Millions of older adults are grappling with long covid, yet the impact on them has received little attention even though research suggests seniors are more likely to develop the poorly understood condition than younger or middle-aged adults.
Legislators are proposing an overhaul of California’s licensing system for nursing homes that would make it the most stringent in the country. They argue that disreputable and unlicensed owners and operators have harmed residents. The industry describes the proposed requirements as excessive.
Approximately 1 in 3 Americans 65 and older who completed their initial vaccination round still have not received a first booster shot. The numbers dismay researchers, who say the lag has cost tens of thousands of lives.
Even the savviest Medicare drug plan shoppers can get a shock when they fill prescriptions: That great deal on medications is no bargain after prices go up.
Congress is back in session, but covid diagnoses for Vice President Kamala Harris and two Democratic senators have temporarily left the Senate without a working majority to approve continued covid funding. Meanwhile, opponents of the Affordable Care Act have filed yet another lawsuit challenging a portion of the law, and we say goodbye to the late Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who left a long legacy of health laws. Rachel Cohrs of STAT News, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, and Rebecca Adams of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.
Colorado researchers publish a tool to help gun owners and family members plan ahead for safe firearm use and transfers in the event of disability or death.
The WA Cares Fund program, which would provide workers in the state a lifetime benefit of $36,500, was set to begin collecting money through a payroll tax in January, but it was delayed while lawmakers made adjustments to address equity problems. Now the payroll deductions will begin in July 2023, and benefits will become available in 2026.
Congress is in recess, so the slower-than-average news week gives us a chance to catch up on underreported topics, like Medicare’s coverage decision for the controversial Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm and ominous new statistics on drug overdose deaths and sexually transmitted diseases. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.
In his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden decried these financial arrangements, which two members of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee had already asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate.
Becca Levy of Yale University talks with “Navigating Aging” columnist Judith Graham about how people can alter ingrained perceptions of aging — which are often formed unconsciously and are unrecognized.
Federal health officials haven’t taken a clear position on whether a high-dose influenza vaccine — on the market since 2010 — is the best choice for people 65 and older. Many in that group already opt for the costlier enhanced shot. Those who get the standard vaccine are disproportionately members of ethnic and racial minorities.
The United States is nearing 1 million deaths from covid — an almost incomprehensible number of lives lost that few thought possible when the pandemic began. Pennsylvania’s Mifflin County offers a snapshot into how one hard-hit community, with over 300 dead, is coping.
In his proposed budget, President Joe Biden called for a boost in health spending that includes billions of dollars to prepare for a future pandemic. But that doesn’t include money he says is needed immediately for testing and treating covid-19. Also this week, federal regulators authorized a second booster shot for people 50 and older yet gave little guidance to consumers about who needs the shot and when. Amy Goldstein of The Washington Post, Jennifer Haberkorn of the Los Angeles Times, and Rachana Pradhan of KHN join KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Julie Rovner interviews KHN’s Julie Appleby, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a very expensive air ambulance ride.
Federal data shows that vaccination rates for American Indians and Alaska Natives were some of the highest in the nation, but tribes say resistance has slowed efforts to boost members.
Relatives who often provide vital caregiving for nursing home residents say the lockdowns during the covid pandemic showed the need for family members to visit in person with their loved ones. About a dozen states have passed laws guaranteeing that right, and California is considering one.
Many Medicare Advantage plans send caregivers to the homes of seniors periodically to help with housework and provide companionship. But the workers may also prod seniors into activities that boost the plans’ Medicare ratings and federal reimbursements.
Membership-based villages help arrange services for seniors — such as handyman help or transportation to appointments — and provide social connections through classes, leisure opportunities, or community events. Despite great promise, they have been slow to expand because of difficulties raising funding and keeping people interested.
Medicare has proposed limiting coverage of Aduhelm, the costly new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and several prominent groups representing patients and their families are pressing the program to make it more widely available. But among individuals facing the disease, the outlook is more nuanced.
Private and public employers are increasingly using the government’s Medicare Advantage program as an alternative to their existing retiree health plan and traditional Medicare coverage. As a result, the federal government is paying the “overwhelming majority” of medical costs, according to an industry analyst.
After a years-long bitter partisan fight over reforming the U.S. Postal Service’s finances and service, congressional leaders say they have a compromise. The bill, which has won endorsements from both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, would force future Postal Service retirees to use Medicare as their primary source of health coverage.