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Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Congress Races the Clock

KHN Original

Sen. Raphael Warnock’s re-election in Georgia will give Democrats a clear-cut Senate majority for the first time in nearly a decade. Meanwhile, the current Congress has only days left to tackle major unfinished business on the health agenda, including fending off scheduled pay cuts for doctors and other health providers in the Medicare program. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, and Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.

How Optimism Can Close the Medicaid Coverage Gap

KHN Original

Low-income residents in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid are in a tough spot: They don’t qualify for the subsidies that people with slightly higher incomes get to buy marketplace plans because of a glitch in the federal health law. But a court decision last year makes it easier for them to make good-faith estimates of a pay increase, and there is no financial penalty if they don’t hit that figure.

Texas, Battling Teen Pregnancy, Recasts Sex Education Standards

KHN Original

As Texas adjusts to a near-total abortion ban, Texas schools are redoubling efforts to end teen pregnancies by enacting new standards for sexual health education. Beyond focusing on abstinence, they are teaching middle schoolers about contraceptives and preventing sexually transmitted infections. But parents must opt in for their children to get the lessons.

Overdose Deaths Behind Bars Rise as Drug Crisis Swells

KHN Original

Drug-related mortality rates have increased in prisons and jails even as the number of people incarcerated for drug offenses has dropped. The pandemic lockdowns on visitors didn’t eliminate the problem, showcasing that guards have been a source of the contraband.

As Overdoses Soar, More States Decriminalize Fentanyl Testing Strips

KHN Original

Georgia may soon join a growing list of states decriminalizing the use of fentanyl testing strips. Bans of the strips — on the books in about half of states, experts say — stem from laws criminalizing drug paraphernalia adopted decades ago. But the testing devices are now recommended to help prevent overdose deaths.

Persistent Problem: High C-Section Rates Plague the South

KHN Original

Some U.S. states have reduced use of the procedure, including by sharing C-section data with doctors and hospitals. But change has proved difficult in the South, where women are generally less healthy heading into their pregnancies and maternal and infant health problems are among the highest in the U.S.