Category: Cost and Quality

  • La crisis de deuda que los estadounidenses enfermos no pueden evitar

    La promesa de campaña del presidente Joe Biden de cancelar la deuda estudiantil por los primeros $10,000 adeudados en préstamos universitarios federales ha generado un debate sobre la equidad de estos programas de préstamos. En un sondeo de junio, poco más de la mitad de los estadounidenses encuestados apoyaron que se condonara la deuda universitaria, […]

  • ‘True Cost of Aging’ Index Shows Many Seniors Can’t Afford Basic Necessities

    Fran Seeley, 81, doesn’t see herself as living on the edge of a financial crisis. But she’s uncomfortably close. Each month, Seeley, a retired teacher, gets $925 from Social Security and a $287 disbursement from an individual retirement account. To make ends meet, she’s taken out a reverse mortgage on her Portland, Maine, home that […]

  • Parents Become Drug Developers to Save Their Children’s Lives

    Maggie Carmichael wasn’t developing like other kids. As a toddler, she wasn’t walking and had a limited vocabulary for her age. She was diagnosed with PMM2-CDG, potentially fatal gene mutations that cause abnormal enzyme activity — and affect fewer than 1,000 people worldwide. Her parents, Holly and Dan Carmichael, raised $250,000 for scientists to screen […]

  • Listen: Why Medical Debt Touches Every Corner of America

    KHN’s Noam N. Levey talks with Sasha-Ann Simons of WBEZ about America’s sprawling medical debt crisis. Levey explains that the problem is only partially addressed with recent moves by the three major credit reporting bureaus to remove some medical debt from consumer records. A lot of this debt never reaches the credit bureaus, he says, […]

  • Patients With Epilepsy Navigate Murky Unregulated CBD Industry

    In 2013, Tonya Taylor was suicidal because her epileptic seizures persisted despite taking a long list of medications. Then a fellow patient at a Denver neurologist’s office mentioned something that gave Taylor hope: a CBD oil called Charlotte’s Web. The person told her the oil helped people with uncontrolled epilepsy. However, the doctor would discuss […]

  • Medi-Cal’s Reliance on Prisoners to Make Cheaper Eyeglasses Proves Shortsighted

    To dodge hefty costs for eyewear, California’s health insurance program for low-income people, Medi-Cal, has an innovative strategy: It contracts exclusively with the state’s prisons, and inmates make glasses for its beneficiaries. But the partnership that began more than 30 years ago has fractured. Medi-Cal enrollees, many of whom are children, and their eye care […]

  • In America, Cancer Patients Endure Debt on Top of Disease

    RAPID CITY, S.D. ― Jeni Rae Peters would make promises to herself as she lay awake nights after being diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. “My kids had lost so much,” said Peters, a single mom and mental health counselor. She had just adopted two girls and was fostering four other children. “I swore […]

  • ‘Free’ Screening? Know Your Rights to Get No-Cost Care

    An ounce of prevention … well, you know the rest. In medicine, prevention aims to spot problems before they worsen, affecting both a patient’s health and finances. One of the more popular parts of the Affordable Care Act, which allows patients to get certain tests or treatments without forking out cash to cover copayments or […]

  • Listen: He Was Denied Care Because He Owed His Doctor Less Than $100

    Ariane and Samantha Buck of Arizona have had their lives upended by $50,000 in medical debt. They rely on family to provide Christmas gifts for their three children. But Ariane Buck was still surprised when his doctor refused to see him because he owed a balance of less than $100 to the practice. “That’s just […]

  • His-and-Hers Cataract Surgeries, But His Bill Was 20 Times as Much

    Danilo Manimtim’s vision was cloudy and blurred — and it was growing worse. The 73-year-old retired orthopedic surgeon in Fresno, California, knew it was time for cataract surgery. “It’s like car tires wearing out because you drive on them so much,” he said. In December 2021, he went to the outpatient department of the local […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The FDA Goes After Nicotine

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. The FDA this week launched a crackdown on smoking and vaping — ordering the vaping device Juul to be taken off the market and announcing its intention […]

  • Watch: She Almost Died. The $250K Debt Took Their House.

    Cindy Powers needed 19 surgeries over the course of five years for abdominal problems and life-threatening infections. “I knew of at least three times where she died on the operating table and they had to restart her heart,” her husband, Jim Powers, told investigative consumer correspondent Anna Werner on the CBS Evening News. Cindy’s illnesses […]

  • Medi-Cal Will Cover Doulas at More Than Twice California’s Initial Proposed Rate

    California will cover doula services for low-income residents at more than twice the state’s initial proposed rate under a spending plan lawmakers passed last week. Some advocates welcomed the new benefit in Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid health insurance program, as a step toward professionalizing this group of nonmedical birth workers. They say better pay may […]

  • 100 Million People in America Are Saddled With Health Care Debt 

    Elizabeth Woodruff drained her retirement account and took on three jobs after she and her husband were sued for nearly $10,000 by the New York hospital where his infected leg was amputated. Ariane Buck, a young father in Arizona who sells health insurance, couldn’t make an appointment with his doctor for a dangerous intestinal infection […]

  • Upended: How Medical Debt Changed Their Lives

    Loading… Some lost their homes. Some emptied their retirement accounts. Some struggled to feed and clothe their families. Medical debt now touches more than 100 million people in America, as the U.S. health care system pushes patients into debt on a mass scale. Debtors are from all walks of life and all corners of the […]

  • Buy and Bust: When Private Equity Comes for Rural Hospitals

    MEXICO, Mo. — When the new corporate owners of two rural hospitals suddenly announced they would stop admitting patients one Friday in March, Kayla Schudel, a nurse, stood resolute in the nearly empty lobby of Audrain Community Hospital: “You’ll be seen; the ER is open.” The hospital — with 40 beds and five clinics — […]

  • Covid Funding Pries Open a Door to Improving Air Quality in Schools

    Many U.S. schools were in dire need of upgrades — burdened by leaking pipes, mold, and antiquated heating systems — long before the covid-19 pandemic drew attention to the importance of indoor ventilation in reducing the spread of infectious disease. The average U.S. school building is 50 years old, and many schools date back more […]

  • Miles de niños tienen problemas de vista que no se detectan a tiempo

    Jessica Oberoi, de 13 años, no puede recordar exactamente cuándo su vista comenzó a ser borrosa. Todo lo que sabe es que tenía que entrecerrar los ojos para ver el pizzarón en la escuela. No fue sino hasta el otoño pasado, cuando su clase de octavo grado en Bloomington, Indiana, se sometió a exámenes de […]

  • Children’s Vision Problems Often Go Undetected, Despite Calls for Regular Screening

    Jessica Oberoi, 13, can’t exactly remember when her eyesight started getting blurry. All she knows is that she had to squint to see the whiteboard at school. It wasn’t until last fall when her eighth grade class in Bloomington, Indiana, got vision screenings that Jessica’s extreme nearsightedness and amblyopia, or lazy eye, were discovered. She’s […]

  • A Deep Dive Into the Widening Mortality Gap Across the Political Aisle

    New research indicates politics may be a matter of life or death. A study published June 7 by the BMJ examined mortality rates and voting patterns in the past five presidential elections, and found that people who lived in jurisdictions that consistently voted Democratic fared better than those that voted Republican. “We all aspire to […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: Good News for Your Credit Report

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Click here for a transcript of the episode. Credit reporting bureaus announced in March that they would start taking most paid medical debt off people’s credit reports. At first, we weren’t sure that would be such a huge deal. After all, the unpaid medical debt would still […]

  • For Many Low-Income Families, Getting Formula Has Always Been a Strain

    Miracle Abbott became pregnant during her junior year at the University of South Carolina Upstate. She worked a low-wage job and had mounting student debt, so the then-19-year-old turned to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC, to get infant formula and food. But after she gave birth, her […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: Private Equity Is Everywhere in Health Care. Really.

