Health Care Costs

Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

Democrats Disagree About How to Spend Potential Prescription Drug Windfall

KHN Original

After a year of uncharacteristically being on the same page when it comes to health care, Democratic lawmakers are at loggerheads about what to do next. Most agree the time is ripe to tackle high drug prices. But they divide over whether to take savings from that to move to a ‘Medicare for All’ insurance system, enhance the current Medicare program or strengthen benefits under the Affordable Care Act.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: 100 Days of Health Policy

KHN Original

It’s 100 days into Joe Biden’s presidency and a surprisingly large number of health policies have been announced. But health is notably absent from the administration’s $1.8 trillion spending plan for American families, making it unclear how much more will get done this year. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosens its mask-wearing recommendations for those who have been vaccinated, but the new rules are confusing. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Julie Appleby, who reported the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.

Denver State Capitol Building with Mountain View

What a Difference a Year Makes in Colorado’s Case for a Public Option Plan

KHN Original

Before the pandemic, Colorado was building momentum to pass what’s known as a “public option” health plan that would lower insurance premiums and force hospitals to accept lower payments. But now with hospitals and health care providers enjoying support as front-line heroes in the pandemic, state legislators have stripped the option from their bill.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Picking Up the Pace of Undoing Trump Policies

KHN Original

The Biden administration has started to speed efforts to reverse health policies forged under Donald Trump. Most recently, the administration overturned a ban on fetal tissue research and canceled a last-minute extension of a Medicaid waiver for Texas. That latter move may delay the Senate confirmation of President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Medicare and Medicaid programs, as Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) seeks to fight back. Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Rachel Cohrs of Stat 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.

Despite Covid, Many Wealthy Hospitals Had a Banner Year With Federal Bailout

KHN Original

As the crisis crushed smaller providers, some of the nation’s richest health systems thrived, reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in surpluses after accepting huge grants for pandemic relief. But poorer hospitals — many serving rural and minority populations — got a smaller slice of the pie and limped through the year with deficits and a bleak fiscal future.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Getting Down to Work at HHS

KHN Original

After a bruising confirmation process, Xavier Becerra was sworn in as secretary of Health and Human Services this week. The Senate also confirmed the nominations of former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to return to the post he held in the Obama administration, and former Pennsylvania health secretary Rachel Levine as assistant secretary for health. Levine is the first openly transgender person to receive Senate confirmation. Meanwhile, questions continue to swirl around the AstraZeneca covid vaccine, which some public health experts worry will create more hesitancy toward other vaccines.