Public Health

Arkansas led the nation in measuring obesity in kids. Did it help?

In 2003, Arkansas became the first state to send home "fat letters" or BMI reports about all students as part of a broader anti-obesity initiative. At least 23 states followed Arkansas’ lead. Some have since scaled back their efforts.

EPA issues first-ever drinking water standards for ‘forever chemicals’

The Biden administration also announced nearly $1 billion in newly available funding to help public water utilities implement PFAS testing and treatment.

City-country mortality gap widens amid persistent holes in rural health care access

As rural health services continue to erode, population health declines and mortality rates increase. That endangers local economies and employment, rural health experts say.

Oregon rolls back decriminalization of drugs. But is it too soon?

At a time when drug overdoses plague the nation, Oregon will recriminalize hard drugs, walking back a first-in-the nation experiment that critics say the state botched.

End of internet subsidies for low-income households threatens telehealth access

Telehealth enables preventative care and keeps people out of emergency rooms, so loss of the subsidy will have real impacts on health outcomes, experts warn.

In crisis and on hold: How the 988 hotline revamped callers' experience

To avoid people in need hanging up in frustration, the crisis and suicide hotline has changed the voice and the music that callers hear as they wait to be connected to counselors.

Track opioid settlement payouts—to the cent—in your community

Determining how much money has arrived is the first step in assessing whether the settlements will make a dent in the nation’s addiction crisis.

States look to Medicaid to curb maternal mortality

Expanding Medicaid postpartum care from 60 days to 12 months gives states more tools for addressing rising maternal death rates.

With addiction bill passed, now Oregon faces biggest challenge

Counties have to build new treatment facilities to deflect people away from the criminal justice system but they only have a few months before possession is recriminalized.

Automakers get some breathing room in EPA air pollution rules

The Biden administration is still pushing for a major shift to electric vehicles by 2032, but many Republicans remain skeptical.

States turn to Medicaid to tackle housing insecurity

Section 1115 Medicaid waivers can help states reduce health inequities by covering housing costs and providing meal support for vulnerable populations.

Free school meals for all may reduce childhood obesity

COMMENTARY | Growing research is showing the benefits of universal free school meals for the health and well-being of children, including a slowing in the rise of childhood obesity rates.

What’s the status of your EMS?

COMMENTARY | As rural communities struggle to keep Emergency Medical Services operating, how do we assess the condition of those services? Are we asking the right questions?

Tips for weaving equity into opioid settlement spending

The Equity Expectation Policy framework offers state and local officials insights on how to allocate opioid settlement funds effectively and fairly across communities.

Medicaid waivers help states pilot solutions to health, housing disparities

If approved, Nebraska’s Section 1115 Medicaid waiver would help finance two medical respite centers, or post-hospital recovery centers, for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Report shows Ohio one of many states still prosecuting ‘HIV-related’ crimes

A new report shows more than 200 cases of "HIV-related prosecutions" in Ohio between 2014 and 2020.

Fluoride in public water has slashed tooth decay, but some states may end mandates

Public health experts warn that anti-fluoridation legislation is buoyed by misinformation and junk science.

Syphilis is killing babies. The U.S. government is failing to stop the disease from spreading.

The only drug that treats syphilis during pregnancy is in short supply. Untreated, the disease can pass to newborns, killing them or leaving them with disabilities. As cases rise sharply, the government isn’t doing much to prevent shortages.

Michigan governor proposes a caregiver tax credit—an idea many Americans support

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is proposing a $5,000 tax credit to support caregiving services like counseling and transportation.

Ending health care’s affordability crisis begins with actions to fix state markets

COMMENTARY | Because states can more easily engage with local employers, health care providers and payers, they are addressing the challenge by analyzing spending, overseeing mergers and reducing the costs of medication.