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Click here for a transcript of the episode. When a listener wrote to us about a pricey colonoscopy quote, we got curious. It turns out, a few years back, investors identified gastroenterology as their next hot-ticket item.  Private equity companies are the house-flippers of the investment world, […]

  • Census Undercount Threatens Federal Food and Health Programs on Reservations

    The 2020 census missed nearly 1 of every 17 Native Americans who live on reservations, an undercount that could very well lead to insufficient federal funding for essential health, nutrition, and social programs in remote communities with high poverty rates and scarce access to services. The census counted 9.7 million people who identified as a […]

  • States Watching as Massachusetts Takes Aim at Hospital Building Boom and Costs

    A Massachusetts health cost watchdog agency and a broad coalition including consumers, health systems, and insurers helped block the state’s largest — and most expensive — hospital system in April from expanding into the Boston suburbs. Advocates for more affordable care hope the decision by regulators to hold Mass General Brigham accountable for its high […]

  • Why Cheap, Older Drugs That Might Treat Covid Never Get Out of the Lab

    In March 2020, Dr. Joseph Vinetz left the contemplative world of his Yale University infectious-disease laboratory and plunged into the covid ward at Yale New Haven Hospital, joining an army of health care workers who struggled to treat the deadly viral disease. There were no drugs against covid-19, and no way to predict which infected […]

  • Battle Lines Are Drawn Over California Deal With Kaiser Permanente

    [Editor’s note: KHN is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.] California counties, health insurance plans, community clinics, and a major national health care labor union are lining up against a controversial deal to grant HMO giant Kaiser Permanente a no-bid statewide Medicaid contract as the bill heads for its first legislative hearing Tuesday. The deal, hammered out […]

  • Record Fines Might Mean California Is Finally Serious About Improving Medi-Cal

    Is California getting tougher on health plans that participate in Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance program for low-income residents? A few weeks ago, state regulators imposed a record $55 million in fines on L.A. Care, California’s largest Medi-Cal managed-care plan, for failing to ensure adequate care and allowing treatment delays that threatened enrollees’ health. Patient advocates […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: A Fight for the Right to Help

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Click here for a transcript of the episode. Americans get sued over medical debt. A lot. And — no surprise — many folks getting sued can’t afford lawyers.  But for a non-lawyer to give even basic advice in a lawsuit is a crime. Such a helper could […]

  • Missouri Tried to Fix Its Doctor Shortage. Now the Fix May Need Fixing.

    Missouri state Rep. Tricia Derges is pushing a bill to give assistant physicians like herself a pathway to becoming fully licensed doctors in the state. Not that Derges — among the highest-profile holders of the assistant physician license created in 2014 to ease a doctor shortage — is the most persuasive advocate right now. Derges […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: Need an Expensive Drug? Here’s What You Need to Know

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Click here for a transcript of the episode. Lillian Karabaic teaches personal finance to millennials through a podcast and community called Oh My Dollar! — and she needs an expensive drug to treat a chronic condition. That makes her an expert on one of the most complex arrangements in the […]

  • Listen: An Unsettling Investigation Into the Closure of a Chain of Pain Clinics

    Last spring, Lags Medical Centers, a sprawling chain of pain clinics serving more than 20,000 patients in California, abruptly shuttered amid a cloaked state investigation into “credible allegations of fraud.” Tens of thousands of patients were left scrambling for care, most of them low-income Californians covered by state and federal insurance programs. Many have struggled […]

  • Backlogs in California’s Medicaid Drug Program Ease, but Problems Persist

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The contractor running California’s new Medicaid prescription drug program has addressed shortfalls that earlier this year left thousands of enrollees without critical medications, some languishing on hold for hours as they sought help, state officials told lawmakers Thursday.  But doctors and health care clinics say that some patients are still suffering and that […]

  • Readers and Tweeters Have Mental Health Care on Their Minds

    Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names. Therapists Aren’t Psychic Your article on the No Surprises Act offered clarity into some difficulties faced by therapists and their patients in determining financial parameters of treatment (“Mental Health Therapists Seek […]

  • Missouri Takes Months to Process Medicaid Applications — Longer Than Law Allows

    Aneka French applied for Medicaid in October, not long after Missouri became the 38th state to expand eligibility for the program. But her application sat for months in a backlog with tens of thousands of others. While she waited, French, 45, an uninsured medical technician from St. Louis, paid out-of-pocket when she was treated at […]

  • As Politics Infects Public Health, Private Companies Profit

    For some counties and cities that share a public health agency with other local governments, differences over mask mandates, business restrictions, and other covid preventive measures have strained those partnerships. At least two have been pushed past the breaking point A county in Colorado and a small city in Southern California are splitting from their […]

  • Demand for Service Dogs Unleashes a ‘Wild West’ Market

    Jenni Mahnaz admits she’s not much of a dog person. She’s mildly allergic and the only pet she had as a child was a hermit crab. But once she learned that specially trained dogs could help her daughters with their medical needs, she was willing to do anything to make it happen. Her oldest daughter, […]

  • Inside the Tactical Tug of War Over the Controversial Alzheimer’s Drug

    The drug industry, patient advocates, and congressional Republicans have all attacked federal officials’ decision to decline routine Medicare coverage for a controversial Alzheimer’s drug. They’ve gone as far as to accuse them of tacit racism, ageism, and discrimination against the disabled — and hinted at a lawsuit — over the decision to pay only for […]

  • What Are Taxpayers Spending for Those ‘Free’ Covid Tests? The Government Won’t Say.

    The four free covid-19 rapid tests President Joe Biden promised in December for every American household have begun arriving in earnest in mailboxes and on doorsteps. A surge of covid infections spurred wide demand for over-the-counter antigen tests during the holidays: Clinics were overwhelmed with people seeking tests and the few off-the-shelf brands were nearly […]

  • Skirmish Between Biden and Red States Over Medicaid Leaves Enrollees in the Balance

    When Republican-led states balked at expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s administration tossed them a carrot — allowing several to charge monthly premiums to newly eligible enrollees. Republicans pushed for the fees to give Medicaid recipients “skin in the game” — the idea they would value their coverage more — and […]

  • ‘Somebody Is Gonna Die’: Medi-Cal Patients Struggle to Fill Prescriptions

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A month into its debut, California’s new Medicaid prescription drug program is riddled with problems, leaving thousands of patients without medications — often after languishing on hold for up to eight hours on call center phone lines. On Jan. 1, the state handed control of its Medicaid drug program, known as Medi-Cal […]

  • Federal Investigation Into Spine Surgeries Uses Mob Laws to Target Health Care Fraud

    A Texas consulting company that arranges spine surgery and other medical care for people injured in car crashes has come under scrutiny in a widening federal bribery investigation. Meg Health Care, run by Dallas personal injury attorney Manuel Green and his wife, Melissa Green, is the focus of a search warrant recently unsealed by a […]

  • Health Care Paradox: Medicare Penalizes Dozens of Hospitals It Also Gives Five Stars

    The federal government has penalized 764 hospitals — including more than three dozen it simultaneously rates as among the best in the country — for having the highest numbers of patient infections and potentially avoidable complications. The penalties — a 1% reduction in Medicare payments over 12 months — are based on the experiences of […]

  • Mental Health Therapists Seek Exemption From Part of Law to Ban Surprise Billing

    Groups representing a range of mental health therapists say a new law that protects people from surprise medical bills puts providers in an ethical bind and could discourage some patients from care. The therapists take no issue with the main aim of the legislation, which is to prevent patients from being blindsided by bills, usually […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: Know Your ‘No Surprises’ Rights

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Click here for a transcript of the episode. On Jan. 1, Americans woke up with some new protections from giant medical bills.  Meet the No Surprises Act. It’s a new law that protects patients from one of the worst experiences the U.S. health care system has to […]

  • Faxes and Snail Mail: Will Pandemic-Era Flaws Unleash Improved Health Technology?

