Cost and Quality

The Solution to Au Pairs’ Health Coverage Gaps May Be Simple: ACA Plans

In 2016, Isis Mabel, of Mexico, wanted to improve her English. On advice from an aunt, she enrolled with an au pair agency to come to the United States to live with a family and care for the children. The job typically pays about $200 a week on top of lodging and meals. She said …

The Solution to Au Pairs’ Health Coverage Gaps May Be Simple: ACA Plans Read More »

‘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, …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: They Turned Grief Into Action Read More »

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 …

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Much Ado About Drug Prices Read More »

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 …

Justice Department Targets Data Mining in Medicare Advantage Fraud Case Read More »

Why At-Home Rapid Covid Tests Cost So Much, Even After Biden’s Push for Lower Prices

Rapid at-home covid tests are flying off store shelves across the nation and are largely sold out online as the delta variant complicates a return to school, work and travel routines. But at $10 or $15 a test, the price is still far too high for regular use by anyone but the wealthy. A family …

Why At-Home Rapid Covid Tests Cost So Much, Even After Biden’s Push for Lower Prices Read More »

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 …

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Future of Public Health Read More »

‘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 …

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

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 …

Florida Spine Surgeon and Device Company Owner Charged in Kickback Scheme Read More »

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 …

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

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 …

Watch: Same Providers, Similar Surgeries, But Different Bills Read More »

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 …

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Vaccine Approval Moves the Needle on Covid Read More »

‘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 …

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

Injuries Mount as Sales Reps for Device Makers Cozy Up to Surgeons, Even in Operating Rooms

Cristina Martinez’s spinal operation in Houston was expected to be routine. But after destabilizing her spine, the surgeon discovered the implant he was ready to put in her back was larger than he wanted to use — and the device company’s sales rep didn’t have a smaller size on hand, according to a report he …

Injuries Mount as Sales Reps for Device Makers Cozy Up to Surgeons, Even in Operating Rooms Read More »

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 …

A Health Care Giant Sold Off Dozens of Hospitals — But Continued Suing Patients Read More »

New Moms Latched On to Remote Breastfeeding Help. Will Demand Wane as Pandemic Fades?

Madison Cano knew she wanted to breastfeed her son, Theo. But breastfeeding was painful for her. The skin on her breasts was chafed and blistered last July when she returned home from the hospital. And Theo sometimes screamed during feedings. Cano, 30, realized she needed help to get the short- and long-term health benefits of …

New Moms Latched On to Remote Breastfeeding Help. Will Demand Wane as Pandemic Fades? Read More »

At Urgent Care, He Got 5 Stitches and a Big Surprise: A Plastic Surgeon’s Bill for $1,040

It was a Sunday morning in late November when Bryan Keller hopped on a bike for a routine ride to pick up his groceries, cruising with ease in a relatively empty New York City. The surprises came fast and hard: a fall that sent his head into the pavement and left him bleeding profusely and …

At Urgent Care, He Got 5 Stitches and a Big Surprise: A Plastic Surgeon’s Bill for $1,040 Read More »

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 …

Watch: Cyclist Hits Olympic-Size Medical Bills After Crash Read More »

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 …

Diabetes Drug’s New Weight Loss Formula Fuels Cost-Benefit Debate Read More »

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 …

Olympic Dream Dashed After Bike Crash and Nightmare Medical Bill Over $200K Read More »

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, …

Pfizer Court Fight Could Legalize Medicare Copays and Unleash ‘Gold Rush’ in Sales Read More »

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 …

Bye-Bye to Health Insurance ‘Birthday Rule’? Kansas Lawmaker Floats Fix Read More »

Facing Headwinds on New Alzheimer’s Drug, Biogen Launches Controversial Campaign

Do you sometimes lose your train of thought or feel a bit more anxious than is typical for you? Those are two of the six questions in a quiz on a website co-sponsored by the makers of Aduhelm, a controversial new Alzheimer’s drug. But even when all responses to the frequency of those experiences are …

