KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Even With Insurance, Many Can’t Keep Up With Health Care Bills

In a recent poll, 26 percent of people said health care expenses have taken a serious toll on their finances, with 7 percent of those respondents ending up in bankruptcy.

NPR: Medical Bills Still Take A Big Toll, Even With Insurance
For Barbara Radley, there is "before" and "after." Before was when she could work — moving furniture, and driving a long-haul truck. "It was nothing for me to throw a couch on my back and carry it up a flight of stairs," says the 58-year-old from Oshkosh, Wis. Then there's after. After she herniated five disks in her back. And after, she says, her blood pressure medicine destroyed her pancreas. Now Radley is disabled, suffering from diabetes, liver failure and scleroderma. And she is bankrupt. (Kodjak, 3/8)

NPR also looks at how illegal immigrants aren't able to afford dialysis because of Medicaid rules —

NPR: Medicaid Rules Can Thwart Immigrants Who Need Dialysis
Carla can't afford private health insurance. And like the estimated 5,500 immigrants in the U.S. illegally who need dialysis, the only publicly funded insurance she's eligible for is a government program called Emergency Medicaid. But in most states, including Indiana, hospitals can't bill Emergency Medicaid until they know for sure they're dealing with an emergency. So for kidney disease, doctors will often wait until there are dangerous levels of potassium in the blood or fluid in the lungs — levels they deem urgent enough to merit hospitalization. (Harper, 3/8)

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