    Jamie Taylor received two letters from the Missouri Department of Social Services Family Support Division that began, “Good news,” before stating that she was denied Medicaid coverage. Her income exceeded the state’s limits for the federal-state public health insurance program for people with low incomes. Missouri officials now blame the incongruous greeting for the decidedly […]

  • Listen: Generous Deals, and a Few Unwanted Surprises, at Covered California

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. KHN Southern California correspondent Bernard J. Wolfson was on “Línea Abierta,” a Radio Bilingüe weekday news program, answering questions for a Spanish-speaking audience about his recent column on health plan enrollment through California’s Affordable Care Act marketplace, Covered California. Wolfson’s column discusses the extraordinary deals available […]

  • Readers and Tweeters: Give Nurse Practitioners Their Due

    Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names. The latest installment in: Hospital Billing is Totally Ridiculous. See also: High Deductibles are Bad — Rachel Patterson (@racheljpat) January 24, 2022 — Rachel Patterson, Washington, D.C. In Respect to Nurse […]

  • Watch: ER Charged $1,012 for Almost No Care

    “CBS Mornings” host Tony Dokoupil interviewed KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal about January’s Bill of the Month installment, a collaboration with NPR. The Bhatt family of St. Peters, Missouri, was charged $1,012 for an emergency room visit for son Martand. The toddler had burned his hand on a stove days before, and, after it started blistering, […]

  • Resistance to a Boston Hospital’s Expansion Centers on Rising Prices

    A boisterous political battle over a proposed expansion by the largest and most expensive hospital system in Massachusetts is spotlighting questions about whether similar expansions by big health systems around the country drive up health care costs. Mass General Brigham, which owns 11 hospitals in the state, has proposed a $2.3 billion expansion including a […]

  • The Doctor Didn’t Show Up, but the Hospital ER Still Charged $1,012

    Dhaval Bhatt had been warned about hospital emergency rooms. “People always told me to avoid the ER in America unless you are really dying,” said Bhatt, an immigrant from India who got a Ph.D. in pharmacology in the U.S. and is now a research scientist at Washington University in St. Louis. But when Bhatt’s 2-year-old […]

  • Patient, Beware: Some States Still Pushing Ineffective Covid Antibody Treatments

    As the omicron variant completes its sweep across the U.S., states with scarce supplies of monoclonal antibody therapies continue to use two treatments that federal health officials warn no longer work against the highly contagious version of the virus that causes covid-19. The antibody treatment now most recommended is sotrovimab from GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology, […]

  • ‘Heart’ of Little Shell: Newest Federally Recognized Tribe to Open First Clinic

    GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Louella Fredrickson has long created workarounds to fill gaps in the spotty medical care available to her as a member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana. The 86-year-old uses dollar-store reading glasses to improve her blurry vision because she’s worried about the cost of an eye appointment. […]

  • Cinco cosas que deberías saber sobre las pruebas caseras “gratis” para covid

    Los estadounidenses siguen escuchando que es importante hacerse pruebas caseras para covid con frecuencia. El problema es encontrar tests que sean lo suficientemente asequibles para poder comprarlos a menudo. Hacerse pruebas, así como el uso de máscaras, es una medida importante si el país quiere vencer a covid, recuperar las rutinas de la vida diaria […]

  • HHS Proposal for Marketplace Plans Carries a Hefty Dose of Consumer Caution

    Some insurance brokers are enrolling people into Affordable Care Act health plans without their consent, perhaps for the commissions, a move that could put consumers in danger of owing back the subsidies connected with the coverage. The damage could be hundreds or even thousands of dollars. A consumer’s first hint that something is wrong is […]

  • 5 Things You Should Know About ‘Free’ At-Home Covid Tests

    Americans keep hearing that it is important to test frequently for covid-19 at home. But just try to find an “at-home” rapid covid test in a store and at a price that makes frequent tests affordable. Testing, as well as mask-wearing, is an important measure if the country ever hopes to beat covid, restore normal […]

  • Funcionarios advierten sobre sitios de pruebas para covid de dudosa calidad

    NUEVA YORK, NY.- En los últimos meses, los sitios para pruebas de covid en carpas y camiones se han multiplicado en las calles como la mala hierba. A medida que la variante omicron atraviesa los Estados Unidos, la demanda de tests se ha disparado y las filas dan la vuelta a la esquina. Además de […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Dealing With Drug Prices

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Medicare officials have preliminarily decided to restrict reimbursement for Aduhelm, the controversial Alzheimer’s drug, to only patients participating in approved clinical trials. The FDA approved the drug […]

  • Aplicación ayuda a desestigmatizar la bancarrota para afrontar cuentas médicas

    Un embarazo no planificado, y complicado, puso a Carlazjion Constant, de Smyrna, Tennessee, al borde del abismo financiero. Durante el embarazo de alto riesgo, su seguro de salud con deducible alto no pagó prácticamente nada por las críticas visitas adicionales al obstetra. Justo cuando esas facturas por un total de $5,000 vencieron el año pasado, […]

  • Clinics Say California’s New Medicaid Drug Program Will Force Them to Cut Services

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s sweeping new program to buy prescription drugs for its nearly 14 million Medicaid patients has alarmed health clinics that say they will lose money and have to cut services. Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged Monday that some clinics, which serve the poorest Californians, would lose funding, and he included $105 million for […]

  • App Attempts to Break Barriers to Bankruptcy for Those in Medical Debt

    An unplanned and complicated pregnancy pushed Carlazjion Constant of Smyrna, Tennessee, to the financial brink. Her high-deductible health insurance paid virtually nothing toward the extra obstetrician visits needed during her high-risk pregnancy. Just as those bills totaling $5,000 came due last year, a real estate company started garnishing her paycheck over a broken lease during […]

  • California Ballot Will Be Heavy on Health Care

    SACRAMENTO — When Californians go to the polls later this year, they will confront contentious health care choices. Voters will weigh whether to overturn a state law that bans flavored tobacco products and will likely consider increasing the cap on medical malpractice awards. They may also vote on proposals that effectively legalize psychedelic mushrooms and […]

  • A New Paradigm Is Needed: Top Experts Question the Value of Advance Care Planning

    For decades, Americans have been urged to fill out documents specifying their end-of-life wishes before becoming terminally ill — living wills, do-not-resuscitate orders, and other written materials expressing treatment preferences. Now, a group of prominent experts is saying those efforts should stop because they haven’t improved end-of-life care. “Decades of research demonstrate advance care planning […]

  • ‘Then the Bill Came’: Year 4 of KHN-NPR’s Bill of the Month Is a Wrap

    In 2021, more than 880 of you submitted ideas for KHN-NPR’s Bill of the Month investigative series, trusting us with two of the most personal topics in life: your health and your money. We are deeply grateful. Our trove of bills and stories — building steadily to nearly 5,000 since February 2018 — tells us […]

  • Nursing Homes Bleed Staff as Amazon Lures Low-Wage Workers With Prime Packages

    ERLANGER, Ky. — The sleek corporate offices of one of Amazon’s air freight contractors looms over Villaspring of Erlanger, a stately nursing home perched on a hillside in this Cincinnati suburb. Amazon Prime Air cargo planes departing from a recently opened Amazon Air Hub roar overhead. Its Prime semi-trucks speed along the highway, rumbling the […]

  • Rural Communities Left Hurting Without a Hospital, Ambulance or Doctors Nearby

    STATENVILLE, Ga. — Georgia’s Echols County, which borders Florida, could be called a health care desert. It has no hospital, no local ambulances. A medical provider comes to treat patients at a migrant farmworker clinic but, other than a small public health department with two full-time employees, that’s about the extent of the medical care […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Manchin Blows Up Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) dashed the hopes of President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats for passage of the giant “Build Back Better” bill before the end of […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: The Rapid-Test Edition: Who’s Making a Buck?

