Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
Under the rule that took effect this year, Medicare will lower payments for clinic visits performed at hospital-owned facilities to a rate that is equivalent to what it pays an independent doctor. Federal officials expect the move will save the government $380 million this year.
Kaiser Health News gives readers a chance to comment on a recent batch of stories.
Work helps make people healthier, CMS chief Seema Verma said in approving Utah’s waiver request to tie government health benefits to employment or volunteer work. But Judge James Boasberg has said that isn’t the goal of Medicaid.
The U.S. government claimed that turning American medical charts into electronic records would make health care better, safer and cheaper. Ten years and $36 billion later, the system is an unholy mess. Inside a digital revolution that took a bad turn.
Inspectors are citing nursing facilities for violating health and safety more often than during the Obama administration. But the average fine is nearly a third lower than it was before President Donald Trump took office.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched this month the “What’s Covered” app, designed to provide yes-or-no answers about what services are covered under traditional Medicare. KHN took it for a test drive with real consumers.
Utah’s proposal to limit federal and state funding on Medicaid is a radical change. Anti-poverty advocates are concerned that caps could limit how many people are enrolled and restrict services. They also worry other states would adopt a similar plan.
Political fights over health care continue to flare. In Utah, angry voters say lawmakers are disregarding their wishes by trying to limit the scope of a ballot referendum that expanded Medicaid.
State health officials say several factors, including the improved economy, are behind the 7 percent drop last year in Missouri and 9 percent reduction in Tennessee of Medicaid recipients. But advocates for the poor are worried the states’ efforts to weed out residents who are improperly enrolled has led to people mistakenly forced off the rolls.
Health was a featured player in President Donald Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address. The president set goals to bring down prescription drug prices, end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. and cure childhood cancer, among other things. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Alice Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and, for “extra credit,” provide their favorite health policy stories of the week. Rovner also interviews KHN senior correspondent Phil Galewitz about the current “Bill of the Month” feature.
The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to reveal their prices. If patients and politicians pay attention, this could be a game changer for health care.
As of Jan. 1, hospitals must post price lists — known as chargemasters — online. These massive compendiums include the costs set by each hospital for every service or drug a patient might encounter.