Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Abortion Issue Helps Limit Democrats’ Losses in Midterms

KHN Original

Although control of Congress was still undecided Wednesday, Republicans seemed poised to take power in the House, while the fate of the Senate remained too close to call. Economic issues were at the top of voters’ minds, but abortion access also played a large role in their decisions.

Centene Showers Politicians With Millions as It Courts Contracts and Settles Overbilling Allegations

KHN Original

Centene, the largest Medicaid managed-care company in the U.S., has thrown more than $26.9 million at political campaigns across the country since 2015, especially focused on states where it is wooing Medicaid contracts and settling accusations that it overbilled taxpayers. Among its tactics: Centene is skirting contribution limits by giving to candidates through its many subsidiaries.

California’s Proposed Flavored Tobacco Ban Gives Hookah a Pass

KHN Original

Californians will decide Nov. 8 whether to approve a statewide ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. But the measure, known as Proposition 31, exempts hookah tobacco. Anti-smoking activists criticize the carve-out, calling it the latest example of businesses using identity politics to profit from a deadly product.

California Patients Fear Fallout From Third Dialysis Ballot Measure

KHN Original

Californians are facing the third statewide dialysis initiative in five years. The dialysis industry is spending tens of millions of dollars to defeat Proposition 29 and is running ads saying the measure would force clinics to close — a message that appears to be resonating with patients.

Listen: How Does Human Composting Work?

KHN Original

California Healthline’s Bernard J. Wolfson went on the air to explain a new California law that will allow people to have their bodies reduced to compost after death, an alternative to the traditional-but-toxic methods of cremation and burial.

‘Separate and Unequal’: Critics Say Newsom’s Pricey Medicaid Reforms Leave Most Patients Behind

KHN Original

MLK Community Hospital in South Los Angeles is surrounded by poverty, homeless encampments, and food deserts. Even though California Gov. Gavin Newsom is funneling billions of taxpayer money into an ambitious initiative to provide some low-income patients with social services, hospital executives and other critics say it won’t improve access to basic care.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Looking Ahead to the Lame-Duck Session

KHN Original

Congress won’t be back in Washington until after Election Day, but lawmakers have left themselves a long list of items to finish up in November and December, including unfinished health care policies. Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call; Jessie Hellmann, also of CQ Roll Call; and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Sam Whitehead, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a family who tried to use urgent care to save money, but ended up with a big emergency room bill anyway.