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Click here for a transcript of the episode. Rapid, at-home covid-19 tests are close to essential if you want to see friends and family this holiday season, and do your best to stay safe.  But they’re freaking expensive and can be hard to find. What the heck […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: She Fights Health Insurers for Fun — And Wins

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Click here for a transcript of the episode. Health insurance is like some medieval horror, law professor Jackie Fox says.  But, funny thing: She also says insurance fights are easy. For her. She’s been helping people win them for 30 years. For Fox, it started when an […]

  • Suit by Doctors, Hospitals Seeks Change in How Arbitrators Settle Surprise Billing Cases

    Two of the largest lobbying groups representing physicians and hospitals filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging a Biden administration decision on how to implement the law shielding patients from most surprise medical bills. The lawsuit from the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association does not seek to halt the law from going into effect […]

  • From ‘Physician Assistant’ to Medicare, Readers and Tweeters Mince No Words

    Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names. On ‘Physician Assistant’: Watch Your Language I think this story left out a few critical pieces of information (“A Title Fight Pits Physician Assistants Against Doctors,” Dec. 3). The term “physician […]

  • ‘I Can Go Anywhere’: How Service Dogs Help Veterans With PTSD

    It was supper time in the Whittier, California, home of Air Force veteran Danyelle Clark-Gutierrez, and eagerly awaiting a bowl of kibble and canned dog food was Lisa, a 3-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. Her nails clicking on the kitchen floor as she danced about, Lisa looked more like an exuberant puppy than the highly trained […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: How to Avoid the Worst Health Insurance

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Click here for a transcript of the episode. This episode kicks off with a wild ride: How one journalist nearly got roped into a scam. While hunting for a new health insurance plan, award-winning journalist Mitra Kaboli got an offer that seemed too good to be true — and […]

  • Black Tech Founders Want to Change the Culture of Health Care, One Click at a Time

    When Ashlee Wisdom launched an early version of her health and wellness website, more than 34,000 users — most of them Black — visited the platform in the first two weeks. “It wasn’t the most fully functioning platform,” recalled Wisdom, 31. “It was not sexy.” But the launch was successful. Now, more than a year […]

  • Becerra Says Surprise Billing Rules Force Doctors Who Overcharge to Accept Fair Prices

    Overpriced doctors and other medical providers who can’t charge a reasonable rate for their services could be put out of business when new rules against surprise medical bills take effect in January, and that’s a good thing, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told KHN, in defending the regulations. The proposed rules represent the […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: The Insurance Warrior’s Battle Plan

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Click here for a transcript of the episode. Matthew Lientz was an engineer for Boeing for over 30 years. When he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, he needed surgery from an expert doctor in another state. Although the surgery was his only option, his […]

  • Why You Can’t Find Cheap At-Home Covid Tests

    While developing a rapid test that detects the coronavirus in someone’s saliva, Blink Science, a Florida-based startup, heard something startling: The Food and Drug Administration had more than 3,000 emergency use authorization applications and didn’t have the resources to get through them. “We want to try to avoid the EUA quagmire,” said Peb Hendrix, the […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Boosting Confusion

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. With covid caseloads rising across much of the country, several governors and mayors are unilaterally expanding access to booster shots, getting out ahead of federal health officials. […]

  • Your Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs Need Not Be a Mystery

    If you’ve ever had a serious illness or cared for someone who has, you know how quickly the medical bills can pile up: from labs, radiology clinics, pharmacies, doctors, different departments within the same hospital — some of them in your insurance network, others not. It can be extremely confusing, no matter how clever you […]

  • How Rural Communities Are Losing Their Pharmacies

    Batson’s Drug Store seems like a throwback to a simpler time. The independently owned pharmacy in Howard, Kansas, still runs an old-fashioned soda counter and hand-dips ice cream. But the drugstore, the only one in the entire county, teeters on the edge between nostalgia and extinction. Julie Perkins, pharmacist and owner of Batson’s, graduated from […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Why Health Care Is So Expensive, Chapter $22K

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Congress appears to be making progress on its huge social spending bill, but even if it passes the House as planned the week of Nov. 15, it’s […]

  • Researcher: Medicare Advantage Plans Costing Billions More Than They Should

    Switching seniors to Medicare Advantage plans has cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars more than keeping them in original Medicare, a cost that has exploded since 2018 and is likely to rise even higher, new research has found. Richard Kronick, a former federal health policy researcher and a professor at the University of California-San […]

  • As Workers Struggle With Pandemic’s Impact, Employers Expand Mental Health Benefits

    As the covid-19 pandemic burns through its second year, the path forward for American workers remains unsettled, with many continuing to work from home while policies for maintaining a safe workplace evolve. In its 2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey, released Wednesday, KFF found that many employers have ramped up mental health and other benefits to […]

  • Hormone Blocker Sticker Shock — Again — As Patients Lose Cheaper Drug Option

    Sudeep Taksali thought he’d won his battle to avoid a steep price tag on a medicine for his daughter. He was wrong. In 2020, he’d fought to get insurance to cover a lower-priced version of a drug his then-8-year-old needed. She’d been diagnosed with central precocious puberty, a rare condition marked by early onset of […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Compromise Is Coming — Maybe

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Democrats on Capitol Hill hope they are nearing the finish line in their months-long quest to enact President Joe Biden’s social spending agenda. After briefly dropping from […]

  • Few Acute Care Hospitals Escaped Readmissions Penalties

    Preventable rehospitalization of the nation’s older adults has proved a persistent health and financial challenge for the U.S., costing Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Various analyses have found many readmissions within a month of discharge might have been avoided through better care and more attention paid to the patients after they left […]

  • What’s Scarier Than Covid? Halloween Health Haikus

    Boo that we couldn’t treat all the readers participating in our third annual KHN Halloween Haiku Contest to their moment of gory glory. Your entries — like our health care system — ranged from frighteningly complex to haunting. And, based on a review by our panel of never-say-die judges, here’s the winner and a sampling […]

  • Medicare Punishes 2,499 Hospitals for High Readmissions

    The federal government’s effort to penalize hospitals for excessive patient readmissions is ending its first decade with Medicare cutting payments to nearly half the nation’s hospitals. In its 10th annual round of penalties, Medicare is reducing its payments to 2,499 hospitals, or 47% of all facilities. The average penalty is a 0.64% reduction in payment […]

  • Look Up Your Hospital: Is It Being Penalized By Medicare?

