School Cafeterias Join Fight Against Childhood Obesity
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Dec. 28
Increasingly, the movement to reduce childhood obesity by improving what kids eat in school has changed the game.
Feds Approve Minn. Exchange, Insurers Scramble To Develop Health Plans
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minneosta Public Radio, Dec. 21
Insurers say they have to hustle to develop new health plans in a matter of months when the process normally takes at least a year.
Colorado Gov Pitches Plan To Mend Mental Health Safety Net
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Dec. 19
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is proposing an $18.5 million plan to strengthen the state’s mental health system.
How Much For An MRI? $500? $5,000? A Reporter Struggles To Find Out
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, Dec. 9
So when I had a series of migraines over the summer, I decided this was an opportunity to be an engaged, savvy patient.
Advocates Sue To Change The ‘Nursing Cliff’ In California
By Sarah Varney, Dec. 6
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, one patient asked a judge to stop the state from reducing his in-home nursing care.
Insurance Officials Raise ‘Rate Shock’ Worry For Young People
By Susan Jaffe, Dec. 4
If young adults can’t afford health insurance policies available in 2014 under the health care law, state insurance officials are worried they won’t buy them.
Electronic Health Records Breed Digital Discontent For Some Docs
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Dec. 4
In a big survey by Medscape this summer 38 percent of the doctors polled said they were unhappy with their electronic medical records system.
Missouri Governor Backs Medicaid Expansion
By Elana Gordon, KCUR, Nov. 29
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon wants the state to expand its Medicaid program, marking the strongest stance the Democratic governor has taken to date.
Minnesota Facing Bigger Bill For State’s Health Insurance Exchange
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minneosta Public Radio, Nov. 25
The state’s health insurance exchange may cost $54 million in 2015 to operate, up from earlier estimates of $30 million to $40 million.
Online Access To Docs Increases Office Visits, Study Finds
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Nov. 21
New research from Kaiser Permanente suggests that patients with online access actually schedule more office visits.
States Detail Questions About Their Exchange Options
By Ankita Rao, Nov. 19
A National Association of Insurance Commissioners committee is compiling a working document of state queries about exchange regulations.
Survey: Maryland Voters Know Little About Federal Health Law
By Alvin Tran, Nov. 19
The results of a new poll found that only 30 percent of survey respondents know a lot about its specific provisions.
Four NYC Hospitals Still Closed By Hurricane Sandy
By Fred Mogul, WNYC, Nov. 18
Three weeks after Hurricane Sandy, four New York City hospitals remained closed for inpatients, leaving thousands of patients scrambling.
Stuart Altman’s Huge Challenge: Bring Down Mass. Health Costs
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, Nov. 18
Gov. Deval Patrick recently named Altman to chair the Health Policy Commission, the new state board overseeing the sweeping cost-control law.
Mississippi Builds Exchange Despite Objections Of Governor, Tea Party
By Jeffrey Hess, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Nov. 16
The Mississippi Insurance Department officially told the federal government that it will run its own health insurance exchange.
Colorado’s New Element In Exchange Plan: Certainty
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Nov. 14
Many states have opted to have the federal government create and run their exchanges, but not Colorado, which is moving forward on setting up its own exchange.
Missouri, Kansas Reject State-Run Health Insurance Exchanges
By Elana Gordon, KCUR, Nov. 13
These governors’ moves open the door for increased federal involvement in health care in both states.
Nevada Quietly Moves Ahead On Health Law
By Pauline Bartolone, Capital Public Radio, Nov. 13
Nevada was one of the 27 states that challenged the Affordable Care Act in court. But now Gov. Brian Sandoval is moving forward on a key part of the law: an insurance exchange.
Ga. Immigration Law Snags Doctors’ And Nurses’ Licenses
By Jim Burress, WABE, Nov. 12
The law requires everyone to prove their citizenship or legal residency as they renew their professional licenses. But staff is short, paperwork is long and licenses are expiring.
Health Issues On The Ballot In The States
By KHN Editors, Nov. 5
Here is a selection of health care referenda in the states in this election, as reported by our NPR member station partners:
As Calif. Readies Medicaid Expansion, Only Sacramento’s Poorest Will Benefit
By Pauline Bartolone, Capital Public Radio, Nov. 4
Sacramento lags behind most of the rest of California in implementing the Low Income Health Program.
The Price Is Right There In Front Of You, In Colorado At Least
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Nov. 2
The price of a knee MRI in Colorado varies from $350 to $2,336. It’s a huge gap, but it’s also remarkable that the prices themselves are known at all.
Vermont Pushes State Employees To Use CHIP Program For Kids
By Bob Kinzel, Vermont Public Radio, Oct. 29
The administration says the change could save state employees a lot of money — and it could reduce the state’s health care costs by millions of dollars.
Candidates Talk Medicaid In Washington Governor’s Race
By Ruby de Luna, KUOW, Oct. 26
Medicaid – and how to expand the program – has become an issue in the competitive governor’s race in Washington State.
Houston Hit Hard In Latest Medicare Fraud Bust
By Carrie Feibel, KUHF, Oct. 17
A picture has emerged in Houston of kickbacks and schemes to steer patients between group homes and outpatient mental health clinics offering “partial hospitalization” programs.
