Parents Report More Negative Pandemic Effects on Kids Who Attend School Virtually vs. In-Person

In his latest Axios column, Drew Altman shows that parents feel that children have fared better during COVID attending school in-person than virtually in terms of academic performance and their mental health and wellbeing.

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How Full FDA Approval Could Spur Vaccination

In this Axios column, Drew Altman says full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccines can provide a big boost to vaccination efforts if treated as an opportunity for updated messaging from government officials at all levels and public health experts and new actions from employers.

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The Health System Appears To Be Selling LGBT+ People Short

With much focus on equity in the nation’s health care system during the pandemic, Drew Altman’s Axios column brings attention to warning signs about health care provided to LGBT+ individuals.

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The Sleeper Health Cost Policy

In this Axios column, Drew Altman unpacks President Biden’s recent executive order on promoting competition, exploring its significance for new efforts to control health costs by addressing consolidation in the health care industry.

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Why Drug Price Negotiation Has Staying Power

In this Axios column, Drew Altman looks beyond Medicare to what’s at stake for employers and workers in the debate about the government negotiating drug prices.

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Persistent Vaccine Myths

With news that the country has now vaccinated half of its population with at least one dose, This Drew Altman Axios column highlights the persistent COVID-19 vaccine myths that are believed by a substantial portion of the unvaccinated population and discusses the options to address vaccine misinformation.

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                    [post_content] => A shorter version of this column has been published by Axios.

Parents are much more likely to report their kids are experiencing negative effects if they are going to school virtually during the pandemic than if they attend school in person.

The new findings from our KFF Vaccine Monitor underscore the importance of keeping kids in school in person, which means doing it safely with masking for younger children and school staff despite controversies over mask requirements.

Almost half (47%) of parents whose kids attended school virtually or a mix of in-person and virtual during the last school year say they fell behind academically compared with a quarter (26%) of parents whose kids attended all or mostly in person.

46% of parents say their kids attending schools virtually fell behind in their social and emotional development compared with 31% of kids who went to school.

One in five (22%) parents of kids who went to school say their kids experienced mental health or behavioral problems due to COVID, but the number rose to 39% for kids whose school experience was largely through a computer screen.

Analysis of the data showed that how children got their education (in-person or online) explained these differences in academic performance and wellbeing reported by parents, even when accounting for differences in the parent’s income or education or race or whether the schools were public or private.

The findings also reinforce the urgency of getting 12-18 year-olds and then younger children as well as school personnel vaccinated as soon as possible so children can safely return to school where their parents report they experience both better academic and mental health outcomes.
                    [post_title] => Parents Report More Negative Pandemic Effects on Kids Who Attend School Virtually vs. In-Person
                    [post_excerpt] => In his latest Axios column, Drew Altman shows that parents feel that children have fared better during COVID attending school in-person than virtually in terms of academic performance and their mental health and wellbeing.
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                    [post_content] => A shorter version of this column has been published by Axios.

FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine can provide a big boost to vaccination efforts or a more modest one, depending on how it is handled when the approval comes down.

If FDA approval is left to be interpreted by the public through the countless channels of communication and misinformation people use to digest vaccine information, the effect of the decision will be much more modest or even muddled.

If on the other hand the President and federal health officials, state and local officials and public health experts use it as an opportunity to refresh the vaccine message, and employers jump on it as cover to move forward even more aggressively with passports and mandates, it could provide a big boost to vaccination efforts. It’s the next and probably the last big opportunity to sharpen and drive home a clear message that the COVID vaccines are safe and effective.

Three in ten of the unvaccinated ( 31%) report in our KFF Vaccine Monitor surveys that they would be more likely to get vaccinated if the FDA moved vaccines from emergency use to full approval. That’s because many unvaccinated people worry that the vaccines are experimental and fears about the safety of the vaccine are a major reason some groups are hesitant to get vaccinated. FDA approval offers an opportunity to aggressively address safety and efficacy concerns. Lack of FDA approval has allowed the idea that the vaccines are unsafe or ineffective to fester.