Facing Headwinds on New Alzheimer’s Drug, Biogen Launches Controversial Campaign Read More »

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 …

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Delta Changes the Covid Conversation Read More »

Though Millions Are at Risk for Diabetes, Medicare Struggles to Expand Prevention Program

Damon Diessner tried for years to slim down from his weight of more than 400 pounds, partly because his size embarrassed his wife but even more because his doctors told him he was at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. His hemoglobin A1c level, a blood sugar marker, was 6.3%, just below the diabetes range …

Though Millions Are at Risk for Diabetes, Medicare Struggles to Expand Prevention Program Read More »

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,” …

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

California Makes It Easier for Low-Income Residents to Get and Keep Free Health Coverage

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Getting clean drinking water cost Ignacio Padilla his health insurance. The World War II veteran needed to repay the loan for the water pump installed on his 1-acre property in rural Tulare County, the only source of water to his mobile home. He carefully socked away a few thousand dollars so he …

California Makes It Easier for Low-Income Residents to Get and Keep Free Health Coverage Read More »

Hospital ‘Trauma Centers’ Charge Enormous Fees to Treat Minor Injuries and Send People Home

The care was ordinary. A hospital in Modesto, California, treated a 30-year-old man for shoulder and back pain after a car accident. He went home in less than three hours. The bill was extraordinary. Sutter Health Memorial Medical Center charged $44,914 including an $8,928 “trauma alert” fee, billed for summoning the hospital’s top surgical specialists …

Hospital ‘Trauma Centers’ Charge Enormous Fees to Treat Minor Injuries and Send People Home Read More »

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 — …

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Here Comes Reconciliation Read More »

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 …

How ERs Fail Patients With Addiction: One Patient’s Tragic Death Read More »

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 …

Dying Patients With Rare Diseases Struggle to Get Experimental Therapies Read More »

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 …

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

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 …

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

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Tips for Fighting Medical Bills from ProPublica’s Marshall Allen

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Veteran health journalist Marshall Allen has been exposing health care grifters for years. Now, he’s written a book about how to fight them. Host Dan Weissmann spoke with Allen about some of the best tips from “Never Pay the First Bill: And Other Ways to Fight the …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Tips for Fighting Medical Bills from ProPublica’s Marshall Allen Read More »

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 …

Paying Billions for Controversial Alzheimer’s Drug? How About Funding This Instead? Read More »

Hospital Prices Must Now Be Transparent. For Many Consumers, They’re Still Anyone’s Guess.

A colonoscopy might cost you or your insurer a few hundred dollars — or several thousand, depending on which hospital or insurer you use. Long hidden, such price variations are supposed to be available in stark black and white under a Trump administration price transparency rule that took effect at the start of this year. …

Hospital Prices Must Now Be Transparent. For Many Consumers, They’re Still Anyone’s Guess. Read More »

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 …

Desperate for Home Care, Seniors Often Wait Months With Workers in Short Supply Read More »

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 …

A Hospital Charged $722.50 to Push Medicine Through an IV. Twice. Read More »

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 …

Pandemia eleva el número de beneficiarios de Medicaid a más de 80 millones Read More »

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 …

Pandemic Swells Medicaid Enrollment to Record 80 Million People Read More »

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, …

Device Makers Have Funneled Billions to Orthopedic Surgeons Who Use Their Products Read More »

‘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, …

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

In Alleged Health Care ‘Money Grab,’ Nation’s Largest Hospital Chain Cashes In on Trauma Centers

After falling from a ladder and cutting his arm, Ed Knight said, he found himself at Richmond, Virginia’s Chippenham Hospital surrounded by nearly a dozen doctors, nurses and technicians — its crack “trauma team” charged with saving the most badly hurt victims of accidents and assaults. But Knight’s wound, while requiring about 30 stitches, wasn’t …

In Alleged Health Care ‘Money Grab,’ Nation’s Largest Hospital Chain Cashes In on Trauma Centers Read More »

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 …

Doctor on Call? Lawmakers Debate How Much to Pay for Phone Appointments Read More »

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 …

Colorado Bill Aims to Give Farmworkers Easier Access to Medical Care Read More »

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 …

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Our 200th Episode! Read More »

Kidney Experts Say It’s Time to Remove Race From Medical Algorithms. Doing So Is Complicated.

