Feds Want a Policy That Advocates Say Would Let Hospitals Off the Hook for Covid-Era Lapses
The pandemic disrupted all sense of normalcy for U.S. hospitals, so federal officials are proposing to pause financial penalties against the facilities and to block public access to key hospital safety data — such as the frequency of falls and sepsis — because of concerns that the data isn’t accurate enough. But consumer advocates are furious about the proposal.
Seeking to Kick-Start Biden’s Agenda, Schumer Unveils a Bill for Medicare Drug Price Negotiations
In addition to allowing federal officials to negotiate the price that Medicare pays for some drugs, the bill would cap annual out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000. But before Democrats can pass the bill under special rules that prevent Republicans from staging a filibuster, they must get approval from the Senate parliamentarian.
Seniors With Prediabetes Should Eat Better, Get Moving, but Not Fret Too Much About Diabetes
About half of adults 65 and older have above-normal blood sugar levels that put them in the prediabetes category. Although that is a signal to improve your eating habits and get more exercise, researchers say only a small percentage of the group will develop diabetes.
A Surgery Shatters Retirement Plans and Leads to Bankruptcy
Sherrie Foy had surgeries and medical complications that produced about $850,000 in bills. The Foys ended up declaring bankruptcy. “They took everything we had.”
Buy and Bust: When Private Equity Comes for Rural Hospitals
Noble Health swept into two small Missouri towns promising to save their hospitals. Instead, workers and vendors say it stopped paying bills and government inspectors found it put patients at risk. Within two years — after taking millions in federal covid relief and big administrative fees — it locked the doors.
Medicaid Weighs Attaching Strings to Nursing Home Payments to Improve Patient Care
The Biden administration is considering whether Medicaid, which pays the bills for 62% of nursing home residents, should require that most of that funding be used to provide care, rather than for maintenance, capital improvements, or profits.
KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Taking a Shot at Gun Control
The U.S. House passed a package of bills seeking to keep some guns out of the hands of children and teenagers, but its fate in the Senate remains a big question mark. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission takes on drug and hospital prices. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, and Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Cori Uccello of the American Academy of Actuaries about the most recent report from Medicare’s trustees board.
With its latest venture into primary care clinics, is America’s leading organization for seniors selling its trusted seal of approval?
Her First Colonoscopy Cost Her $0. Her Second Cost $2,185. Why?
Preventive care, like screening colonoscopies, is supposed to be free of charge to patients under the Affordable Care Act. But some hospitals haven’t gotten the memo.
Got Long Covid? Medical Expertise Is Vital, and Seniors Should Prepare to Go Slow
Although identifying long covid in older adults can be tricky, experts say there are good strategies for getting medical advice and fighting the impact of the virus.
‘That’s Just Part of Aging’: Long Covid Symptoms Are Often Overlooked in Seniors
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.
After the Pandemic Hit Nursing Homes Hard, California Lawmakers Push to Tighten Licensing Rules
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.
Why Won’t More Older Americans Get Their Covid Booster?
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.
Medicare Surprise: Drug Plan Prices Touted During Open Enrollment Can Rise Within a Month
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.
KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: More Covid Complications for Congress
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.
Advance Care Planning for Guns: Owners Can Help Ensure Safe Use and Transfer of Weapons
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.
Washington State Retools First-in-the-Nation Long-Term Care Benefit
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.
KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: News You Might Have Missed
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.
Private Equity Ownership of Nursing Homes Triggers Capitol Hill Questions — And a GAO Probe
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.
It’s Your Choice: You Can Change Your Views of Aging and Improve Your Life
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.