Putting The ‘Care’ Into Long-Term Care Insurance
By Kristian Foden-Vencil, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oct. 17
Oregon has new rules on how to appeal a denial on a long-term care insurance claim.
Safety-Net Hospitals Brace For Cut To Federal Subsidies
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minneosta Public Radio, Oct. 14
Because more people are supposed to be insured, the health law trims funding that is used to defray the expenses of treating a large number of uninsured and poor patients.
Chris Christie Considers New Medicaid Math
By Fred Mogul, WNYC, Oct. 11
Politics will be part of the equation in New Jersey when the state decides whether or not to implement the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.
In New Health Exchange, Human Element Of Customer Service Is Up For Debate
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minneosta Public Radio, Oct. 9
Concerns persist that buying coverage in health insurance exchanges without human assistance could prove daunting.
Highmark Files Suit Against West Penn Allegheny In Pittsburgh
By Erika Beras, WESA, Oct. 4
The Pennsylvania insurer Highmark has filed suit to prevent West Penn Allegheny Health System from forming alliances with other entities.
Hospitals Need Networks To Prevent Readmissions
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Oct. 2
Medicare started docking payments to hospitals that have too many repeat customers and wants many hospitals to adopt a model like Denver Health.
Eyes Turn To Arkansas’ Bold Effort To Cut Medicaid Costs, Add Transparency
By Shefali S. Kulkarni, Oct. 1
The state is taking the health care delivery system that is already in place and adding new incentives and accountability in Medicaid.
Branding Health Insurance Exchanges To Make The Sale
By Pauline Bartolone, Capital Public Radio, Sept. 25
The word “exchange” sounds to many like off-putting government-speak, and some states are eager to come up with a more appealing name for these new marketplaces.
Medicaid Helps D.C. Clinic Care For Ex-Prisoners
By David Schultz, Sept. 17
Some states and the District have gotten a head start and rolled out the health law Medicaid expansion early, that means coverage for groups like these.
Colorado Gets Closer To Essential Health Benefit Benchmark
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, Sept. 16
Unlike other states, Colorado is moving forward with broad consensus on the minimum level of health coverage people will be required to carry beginning in 2014.
Long-Term Care A Big Time Worry in California, Study Finds
By Sarah Varney, Sept. 13
A new poll found that half of California voters say they’ll need long-term care for a close family member in the next few years, but won’t be able to afford it.
Kansas Wrestles With Which Health Insurance Benefits Are Essential
By Bryan Thompson, Kansas Public Radio, Sept. 13
The state must decide by Sept. 30, but Republican Gov. Sam Brownback wants to wait until after the presidential election in November.
The Great Fluoride Debate In Portland
By Kristian Foden-Vencil, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Sept. 12
Portland is the largest American city that doesn’t add fluoride to its drinking water. But some groups have concerns from fluoridation and oppose its use.
Where In The World Is Jerry Brown?
By Sarah Varney, Sept. 6
Brown has warned lawmakers that he plans to call a special legislative session to ensure the approval of bills needed to keep up the state’s implementation of the health law.
Biz Groups Push For Answers On Minnesota Exchange
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minneosta Public Radio, Sept. 6
The head of the largest business group in Minnesota has a message for both Democrats and the GOP on a health insurance exchange: We need answers, fast.
Calif. Pilot Offers Managed Care Caveats For ‘Dual Eligibles’
By Mary Agnes Carey, Sept. 4
A new report analyzed California’s year-long transition of 240,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities from fee-for-service plans into managed care.
Feds Push Maryland To Think Big On Health Cost Control
By Jay Hancock, August 28
Federal officials are urging Maryland to build on the state’s unique hospital rate-setting system to develop sweeping cost controls and provide an example for others.
Vermont Goes For Gold (Silver, Bronze And Platinum, Too)
By Bob Kinzel, Vermont Public Radio, August 27
The Green Mountain Care Board this week released the basic outline of benefit packages that will be available to all individuals and small businesses in January 2014.
Hospital Banks ‘Liquid Gold’: Human Breast Milk
By Carrie Feibel, KUHF, August 23
A donor milk bank at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston is helping new moms nourish their young when they can’t do it themselves.
Hospitals React To Readmission Penalties
By Diane Webber, August 17
A KHN analysis of Medicare data showed 2,211 hospitals will face penalties for having too many patients readmitted for care. Here’s how some hospitals are reacting:
Denver Health: Low Readmission Rate Not Easy To Emulate
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, August 16
Denver Health, despite being a safety net hospital, won’t be paying a penalty to the federal government for its readmission rate: It is enviably low.
Colorado Pursues Insurance Exchange—But Keeps Fighting
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, August 9
A special legislative committee recently gave the OK to Colo.’s health insurance exchange to continue its work, but first lawmakers had to fight about it.
Four Want To Be Washington State’s Insurance Commissioner
By Ruby de Luna, KUOW, August 7
Voters in Washington have a chance to do something that voters in just 10 other states do: elect an insurance commissioner.
