated to amplifying the voices of communities and driving impactful policy reforms. As a nonprofit committed to addressing the root causes of health disparities and poverty, we aim to educate our members on recent news and research that advocates for equitable healthcare access and influencing policy decisions that combat food insecurity and poverty. 

Read our April 22, 2024 news on social drivers and advocacy updates below:

Social Drivers in the News:

Area-Level Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Health Care Spending
This article is a review of 24 studies that used a cross-sectional, case-control or cohort study design to determine the association between area-level measures of socioeconomic disadvantage like the Area Deprivation Index (ADI) or the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) and health care spending. The review found that higher ADI and SVI were mostly associated with increased health care spending and patient-reporter barriers due to cost. These findings imply that both ADI and SVI can play important roles in efforts to understand drivers of health care spending and the design of payment and care delivery programs that capture aspects of social risk.
Essential Connections: Community Health Centers’ Role in Facilitating Healthy Transitions out of Incarceration
Federal and state policymakers have been revising Medicaid policies to enhance health care continuity and access for individuals during incarceration and after release. This initiative stems from research highlighting the link between health status and recidivism. This article specifically discusses the potential of Medicaid to cover Community Health Center (CHC) care and its role in ensuring ongoing and accessible health care for incarcerated and released youth. CHCs already cater to communities significantly affected by incarceration, striving to provide accessible, integrated care, often already possessing substantial expertise in reentry care. This renders them vital partners for Medicaid and other state medical programs.
Americans’ Challenges with Health Care Costs
KFF polling reveals pervasive struggles with health care costs among U.S. adults, impacting insurance decisions and care-seeking. Affordability concerns, especially unexpected bills and prescription drug costs, dominate financial worries among U.S. adults. Notably, results from polling finds health care affordability ranks as a key concern for voters in the 2024 election with half of U.S. adults finding it challenging to afford health care, particularly for younger, lower-income, uninsured individuals.
State Strategies to Leverage Medicaid Managed Care Contracting for Investments in Health and Housing Alignment
This toolkit from the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) reviews examples of how state Medicaid programs leverage their contracts with managed care organizations (MCOs) and policies to support housing-related interventions and address the housing needs of beneficiaries. Medicaid MCOs are important players in developing partnerships and coordinating resources to deliver housing supports and services regardless of whether a state has implemented an 1115 waiver or not. To view the full toolkit and a resource for each strategy, click here.

SDoH Advocacy Update:

GAO Releases Report on Maternal Health Outcomes
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report reviewing available Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) data on maternal health during COVID-19 and examining the extent to which HHS agencies have incorporated key practices to assess the performance of selected HHS maternal health efforts. The report found that maternal mortality and other adverse outcomes associated with pregnancy or childbirth worsened significantly in 2020 and 2021, as compared with 2018 and 2019. Disparities in maternal health outcomes persisted, as the maternal mortality rate among non-Hispanic, Black or African American women was about 2.5 times greater than non-Hispanic, White women during these years, according to GAO’s analysis of HHS data. The report includes two GAO recommendations: HHS should ensure the Maternal Health Blueprint’s performance measurement strategy follows key practices and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should establish quantitative targets for the Perinatal Quality Collaborative program’s goals.
CMS Announces Utah Postpartum Medicaid and CHIP Expansion
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Utah's extension of comprehensive coverage for postpartum individuals for a full 12 months through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Utah is now the 45th state to be approved for the extended coverage, which was authorized by the American Rescue Plan of 2021 and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023. With this expansion, an additional 4,000 people in Utah will be eligible for Medicaid and CHIP coverage for an entire year after pregnancy and 691,000 Americans across 45 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands now have access to extended postpartum coverage. 
H.R.7325 – Community Housing Act of 2024
This bill was introduced by Representative Becca Balint [D-VT] to address the housing crisis in the U.S. The bill would increase the supply of affordable housing by investing in federal programs that fund the construction of affordable housing as well as ensuring perpetual affordable housing by utilizing a community land trust or shared equity model. It would fund and permanently reauthorize emergency rental assistance programs, provide free legal resources for people facing eviction and support programs designed to support homeownership through down payment assistance. The bill would also establish a new federal office to address exclusionary zoning practices and a new grant program to encourage state and local communities to modify zoning rules. Finally, it would discourage rental price gouging by requiring large landlords to submit regular reports for antitrust enforcement. The bill was referred to the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Ways and Means. 
H.R.3838 – Preventing Maternal Deaths Reauthorization Act of 2023
This bill, introduced by Representative Michael Burgess [R-TX], would address the maternal health crisis by reauthorizing federal support for maternal mortality review committees which allow states to better understand pregnancy-associated and related deaths and reduce disparities in maternal health outcomes. The bill would also require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to annually publish best practices for preventing maternal mortality and morbidity to hospitals, professional societies, and perinatal quality collaboratives to improve pregnancy outcomes. The bill passed the House and has been received in the Senate.

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