Alphonso Harried recently came across a newspaper clipping about his grandfather receiving his 1,000th dialysis treatment. His grandfather later died — at a dialysis center — as did his uncle, both from kidney disease. This story also ran on The Washington Post. It can be republished for free. “And that comes in my mind, on …

Kidney Experts Say It’s Time to Remove Race From Medical Algorithms. Doing So Is Complicated. Read More »

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. …

Montana Med School Clash Revives For-Profit Vs. Nonprofit Flap Read More »

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 …

Biden Administration Signals It’s in No Rush to Allow Canadian Drug Imports Read More »

Caring for an Aging Nation

USE OUR CONTENT This story can republished for free. Please contact KHNweb@kff.org 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 …

Caring for an Aging Nation Read More »

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 …

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

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 …

Enough to Wreck Their Rest: $10,322 for a Sleep Study Read More »

As Pandemic Eases, Many Seniors Have Lost Strength, May Need Rehabilitative Services

Ronald Lindquist, 87, has been active all his life. So, he wasn’t prepared for what happened when he stopped going out during the coronavirus pandemic and spent most of his time, inactive, at home. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. “I found it hard to get up and get out of bed,” …

As Pandemic Eases, Many Seniors Have Lost Strength, May Need Rehabilitative Services Read More »

‘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 …

‘Kicking You When You’re Down’: Many Cancer Patients Pay Dearly for Parking Read More »

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 …

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Drug Price Effort Hits a Snag Read More »

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 …

Mental Health Services Wane as Insurers Appear to Skirt Parity Rules During Pandemic Read More »

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 …

Big Investors Push Nursing Homes to Upgrade Care and Working Conditions Read More »

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 …

UVA Health Will Wipe Out Tens of Thousands of Lawsuits Against Patients Read More »

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 …

Expertos en salud pública temen que los fondos desaparezcan cuando termine la pandemia Read More »

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 …

Public Health Experts Worry About Boom-Bust Cycle of Support Read More »

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 …

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

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. …

They Tested Negative for Covid. Still, They Have Long Covid Symptoms. Read More »

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 …

Medicamentos ya conocidos, y baratos, podrían ser clave para tratar covid Read More »

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. …

Scientists Seek Covid Treatment Answers in Cheap, Older Drugs Read More »

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 …

Military Exposed to Toxic Fumes From Burn Pits Set to Get Bipartisan Boost Read More »

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 …

How One State’s Public Health Defunding Led to Vaccination Chaos Read More »

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 …

Her Doctor’s Office Moved One Floor Up. Her Bill Was 10 Times Higher. Read More »

‘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 …

‘Incredibly Concerning’ Lawsuit Threatens No-Charge Preventive Care for Millions Read More »

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 …

Lots of Health Insurance Help in Covid Relief Law — But Do Your Homework First Read More »

‘An Arm and a Leg’: In Vaccinating Philadelphia, A Mix of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. In Philadelphia, the good, the bad and the ugly have all been on vivid display in the covid vaccine rollout. The Bad comes with a giant serving of gall: For a while, the city put its mass-vaccination program in the hands of Andrei Doroshin, a 22-year-old with …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: In Vaccinating Philadelphia, A Mix of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly Read 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 …

Democrats Eye Medicare Negotiations to Lower Drug Prices Read More »

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 …

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

‘Painless’ Glucose Monitors Pushed Despite Little Evidence They Help Most Diabetes Patients

