As worries about Covid-19 are fading, concerns about inflation are growing. The annual inflation rate in the U.S. rose to 7.9% in February of 2022, the highest since January of 1982. Consumers are facing higher prices for food, gasoline, rent, and other essentials as well as rising mortgage and other borrowing interest rates. For many, gains in wages do not offset the higher prices of everyday essentials. Americans over 40 have already lived through inflationary times and experienced its impact. In 1964, inflation measured a little more than 1 percent per year as it had been in the preceding six years. Inflation began moving upward in the mid-1960s and reached more than 14 percent in 1980. By the following year, mortgage rates topped 18% – over four times current home loan costs.
Today people are not optimistic about their personal finances and the economic outlook.The University of Michigan’s measure of consumer confidence fell to its lowest level in a decade last month. The uncertainty of inflation is compounded by the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. How will health and healthcare services be impacted in these uncertain times? It’s TBD – to be determined.
This Weekend Reading Series begins with Heard the News?, with articles focusing on current healthcare benefits, stress levels, possible Covid-19 resurgence and other concerns. In Livin’ on a Prayer, you will find articles on healthcare affordability and avoiding surprise medical bills. Next explore the articles in How to Save a Life covering the new addiction treatment, rural hospitals, and more. Finally, do not miss Save It – and my personal favorite about the Ukrainian cat, Stepan.
I hope you enjoy the following:
1. Heard the News?
- Axios: Ignoring abortion access is getting harder for companies
- STAT: With infections spiking in Europe and a variant on the rise, experts warn the U.S. could face a Covid resurgence
- American Psychological Association: Inflation, war push stress to alarming levels at two-year COVID-19 anniversary
- Forbes: Employee Benefits Versus Moments That Matter
2. Livin’ on a Prayer
- Fierce Healthcare: KFF study – Why addressing affordability needs to go beyond plan premiums
- Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker: Many households do not have enough money to pay cost-sharing in typical private health plans
- Kaiser Health News: How to Avoid Surprise Bills — And the Pitfalls in the New Law
- STAT: Medicare premiums could decrease ‘soon,’ after decision on Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm
3. How to Save a Life
- Becker’s Hospital Review: US government lets digital health company pay drug users to stay clean
- HealthDay: Suicide Rate Is Spiking Upwards in Preadolescent Children
- UC San Francisco: Seniors with Memory Issues Take Multiple Medications, but Most Are Willing to Cut Down
- University of Michigan Health: Rural ERs, despite closure threats, save lives at similar rate as urban hospitals Researchers found no significant difference between mortality in both emergency health care settings.
- Becker’s Hospital CFO Report: 892 hospitals at risk of closure, state by state
4. Save It
- Bridge MI: Should you drive across town to buy cheap gas? Use this tool to find out
- Futurity: Buying Stuff Sparks Less Joy When Money is Tight
- Yahoo News: Ukrainian cat Stepan reveals on Instagram that he and his human escaped after bombing: ‘We’re all right now’
- Chronicle of the Horse: Schockemöhle’s Lewitz Stud Mobilizes To Help Ukrainian Refugees
Enjoy the weekend!
Suzanne Daniels, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 1416
Birmingham, MI 48012
Office: (248) 792-2187
Email: [email protected]