Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
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.
A new study followed patients with severe chronic pain for a year and found that opioids relieved pain and increased function no better than common drugs like acetaminophen and lidocaine. But the opioids carry the risk of more serious side effects, including addiction and death.
Although the potentially fatal disease is common among the incarcerated, treatment with the latest hepatitis drugs isn’t.
Medical debt is down across the country. In states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the reduction is sharper.
Since 2010, at least 79 rural hospitals have closed across the country, and nearly 700 more are at risk of closing. The Republican repeal of the health law could hasten their demise.
The U.S. government has been struggling to balance a surge in applicants for disability benefits with shrinking funds. An updated application process could make getting benefits even harder.
“I’m not going to risk my son’s health on the political whims of Jefferson City,” says one Missouri father, whose son requires about $20,000 to $30,000 in medical care expenses a year. The new GOP health bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act lets states decide whether or not insurers must cover people with preexisting conditions, such as birth defects.
Abortion is already heavily restricted in Missouri, but now the state is cutting more funding to organizations that provide abortions, even though it means rejecting millions of dollars from the federal government.
R.J. Reynolds has put $12 million into an effort to raise tobacco taxes in Missouri. But the proposed 60-cents per pack tax, still among the lowest in the nation, is not likely to make many smokers quit.
The Missouri Hospital Association objects to the formula for setting the federal penalties because it does not factor in the number of patients who are poor or in bad health. It is seeking to generate consumer interest in the penalties.
Bad coordination and communication can put patients at risk as they’re discharged from a hospital.
Every state except Missouri has a database that doctors can check to see if a person filling a prescription for an opioid is trying to get it from other pharmacies, too.