In the nation’s battle against the diabetes epidemic, the go-to weapon being aggressively promoted to patients is as small as a quarter and worn on the belly or arm. This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free. A continuous glucose monitor holds a tiny sensor that’s inserted just under the …

‘Painless’ Glucose Monitors Pushed Despite Little Evidence They Help Most Diabetes Patients Read More »

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 …

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Expanding the ACA in an Unpredicted Way Read More »

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 …

Children’s Hospitals Grapple With Young Covid ‘Long Haulers’ Read More »

‘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 …

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

College Tuition Sparked a Mental Health Crisis. Then the Hefty Hospital Bill Arrived.

Despite a lifelong struggle with panic attacks, Divya Singh made a brave move across the world last fall from her home in Mumbai, India. She enrolled at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, to study physics and explore an interest in standup comedy in Manhattan. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished …

College Tuition Sparked a Mental Health Crisis. Then the Hefty Hospital Bill Arrived. Read More »

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 …

Medicare Cuts Payment to 774 Hospitals Over Patient Complications Read More »

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 Aims to Address the ‘Urgent’ Needs of Older Residents. But Will Its Plan Work? Read More »

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Viral TikTok Video Serves Up Recipe to ‘Crush’ Medical Debt

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Jared Walker, who runs a nonprofit that helps people pay medical bills, posted a TikTok video explaining the recipe to “crush” hospital bills via charity care policies. “What that means is that if you make under a certain amount of money, the hospital legally has to forgive …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Viral TikTok Video Serves Up Recipe to ‘Crush’ Medical Debt Read More »

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Tips for Fighting Medical Bills From a Former ‘Bad Guy’ Lawyer

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Lawyer Jeff Bloom used to be the person whom medical providers and debt collectors would hire to represent them in court. “I was a bad guy, for sure,” he said. Then, a few years ago, he switched sides. Bloom now represents consumers and, in this episode, shares …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Tips for Fighting Medical Bills From a Former ‘Bad Guy’ Lawyer Read More »

4 Vital Health Issues — Not Tied to Covid — That Congress Addressed in Massive Spending Bill

This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. Late last month, before President Joe Biden took office and proposed his pandemic relief plan, Congress passed a nearly 5,600-page legislative package that provided some pandemic relief along with its more general allocations to fund the government in 2021. While the $900 billion that lawmakers included for …

4 Vital Health Issues — Not Tied to Covid — That Congress Addressed in Massive Spending Bill Read More »

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Host Dan Weissmann Talks Price Transparency on ‘Axios Today’

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. As we settle into the new year, we have two small doses of good news. First, a new federal rule could help cut through one health care issue. Host Dan Weissmann talked about the rule — which requires hospitals to make public the prices they negotiate with …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Host Dan Weissmann Talks Price Transparency on ‘Axios Today’ Read More »

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 …

California Budget Reflects ‘Pandemic-Induced Reality,’ Governor Says Read More »

Aunque controlen el Senado, demócratas necesitarán apoyo republicano en temas clave de salud

Ante la pandemia, los demócratas han abogado por ayudas más generosas, más presión sobre las farmacéuticas para que bajen los precios y más atención al racismo sistémico en la atención de salud. El 20 de enero, con el control del Senado y la Cámara de Representantes, tendrán el poder de elegir qué propuestas de salud …

Aunque controlen el Senado, demócratas necesitarán apoyo republicano en temas clave de salud Read More »

‘An Arm And a Leg’: How a Former Health Care Executive Became a Health Care Whistleblower

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Former health care executive Wendell Potter spent part of 2020 publishing high-profile apologies for the work he used to do — the lies he said he told the American people for his old employers. These days, he said, he’s also trying to debunk myths he once sold. …

‘An Arm And a Leg’: How a Former Health Care Executive Became a Health Care Whistleblower Read More »

Even With Senate Control, Democrats Will Need Buy-In From GOP on Key Health Priorities

Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Democrats have argued for more generous pandemic relief, more pressure on drugmakers to lower prices and more attention to systemic racism in health care. On Jan. 20, with control of the Senate and the House of Representatives, they’ll have the power to choose which health care …

Even With Senate Control, Democrats Will Need Buy-In From GOP on Key Health Priorities Read More »

‘An Arm and a Leg’: A Look Back at 2020 — What We Learned and Where We’re Headed

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. This episode turns the tables: Host Dan Weissmann gets interviewed about what he learned in 2020 and what’s ahead for the show — with T.K. Dutes, a radio host and podcast-maker who is also a former nurse, so she knows a thing or two about the health …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: A Look Back at 2020 — What We Learned and Where We’re Headed Read More »

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 …

Retiree Living the RV Dream Fights $12,387 Nightmare Lab Fee Read More »

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 …

Surprise! Congress Takes Steps to Curb Unexpected Medical Bills Read More »

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 …

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

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Shopping for Health Insurance? Here’s How One Family Tried to Pick a Plan

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. When host Dan Weissmann and his wife set out to pick a health insurance plan for next year, they realized that keeping the plan they have means paying $200 a month more. But would a “cheaper” plan cost them more in the long run?  It depends. And …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Shopping for Health Insurance? Here’s How One Family Tried to Pick a Plan Read More »

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 …

Dialysis Industry Spends Millions, Emerges as Power Player in California Politics Read More »

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, …

California Lawmakers to Newsom: Give All Immigrants Health Coverage Read More »

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Obamacare Alum Andy Slavitt Takes Stock of the COVID Pandemic — So Far

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Andy Slavitt has spent much of 2020 talking with almost everybody who knows anything about the COVID-19 pandemic — and sharing what he learns in real time, first on Twitter, then on his pandemic podcast, “In the Bubble.” To do our own podcast episode about what we’ve …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Obamacare Alum Andy Slavitt Takes Stock of the COVID Pandemic — So Far Read More »

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 …

During ACA Open Enrollment, Picking a Plan Invites New COVID Complications Read More »

‘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 …

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

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 …

After Kid’s Minor Bike Accident, Major Bill Sets Legal Wheels in Motion Read More »

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 …

Were You Notified About Missing Tax Forms for Your ACA Subsidy? Blame COVID. Read More »

‘An Arm and a Leg’: For Your Next Health Insurance Fight, an Exercise in Financial Self-Defense

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. A listener asked: ‘How do I remain cool when calling insurance companies?” So we called veteran self-defense teacher Lauren Taylor for advice. She leads Defend Yourself, an organization that works to empower people against violence and abuse.  As Taylor teaches it, self-defense involves a lot more than …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: For Your Next Health Insurance Fight, an Exercise in Financial Self-Defense Read More »

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 …

Workers Who Lost Jobs Due to COVID May Need Help Getting Coverage This Fall Read More »

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 …

Cinco preguntas críticas sobre la vacuna contra COVID-19 de Pfizer Read More »

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 …

Five Important Questions About Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Read More »

‘An Arm and a Leg’: David vs. Goliath: How to Beat a Big Hospital in Small Claims Court

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. When Jeffrey Fox and his wife got an outrageous medical bill for a simple test, he said to his wife, “No way am I paying this.” In a classic — and hilarious — David vs. Goliath story, Fox takes on a huge hospital, and wins. He’s a …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: David vs. Goliath: How to Beat a Big Hospital in Small Claims Court Read More »

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 …

Hospital Bills for Uninsured COVID Patients Are Covered, but No One Tells Them Read More »

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 …

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

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 …

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

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Vetting TikTok Mom’s Advice for Dealing With Debt Collectors

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. TikTok mom Shaunna Burns used to be a debt collector, so she knows a few things about what’s legal and what’s not when a company contacts you to settle a debt. We fact-checked her advice with a legal expert: Jenifer Bosco, an attorney with the National Consumer …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Vetting TikTok Mom’s Advice for Dealing With Debt Collectors Read More »

