Not a New Story: Place‐ and Race‐Based Disparities in COVID‐19 and Influenza Hospitalizations among Medicaid‐Insured Adults in New York City
For all that is unprecedented about COVID-19, the race-based health disparities in the pandemic's early days are sadly familiar. In this study, the authors compare the geographic and racial/ethnic disparities during the first three waves of the COVID-19 pandemic (first wave: January 1–April 30, 2020; second wave: May 1–August 31, 2020; third wave: September 1–December 31, 2020) to the 2016 and 2017 influenza seasons using New York State Medicaid claims data. Ultimately, the study concludes that while geographic and racial/ethnic disparities evident during the first wave of the pandemic were similar to those of previous waves of influenza, the later waves of COVID-19 hospitalizations reflected far less severe disparities. This is one of the first papers to examine how the characteristics of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 changed over the course of 2020, and in turn demonstrates how COVID-19-related racial/ethnic disparities decreased over time.
Many public and subsidized housing developments in the US are aging and in need of significant repairs. Some observers worry that their poor condition threatens the health of residents. This study evaluated a recent renovation of public housing that was undertaken through the transfer of six housing developments from the New York City Housing Authority to a public-private partnership. It examined whether the renovation and transfer to private managers led to improvements in tenants’ health over three years, as measured by Medicaid claims. While it did not find significant improvements in individual health outcomes, it found significant relative improvements in overall disease burden when measured using an index of housing-sensitive conditions.
Although the pace of gentrification has accelerated in cities across the US, little is known about the health consequences of growing up in gentrifying neighborhoods. This study used New York State Medicaid claims data to track a cohort of low-income children born in the period 2006–08 for the nine years between January 2009 and December 2017. It compared the 2017 health outcomes of children who started out in low-income neighborhoods that gentrified in the period 2009–15 with those of children who started out in other low-income neighborhoods, controlling for individual child demographic characteristics, baseline neighborhood characteristics, and preexisting trends in neighborhood socioeconomic status.
This paper by Ingrid Gould Ellen, Sherry Glied, and Kacie Dragan examines gentrification’s impact on the displacement of low-income families. While many see this relationship as causal, existing quantitative evidence is lacking, partly due to limited data and challenges in measurement. This paper examines the relationship between the frequency and distance of low-income families’ residential moves, as well as the housing and neighborhood conditions in which they live. Using longitudinal New York City Medicaid records, the authors track the movement and compare the outcomes of low-income children from 2009 through 2015, a seven-year period in which the city experienced high levels of gentrification, distinguishing between children who move and those that remain in place.