More than half of the unvaccinated are also unsure what the status of FDA approval is. Approval also offers an opportunity to clear up substantial public confusion.

Some employers who have imposed vaccine mandates, including hospitals, have faced blowback from some employees. Approval will provide justification and cover for them.

And most important of all, it can boost vaccinations by emboldening more local governments and employers to move ahead with passports and mandates.  Education Secretary Cardona underscored the point in a recent Washington Post interview: “I would favor the vaccine being required but … having the FDA do the final approval on it would make some who don’t feel comfortable feel comfortable.”

For government and the private sector to capitalize on FDA approval and make the most of it planning will have to begin now, so government, public health campaigns and employers are ready to go when the FDA decision is made.
                    [post_title] => How Full FDA Approval Could Spur Vaccination
                    [post_excerpt] => In this Axios column, Drew Altman says full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccines can provide a big boost to vaccination efforts if treated as an opportunity for updated messaging from government officials at all levels and public health experts and new actions from employers.
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                    [post_content] => A shorter version of this column has been published by Axios.

The issue doesn’t get much attention, and the available data are limited, but what we know should be a wake-up call for the health professionals and health care institutions about the care provided to LGBT+ people.

The big number: over a third of LGBT+ people – those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or something else other than straight – say they have had a negative experience with a provider over the last two years. Those bad experiences range from their provider not believing they were telling them the truth, to suggesting they were to blame for their health problems, to making assumptions about them without asking, to outright dismissing their concerns.

That compares with 22 percent for non LGBT+ people.

At the same time, they have been hit harder by COVID in certain ways, including being more likely to have had to quit their job because of the pandemic.  More than half of LGBT+ people who report having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months say it was at least in part because of the pandemic.

LGBT+ people need a health system that is responsive because they are more likely to be low income and have a chronic condition or disability.

Most LGBT+ people (72%) have a doctor or health care provider they see when they need care, mostly a family practitioner or an internist, just as non LBGT+ folks do (78%). That means it is likely not where they seek care that is different, it is their providers who appear to be letting them down.

One good thing: LGBT+ people are more likely to discuss mental health and non-medical issues such as housing or transportation with doctors, likely reflecting their higher needs in these areas.

There is an obvious need for more research and data to sort out what is behind these warning signals about LGBT+ health care. But they are also a challenge to the health system to address problems in the provider-patient relationship LGBT+ patients see that can be corrected without waiting for more research.
                    [post_title] => The Health System Appears To Be Selling LGBT+ People Short
                    [post_excerpt] => With much focus on equity in the nation’s health care system during the pandemic, Drew Altman’s Axios column brings attention to warning signs about health care provided to LGBT+ individuals. 
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                    [post_content] => A shorter version of this column has been published by Axios.

Presidents Biden’s Executive Order instructing agencies to develop policies to promote competition in the economy hasn’t received much attention, but could lead to new efforts to control health costs if his administration and Congress respond with measures to stem consolidation in the health care industry and promote competition to drive down prices.

The research is clear that consolidation in the hospital industry drives up costs, in some cases by as much as fifty percent. Perhaps surprisingly consolidation generally does not  improve quality of care. Insurers and employers are not in a position to bargain for lower prices with hospitals or to establish narrower networks they believe deliver greater value when one or two hospital systems are the only games in town and own most of the medical practices.

Mergers led to more consolidation even before COVID hit, with two thirds of hospitals in a system, and most metropolitan areas already deemed highly concentrated hospital markets. Private equity firms were behind many of the mergers. The pace of mergers is likely to pick up with the bigger fish eating the smaller ones as COVID has made smaller and rural hospitals and smaller medical practices more fragile.  With the cat party out of the bag on market consolidation there isn’t a lot of time to waste.