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 …

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

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 …

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

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 …

Easier-to-Use Coronavirus Saliva Tests Start to Catch On Read More »

‘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 …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: TikTok Mom Takes On Medical Bills Read More »

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 …

Not Pandemic-Proof: Insulin Copay Caps Fall Short, Fueling Underground Exchanges Read More »

Old Drug Turned ‘Cash Cow’ as Company Pumped Price to $40K a Vial, Emails Show

For a dad whose infant son was afflicted with a rare seizure disorder, a drug invented in 1952 was indispensable for his boy. It was also indispensable to executives at the pharmaceutical firm that acquired the drug in 2014 — not because it was a cure, but because it was a “cash cow,” according to …

Old Drug Turned ‘Cash Cow’ as Company Pumped Price to $40K a Vial, Emails Show Read More »

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 …

Pence Praises Trump’s ‘Seamless’ COVID Response, Leaves Out His State Feuds Read More »

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 …

Prognosis for Rural Hospitals Worsens With Pandemic Read More »

Rather Than Give Away Its COVID Vaccine, Oxford Makes a Deal With Drugmaker

In a business driven by profit, vaccines have a problem. They’re not very profitable — at least not without government subsidies. Pharma companies favor expensive medicines that must be taken repeatedly and generate revenue for years or decades. Vaccines are often given only once or twice. In many parts of the world, established vaccines cost …

Rather Than Give Away Its COVID Vaccine, Oxford Makes a Deal With Drugmaker Read More »

Veteran’s Appendectomy Launches Excruciating Months-Long Battle Over Bill

In late August 2019, Shannon Harness awoke to serious pain in the lower right side of his abdomen — a telltale sign of appendicitis. He booked it to the emergency room of the only hospital in the county: Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida, Colorado. After a CT scan, doctors told Harness …

Veteran’s Appendectomy Launches Excruciating Months-Long Battle Over Bill Read More »

‘An Arm and a Leg’: How to Fight Bogus Medical Bills Like a Bulldog

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. After Izzy Benasso had knee surgery, she and her dad received a letter from a surgical assistant giving notice that he “had been present” at the procedure. The surgical assistant was out-of-network and seemed to be laying the groundwork to get the Benassos to pay his fee. …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: How to Fight Bogus Medical Bills Like a Bulldog Read More »

Florida’s Cautionary Tale: How Gutting and Muzzling Public Health Fueled COVID Fire

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On a sweltering July morning, Rose Wilson struggled to breathe as she sat in her bed, the light from her computer illuminating her face and the oxygen tubes in her nose. Wilson, a retiree who worked as a public health department nurse supervisor in Duval County for 35 years, had just been …

Florida’s Cautionary Tale: How Gutting and Muzzling Public Health Fueled COVID Fire Read More »

Inside the Race to Build a Better $500 Emergency Ventilator

As the coronavirus crisis lit up this spring, headlines about how the U.S. could innovate its way out of a pending ventilator shortage landed almost as hard and fast as the pandemic itself. The New Yorker featured “The MacGyvers Taking on the Ventilator Shortage,” an effort initiated not by a doctor or engineer but a …

Inside the Race to Build a Better $500 Emergency Ventilator Read More »

‘Pennie’-Pinching States Take Over Obamacare Exchanges From Feds

Pennsylvania is rolling out its new “Pennie” this fall: a state-run insurance exchange that officials say will save residents collectively millions of dollars on next year’s health plan premiums. Since the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces opened for enrollment in fall 2013, Pennsylvania, like most states, has used the federal www.healthcare.gov website for people buying coverage …

‘Pennie’-Pinching States Take Over Obamacare Exchanges From Feds Read More »

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Financial Self-Defense School Is Now in Session

