Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
Many physicians were forced to close their offices — or at least see only emergency cases — when the pandemic struck. Because they are generally paid piecemeal for every service, they suffered big losses, leading to layoffs and pay cuts. Some doctors say they now are looking to overhaul the way they get paid.
Starting in August 2020, a new episode every other week. No time like a pandemic to learn more about how to fight the high cost of health care.
Kaiser Health News gives readers a chance to comment on a recent batch of stories.
Early in the pandemic, insurers expected the costs of treating COVID-19 would vastly increase medical spending. Instead, non-COVID care has plummeted and insurers have pocketed the result. Still, few industry observers are predicting broad-based premium cuts in 2021, though some health plans have proposed lowering their rates.
President Donald Trump’s sobering view of COVID-19 didn’t last long – this week, he was back to pushing hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has been shown not to work in treating the virus. Meanwhile, Republicans on Capitol Hill are still scrambling to agree among themselves and with the White House on the next coronavirus relief bill, as both a moratorium on evictions and extra unemployment payments expire. And the debate over drug prices, which was going to be one of the biggest health issues of this election year, makes a brief appearance. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Markian Hawryluk, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” story about a surprise bill from a surprise surgical assistant.
Around the country, Medicaid enrollment is up as people who have lost jobs during the pandemic seek health insurance. Expanding eligibility for Missouri’s program, which could help thousands of recently unemployed residents, will be on the ballot Tuesday.
Health plan network changes occur all the time as doctors retire, relocate or leave networks. Unfortunately, patients may be the last to find out about such changes because there are often few requirements that either providers or insurers inform them.
State officials had projected that 2 million Californians would join Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for low-income people, by July because of the economic devastation wrought by COVID-19. Yet enrollment has barely budged, and why is unclear.
With millions out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic, fewer payroll taxes are coming in to help keep Medicare’s trust fund intact.
Under the federal COBRA law, people who lose health coverage because of a layoff or a reduction in their hours generally have 60 days to decide whether to pay to maintain that coverage. But under new regulations, the clock won’t start ticking until the government says the coronavirus national emergency is over, and then consumers will have 120 days to act.
Additional guidance issued late last month by the Trump administration added to the confusion. Some consumers may find themselves unexpectedly on the hook for the cost of a test.
KHN senior Colorado correspondent Markian Hawryluk joined KUNC’s Erin O’Toole on “Colorado Edition” to discuss his recent story on health care cuts that many states, including Colorado, are having to take amid the pandemic.
This appears to be an overstatement.
While COVID-19 cases continue to surge in more than half the country, the Trump administration has decided its top priority is for schools to open for in-person learning this fall. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court hands Trump a victory in a case to limit the reach of the birth control benefit under the Affordable Care Act. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Sarah Varney about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month.”
The speech by the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee was delivered the same day the Trump administration reaffirmed its support of a lawsuit that would invalidate all of the Affordable Care Act, including the law’s preexisting condition protections.
The United States is the only developed nation unable to balance cost, efficacy and social good in setting prices.
Americans who had coronavirus symptoms in March and April are getting big hospital bills — because they were not sick enough to get then-scarce COVID tests. Some insurers say they are trying to correct these bills, but patients may have to put up a fight.
A rule finalized this spring by the Trump administration permits employers and insurers not to apply drug company copayment assistance toward enrollees’ deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for any drug.
While federal and state officials continue to wrangle over coronavirus testing, the population testing positive is skewing younger. Meanwhile, the Trump administration wins a round in court over its requirements for hospitals to publicly reveal their prices, and the fight over the fate of the Affordable Care Act heats up once again. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews former Obama administration health aide Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who has written a new book comparing international health systems.
Jane Collins and Anthony Blow were stunned to learn last fall that their state tax refund was being reduced by $110 because the Charlottesville medical center said they owed money for care their son received in 2001 and 2002.