The FTC and the DOJ’s Anti-Trust Division lack the staff to examine most mergers and in some cases the authority needed to ensure that markets remain competitive. While they can review mergers, they do not generally have the authority to intervene, for example, to stop non-competitive practices by non-profit hospital systems.  Fifty seven percent of all hospitals are technically non-profit, including some of the largest health systems in many parts of the country.  FTC also lacks the authority to monitor the hospital acquisitions of large numbers of smaller practices which individually fall under the threshold for requiring notification of the FTC. States face a similar array of limitations to their authority.

The Executive Order establishes a White House Competition Council, but it is vague on what actions might follow in health. Either it or a private effort could productively review FTC, D0J and state authority and capacity and make recommendations for administrative and legislative actions. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra made his name in health, in part, by going after Sutter Health for its anti- competitive pricing practices as Attorney General in California and could play a central role in such an effort.

Of course, the hospital industry would fiercely resist any effort to beef up anti-trust action and promote competition to drive down prices. Hospitals have been sitting on the sidelines happily watching policymakers go after drug costs. But drugs represent ten percent of health spending while hospitals represent thirty four percent.

A more aggressive policy aimed at anti-competitive mergers and consolidation in the hospital industry would aim right at high hospital prices that drive up health spending. And while the industry would resist it, it might appeal to both Democrats who favor regulation and Republicans who favor competitive markets. Depending on follow through, the Biden executive order could be a sleeper health cost policy.
                    [post_title] => The Sleeper Health Cost Policy
                    [post_excerpt] => In this Axios column, Drew Altman unpacks President Biden’s recent executive order on promoting competition, exploring its significance for new efforts to control health costs by addressing consolidation in the health care industry.
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                    [post_content] => 
A shorter version of this column has been published by Axios.
  The fact that prescription drugs represent just 10% of national health spending may make it seem like not an especially important target for health care cost containment efforts. But the idea keeps coming back and is in the spotlight on Capitol Hill right now. One reason is the 10% number doesn’t tell the full story. Retail drug spending represents 18% of health benefit costs for large employers, even after taking rebates from drug manufacturers into account. They also represent 19% of out of pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries and 17% of out of pocket costs for workers. Especially hard hit are people in fair or poor health who use more drugs. 49% of that group say they have difficulty paying for their drugs. There’s been much focus in Washington on how much Medicare negotiation of drug prices could save the federal budget, and what those savings could be used to pay for. Yet, what makes drug price negotiation a powerful idea – with bipartisan support from more than 80% of the public – is not the budgetary savings policymakers covet. It’s the potential to lower costs for patients and businesses paying for health benefits. HR 3 and the principles for drug cost legislation recently released by Senator Wyden would give employer plans and privately insured people access to government negotiated prices, in addition to Medicare and its beneficiaries. Polling shows that criticisms made by industry that drug price negotiation could reduce the availability of drugs and research and development on new drugs could erode support. But those criticisms have been made for years and have not sunk in. The staying power of the idea and the number of people who would benefit continues to drive many Democrats to try to get drug price negotiation passed. That’s also why PhRMA will oppose these proposals with everything at its disposal. Meanwhile there is one incidental winner from the current debate about drug costs, America’s hospitals. They represent 31.4% of health spending and the focus on drug costs keeps them out of the crosshairs.
[post_title] => Why Drug Price Negotiation Has Staying Power [post_excerpt] => In this Axios column, Drew Altman looks beyond Medicare to what’s at stake for employers and workers in the debate about the government negotiating drug prices. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => why-drug-price-negotiation-has-staying-power [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-06-25 05:49:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-06-25 09:49:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.kff.org/?post_type=perspective&p=526561 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => perspective [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 523549 [post_author] => 36621681 [post_date] => 2021-05-26 05:00:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-05-26 09:00:39 [post_content] => A shorter version of this column has been published by Axios. Big myths about COVID vaccines are showing real staying power among Americans who are not vaccinated. They are not the only factor fueling vaccine hesitancy, but they are a continuing problem the media, health leaders and trusted messengers ought to be able to chip away at to get more people vaccinated. With social media rife with misinformation, large shares of unvaccinated Americans have latched on to misbeliefs about the vaccines. One big myth with legs is that the vaccines themselves cause COVID. 