    Under programs set up by the Affordable Care Act, the federal government cuts payments to hospitals that have high rates of readmissions and those with the highest numbers of infections and patient injuries. For the readmission penalties, Medicare cuts as much as 3 percent for each patient, although the average is generally much lower. The […]

  • How Billing Turns a Routine Birth Into a High-Cost Emergency

    Caitlin Wells Salerno knew that some mammals — like the golden-mantled ground squirrels she studies in the Rocky Mountains — invest an insane amount of resources in their young. That didn’t prepare her for the resources the conservation biologist would owe after the birth of her second son. Wells Salerno went into labor on the […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Politics of Vaccine Mandates

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Should covid vaccines be mandated? The answer to that question has become predictably partisan, as with almost everything else associated with the pandemic. Even as the federal […]

  • The Public Backs Medicare Rx Price Negotiation Even After Hearing Both Sides’ Views

    As Congress debates cutting prescription drug costs, a poll released Tuesday found the vast majority of adults — regardless of their political party or age — support letting the federal government negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries and those in private health insurance plans. The argument that pharmaceutical companies need to charge high prices to […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: How One State Protects Patients From Hospital Lawsuits

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. In Maryland, hospitals had been suing people — taking them to court and garnishing wages — even though these patients legally qualified for financial assistance, also known as charity care. Those lawsuits are now illegal, because of the state’s new Medical Debt Protection Act. But in many other […]

  • Youthful Advisers Help Shape a Mental Health Program for Their Peers

    Phebe Cox grew up in what might seem an unlikely mental health danger zone for a kid: tony Palo Alto, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. But behind its façade of family success and wealth, she said, is an environment of crushing pressure on students to perform. By 2016, when Cox was in middle […]

  • What the Stalemate on Capitol Hill Means for Your Drug Prices

    As President Joe Biden’s government overhaul stalls in Congress, tensions are mounting over what changes ― if any ― could come for Americans at the pharmacy counter. The proposals in flux range from tinkering with tax credits to far-reaching changes in federal payments systems. Pressure is building to contain costs that have skyrocketed over the […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Health Agenda Still on Hold

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. Democrats on Capitol Hill missed their deadline to finish two huge bills that constitute the bulk of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, but negotiations continue over expansions to major health programs, as well as ways to rein in prescription drug costs. Meanwhile, the Biden […]

  • Alzheimer’s Drug Targets People With Mild Cognitive Impairment. What Does That Mean?

    The approval of a controversial new drug for Alzheimer’s disease, Aduhelm, is shining a spotlight on mild cognitive impairment — problems with memory, attention, language or other cognitive tasks that exceed changes expected with normal aging. After initially indicating that Aduhelm could be prescribed to anyone with dementia, the Food and Drug Administration now specifies […]

  • These Schools Use Weekly Testing to Keep Kids in Class — And Covid Out

    On a recent Monday morning, a group of preschoolers filed into the gymnasium at Hillside School in the west Chicago suburbs. These 4- and 5-year-olds were the first of more than 200 students to get tested for the coronavirus that day — and every Monday — for the foreseeable future. At the front of the […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Autumn of Democrats’ Discontent

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Democrats in Congress and the White House are feverishly negotiating to pass as much of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda as they can agree on, even as […]

  • Biosimilar Drugs Are Cheaper Than Biologics. Are They Similar Enough to Switch?

    It took years for Elle Moxley to get a diagnosis that explained her crippling gastrointestinal pain, digestion problems, fatigue, and hot, red rashes. And after learning in 2016 that she had Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, she spent more than four years trying medications before getting her disease under control with […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: They Turned Grief Into Action

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. In 2004, 24-year-old Manny Lanza urgently needed surgery for a life-threatening brain condition. But he didn’t have insurance, so his hospital refused to schedule the treatment — until it was too late. Manny died waiting.  In the months that followed, Manny’s parents, Reynaldo Prieto and Levia Lanza, […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Much Ado About Drug Prices

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Congressional Democrats are finding it harder to actually write legislation to lower drug prices than it is to make promises about it. But the drug price provisions of the $3.5 trillion social-spending bill […]

  • Justice Department Targets Data Mining in Medicare Advantage Fraud Case

    The Justice Department has accused an upstate New York health insurance plan for seniors and its medical analytics company of cheating the government out of tens of millions of dollars. The civil complaint of fraud, filed late Monday, is the first by the federal government to target a data mining company for allegedly helping a […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Future of Public Health

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Click here for a transcript of the episode. The covid-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on public health, a key part of the health care system that […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: How Charity Care Made It Into the ACA

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Charity care is one tiny provision in the giant Affordable Care Act, and it can make a big difference for patients who face huge bills. How did it get into the law? One Republican senator made sure the ACA required nonprofit hospitals to act more like charities […]

  • Florida Spine Surgeon and Device Company Owner Charged in Kickback Scheme

    A Florida orthopedic surgeon and designer of costly spinal surgery implants was arrested Tuesday and charged with paying millions of dollars in kickbacks and bribes to surgeons who agreed to use his company’s devices. Dr. Kingsley R. Chin, 57, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is the founder, chief executive officer and owner of SpineFrontier, a device […]

  • V-Safe: How Everyday People Help the CDC Track Covid Vaccine Safety With Their Phones

    Of the 203 million people who have received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine, more than 9 million have enrolled in a program to share information about their health since getting the shot. The initiative was created for the covid-19 vaccines to complement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine safety monitoring […]

  • Watch: Same Providers, Similar Surgeries, But Different Bills

    Ely Bair had similar surgeries, at the same hospital, with the same insurer. But he received very different big medical bills. KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal joins “CBS This Morning” to break down how this could happen to you and what you can do to avoid it.  KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Vaccine Approval Moves the Needle on Covid

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Food and Drug Administration gave full approval this week to the covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, which will henceforth be known as “Comirnaty.” It is […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: Meet the Mississippi Lawyer Who Helped Start the Fight for Charity Care

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, famous for taking on Big Tobacco in the ’90s and winning, worked on a series of ill-fated national lawsuits against nonprofit hospitals. The goal? Get nonprofit — or “charity” — hospitals to actually provide charity care instead of price-gouging and dunning low-income patients.  Scruggs […]

  • A Health Care Giant Sold Off Dozens of Hospitals — But Continued Suing Patients

    Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon doesn’t exist anymore as a hospital. But it still sued Hope Cantwell. A knock came on the door of Cantwell’s Nashville, Tennessee, apartment early this year. She said she hadn’t been vaccinated against covid-19 yet and wasn’t answering the door to strangers. So she didn’t. But then several more attempts came over the […]

  • Watch: Cyclist Hits Olympic-Size Medical Bills After Crash

    “CBS This Morning,” in partnership with KHN and NPR, interviews Phil Gaimon, a cyclist who had hoped to be in Tokyo next week as a competitor in the track events on the USA Cycling national team. Instead, a crash on the velodrome track in Pennsylvania in 2019 ended his Olympic dream and left him with […]

  • Diabetes Drug’s New Weight Loss Formula Fuels Cost-Benefit Debate

    The long list of side effects that follow ads for the newer expensive drugs to treat Type 2 diabetes sometimes include an unusual warning: They might cause weight loss. That side effect is one that many people — especially those with Type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity — may desperately want. So it’s […]

  • Olympic Dream Dashed After Bike Crash and Nightmare Medical Bill Over $200K

    It was a race in Pennsylvania that could have sent cyclist Phil Gaimon to the Tokyo Olympics; instead, a serious crash landed the Californian in two hospitals on the East Coast. Gaimon knows accidents are, unfortunately, part of the sport. He had retired from competitive road cycling three years earlier, but a recruiting call came […]

  • Pfizer Court Fight Could Legalize Medicare Copays and Unleash ‘Gold Rush’ in Sales

    Three years ago, pharma giant Pfizer paid $24 million to settle federal allegations that it was paying kickbacks and inflating sales by reimbursing Medicare patients for out-of-pocket medication costs. By making prohibitively expensive medicine essentially free for patients, the company induced them to use Pfizer drugs even as the price of one of those medicines, […]

  • Bye-Bye to Health Insurance ‘Birthday Rule’? Kansas Lawmaker Floats Fix

    When Kayla Kjelshus gave birth to her first child, the infant spent seven days in the neonatal intensive care unit, known as the NICU. This stressful medical experience was followed by an equally stressful financial one. Because of an obscure health insurance policy called the “birthday rule,” Kjelshus and her husband, Mikkel, were hit with […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Delta Changes the Covid Conversation