Missouri Ballot Referendum Makes Health Law A Hot Issue
By Guy Gugliotta, August 5
Politicians of both parties in Missouri are playing a health law game of “can-you-top-this” with a ballot referendum whose chief result promises to be voter confusion.
Nursing Schools Struggling To Find Professors
By Sandy Hausman, Virginia Public Radio, August 3
In the last year, nursing schools turned away more than 76,000 qualified applicants because there weren’t enough professors.
Doctors Will Have To Figure Out Who Gets ‘No-Cost’ Birth Control
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, August 2
Because of grandfathered plans, doctors will likely have to call each patient’s insurer when they show up for a preventive visit to see who gets “no-cost” birth control.
Vermont Wields New Power Over Hospital Budgets
By Bob Kinzel, Vermont Public Radio, August 2
The Green Mountain Care Board, established by state law in May 2011, is taking over responsibility for virtually every aspect of health care in the state.
Massachusetts Passes Health Cost Control Bill
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, July 31
The Massachusetts Legislature passed the next phase of its ongoing attempt to reform the health care system: sweeping cost control legislation.
Mass. Aims To Set First-In-Nation Health Care Spending Target
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, July 31
A 350-page bill filed five minutes before a legislative deadline for the year sets the first statewide target for health care spending in the U.S.
Hospital Debt Collector Settles Minnesota Case For $2.5 Million
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minneosta Public Radio, July 31
Accretive Health, the former bill collector for Fairview Health Service in Minnesota, has agreed to pay a $2.5 million fine and leave the state to settle a federal lawsuit.
New Funds Could Shorten AIDS Drug Waiting Lists
By Jim Burress, WABE, July 28
The Obama administration announced nearly $80 million in grants to increase access to HIV/AIDS care across the United States — will it shorten the drug waiting list?
From Zambia to Kansas City: One Woman’s AIDS Odyssey
By Elana Gordon, KCUR, July 26
12 years ago, Zambian Bester Seemani was unaware of her own physical decline as she was finishing a year and a half of work and study in hotel management in Kansas City.
13 States Cut Medicaid To Balance Budgets
By Phil Galewitz, July 24
Thirteen states are moving to cut the health care program for the poor by reducing benefits, paying health providers less or tightening eligibility.
Minnesota Wants Outside Audit Of Medicaid HMOs
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minneosta Public Radio, July 24
The Minnesota Department of Human Services announced Monday that it is seeking bids for an outside audit of Medicaid payment rates for 2003-2011.
Meet A New Breed Of Medical Professional: The Health Coach
By Annie Feidt, APRN, July 23
Health coaches are a new kind of health professional, and it’s their job to help people make those easy-to-say, hard-to-do behavioral changes that promote good health.
Texas Advocates Push Insurance Rate Review
By Carrie Feibel, KUHF, July 20
The health care law requires each state to conduct a review whenever an insurer wants to raise premiums more than 10 percent. Nine are pending in Texas, but none are done.
In Pennsylvania, Medicaid Cuts Reduce Options For Dental Care
By Erika Beras, Essential Public Radio, July 15
In Pennsylvania, GOP Gov. Tom Corbett has reduced Pennsylvania’s 2 million adult Medicaid patients to basic dental care – eliminating root canals and other care.
Mayo Clinic ‘Affiliations’ Spread The Brand
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minneosta Public Radio, July 12
The Rochester, Minn., clinic has increasingly affiliated with smaller medical centers in and out of state through its Mayo Clinic Care Network through mergers, acquisitions and affiliations.
Study: Mass. Global Payment Approach Lowers Costs, Improves Care
By David Schultz, July 11
A study says a global payment model tried by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, has both curbed costs and improved the quality of care.
Could Grass-Roots Pressure Trigger Change Of Heart In Texas?
By Carrie Feibel, KUHF, July 11
Health reform advocates and Democrats in Texas are reacting to Gov. Perry’s vow to turn down both the health law’s Medicaid expansion and health insurance exchange.
Firefighters Prevail In Fight for Health Insurance
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, July 11
President Obama ordered federal agencies to start offering seasonal firefighters the same health benefits year-round federal employees get.
Medicaid Expansion An Issue In Some Gubernatorial Races
By Phil Galewitz, July 5
Experts say the health law – and specifically, whether states should opt into an expansion of Medicaid to cover more low-income people – is expected to come up in many races.
Tax Or Penalty? Individual Mandate Haunts Romney
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, July 4
Romney’s support for the requirement that all residents have health insurance, known as the individual mandate, is at the heart of his predicament. But what to call it?
Report Looks At Health Law’s Impact On Washington State
By Harris Meyer, July 2
A fight between the Washington State insurance commissioner and the state’s largest seller of individual health insurance is spotlighting problems there.
States Already Taking Radically Different Approaches To Court Ruling
By Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Capital Public Radio, KUHF, July 2
Three states – Mississippi, California and Texas – illustrate the range of approaches emerging in the wake of last week’s decision.
California Races To Enroll Uninsured
By Russ Mitchell, June 29
The state with the highest number of uninsured pledges to make shopping for coverage as easy as buying shoes on Zappos.
