Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

Health Industry Scores Big In Spending Bill, But Consumers Were Left In The Cold

KHN Morning Briefing

Congress’ decision to repeal three health law taxes was a huge win for the industry, but consumer protection issues — like surprise medical bills — were not included. Meanwhile, advocates hope that the data that might come from the gun violence funding included in the spending bill for the first time in decades will make a difference in swaying lawmakers in the future.

The Good, The Bad And The Weird: A Deeper Look Into What Actually Made It Into Spending Deal–And What Was Cut

KHN Morning Briefing

The House passed the sweeping legislation on Tuesday, sending it to the Senate ahead of a Friday deadline for a government shutdown. The bill will, among other things, repeal three health law taxes in a win for insurers. Media outlets dive into the particulars of what’s included — like a tobacco age ban and money for wildfire safety — and what is not. Provisions in the latter category might act as a cautionary tale for progressive Democrats as they try to push ahead with “Medicare for All.”

Constraining Specialists From Billing Out-Of-Network Prices Would Lower Health Spending By $40B A Year

KHN Morning Briefing

Specialists like anesthesiologists have more power to negotiate higher in-network payments because they’re able to bill so much out-of-network. Limiting that power would have a significant effect on spending, a new study finds. Congress has been working to find a way to curb out-of-network surprise bills, but although they’ve made progress in recent weeks, nothing has passed yet.

Health Highlights In Congress’ $1.4 Trillion Spending Bill: Tobacco Age, ‘Cadillac Tax,’ Medical Research And More

KHN Morning Briefing

Lawmakers released details Monday of a bipartisan deal that would allocate $1.4 trillion in federal spending for the remainder of the fiscal year to avoid a shutdown. Among other health-related measures, it includes a provision raising the minimum purchasing age for tobacco to 21, which advocates say is a “good step” toward a “substantial reduction” in smoking among young people. Media outlets cover the ins and outs of the bills and the ways they touch on health care.

Hospitals Aim To Bolster Communities’ Overall Health To Help Address Socio-Economic, Racial Inequities

KHN Morning Briefing

Health systems are trying innovative ways–like building a warehouse distribution facility and committing to hiring marginalized workers–to improve overall health outcomes. The push is part of a larger trend for health systems to tackle problems beyond just treating patients. In other hospital news: price transparency, co-ops, mental health care, a $1.8 billion settlement, and more.

Frustrated With Cumbersome, Clunky Diabetes Devices, Patients Are Turning To DIY Technology

KHN Morning Briefing

Many feel like the tools available on the market weren’t built by people actually living with the disease, and so those with technology experience are taking matters into their own hands. In other health and technology news: virtual reality, the data Catch-22, prosthetics, cyberattacks, and Apple’s push into the health industry.

Promising Greater Safety, A Tiny Widget Creates Chaos For Tube Feeders

KHN Original

A standard connector for feeding tubes was supposed to improve patient safety by preventing accidental misconnections to equipment used for IVs or other purposes. But critics say the design instead could keep patients from real food and inadvertently creates a host of new risks, including for vulnerable premature infants.

New York Life Eyeing Cigna’s Business That Sells Non-Medical Insurance Through Employers In Possible $6B Deal

KHN Morning Briefing

Cigna has been working to trim debt after last year’s acquisition of pharmacy-benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co. for $54 billion. In other news from the health industry: a corporation misses the deadline to close the deal on four Verity Health hospitals and a look at the small Medicare reduction that could make a big difference in premiums.