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The resurgence of covid cases in the U.S. — largely attributable to the much more contagious delta variant — has given policymakers the jitters. The Biden administration […]

  • Sen. Wyden: $3.5T Budget May Have to Trim but It Can Set a Path to ‘Ambitious Goals’

    Exactly what American health care will look like if Democrats can pass their $3.5 trillion spending plan is unclear, but the senator negotiating its health-related provisions hopes what emerges will be dramatic: the first complete health care system for older Americans and significantly reduced costs for everyone else. “We are setting very, very ambitious goals,” […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Here Comes Reconciliation

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The expansion of health benefits is a major piece of the tentative budget deal reached this week by Democrats in Congress. They plan to press ahead — […]

  • How ERs Fail Patients With Addiction: One Patient’s Tragic Death

    Jameson Rybak tried to quit using opioids nearly a dozen times within five years. Each time, he’d wait out the vomiting, sweating and chills from withdrawal in his bedroom. It was difficult to watch, said his mother, Suzanne Rybak, but she admired his persistence. On March 11, 2020, though, Suzanne grew worried. Jameson, 30 at […]

  • Dying Patients With Rare Diseases Struggle to Get Experimental Therapies

    At 15, Autumn Fuernisen is dying. She was diagnosed at age 11 with a rare degenerative brain disorder that has no known cure or way to slow it down: juvenile-onset Huntington’s disease. “There’s lots of things that she used to be able to do just fine,” said her mom, Londen Tabor, who lives with her […]

  • Why We May Never Know Whether the $56,000-a-Year Alzheimer’s Drug Actually Works

    The Food and Drug Administration’s approval in June of a drug purporting to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease was widely celebrated, but it also touched off alarms. There were worries in the scientific community about the drug’s mixed results in studies — the FDA’s own expert advisory panel was nearly unanimous in opposing its […]

  • Effort to Decipher Hospital Prices Yields Key Finding: Don’t Try It at Home

    A federal price transparency rule that took effect this year was supposed to give patients, employers and insurers a clearer picture of the true cost of hospital care. When the Trump administration unveiled the rule in 2019, Seema Verma, then chief of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, promised it would “upend the status […]

  • Paying Billions for Controversial Alzheimer’s Drug? How About Funding This Instead?

    If you could invest $56 billion each year in improving health care for older adults, how would you spend it? On a hugely expensive medication with questionable efficacy — or something else? This isn’t an abstract question. Aduhelm, a new Alzheimer’s drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration last month, could be prescribed to […]

  • Desperate for Home Care, Seniors Often Wait Months With Workers in Short Supply

    CASTINE, Maine — For years, Louise Shackett has had trouble walking or standing for long periods, making it difficult for her to clean her house in southeastern Maine or do laundry. Shackett, 80, no longer drives, which makes it hard to get to the grocery store or doctor. Her low income, though, qualifies her for […]

  • A Hospital Charged $722.50 to Push Medicine Through an IV. Twice.

    Claire Lang-Ree was in a lab coat taking a college chemistry class remotely in the kitchen of her Colorado Springs, Colorado, home when a profound pain twisted into her lower abdomen. She called her mom, Jen Lang-Ree, a nurse practitioner who worried it was appendicitis and found a nearby hospital in the family’s health insurance […]

  • Pandemia eleva el número de beneficiarios de Medicaid a más de 80 millones

    Las últimas cifras de inscripción al Medicaid muestran que creció de 71,3 millones de miembros en febrero de 2020, cuando la pandemia comenzaba en los Estados Unidos, a 80,5 millones en enero, según un análisis de KFF de datos federales. La recesión causada por la pandemia y un requisito federal de que los estados mantuvieran […]

  • Pandemic Swells Medicaid Enrollment to Record 80 Million People

    The pandemic-caused recession and a federal requirement that states keep Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled until the national emergency ends swelled the pool of people in the program by more than 9 million over the past year, according to a report released Thursday. The latest figures show Medicaid enrollment grew from 71.3 million in February 2020, when […]

  • Device Makers Have Funneled Billions to Orthopedic Surgeons Who Use Their Products

    Dr. Kingsley R. Chin was little more than a decade out of Harvard Medical School when sales of his spine surgical implants took off. Chin has patented more than 40 pieces of such hardware, including doughnut-shaped plastic cages, titanium screws and other products used to repair spines — generating $100 million for his company SpineFrontier, […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: When Your Insurance Company Says No, How to Ask for a Yes

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Jeannine Cain started her career dealing with insurance companies for various medical offices. Later she worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield, and now she is a health care data consultant. She really knows how things operate behind the scenes. When her son got a jumbo-size medical bill, […]

  • Doctor on Call? Lawmakers Debate How Much to Pay for Phone Appointments

    It took covid-19 to give millions of Americans the option of telling their doctor about their aches and pains by phone. But now that more doctors and patients are returning to in-person appointments, policymakers across the country are divided over how much taxpayer money to keep spending on phone appointments. Although they were a lifeline […]

  • Colorado Bill Aims to Give Farmworkers Easier Access to Medical Care

    SAN LUIS VALLEY, Colo. — A woman with pregnancy complications needed permission from her boss to visit a doctor. Community health volunteers were turned away from delivering food and covid information to worker housing. A farmworker had a serious allergic reaction but was afraid to seek treatment. To Nicole Civita, policy director with Colorado advocacy […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Our 200th Episode!

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Food and Drug Administration found itself in the hot seat this week when it approved a controversial new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease with scant evidence […]

  • Montana Med School Clash Revives For-Profit Vs. Nonprofit Flap

    Two universities are eyeing the chance to be the first to build a medical school in one of the few states without one. The jockeying of the two schools — one a nonprofit, the other for-profit — to open campuses in Montana highlights the rapid spread of for-profit medical learning centers despite their once-blemished reputation. […]

  • Biden Administration Signals It’s in No Rush to Allow Canadian Drug Imports

    Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The Biden administration said Friday it has no timeline on whether it will allow states to import drugs from Canada, an effort that was approved under President Donald Trump as a key strategy to control costs.  Six states have passed laws to start such programs, and Florida, Colorado and New Mexico are the furthest along in plans to get federal approval.    The […]

  • Caring for an Aging Nation

    USE OUR CONTENT This story can republished for free. Please contact for embed codes. Table of Contents A Variety of Services Booming Number of Seniors The Cost of Long-Term Care Services The Physical – and Financial – Burden The $61 Billion Price Tag Health care for the nation’s seniors looms large as the baby-boom […]

  • Suficiente para arruinar el descanso: le cobran $10,322 por un estudio del sueño

    Los ronquidos de José Mendoza eran malos, pero para su esposa Nancy era peor cuando dejaba de respirar. El repentino silencio la despertaba, y si pasaban demasiados segundos, lo zarandeaba para que comenzara a respirar de nuevo. Esto sucedía varias veces a la semana. Diagnosticado con apnea del sueño severa hace 15 años, a Mendoza […]

  • Enough to Wreck Their Rest: $10,322 for a Sleep Study

    José Mendoza’s snoring was bad — but the silence when he stopped breathing was even worse for his wife, Nancy. The sudden quiet would wake her and she waited anxiously for him to take another breath. If too many seconds ticked by, she pushed him hard so that he moved and started breathing again. This […]

  • ‘Kicking You When You’re Down’: Many Cancer Patients Pay Dearly for Parking

    For cancer patients, the road from diagnosis to survivorship feels like a never-ending parade of medical appointments: surgeries, bloodwork, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, scans. The routine is time-consuming and costly. So, when hospitals charge patients double-digit parking fees, patients often leave the garage demoralized. This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Drug Price Effort Hits a Snag