Dropping Legal Barriers Doesn’t Assure Interstate Insurance Sales
By Jim Burress, Georgia Public Broadcasting, June 25
In Georgia, health insurers licensed in the state can soon sell policies there that they sell in other states, but so far, no company has taken the state up on its offer.
Could Kaiser Permanente’s Health Care Be Even Cheaper?
By Sarah Varney, KQED, June 25
Kaiser says its costs increase by about 5 percent each year. But some of Kaiser’s biggest customers say their premiums have jumped higher, up to 20 percent.
California Bullish On Health Exchange — No Matter What
By Pauline Bartolone, Capital Public Radio, June 15
California got out in front first on implementing the law, and it hasn’t slowed down in recent weeks as the rest of the country waits to hear from the High Court.
New Colon Cancer Test Holds Promise For Alaska Natives
By Annie Feidt, APRN, June 14
A new test — expected to cost $300, far less than others — can identify several altered genes that are present in colon cancer in native Alaskans.
California Lawmakers Move Bills To Guarantee Health Coverage
By Pauline Bartolone, Capital Public Radio, June 5
If state lawmakers succeed, pre-existing conditions would not prevent a Californian from buying health insurance on the individual market in 2014.
Report Offers Glimpse of Health Law’s Impact On Washington State
By Ruby de Luna, KUOW, June 1
Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is weighing in on the fate of the Affordable Care Act.
Debt Collectors In The ER
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minneosta Public Radio, June 1
Patients who had been asked to pay up while writhing in pain testify at a hearing called by Sen. Al Franken in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Psychiatric Patients Languish In Emergency Rooms
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, May 31
Competition to reduce ER wait times has spurred one Denver hospital chain to add a 40-bed psychiatric ward.
Oregon’s $2 Billion Medicaid Bet
By Kristian Foden-Vencil, Oregon Public Broadcasting, May 30
Gov. John Kitzhaber has convinced the federal government that he has a way to make Medicaid treatment better, and cheaper, by changing the way the sickest get care.
Minnesota Seeks Bridge Across ‘Affordability Gap’
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minneosta Public Radio, May 23
In Minnesota, many are concerned that an affordability gap will leave about 100,000 low-income Minnesotans struggling to pay for health care –even after the health law.
Alaska Targets An Old Foe: Tuberculosis
By Annie Feidt, APRN, May 17
Until 1950, TB was the No. 1 cause of death in Alaska. That legacy means that a large number of Alaskans still carry the bacteria that can cause the disease.
D.C. Health Program For Illegal Immigrants Avoids Cuts
By Sarah Barr, May 16
A public health insurance program that primarily serves illegal immigrants in D.C. avoided the chopping block under a budget compromise approved by the D.C. Council.
Attention Health Care Shoppers: Colorado’s New Price List For Procedures
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, May 16
Colorado is one of 14 states setting up searchable databases to help people compare health care options based on price and quality.
Lawsuit Challenges Medicaid Managed Care Decision In Missouri
By Elana Gordon, KCUR, May 9
Molina Healthcare alleges Missouri changed the bidding rules for its Medicaid managed care contracts in the middle of the process.
Study: Residents In Tenn., Fla. And Ga. Saw Biggest Jump In Access Problems
By Phil Galewitz, May 8
Access to health care worsened during the past decade, but three states had the greatest increase in people with an unmet medical need.
Massachusetts Lawmakers Unveil Ambitious Plan To Cut Health Care Costs
By Rachel Zimmerman and Carey Goldberg, WBUR, May 4
The proposal includes new ways to pay doctors and hospitals, a cap on health care spending and a tax on the most expensive hospitals.
In Massachusetts, Hope For Higher Salaries If Health Care Inflation Slows
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, May 1
Lawmakers want a target to cut health care costs, and MIT’s Jonathan Gruber says there’s a tradeoff between health care costs and wages.
Advocates Worry States Are Moving Too Fast On Dual Eligibles
By Sarah Barr, May 1
Some states may begin testing new ways to care for people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid early next year — but some are urging a slow down.
Wanted: Mavericks And Missionaries To Solve Mississippi’s Doc Shortage
By Jeffrey Hess, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, April 27
There are 17 doctors for every 10,000 residents in Mississippi but in many areas the ratio is far lower.
Poor, Sick And Expensive: Colorado’s Scaled-Down Medicaid Expansion
By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio, April 26
Though the state estimates that 50,000 people meet the income bar for Medicaid, Colorado will only be able to offer coverage to 10,000 people.
L.A. Bets Crusading Doc Can Turn Public Health System Around
By Sarah Varney, KQED, April 24
Dr. Mitch Katz is looking to reshape the Los Angeles public health system and match patients with their own doctors.
Maryland’s First Green House Project Nursing Home Aids Low-Income Seniors
By Shefali S. Kulkarni, April 20
What was once a novel idea for long term care for the elderly is now a model cropping up around the country.
Wash. Abortion Coverage Bill Placed On Hold
By Christian Torres, April 16
A bill that would require insurers to cover abortion services is off the table this year in Washington state.
