Bill of the Month

This crowdsourced investigation by Kaiser Health News and NPR dissects and explains your medical bills every month in order to shed light on U.S. health care prices and to help patients learn how to be more active in managing costs. Do you have a medical bill that you’d like us to see and scrutinize? Submit it here and tell us the story behind it.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Compromise Is Coming — Maybe

Democratic negotiators on Capitol Hill appear to be nearing a compromise on President Joe Biden’s social spending agenda, spurred partly by Democratic losses on Election Day in Virginia. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court hints it might allow abortion providers to sue Texas over its restrictive new ban. But the relief, if it comes, could be short-lived if the court uses a second case, challenging a law in Mississippi, to weaken or overturn Roe v. Wade. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Rae Ellen Bichell, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature about an emergency bill for a nonemergency birth.

Watch: Same Providers, Similar Surgeries, But Different Bills

KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal joins “CBS This Morning” to discuss the latest Bill of the Month installment, in which a man discovered the hard way that health plans can vary from one job to the next, even if the insurer is the same.

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

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) introduced a bill to do away with a health insurance rule that dictates which parent’s plan becomes a new baby’s primary insurer. This could save some parents from unexpected, sometimes massive medical bills. Davids took up the issue after a KHN/NPR Bill of the Month story on one family’s unexpected $207,455 NICU bill.

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

Democrats in Congress reached a tentative agreement to press ahead on a partisan bill that would dramatically expand health benefits for people on Medicare, those who buy their own insurance and individuals who have been shut out of coverage in states that didn’t expand Medicaid. Meanwhile, controversy continues to rage over whether vaccinated Americans will need a booster to protect against covid-19 variants, and who will pay for a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Rae Ellen Bichell, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a mother and daughter who fought an enormous emergency room bill.

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

Two intractable failings of the U.S. health care system — addiction treatment and medical costs — come to a head in the ER, where patients desperate for addiction treatment arrive, only to find the facility may not be equipped to deal with substance use or, if they are, treatment is prohibitively expensive.