Health Care Costs

Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Much Ado About Drug Prices

KHN Original

Democrats have hit a snag in their effort to compile a $3.5 trillion social-spending bill this fall — moderates are resisting support for Medicare drug price negotiation provisions that would pay for many of the measure’s health benefit improvements. Meanwhile, the new abortion restrictions in Texas have moved the divisive issue back to the political front burner. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Shefali Luthra of The 19th join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interview’s KHN’s Phil Galewitz about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment, about two similar jaw surgeries with very different price tags.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Vaccine Approval Moves the Needle on Covid

KHN Original

The FDA’s formal approval of the first vaccine to prevent covid-19 may or may not prompt doubters to go out and get shots, but it has clearly prompted employers to make vaccination a work requirement. Meanwhile, moderates and liberals in the U.S. House put aside their differences long enough to keep a giant social-spending bill on track, at least for now. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Booster Time

KHN Original

As the delta variant continues to spread around the U.S., the Biden administration is taking steps to authorize covid vaccine boosters, require nursing home workers to be vaccinated and protect school officials who want to require masks despite state laws banning those mandates. Meanwhile, the U.S. House is returning from its summer break early to start work on its giant budget bill, which includes a long list of health policy changes. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Senate Acts

KHN Original

The U.S. Senate worked well into its scheduled August recess to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget blueprint that outlines a much larger bill — covering key health priorities — to be written this fall. Meanwhile, the latest surge of covid is making both employers and schools rethink their opening plans. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Yasmeen Abutaleb of The Washington Post join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.

Shot of shelves stocked with various medicinal products in a pharmacy

Pharmacies Face Extra Audit Burdens That Threaten Their Existence

KHN Original

Pharmacy benefit managers have curtailed in-person audits of pharmacy claims during the pandemic, switching to virtual audits done by computer. That has markedly increased the number of claims they can review — and the chances for payment denials — squeezing pharmacies and bringing in more cash for the benefit companies.

Bye-Bye to Health Insurance ‘Birthday Rule’? Kansas Lawmaker Floats Fix

KHN Original

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) introduced a bill to do away with a health insurance rule that dictates which parent’s plan becomes a new baby’s primary insurer. This could save some parents from unexpected, sometimes massive medical bills. Davids took up the issue after a KHN/NPR Bill of the Month story on one family’s unexpected $207,455 NICU bill.

Contraception Is Free to Women, Except When It’s Not

KHN Original

The landmark federal health law required most commercial health plans to cover a comprehensive list of birth control methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration free of charge to female patients. But health plans don’t have to cover every option, and newer methods are not included in the federal list of covered services.