National Consumers League

Pages tagged "health"

Mail-in and absentee voting during COVID-19

headshot of NCL Executive Assistant Adrienne Archer

By NCExecutive Assistant Adrienne Archer

The National Consumers League (NCL) wants consumers to know that voting by mail or absentee ballot during the COVID-19 pandemic is safe. Due to conflicting information being shared by the media, and federal, state and local governments, it can be difficult to determine how best to vote. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a voter should always focus on keeping themselves and their family safe and healthy. Whether voting by mail-in or absentee ballot, it’s important to have a plan. However, due to the variety of challenges posed by the pandemic, it might be difficult to keep up with the changes or updates to a state’s voting guidelines. Voters should contact their local elections office.


FDA Emergency Use Authorizations and public trust for COVID-19 treatments

headshot of NCL Director of Health Policy Jeanette Contreras

By NCL Director of Health Policy Jeanette Contreras

There has never been a more critical time for consumers to have confidence in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA is charged with ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of the drugs, biologic products, and medical devices needed to treat and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The agency has undergone scrutiny from the scientific community for issuing Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 treatments and diagnostics that appeared to be politically motivated. 


Be wary of bad hand sanitizers

headshot of NCL Executive Assistant Adrienne Archer

By NCExecutive Assistant Adrienne Archer

Hand sanitizers help protect and prevent the spread of COVID-19 when soap and water are not readily available. When the coronavirus first emerged, demand for hand sanitizers soared. Stores were unable to maintain ample inventory, resulting in rampant hoarding and price gouging. Essential workers that desperately needed hand sanitizer couldn’t get them, prompting some companies to start making sanitizers that originally did not produce them (i.e. distilleries, cosmetic companies, etc.)


That fashionable new mask may cost more than advertised

headshot of NCL Health Policy intern Talia

By NCL Health Policy intern Talia Zitner

Every time I open my Instagram page, I’m inundated with ads for face masks boasting of their safety, style, comfort, and use of sustainable materials. From Urban Outfitters to the National Gallery in London, England, it seems like everyone has started to sell masks. On the one hand, this is reassuring. If consumers are good at anything—particularly during this pandemic—it is online shopping. Seeing masks created with iconic prints, trendy designs, and labeled with their favorite brands, might inspire increasingly more consumers to wear masks—especially the target audience, young people, who use more social media.


‘Should I stay or should I go?’ How the pandemic has affected higher education

headshot of NCL Health Policy intern Talia

By NCL Health Policy intern Talia Zitner

Every morning, I wake up with a new decision to make. Am I going back to campus? Or am I spending the Fall semester taking online classes from the comfort of my childhood bedroom? I’m a rising sophomore at Wesleyan University, and to add insult to injury, I’m also an incoming transfer student. My internal debate about going back to school is near-constant, and despite weighing the pros and cons of each, I still can’t seem to come to a comfortable conclusion.


Consumers and mental health services: barriers and access issues

headshot of NCL Executive Assistant Adrienne Archer

By NCExecutive Assistant Adrienne Archer

For many consumers, securing access to reliable and affordable mental health care can prove to be a difficult feat. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MPHAEA) of 2018 require health plans to provide the same level of benefits for mental and substance use treatment and services as for medical and surgical care, otherwise known as “mental health parity”. Provisions were expanded so that the health plans could also cover behavioral treatments and services. Yet despite the passage of the MHPAEA, significant barriers and disparities persist in the mental health care space.


Reopening the economy prematurely has dire consequences for states

headshot of NCL Health Policy intern Talia

By NCL Health Policy intern Talia Zitner

The past month has seen a serious surge in reported coronavirus cases in the United States. It seems the virus is going to be with us for a while. Of states where COVID is spiking, the majority are in the South, many of which had ambitious reopening plans that are now being reconsidered.


The overlooked epidemic: COVID-19 and its relationship to opioids

headshot of NCL Health Policy intern Talia

By NCL Health Policy intern Talia Zitner

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t the only major public health crisis plaguing America. As the country struggles to contain COVID-19, the pandemic has seen a corollary rise in incidents of opioid usage and overdose. A major disruption in the way people suffering from opioid addiction receive treatment may ultimately prove critical to understanding how the opioid epidemic is directly affected by the coronavirus.


Vaccine hesitancy and the unique challenge of COVID-19

headshot of NCL Health Policy intern Talia

By NCL Health Policy intern Talia Zitner

Around the globe, researchers and scientists are racing to find a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus. Developing a safe, effective, and affordable vaccine is already a challenging feat, but vaccine hesitancy presents another unique challenge to scientists, government researchers, and community leaders.


Top of mind: HHS's reversal of Obama-era transgender nondiscrimination healthcare protections

Nissa Shaffi

By Nissa Shaffi, NCL Associate Director of Health Policy

On June 12, the Trump Administration finalized a rule that proposed to revise, and in effect reverse, Obama-era protections offered in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1557, known as the Health Care Rights Law, prevents discrimination of patients based on “race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.” In 2016, the Obama Administration expanded the definition of sex to encompass aspects of gender identity as well—extending protections to transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. 


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