KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Uninsured Patients Struggle To Access Health Care As Hospitals End Programs

Several news outlets report on uninsured patients and access to health care.

In Florida, "[t]he financially strapped Jackson Health System has stopped paying for dialysis treatments for 175 poor patients with failing kidneys -- a decision that experts say could be deadly," The Miami Herald reports. "Jackson, Miami-Dade's government health system intended to be a safety net for the poor and uninsured, said it expects to save $4.2 million by stopping payments for outpatient dialysis treatment for the 175 patients. Of those, other avenues for care have been found for all but 41, says spokesman Robert Alonso. About a third of those are undocumented immigrants, who are not eligible for government programs" (Dorschner and Chavez, 1/6).

In Atlanta, Georgia, "[t]housands of Grady Memorial Hospital patients must find new doctors and a new medical center because a Medicaid insurer has terminated its contract with the hospital," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The disruption of patient care is the result of failed efforts to renew the contract between Grady and Peach State Health Plan, which culminated Friday when the parties severed their relationship. Patient advocates are concerned some patients will miss care as they search for a new provider" (Schneider, 1/6).

NPR and Kaiser Health News report on a small community of Marshall Islands migrants in Arkansas with a high number of uninsured who might benefit from a health care overhaul. "Under an accord negotiated two decades ago involving three Pacific Island nations, the Marshallese can travel and work freely in the United States. But many have low-paying jobs and high numbers are uninsured." But because of a federal rule they aren't eligible for Medicaid. "Now, the health care legislation being debated in Congress might provide some relief. Under the House bill, a little-noticed provision sponsored by Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, would restore the migrants' eligibility for immediate Medicaid coverage" (Gold, 1/6).

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