Policy Watch

Quick-hitting policy analysis, polling, and updates on the key issues facing the country.

The Red/Blue Divide in COVID-19 Vaccination Rates

This post examines a growing COVID-19 vaccine gap in Red and Blue America, with the share of the population that have been fully vaccinated in counties that voted for President Biden in 2020 increasing more rapidly than the share in counties that voted for President Trump.

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Extreme Heat and Racial Health Equity

During the summer, the United States reported record extreme heat events across the country. While extreme heat and other hazardous weather events have implications for everyone, growing research shows that they disproportionately affect low-income people and people of color due to underlying social inequities and structural discrimination.

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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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Funding for Health Care Providers During the Pandemic: An Update

This summarizes the additional federal funding that has been given to health care providers to help them cope with the economic impact of the pandemic and also discusses the latest trends in health care spending.

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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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Substance Use Issues Are Worsening Alongside Access to Care

Amid the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States is also facing a worsening substance use crisis. More than one in ten adults have reported starting or increasing the use of alcohol or drugs to cope with the pandemic. Additionally, deaths due to drug overdose spiked during the pandemic, primarily driven by opioids. Recently released data shows that over 93,000 drug overdose deaths were reported in 2020 – the highest on record and nearly a 30% increase from 2019 (Figure 1).

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