Louisiana COVID-19 patients face greater mortality rate

Louisiana COVID-19 patients face greater mortality rate

Poverty, which limits access to healthy food and regular medical care and increases stress on families and individuals, has long been linked to poor health. This may account for some of the reasons that Louisiana, which has the third-highest poverty rate of any state, has the second highest per-capita death rate for those infected with COVID-19. The Pelican State falls behind only New York in the proportion of state residents dying from the disease. According to Gov. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana residents are more likely to succumb to the virus due to underlying conditions. The Monroe News Star’s Greg Hilburn has the story:

“Individuals are dying in greater numbers because (Louisiana has) greater numbers of underlying conditions. It’s not because we have sub standard care,” (said Gov. John Bel Edwards). Louisiana Department of Health Dr. Alex Billioux agreed, saying, “We know we have more … people who have these underlying conditions. It certainly sets up a really challenging situation.”


Trump nixes special enrollment period for Obamacare
In the face of an unprecedented public health crisis, many of the states that operate their own health insurance markets have reopened plans to enrollment. But for the states that offer access to subsidized health plans through healthcare.gov — a group that includes Louisiana, along with the majority of all the states in the nation — many people without insurance are left without ready access to subsidized plans. As Susannah Luthi of Politico explains, insurers had expected President Donald Trump’s administration to open a special enrollment period before the president rejected that option this week. 

(T)he law already allows a special enrollment for people who have lost their workplace health plans, so the health care law may still serve as a safety net after a record surge in unemployment stemming from the pandemic. (…) It wasn’t immediately clear why the Trump administration decided against the special enrollment period. (…) Trump confirmed last week he was seriously considering a special enrollment period, but he also doubled down on his support of a lawsuit by Republican states that could destroy the entire Affordable Care Act, along with coverage for the 20 million people insured through the law.


Pandemic takes toll on Census
Wednesday was National Census Day, an important milestone in the U.S. Government’s effort to count every person within its borders. But while the Census Bureau usually faces various hurdles in their efforts to count every person in the United States, the current pandemic has made those hurdles harder to overcome. Michael Wines reports in The New York Times on how this global pandemic is impacting the national count: 

(T)he severe virus-related limitations on mobility and personal contact have completely upended a decade of planning how to accurately count those who do not reply on their own and particularly difficult to reach portions of the population. Fair political representation and billions of federal dollars are riding on the result.

Those who fail to complete the census will receive periodic postcard nudges. By mid-April, those who still have not responded will be mailed paper forms. Completion of the Census is required by federal law, and those who fail to do so could face fines. 


Moral crisis exposed during pandemic
The current pandemic is bringing new attention to moral injustices that long predate it, and that make its economic consequences worse for large numbers of people. High on this list:  America’s failures to provide paid sick leave, a livable minimum wage, adequate housing and food assistance for the nation’s poor, and equal access to quality education for all students. The Rev. Dr. William Barber II, writing in The Progressive, explains how poverty was killing in high numbers daily prior to this pandemic: 

The moral crisis of poverty amid vast wealth is inseparable from the injustice of systemic racism, ecological devastation, and our militarized war economy. It is only a minority rule sustained by voter suppression and gerrymandering that subverts the will of the people. To redeem the soul of America—and survive a pandemic—we must have a moral fusion movement that cuts across race, gender, class, and cultural divides.


Number of the Day
19.8 Million – The number of jobs projected to be lost across the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Economic Policy Institute)