Report: Mass. Health Law No ‘Budget Buster’
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, April 13
The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation finds that the state spends $91 million more per year, or 1.4 percent of the state budget, for near-universal health insurance coverage.
Fast Food’s Slow Exit From Hospitals
By Elana Gordon, KCUR, April 12
Hospitals often have multi-year contracts with fast food chains, making it difficult to replace them with healithier options.
Planned Parenthood Sues Texas Over Defunding
By Carrie Feibel, KUHF, April 11
Planned Parenthood branches across Texas have filed a federal lawsuit to prevent Gov. Rick Perry’s administration from excluding them from a women’s health program.
In Kansas, No Consensus On How To End ‘Dental Deserts’
By Bryan Thompson, Kansas Public Radio, April 8
Analysts know that Kansas has a severe shortage of dentists, and that shortage is getting worse. The problem is greatest in rural Kansas, especially in the western part of the state.
Mississippi Legislature Passes Abortion Clinic Bill
By Jeffrey Hess, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, April 4
The bill will require any doctor performing abortions in the state to be a board-certified OB-GYN with admitting privileges at a local hospital, which could make staffing the state’s sole abortion clinic very difficult.
Minnesota Medicaid HMOs Refund $73M To State, Feds
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minneosta Public Radio, April 4
Four big Minnesota managed-care plans will repay state and federal taxpayers an estimated $73 million as part of a deal the HMOs made with Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration last year.
Health Insurers Move Ahead, With Or Without Individual Mandate
By Jeff Cohen, WNYC, April 2
Cigna’s CEO, David Cordani, says the insurance industry started changing how it does business before the health reform law, and that it’ll continue.
In Massachusetts, SCOTUS Case Is (Mostly) Irrelevant
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, March 26
A Supreme Court decision on the health law will have a minimal, at best, impact on Massachusetts, which created the framework for the federal health law.
Free Health Clinics At A Crossroads
By Elana Gordon, KCUR, March 26
The health law’s expansion of coverage puts free clinics in uncharted territory.
In Conservative California, Confusion And Contempt For Health Law
By Sarah Varney, KQED, March 24
Residents of a largely conservative region in California where 1 out of every 3 people lack coverage share their attitudes toward the health law.
Sheriff: State Mental Health Cuts Undermine Public Safety
By Jenny Gold, March 22
A Montana sheriff says his force is experiencing an increase in psychiatric emergencies, which he says is a “direct result of mental health funding reductions.”
Two (Very Different) Miami Hospitals Prepare For Health Law’s Medicaid Expansion
By Sammy Mack, WLRN & HealthyState.org, March 20
A private and a public hospital in Florida are anticipating an influx of new patients who will be covered by Medicaid if the law stands.
Groups Push For Tough Health Spending Targets In Massachusetts
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, March 16
The state’s largest employer group and a coalition of congregations are putting pressure on state legislators to curb spending dramatically.
Feds Drop Texas Women’s Health Program
By Carrie Feibel, KUHF, March 15
The federal government will pull funding because Texas excluded Planned Parenthood from the program.
Mississippi Builds Insurance Exchange, Even As It Fights Health Law
By Jeffrey Hess, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, March 14
Mississippi is part of a Supreme Court case against the health law, but is moving full speed ahead with one of the key provisions of that law.
Connecticut Weighs Its ‘Nurses Only’ Medication Policy For Homebound Seniors
By Jeff Cohen, WNPR, March 13
Gov. Malloy has proposed letting supervised home health aides give medication to Medicaid patients.
Forget The Robots: Venture Capitalists Change Health Care Investments
By Sarah Varney, KQED, March 9
It wasn’t that long ago that money flowed steadily to entrepreneurs who dreamt up whiz-bang medical devices.
Oregon Emphasizes Choices At Life’s End
By Kristian Foden-Vencil, Oregon Public Broadcasting, March 8
The state has been at the forefront of helping citizens gain as much control over the end of life as possible with a detailed directive.
N.Y. Governor Raps Insurers, Health Providers For ‘Unaccceptable Opaqueness’ In Billing
By Julie Appleby, March 8
Complaints about out-of-network costs were among the most common found in a state investigation.
Coming Soon To Massachusetts’ Dental Offices—Maybe
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, March 7
Dental therapists are licensed to perform routine dental procedures in Minnesota and Alaska, and now other states are considering allowing them to extend access to dental care.
Electronic Intensive Care Unit Expands In Alaska
By Annie Feidt, APRN, March 6
A nurse, a doctor and six computer monitors help raise the standards of care for critically ill patients in Anchorage and in rural hospitals.
Wash. Bill Mandating Abortion Coverage Fails To Reach Vote
By Christian Torres, March 6
Advocates were not able to get a floor vote in the Washington state Senate for the Reproductive Parity Act.
Texas Women’s Health Fund In Jeopardy Over Abortion Politics
By Carrie Feibel, KUHF, March 2
Federal officials have warned Texas that if it moves ahead on denying Planned Parenthood a place in the state’s Women’s Health Program, the state could lose access to Medicaid.
State GOP Pushes For ‘Abortion-Free’ Mississippi
By Jeffrey Hess, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, March 1
The Mississippi legislature is considering nearly two dozen proposals aimed at limiting abortion in a state with one of the lowest abortion rates and just one abortion clinic.
