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November 2018

Health

In the News

E-cigarette held by a young woman

JANIFEST/Getty Images

The Impact of E-Cigarettes on Youth

Teenage usage of e-cigarettes has been the target of recent government scrutiny, including a September declaration by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that usage of e-cigarettes by youth has reached “epidemic” levels.

What kind of impact are vaping products having on teens? According to a new RAND study, adolescents who use vaping products are not only more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future but are also likely to increase their use of both cigarettes and vaping products over time.

Read the study »

Read the news release »

Featured Research

ACA’s Dependent Care Expansion Impacts on Mental Health Care

Women hugging in a group therapy session

Tom Merton/Getty Images

Lack of insurance can be a barrier to mental health treatment for young adults. Have efforts to expand insurance coverage to young adults helped? RAND researchers examined the impact of insurance expansion under the Affordable Care Act’s Dependent Care Expansion (DCE), which allows young adults to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26, on the allocation of mental health services across illness severity, types of care, and racial/ethnic groups. They found that the DCE increased the use of mental health services among young adults who have mental health problems. The increase was largest for use of psychiatric medications. Additionally, the DCE did not affect disparities in care experienced by racial and ethnic minority groups. For additional policies to be successful, the researchers recommend that policies must not only increase utilization of mental health treatment but also increase the quality of care received by individuals with high need for mental health care.

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Evolution of the U.S. Overdose Crisis

Plastic bags of Fentanyl are displayed on a table at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection area at the International Mail Facility at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, November 29, 2017

Joshua Lott/Reuters

The introduction of illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids such as fentanyl to U.S. drug markets presents new challenges for drug policy: The potency of many synthetic opioids increases risk of users and poses challenges for first responders; the development of novel opioids that fall outside existing drug controls complicates regulatory efforts; and their ability to be produced and shipped with ease disrupts traditional supply chains.

There are several options that Congress and federal authorities could consider to reduce this problem. One of those options could be strengthening federal efforts to reduce demand for illicit opioids. Demand reduction could lessen the economic incentives for drug dealers while saving lives of those suffering from opioid-use disorder. Efforts can include improving access to existing and proven therapies, such as methadone and buprenorphine.

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Commentary

Misconceptions About ‘Medicare for All’

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 13, 2017, photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Jodi Liu and Christine Eibner, USA Today

“Medicare for All is now a political campaign talking point. Polls on Medicare for All and single-payer health care have shown that the public support varies depending on what the proposal is called and the arguments for or against it. Misconceptions abound about these proposals and their likely effects.” Read more »

In Opioid Policy, One Size Does Not Fit All

Doctor and patient discussing medication, photo by JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images

Bradley Stein, The Hill

“When it comes to the opioid crisis, one size does not fit all. If the opioid crisis is to be solved, the way policymakers think about it needs to evolve from considering each aspect of it in isolation to viewing the crisis as an ecosystem.” Read more »

Committed to Improving Health Care Policy: Q&A with Jodi Liu

Jodi Liu, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

Jodi Liu, RAND Review

Jodi Liu, an associate policy researcher at RAND, studies how to deliver high-quality care and how to pay for it. She discusses her assessment of a single-payer health care proposal in New York State and the supply-and-demand challenges that might arise if an Alzheimer’s treatment became available. Read the Q&A »

Twitter »

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RAND Health @RANDHealth, Sep 26

How will eliminating the #ACA's individual mandate penalty affect the nongroup insurance market in the state of New York? https://t.co/SeVc3bEpSl

RAND Health @RANDHealth, Sep 25

A new science-based curriculum designed to teach adolescents about the risks of opioids is available for free download from Project ALERT, a national evidence-based drug education program created and managed by RAND and directed by @ericRpedersen. https://t.co/xEYTgdKvmf

RAND Congressional @RAND_OCR, Sep 26

According to Dr. Katherine Watkins, this month’s @RANDCorporation Woman to Watch, “Collaborative care increases the capacity for primary are to deliver evidence-based substance use treatments, and when these treatments are provided, patients get better.” https://t.co/eEvs13FGiU

RAND Congressional Resources Staff

Jayme Fuglesten
Director, Office of Congressional Relations

Jared Perkins
Legislative Analyst

RAND Office of Congressional Relations
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