36% of unvaccinated adults either believe this or are not sure, and 41% of unvaccinated Blacks do. Another myth is that the vaccines cause infertility. 29% of unvaccinated adults believe that or don’t know, as do 31% of Republicans. 34% of Republicans also say the vaccines contain fetal cells or are not sure if they do. About the same shares of unvaccinated adults believe the vaccines change your DNA and that you should not get vaccinated if you have had COVID. All told 67% of unvaccinated adults cling to one of the major myths about vaccines we asked about in our KFF Vaccine Monitor. A significant misconception among unvaccinated Latinos is that getting vaccinated will cost them money, with 52% believing it will. Practical obstacles to vaccination such as this or worries that they will not be able to get time off from work to get their shots or deal with side effects weigh heavily on unvaccinated Latinos, many of whom want to get vaccinated. Unvaccinated adults don’t all get their information from social media. Their top sources of information on vaccines are cable tv, network and local tv news, and friends and family. But their misconceptions could still mostly be coming from social media, which is a top information source on vaccines for 18-29 year olds. Leaders from President Biden on down can keep hammering away at the facts. So can the media. That should help dispel myths even as trust in government and media has declined. The persistence of vaccine myths also underscore the need to do a better job policing misinformation about vaccines on social media that affect life and death decisions. One big opportunity jumps out. Doctors, nurses, community health workers and pharmacists are both important sources of information for unvaccinated Americans and trusted messengers. They have a special role to play in their communities clearing up the myths about vaccines that remain among the most hesitant groups. [post_title] => Persistent Vaccine Myths [post_excerpt] => With news that the country has now vaccinated half of its population with at least one dose, This Drew Altman Axios column highlights the persistent COVID-19 vaccine myths that are believed by a substantial portion of the unvaccinated population and discusses the options to address vaccine misinformation. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => persistent-vaccine-myths [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-05-26 08:36:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-05-26 12:36:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.kff.org/?post_type=perspective&p=523549 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => perspective [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 6 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 530770 [post_author] => 36621681 [post_date] => 2021-08-20 05:00:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-08-20 09:00:06 [post_content] => A shorter version of this column has been published by Axios. Parents are much more likely to report their kids are experiencing negative effects if they are going to school virtually during the pandemic than if they attend school in person. The new findings from our KFF Vaccine Monitor underscore the importance of keeping kids in school in person, which means doing it safely with masking for younger children and school staff despite controversies over mask requirements. Almost half (47%) of parents whose kids attended school virtually or a mix of in-person and virtual during the last school year say they fell behind academically compared with a quarter (26%) of parents whose kids attended all or mostly in person. 46% of parents say their kids attending schools virtually fell behind in their social and emotional development compared with 31% of kids who went to school. One in five (22%) parents of kids who went to school say their kids experienced mental health or behavioral problems due to COVID, but the number rose to 39% for kids whose school experience was largely through a computer screen. Analysis of the data showed that how children got their education (in-person or online) explained these differences in academic performance and wellbeing reported by parents, even when accounting for differences in the parent’s income or education or race or whether the schools were public or private. The findings also reinforce the urgency of getting 12-18 year-olds and then younger children as well as school personnel vaccinated as soon as possible so children can safely return to school where their parents report they experience both better academic and mental health outcomes. [post_title] => Parents Report More Negative Pandemic Effects on Kids Who Attend School Virtually vs. In-Person [post_excerpt] => In his latest Axios column, Drew Altman shows that parents feel that children have fared better during COVID attending school in-person than virtually in terms of academic performance and their mental health and wellbeing. 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