Wash. Senate Nears Vote To Require Abortion Coverage
By Christian Torres, Feb. 29
While lawmakers in Washington clash over birth control, lawmakers in Washington state are close to passing a law that would require insurers to cover abortion services.
Maine Top Court Backs State Authority To Limit Insurer Profits
By Julie Appleby, Feb. 28
In a case closely watched by insurance, Maine’s top court upheld regulators’ authority to hold down rate increases sought by Anthem Health Plans of Maine.
By The Numbers: Wisconsin’s High Risk Pool
By Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio, Feb. 27
Low participation in Wisconsin has eased concerns that the program will run out of money, but high health costs mean there probably won’t be any funds left over.
Minnesota Exchange Grant Arrives In Politically Divided State
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minneosta Public Radio, Feb. 23
Some members of Minnesota’s GOP-led legislature oppose any program connected with President Obama’s health care overhaul, including a state exchange.
Can Massachusetts Lead The Way On Controlling Health Costs?
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, Feb. 22
Base insurance rates approved by the Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration for small businesses will increase, on average, 1.8 percent. So is health care inflation tamed in the state?
More Exchange Money Headed to States
By Marilyn Werber Serafini, Feb. 22
The Department of Health and Human Services is sending a total of $229 million in exchange establishment grants to ten states.
Really America, Most Mass. Residents Like Health Reform
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, Feb. 15
In the latest WBUR poll, 62 percent support the Massachusetts health reform law and 33 percent oppose it.
Alaska Takes Biggest Step Yet Toward Health Insurance Exchange
By Annie Feidt, APRN, Feb. 14
Republican Gov. Sean Parnell hired a consulting group to study options for setting up a state exchange though the state rejected a federal grant.
Health Care In Massachusetts: ‘Abject Failure’ Or Work In Progress?
By Richard Knox, NPR News, Feb. 13
Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health law is denigrated by other GOP contenders, but it remains to be seen if the law will be successful there.
Mass. Nurse-Midwives No Longer Need Physician OK To Practice
By Sarah Barr, Feb. 9
The change means Bay State nurse-midwives will no longer need a doctor to oversee their decisions.
Catholic Contraception Controversy: The State Of Pay
By Diane Webber, Feb. 8
Two Democratic governors tried to tamp down the controversy by quoting the same number: 28 states already require insurance coverage of contraception. But it’s not the whole story.
Minnesota Plans For Exchange, Even Without New Law
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio, Feb. 7
Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, said that authorization will be needed at some point from the state legislature for an exchange. But he also suggested that much work could be done ahead of legislative action.
States Under Pressure As Health Law Deadlines Approach
By Marilyn Werber Serafini, Feb. 1
States are struggling with health law demands to, among other things, help figure out health insurance marketplaces and expand Medicaid.
Dream Of A Medical ‘Price List’ Dies In Florida Legislature
By Sarah Barr, Jan. 30
The state senate denied a measure that would have further required certain providers post the out-of-pocket prices of some health care services.
Controversial Amendments Injected Into Florida Vaccine Bill
By Lynn Hatter, WFSU, Jan. 27
Turf battles are raging between doctors and pharmacists over who can give patients vaccines, and now the battle is playing out in the Florida legislature.
Health Plans Launch Own Exchanges Ahead Of Public Versions
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio, Jan. 23
Several large insurers are launching private insurance exchanges to protect themselves against public exchanges that go online in 2014.
Vermont Moving Forward With Its Own Flavor Of Health Reform
By Jessica Marcy, Jan. 19
Vermont lawmakers are taking steps to move the state toward a publicly-financed insurance program and craft a state health exchange.
Washington State Bill Would Require Abortion Coverage
By Christian Torres, Jan. 18
Democratic members of the state legislature introduced a bill in January that would maintain or expand abortion coverage.
A Health Exchange Progress Report, Sort Of …
By Julie Appleby, Jan. 18
A report says 28 states are closer to establishing new exchanges, where consumers can begin to shop for health insurance starting in late 2013.
States Ease Barriers To Medicaid, CHIP Enrollment, Survey Says
By Phil Galewitz, Jan. 18
Half the states last year made it easier for children and their parents to enroll in Medicaid by streamlining enrollment and using technology advances.
‘Tiered’ Insurance Confounds Consumers, Docs In Mass.
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, Jan. 17
Tiered insurance is being offered by various companies in Massachusetts as a way to meet employers’ demands for cheaper insurance premiums.
The Public Option Did Not Die
By Sarah Varney, KQED, Jan. 12
Unique in the nation for having public health insurance plans that are run by counties, California has public plans that stretch from San Francisco to the Mexican border and cover 2.5 million people.
Texas Insurers Could Send Out $160 Million In Rebates Next Year
By Carrie Feibel, KUHF, Jan. 10
Texas is one of the 17 states that has asked the federal government to delay the insurance rebate program. But consumers and advocates want the new law to kick in on time in 2012.
N.Y. Lawmakers Tackle Exchange Bill. Again.