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. When you need medical care, it can be a lot like entering a casino — playing for your financial life with the deck stacked against you. But in this episode, reporter Celia Llopis-Jepsen offers insight and tips no dealer will divulge. She got a health care executive …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Financial Self-Defense School Is Now in Session Read More »

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Republicans in COVID Disarray

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. President Donald Trump’s pivot to a more serious view of the coronavirus pandemic didn’t last long. This week, he was again touting hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that has not been shown to work against the virus. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Republicans continue to struggle to …

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Republicans in COVID Disarray Read More »

Watch: When a Surprise Helper During Surgery Is Out-of-Network

Gayle King of “CBS This Morning” spoke with KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal about the latest installment of KHN-NPR’s Bill of the Month. College student Izzy Benasso underwent surgery for a torn meniscus after a tennis injury last summer and was surprised to be contacted afterward by a surgical assistant, who said he would be billing …

Watch: When a Surprise Helper During Surgery Is Out-of-Network Read More »

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Trump Twists on Virus Response

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. President Donald Trump — who has spent the past six months trying to play down the coronavirus pandemic — seems to have pivoted. In back-to-back briefings on July 21 and 22, Trump cautioned that the U.S. is in a dangerous place vis-a-vis the pandemic. He …

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Trump Twists on Virus Response Read More »

Ever Heard of a Surgical Assistant? Meet a New Boost to Your Medical Bills

Izzy Benasso was playing a casual game of tennis with her father on a summer Saturday when she felt her knee pop. She had torn a meniscus, one of the friction-reducing pads in the knee, locking it in place at a 45-degree angle. Although she suspected she had torn something, the 21-year-old senior at the …

Ever Heard of a Surgical Assistant? Meet a New Boost to Your Medical Bills Read More »

Administration Eases Rules to Give Laid-Off Workers More Time to Sign Up for COBRA

People who’ve been laid off or furloughed from their jobs now have significantly more time to decide whether to hang on to their employer-sponsored health insurance, according to a recent federal rule. Under the federal law known as COBRA, people who lose their job-based coverage because of a layoff or a reduction in their hours …

Administration Eases Rules to Give Laid-Off Workers More Time to Sign Up for COBRA Read More »

For COVID Tests, the Question of Who Pays Comes Down to Interpretation

In advance of an upcoming road trip with her elderly parents, Wendy Epstein’s physician agreed it would be “prudent” for her and her kids to get tested for COVID-19. Seeing the tests as a “medical need,” the doctor said insurance would likely pay for them, with no out-of-pocket cost to Epstein. But her children’s pediatrician …

For COVID Tests, the Question of Who Pays Comes Down to Interpretation Read More »

Must-Reads of the Week

The Friday Breeze Want to read the best and most provocative stories from the week? Welcome to the Friday Breeze, where we compile them all — so you’re set with your weekend reading. While you, loyal reader, wait for a wonderful new permanent Friday Breeze writer to start breezing, welcome to this week’s rundown brought …

Must-Reads of the Week Read More »

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: ‘Open The Schools, Close The Bars’

What The Health? · ‘Open The Schools, Close The Bars’ Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. Julie Rovner Kaiser Health News @jrovner Read Julie’s Stories Joanne Kenen Politico @JoanneKenen Read Joanne’s Stories Kimberly Leonard Business Insider @leonardkl Read Kimberly’s Stories Mary Ellen McIntire CQ Roll Call @MelMcIntire Read Mary Ellen’s Stories …

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: ‘Open The Schools, Close The Bars’ Read More »

Amid Surge, Hospitals Hesitate To Cancel Nonemergency Surgeries

Three months ago, the nation watched as COVID-19 patients overwhelmed New York City’s intensive care units, forcing some of its hospitals to convert cafeterias into wards and pitch tents in parking lots. Hospitals elsewhere prepped for a similar surge: They cleared beds, stockpiled scarce protective equipment, and — voluntarily or under government orders — temporarily …

Amid Surge, Hospitals Hesitate To Cancel Nonemergency Surgeries Read More »