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. The high cost of prescription drugs is a top health issue for the public and politicians, but concerns raised by a group of moderate Democrats threaten to derail a bill being pushed by House Democratic leaders. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has authorized the […]

  • Mental Health Services Wane as Insurers Appear to Skirt Parity Rules During Pandemic

    Therapists and other behavioral health care providers cut hours, reduced staffs and turned away patients during the pandemic as more Americans experienced depression symptoms and drug overdoses, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The report on patient access to behavioral health care […]

  • Big Investors Push Nursing Homes to Upgrade Care and Working Conditions

    Nursing homes and long-term care facilities, where 182,000 Americans perished during the covid pandemic, have taken heat from government regulators, residents and their families. Now the industry is hearing it from an unexpected source: their investors. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Investors who own large shares of nursing home companies now […]

  • UVA Health Will Wipe Out Tens of Thousands of Lawsuits Against Patients

    University of Virginia Health System, which for years has sued thousands of patients annually for unpaid bills, said Monday it will cancel a massive backlog of court judgments and liens resulting from those lawsuits dating to the 1990s. This story also ran on The Washington Post. It can be republished for free. Combined with reforms […]

  • Expertos en salud pública temen que los fondos desaparezcan cuando termine la pandemia

    En respuesta a la pandemia de covid-19, el Congreso ha invertido decenas de miles de millones de dólares en los departamentos de salud pública estatales y locales, pagando por máscaras, rastreadores de contactos y campañas educativas para persuadir a las personas de que se vacunen. Sus funcionarios, que han manejado presupuestos famélicos durante años, están […]

  • Public Health Experts Worry About Boom-Bust Cycle of Support

    Congress has poured tens of billions of dollars into state and local public health departments in response to the covid-19 pandemic, paying for masks, contact tracers and education campaigns to persuade people to get vaccinated. This story also ran on The Associated Press. It can be republished for free. Public health officials who have juggled […]

  • Biden Seeks $400 Billion to Buttress Long-Term Care. A Look at What’s at Stake.

    There’s widespread agreement that it’s important to help older adults and people with disabilities remain independent as long as possible. But are we prepared to do what’s necessary, as a nation, to make this possible? This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. That’s the challenge President Joe Biden has put […]

  • They Tested Negative for Covid. Still, They Have Long Covid Symptoms.

    Kristin Novotny once led an active life, with regular CrossFit workouts and football in the front yard with her children — plus a job managing the kitchen at a middle school. Now, the 33-year-old mother of two from De Pere, Wisconsin, has to rest after any activity, even showering. Conversations leave her short of breath. […]

  • Medicamentos ya conocidos, y baratos, podrían ser clave para tratar covid

    ¿Podría un antidepresivo que se usa desde hace décadas ser un arma secreta contra covid? Algunos científicos creen que sí, después de que dos pequeños estudios demostraran que la fluvoxamina, que se suele recetar para el trastorno obsesivo compulsivo (TOC), evitara que los participantes desarrollaran una forma grave de la enfermedad. Sería algo impresionante. Un […]

  • Scientists Seek Covid Treatment Answers in Cheap, Older Drugs

    Could a decades-old antidepressant be a secret weapon against covid? A few scientists think so, after two small studies showed that fluvoxamine, typically prescribed for obsessive-compulsive disorder, prevented serious illness in all participants who took the pills soon after developing symptoms. This story also ran on San Francisco Chronicle. It can be republished for free. […]

  • Military Exposed to Toxic Fumes From Burn Pits Set to Get Bipartisan Boost

    Lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Friday planned to roll out what could be the most ambitious attempt ever tried to treat American war fighters poisoned in deployments overseas. The bipartisan bill, modeled on both Agent Orange legislation and the 9/11 health act, aims to help unknown thousands of veterans who got sick after being exposed […]

  • How One State’s Public Health Defunding Led to Vaccination Chaos

    ST. LOUIS — Missourians have driven hours to find vaccines in rural counties — at least those with cars and the time. Tens of thousands of doses are waiting to be distributed, slowly being rolled out in a federal long-term care program. Waitlists are hundreds of thousands of people long. Black residents are getting left […]

  • Her Doctor’s Office Moved One Floor Up. Her Bill Was 10 Times Higher.

    Kyunghee Lee’s right hand hurts all the time. She spent decades running a family dry cleaning store outside Cleveland after emigrating from South Korea 40 years ago. She still freelances as a seamstress, although work has slowed amid the covid-19 pandemic. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. While Lee […]

  • ‘Incredibly Concerning’ Lawsuit Threatens No-Charge Preventive Care for Millions

    With a challenge to the Affordable Care Act still pending at the Supreme Court, conservatives are continuing to launch legal attacks on the law, including a case in which a Texas federal judge seems open to ending the requirement that most Americans must receive preventive services like mammograms free of charge. This story also ran […]

  • Lots of Health Insurance Help in Covid Relief Law — But Do Your Homework First

    There’s something for everyone with private health insurance in the American Rescue Plan Act, but determining the best way to benefit may be confusing. This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free. The $1.9 trillion covid relief law that President Joe Biden signed this month will make coverage significantly more […]

  • Democrats Eye Medicare Negotiations to Lower Drug Prices

    Democrats, newly in control of Congress and the White House, are united behind an idea that Republican lawmakers and major drugmakers fiercely oppose: empowering the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate the prices of brand-name drugs covered by Medicare. This story also ran on Fortune. It can be republished for free. But they […]

  • Doctors Found Jet Fuel in Veteran’s Lungs. He Can’t Get Full Benefits.

    The lungs Bill Thompson was born with told a gruesome, harrowing and unmistakable tale to Dr. Anthony Szema when he analyzed them and found the black spots, scarring, partially combusted jet fuel and metal inside. This story also ran on The Daily Beast. It can be republished for free. The retired Army staff sergeant had […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Expanding the ACA in an Unpredicted Way

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. For the first time since its enactment in 2010, the Affordable Care Act is slated for major benefit expansions, courtesy of the covid relief bill approved by Congress this week. But the changes are only temporary, so the measure also tees up a fight to […]

  • Children’s Hospitals Grapple With Young Covid ‘Long Haulers’

    This story also ran on USA Today. It can be republished for free. A slumber party to celebrate Delaney DePue’s 15th birthday last summer marked a new chapter — one defined by illness and uncertainty. The teen from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, tested positive for covid-19 about a week later, said her mother, Sara, leaving […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: Revisiting Insulin: How the Medicine Got So Expensive

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. We’re re-releasing a story we first reported in 2019, about how insulin got to be so expensive. And this 2021 update  includes a check-in with people working to make the potentially lifesaving medicine more available. The story seems especially relevant right now, for two reasons: The rollout […]

  • Medicare Cuts Payment to 774 Hospitals Over Patient Complications

    Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The federal government has penalized 774 hospitals for having the highest rates of patient infections or other potentially avoidable medical complications. Those hospitals, which include some of the nation’s marquee medical centers, will lose 1% of their Medicare payments over 12 months. The penalties, based on […]

  • California Aims to Address the ‘Urgent’ Needs of Older Residents. But Will Its Plan Work?

    USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. Even as the pandemic derailed some of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s biggest health care proposals, such as lowering prescription drug costs, it crystallized another: the pressing need to address California’s rapidly aging population. Already nine months into their work when Newsom issued the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home […]

  • California Budget Reflects ‘Pandemic-Induced Reality,’ Governor Says

    USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The coronavirus pandemic doomed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ambitious plans last year to combat homelessness, expand behavioral health services and create a state agency to control soaring health care costs. But even as the pandemic continues to rage, California’s Democratic governor said Friday he […]

  • Retiree Living the RV Dream Fights $12,387 Nightmare Lab Fee

    Lorraine Rogge and her husband, Michael Rogge, travel the country in a recreational vehicle, a well-earned adventure in retirement. This spring found them parked in Artesia, New Mexico, for several months. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. In May, Rogge, 60, began to feel pelvic pain and cramping. But […]

  • Surprise! Congress Takes Steps to Curb Unexpected Medical Bills

    Most Americans tell pollsters they’re worried about being able to afford an unexpected medical bill. Late Monday, Congress passed a bill to allay some of those fears. The measure is included in a nearly 5,600-page package providing coronavirus economic relief and government funding for the rest of the fiscal year. Specifically, the legislation addresses those […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: All I Want for Christmas Is a COVID Relief Bill

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. Congress appears to be inching ever closer to agreement on a long-delayed COVID-19 relief bill, which would extend unemployment insurance and other emergency programs set to expire in the next several days. That bill, however, apparently will not include the top-priority items for both political […]

  • Dialysis Industry Spends Millions, Emerges as Power Player in California Politics

    SACRAMENTO — The nation’s dialysis industry has poured $233 million into California campaigns over the past four years, establishing its leading companies as a formidable political force eager to protect their bottom line and influence state policy. This story also ran on Los Angeles Times. It can be republished for free. Most of the money […]

  • California Lawmakers to Newsom: Give All Immigrants Health Coverage

    Use Our Content It can be republished for free. SACRAMENTO — California Democratic lawmakers so far have failed to convince Gov. Gavin Newsom that the state can afford to spend an estimated $2.6 billion a year to expand its Medicaid program to all unauthorized immigrants. Now, they’re trying a new strategy. Rather than working independently, […]

  • During ACA Open Enrollment, Picking a Plan Invites New COVID Complications

    People buying their own health insurance have even more to think about this year, particularly those post-COVID-19 patients with lingering health concerns, the “long haulers,” who join the club of Americans with preexisting conditions. What type of plan is best for someone with an unpredictable, ongoing medical concern? That question is popping up on online […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: How to Avoid a Big Bill for Your COVID Test

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Tests for the coronavirus are supposed to be free. And, usually, they are. But sometimes … things happen. Here’s how to keep those things from happening to you. New York Times reporter Sarah Kliff has been asking readers to send in their COVID-testing bills. She’s now seen hundreds of […]

  • After Kid’s Minor Bike Accident, Major Bill Sets Legal Wheels in Motion

    Adam Woodrum was out for a bike ride with his wife and kids on July 19 when his then 9-year-old son, Robert, crashed. “He cut himself pretty bad, and I could tell right away he needed stitches,” said Woodrum. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. Because they were on […]

  • Were You Notified About Missing Tax Forms for Your ACA Subsidy? Blame COVID.

    The notice from the federal health insurance marketplace grabbed Andrew Schenker’s attention: ACT NOW: YOU’RE AT RISK OF LOSING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE STARTING JANUARY 1, 2021. As he read the notice, though, the Blacksburg, Virginia, resident became exasperated. Schenker, his wife and their teenage son have a bronze-level marketplace plan. Based on their income of about […]

  • Workers Who Lost Jobs Due to COVID May Need Help Getting Coverage This Fall

    Michelina Moen lost her job and health insurance in April. Only weeks earlier she had begun to feel ill and not her usual energetic self — in what she describes as a textbook case of “really bad timing.” The Orlando, Florida, resident sought treatment in May. After a series of tests, doctors told Moen she […]

  • Cinco preguntas críticas sobre la vacuna contra COVID-19 de Pfizer

    El anuncio de Pfizer de que su vacuna contra COVID-19 prevendría que nueve de cada 10 personas contraigan la enfermedad hizo que el precio de sus acciones se disparara. Muchos titulares describieron a la vacuna como si fuera la liberación de la pandemia, aunque se dieron pocos detalles. Ciertamente hay para presumir: la vacuna de […]

  • Five Important Questions About Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine

    Pfizer’s announcement on Monday that its COVID-19 shot appears to keep nine in 10 people from getting the disease sent its stock price rocketing. Many news reports described the vaccine as if it were our deliverance from the pandemic, even though few details were released. There was certainly something to crow about: Pfizer’s vaccine consists […]

  • Hospital Bills for Uninsured COVID Patients Are Covered, but No One Tells Them

    When Darius Settles died from COVID-19 on the Fourth of July, his family and the city of Nashville, Tennessee, were shocked. Even the mayor noted the passing of a 30-year-old without any underlying conditions — one of the city’s youngest fatalities at that point. Settles was also uninsured and had just been sent home from […]

  • App-Based Companies Pushing Prop. 22 Say Drivers Will Get Health Benefits. Will They?

    App-based driving services such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart are bankrolling California’s Proposition 22, which would keep their drivers classified as independent contractors, not employees. Leading into the Nov. 3 election, the ballot measure — which has become the most expensive in state history — is mired in controversy and the subject of a […]

  • If Trump Wins, Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting for That ACA Replacement Plan

    If President Donald Trump wins reelection next week, it seems unlikely he will unveil the health plan he’s been promising since before his election in 2016. Still, other aspects of health care could be featured in his second-term agenda. Not having a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act may be just fine with many […]

  • Job-Based Health Insurance Costs Are Up 4% This Year, 55% in Past Decade

    Health insurance costs for Americans who get their coverage through work continued a relentless march upward with average family premiums rising 4% to $21,342 this year, according to a study published Thursday. The annual survey by KFF found workers on average are paying nearly $5,600 this year toward family coverage, up from about $4,000 in […]

  • Refuge in the Storm? ACA’s Role as Safety Net Is Tested by COVID Recession

    The Affordable Care Act, facing its first test during a deep recession, is providing a refuge for some — but by no means all — people who have lost health coverage as the economy has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. New studies, from both federal and private research groups, generally indicate that when the […]

  • Easier-to-Use Coronavirus Saliva Tests Start to Catch On

    As the coronavirus pandemic broke out across the country, health care providers and scientists relied on the standard method for detecting respiratory viruses: sticking a long swab deep into the nose to get a sample. The obstacles to implementing such testing on a mass scale quickly became clear. Among them: Many people were wary of […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: TikTok Mom Takes On Medical Bills

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Shaunna Burns went viral on TikTok, partly because of a series of videos dishing out real-talk advice on fighting outrageous medical bills. She said the way to deal with medical debt is to be vigilant about what debt you incur in the first place. “What you can […]

  • Not Pandemic-Proof: Insulin Copay Caps Fall Short, Fueling Underground Exchanges

    DENVER — D.j. Mattern had her Type 1 diabetes under control until COVID’s economic upheaval cost her husband his hotel maintenance job and their health coverage. The 42-year-old Denver woman suddenly faced insulin’s exorbitant list price — anywhere from $125 to $450 per vial — just as their household income shrank. She scrounged extra insulin […]

  • Pence Praises Trump’s ‘Seamless’ COVID Response, Leaves Out His State Feuds

    Vice President Mike Pence portrayed his boss, President Donald Trump, as a leader who has reached out across the aisle to help during the coronavirus pandemic. “President Trump marshaled the full resources of the federal government and directed us to forge a seamless partnership with governors across America in both parties,” Pence said during his […]

  • Prognosis for Rural Hospitals Worsens With Pandemic

    Jerome Antone said he is one of the lucky ones. After becoming ill with COVID-19, Antone was hospitalized only 65 miles away from his small Alabama town. He is the mayor of Georgiana — population 1,700. “It hit our rural community so rabid,” Antone said. The town’s hospital closed last year. If hospitals in nearby […]