By Fred Mogul, WNYC, Jan. 10
Last year, a bill almost passed that would lay the groundwork for an exchange. It hit an impasse in the Republican-controlled state Senate.
Millions Find Walgreens No Longer In Their Rx Networks
By Sarah Varney, KQED, Jan. 9
Express Scripts had been negotiating a new contract to keep Walgreens in its network, but the sides couldn’t agree, leaving many to consider other options.
Virgin Islands and West Virginia Discuss An Exchange
By Phil Galewitz, Jan. 9
The two are discussing whether to work together to form a health insurance exchange under the federal health care law.
Court: Massachusetts Must Cover Legal Immigrants
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, Jan. 6
Massachusetts’ highest court ruled Thursday that the state must offer the same level of subsidized insurance to legal immigrants as to citizens.
Kansas, Oklahoma Insurers Won’t Get A Break On Rebate Rule
By Bryan Thompson, Kansas Public Radio, Jan. 5
Kansas and Oklahoma are the seventh and eighth states to get the thumbs down from the federal government on their requests to phase in the health law’s medical loss ratio standards.
Case-by-Case, California Examines Adult Day Care
By Sarah Varney, KQED, Jan. 3
Adult day health care centers throughout the state have narrowly escaped elimination due to state budget cuts.
Top Maternity Hospitals in Mass. Stop Early Elective Deliveries
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, Dec. 23
A growing number of hospitals in Massachusetts are saying no to elective inductions and C-sections before 39 weeks.
Analyzing Romney’s Leadership On Health Care
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, Dec. 20
Health care is sometimes a political albatross for the former Bay State governor as he campaigns for president. But it is also proof, Romney says, that he could bridge party divisions in Washington.
African American Women And The Obesity Epidemic
By Taunya English, WHYY, Dec. 19
Research suggests that girls who engage in sports and other forms of regular physical activity tend to abandon it in their teen years — and that’s true not just for urban girls or black girls, but all girls.
Early Exit For Early Retiree Insurance Program
By Elizabeth Stawicki, MPR News, Dec. 16
The $5 billion program is nearly out of money — the last day to submit claims for any remaining funds is Dec. 31.
How Lawsuits Can Stymie Some Automatic Cuts
By Sarah Varney, KQED, Dec. 15
Advocates for the elderly and disabled have been able to thwart budget cuts in California by challenging them in federal court.
A Texas-Sized Medicaid Deal
By Carrie Feibel, KUHF, Dec. 15
Both Perry and Obama can claim political victories with the Medicaid waiver the feds granted to the Lone Star state. But public hospitals have the most to gain from the new system.
Hospitals Try To Control Readmissions, Even When It Hurts Profits
By Fred Mogul, WNYC, Dec. 14
A new Medicare penalty for higher-than-expected readmission has some hospitals, like New York’s Mt. Sinai, pushing to control them.
Administration Ties Medicaid Managed Care Expansion To Performance
By Phil Galewitz, Dec. 13
Medicaid managed care got a boost when HHS approved a plan to shift 1 million additional recipients into private health plans by 2013.
Florida Eyeing Cuts To Medicaid
By Lynn Hatter, WFSU-FM, Dec. 9
The response of Gov. Rick Scott’s administration to the soaring cost of Medicaid is drawing fire from hospitals, and HHS may refuse to approve one element of the plan.
When ‘Critical Access’ Hospitals Are Not So Critical
By Jenny Gold, Dec. 8
In the ongoing deficit reduction talks, critical access hospitals have been singled out at least twice as a program ripe for cutting.
In Houston, The Doctor Can’t See You Now
By Carrie Feibel, Houston Public Radio, Dec. 8
At the Martin Luther King Jr. Health Center in Houston south side, patients can’t always get is a doctor’s appointment.
Florida Grappling With Questions About Taxes For Indigent Care
By Lynn Hatter, WFSU-FM, Dec. 6
A special panel appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott has been meeting to figure out a way to scale back what taxpayers at the local level contribute to hospital costs in some parts of the state.
Minnesota Health Exchange Demos Online For Public Review
By Elizabeth Stawicki, MPR News, Dec. 6
Prototypes of an insurance exchange in Minnesota, which will allow consumers to buy health insurance on the Internet, are now available online.
Houston Poaches Cancer Scientists From Boston
By Carrie Feibel, Houston Public Radio, Dec. 5
A cancer center in Houston has lured 55 scientists from a Boston cancer institute to help the center jump quickly into cancer drug development.
Calif. Hospital Report Cards Likely To Go Away
By Sarah Varney, KQED, Dec. 5
The California Hospital Association says it is withdrawing from a project to give data to analysts to generate consumer reports.
Clash Between Hospital, Insurer May Reach Pa. Statehouse
By Taunya English, WHYY, Nov. 30
State lawmakers are signaling a willingness to referee a fight between southwest Pennsylvania’s dominant health insurer and the region’s largest medical system.
Study: Employers Could Dump Sickest Employees On Public Health Care
By Elizabeth Stawicki, MPR News, Nov. 30
A loophole in the health law could allow employers to get sick employees to buy coverage on the health insurance exchanges.
