System

Get the Data: Hollowed-Out Public Health System Faces More Cuts Amid Virus

There is no comprehensive data on government public health spending and staffing in the U.S., and KHN and the Associated Press spent months gathering different datasets, each measuring a slightly different concept of “public health,” into a unique repository of public health data at the local, county and state levels.

Now, we’re releasing our public health infrastructure data on Github for journalists, researchers and interested readers to use.

The U.S. public health system has been starved for decades and lacks the resources to confront the worst health crisis in a century. Since 2010, spending for state public health departments has dropped by 16% per capita and spending for local health departments has fallen by 18%, according to a KHN and AP analysis of government spending on public health. At least 38,000 state and local public health jobs have disappeared since the 2008 recession, leaving a skeletal workforce for what was

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Hollowed-Out Public Health System Faces More Cuts Amid Virus

The U.S. public health system has been starved for decades and lacks the resources to confront the worst health crisis in a century.

Marshaled against a virus that has sickened at least 2.6 million in the U.S., killed more than 126,000 people and cost tens of millions of jobs and $3 trillion in federal rescue money, state and local government health workers on the ground are sometimes paid so little that they qualify for public aid.

They track the coronavirus on paper records shared via fax. Working seven-day weeks for months on end, they fear pay freezes, public backlash and even losing their jobs.

Since 2010, spending for state public health departments has dropped by 16% per capita and spending for local health departments has fallen by 18%, according to a KHN and Associated Press analysis of government spending on public health. At least 38,000 state and local public health

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Rapid Changes To Health System Spurred By COVID Might Be Here To Stay

The U.S. health care system is famously resistant to government-imposed change. It took decades to create Medicare and Medicaid, mostly due to opposition from the medical-industrial complex. Then it was nearly another half-century before the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has done what no president or social movement or venture capitalist could have dreamed of: It forced sudden major changes to the nation’s health care system that are unlikely to be reversed.

“Health care is never going back to the way it was before,” said Gail Wilensky, a health economist who ran the Medicare and Medicaid programs for President George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s.

Wilensky is far from the only longtime observer of the American health care system to marvel at the speed of some long-sought changes. But experts warn that the breakthroughs may not all make the health system work better, or

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