What Happened, What You Missed: October 3-7


Gallup: Most Americans Have a Negative View of US Health Care

About 44% of Americans give the US health care system a “D” or “F” grade, according to a new Gallup poll.  The poll also found that over 75% assign a failing grade to health care costs in the US.  Public opinion on health care quality in the US trended positive, with nearly half giving an “A” or “B” grade.  Responses differed by gender and race/ethnicity, with women more likely to assign failing grades to health care quality, access, and equity.  Additionally, people of color were more likely to have negative views on health care equity.  Gallup conducted the survey in June with over 5,500 US adults participating, to conduct research for its annual report that explores the impact of high health care costs.

CDC: Most with Long COVID Face Problems Daily

About 80% of US adults with long COVID are having trouble carrying out “day-to-day activities,” according to new data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The data also found that 25% of adults with long COVID reported “significant limitations” in day-to-day activity, which increased to 40% among Black, Latino or disabled respondents.  Additionally, while young Americans are among the least likely to experience hospitalization or death from COVID-19, the survey found people between ages 18 and 29 with long COVID were most likely to have trouble performing daily tasks. The CDC has been sending out surveys regularly on COVID-19 since April 2020, but a September 2022 survey, which was sent to over 50,000 households, was the first to ask how long-COVID has impacted people’s daily lives.

CMS Seeks Feedback on Establishing a National Provider Directory

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is seeking public input on establishing the first national directory of health care providers and services, according to a Request for Information (RFI) published on Wednesday.  According to the RFI, the directory would be enabled by an application programming interface (API) and serve as a central data hub for digital contact information on providers and services nationwide.  While provider directories already exist, these directories are generally maintained by health care providers and don’t always provide accurate information for patients.  CMS noted in its announcement that creating a national directory could reduce administrative burden and produce savings throughout the health care system. The RFI’s public comment period closes on December 6.

FDA Warns Evusheld Not Effective against New Omicron Subvariant

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 pre-exposure drug Evusheld is ineffective against Omicron subvariant BA.4.6, one of the latest Omicron subvariants to emerge.  While BA.4.6 only makes up about 13% of new COVID-19 cases in the US, an AstraZeneca spokesperson noted that the subvariant is “growing slowly,” although it is not expected to become a dominant strain.   News that Evusheld may not offer protection against COVID-19 first emerged in early September when researchers at Columbia University found that the drug failed to generate any antibodies against the virus.  Evusheld is currently the only approved drug for prophylactic use against COVID-19 infection in people who are immunocompromised.

ICYMI: Push for Diversity among Congressional Staff Falls Short

Despite efforts to recruit congressional staffers from more diverse backgrounds over the past few years, a new report from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found that people of color are still underrepresented in the congressional workforce.  According to the report, while people of color account for 40% of the US population, they only account for about 18% of top House staffers. The report also found that of the 308 personal offices of white members, only 23 (7.4%) are led by chiefs of staff of color. Thirteen work for Democratic members, and ten for Republican members. Among the reasons for a lack of representation among top congressional staffers cited in the report include low pay on the Hill and hiring culture that relies on personal networks of other top staffers who are generally white.

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