Local California Republicans Quietly Embrace Medicaid Expansion
By Sarah Varney, KQED, Nov. 21
Even the most conservative counties are expanding insurance coverage for low-income adults.
Despite Opposition To Health Law, Ga. Considers Exchange
By Guy Gugliotta, Nov. 21
A number of Republican states are hedging their bets and planning health insurance marketplaces to avoid a version designed by Washington.
Texas Lawsuit Identifies Problems In Medicare Hospice Provisions
By Jordan Rau, Nov. 16
Complaint filed in federal court alleges one of the nation’s largest hospice companies defrauded the government.
South Carolina’s Waiting Game On Health Insurance Exchange
By Christopher Weaver, Nov. 15
S.C.’s top health official, Anthony Keck, and Gov. Nikki Haley, not fans of the 2010 health law, are likely to decide to let the federal government run the state’s exchange.
Florida Politics Creating Bumps On Health Information ‘Highway’
By Lynn Hatter, WFSU-FM, Nov. 10
Florida is one of the first states to help doctors and hospitals adopt a new way of transferring patient information. But Gov. Rick Scott objects to the Health Information Exchange Network.
Kansas Announces Sweeping Medicaid Restructuring
By Bryan Thompson, Kansas Public Radio and Mike Shields, Kansas Health Institute News, Nov. 8
The move would put nearly all Medicaid recipients into private, managed-care plans.
Minnesota GOP Wrestles With Health Exchange Questions
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio, Nov. 7
Republicans in Minnesota are split on how to set up and run health insurance exchanges in thier state.
Children’s Health Program Opened To Low-Income State Employees
By Sarah Barr, Nov. 7
Six states have opened CHIP to the kids of low-income state employees, now allowed after passage of the 2010 health law.
Grading Docs With Electronic Medical Records
By Kristian Foden-Vencil, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Nov. 3
Digitized medical records have the potential to have a powerful effect on doctors’ behavior and patients’ care.
In Kansas, Republicans Can’t Agree On Insurance Exchanges
By Bryan Thompson, Kansas Public Radio, Nov. 2
GOP Gov. Sam Brownback sent back a $31.5 million federal grant and Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger worries it’s not sound policy.
Minnesota Health Systems Try Partnering To Boost Their Bottom Lines
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio, Oct. 31
A partnership between two rival health systems in the Minneapolis area is offering a glimpse of the future.
States Are Limiting Medicaid Hospital Coverage In Search For Savings
By Phil Galewitz, Oct. 31
A small but growing number of states are sharply limiting hospital coverage — to as few as 10 days a year.
Health Expert Urges States To Slow The Move To Medicaid Managed Care
By Mary Agnes Carey, Oct. 31
A professor at Georgetown University is urging states to move slowly on moving nearly 9 million “dual eligibles” to managed care.
Big Insurer Fights Back In Court Against Regulation Of Profit Margin
By Julie Appleby, Oct. 31
A lawsuit challenging Maine’s authority over health insurers’ profits is drawing national attention from regulators worried about the impact.
Medical Schools Say Magazine’s Ratings Get An Incomplete
By Fred Mogul, WNYC, Oct. 28
Deans from some of the nation’s top medical schools met Thursday — not to talk about training doctors, but to size up the people who grade them.
Managing Asthma With More Than Medicine
By Taunya English, WHYY, Oct. 27
Treating childhood asthma takes a whole team. So, that’s what they’re trying in high-asthma African-American communities in Philadelphia.
State Medicaid Spending Skyrockets
By Phil Galewitz, Oct. 27
State Medicaid spending is projected to grow by an average of 29 percent in the budget year that began July 1.
Between A Hygienist And A Dentist, A Hard Sell
By Bryan Thompson, Kansas Public Radio, Oct. 25
Proposal to create mid-level dental care providers gains traction in Kansas, but the idea faces stiff opposition from some dentists.
Can A Small Business Insurance Marketplace Take Root In Florida?
By Lynn Hatter, WFSU-FM, Oct. 24
Florida Health Choices was created in 2008 to promote competition and transparency in the health insurance market. It’s still not operational.
States Are Limiting Medicaid Hospital Coverage In Search For Savings
By Phil Galewitz, Oct. 24
Hospitals say the burden of cost-cutting falls on them because they’ll be stuck with the bill for care if Medicaid refuses to pay.
In Mass., Conflicting Emotions About Controlling Health Care Costs
By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, Oct. 21
Pollster Robert Blendon discusses the first comprehensive look at public opinion on costs since the state’s health reform law was passed in 2006.
Minnesota Appeals Court Hears Case Challenging Health Law
By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio, Oct. 21
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul Minnesota heard arguments against the constitutionality of the health law’s mandate for individuals to buy insurance.
Oregon Wants To Grade Its ACOs
By Kristian Foden-Vencil, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oct. 19
Oregon’s Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat and a physician, is pushing for a way for the state’s health plans to coordinate care better for patients.
Vermont Edges Toward Single Payer Health Care
By Jessica Marcy, Oct. 2
Vermont is building a single-payer health system that will move many residents into a publicly financed insurance program and pay providers a set fee to care for patients.