Health Policy

Housing, Neighborhoods, and Children’s Health

Housing, Neighborhoods, and Children’s Health
Future of Children, Volume 25 Number 1 Spring 2015

Ingrid Gould Ellen and Sherry Glied
09/17/2015

In theory, improving low-income families’ housing and neighborhoods could also improve their children’s health, through any number of mechanisms. For example, less exposure to environmental toxins could prevent diseases such as asthma; a safer, less violent neighborhood could improve health by reducing the chances of injury and death, and by easing the burden of stress; and a more walkable neighborhood with better playgrounds could encourage children to exercise, making them less likely to become obese.

Yet although neighborhood improvement policies generally achieve their immediate goals— investments in playgrounds create playgrounds, for example—Ingrid Gould Ellen and Sherry Glied find that many of these policies don’t show a strong effect on poor children’s health. One problem is that neighborhood improvements may price low-income families out of the very neighborhoods that have been improved, as new amenities draw more affluent families, causing rents and home prices to rise. Policy makers, say Ellen and Glied, should carefully consider how neighborhood improvements may affect affordability, a calculus that is likely to favor policies with clear and substantial benefits for low-income children, such as those that reduce neighborhood violence.

Housing subsidies can help families either cope with rising costs or move to more affluent neighborhoods. Unfortunately, demonstration programs that help families move to better neighborhoods have had only limited effects on children’s health, possibly because such transi- tions can be stressful. And because subsidies go to relatively few low-income families, the presence of subsidies may itself drive up housing costs, placing an extra burden on the majority of families that don’t receive them. Ellen and Glied suggest that policy makers consider whether granting smaller subsidies to more families would be a more effective way to use these funds.

 

Participation in the Wake of Adversity: Blame Attribution and Policy-Oriented Evaluations

Participation in the Wake of Adversity: Blame Attribution and Policy-Oriented Evaluations
Levin, I., Sinclair, J. A., & Alvarez, R. M. (2015). Participation in the Wake of Adversity: Blame Attribution and Policy-Oriented Evaluations. Political Behavior, 1-26.

Levin, Ines and J. Andrew Sinclair and R. Michael Alvarez
09/05/2015

In this paper we investigate to what extent perceptions of economic conditions, policy-oriented evaluations, and blame attribution affected Californians’ involvement in political activities in 2010. We use a statistical methodology that allows us to study not only the behavior of the average citizen, but also the behavior of “types” of citizens with latent predispositions that incline them toward participation or abstention. The 2010 election is an excellent case study, because it was a period when citizens were still suffering the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis and many were concerned about the state’s budgetary crisis. We find that individuals who blamed one of the parties for the problems with the budget process, and who held a position on the 2010 Affordable Care Act, were often considerably more likely to participate. We also find, however, that the impact of economic evaluations, positions on the health care reform, and blame attributions was contingent on citizens’ latent participation propensities and depended on the class of political activity.

Vital Signs: Core Metrics for Health and Health Care Progress

Vital Signs: Core Metrics for Health and Health Care Progress
Committee on Core Metrics for Better Health at Lower Cost; Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2015.

David Blumenthal, Elizabeth Malphrus, and J. Michael McGinnis (Eds.)
04/28/2015

Thousands of measures are in use today to assess health and health care in the United States. Although many of these measures provide useful information, their sheer number, as well as their lack of focus, consistency, and organization, limits their overall effectiveness in improving performance of the health system. To achieve better health at lower cost, all stakeholders—including health profes­sionals, payers, policy makers, and members of the public—must be alert to the measures that matter most. What are the core measures that will yield the clearest understanding and focus on better health and well-being for Americans?

With support from the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the California Healthcare Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) convened a committee to identify core measures for health and health care. In VITAL SIGNS: Core Metrics for Health and Health Care Progress, the committee proposes a streamlined set of 15 standardized mea­sures, with recommendations for their application at every level and across sec­tors. Ultimately, the committee concludes that this streamlined set of measures could provide consistent benchmarks for health progress across the nation and improve system performance in the highest-priority areas.

In Knickman and Kovner (eds.) 2015. Health Care Delivery in the United States,

In Knickman and Kovner (eds.) 2015. Health Care Delivery in the United States,
11th Edition. Springer Publishing LLC

Gusmano, MK. and Rodwin, VG. Comparative Health Systems.
04/14/2015

Windows can sometimes be mirrors. A look at health systems abroad can enable us to develop a better understanding of our health system in the United States. An international perspective suggests that the United States has the most expensive health care system in the world, but unlike other wealthy countries, we fail to provide universal health insurance coverage and experience large inequities in access to primary and specialty care. Health care costs are often a source of financial strain, even bankruptcy, for people with serious illness (Hacker, 2006), and Americans suffer from high rates of mortality that could have been avoided with timely and appropriate access to a range of effective health care services (Nolte & McKee, 2012). There is also evidence that the U.S. health care system squanders resources and fails to address many of its population’s health care needs. Not surprisingly, public opinion polls regularly find that medical professionals and the public are dissatisfied with the system and believe major change is necessary (Blendon, Benson, & Brulé, 2012). 

Power and Priorities: The Growing Pains of Global Health; Comment on “Knowledge, Moral Claims and the Exercise of Power in Global Health”

Power and Priorities: The Growing Pains of Global Health; Comment on “Knowledge, Moral Claims and the Exercise of Power in Global Health”
Int J Health Policy Manag 2015, 4(x), 1–2

Karen A. Grépin
03/05/2015

Shiffman has argued that some actors have a great deal of power in global health, and that more reflection is needed on whether such forms of power are legitimate. Global health is a new and evolving field that builds upon the historical fields of public and international health, but is more multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary in nature. This article argues that the distribution of power in some global health institutions may be limiting the contributions of all researchers in the field

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