Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is the special guest for this bonus episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast. He and host Julie Rovner discuss a breadth of topics the secretary oversees, including covid-19, prescription drug prices, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.
In an interview for KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra says the administration is eager for Congress to make changes to Medicare that will provide more benefits and make more older adults eligible for the program. He also said a priority will be making permanent the enhanced premium subsidies for Affordable Care Act marketplace plans.
It could take years for follow-up studies to prove Aduhelm slows the disease — or doesn’t. Meanwhile, its maker will profit.
KHN and California Healthline staff made the rounds on national and local media this week to discuss their stories. Here’s a collection of their appearances.
Your dutiful columnist tried to make use of a federal “transparency” rule to compare the prices of common medical procedures in two California health care systems. It was a futile exercise.
The pharmaceutical industry argues that large profits are needed to fund extensive research and innovation. But Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, seeking to bolster their effort to let Medicare negotiate drug prices, say major drug companies plow more of their billions in earnings back into propping up their stock and enriching executives and shareholders.
Veteran health journalist Marshall Allen has been exposing health care grifters for years. Now he’s written a book about how to fight them. Host Dan Weissmann spoke with Allen about some of the best tips from “Never Pay the First Bill: And Other Ways to Fight the Health Care System and Win.”
Experts say rural communities must find new models to keep emergency services afloat as more 911 calls go unanswered.
A Trump administration rule mandating that hospitals disclose true prices on their websites took effect this year. But compliance is spotty and even when the data is public, it’s hard to find and understand.
The Biden administration is moving to undo many of the changes the Trump administration made to the enrollment process for the Affordable Care Act to encourage more people to sign up for health insurance. Meanwhile, Congress is opening investigations into the controversial approval by the Food and Drug Administration of an expensive drug that might (or might not) slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of Insider and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Marshall Allen of ProPublica about his new book, “Never Pay the First Bill: And Other Ways to Fight the Health Care System and Win.”
In an ongoing effort to control prescription drug costs, states are targeting the companies that mediate deals among drug manufacturers, health insurers and pharmacies. The pharmacy benefit managers say they negotiate lower prices for patients, yet the nitty-gritty occurs largely behind a curtain that lawmakers are trying to pull back.
A college student never got an answer for what caused her intense pain, but she did get a bill that totaled $18,736 for an ER visit. She and her mom, a nurse practitioner, fought to understand all the charges.
What’s known as emergency room boarding of psychiatric patients has risen between 200% and 400% monthly in Massachusetts during the pandemic — and the problem is widespread. The CDC says emergency room visits after suicide attempts among teen girls were up 51% earlier this year as compared with 2019.
Democrats in Congress and the states are devising strategies to expand health coverage — through the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid and a “public option.” But progress remains halting, at best. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Washington may have to agree on how to control prescription drug prices if they wish to finance their coverage initiatives. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Shefali Luthra of The 19th join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Michelle Andrews, who reported and wrote last month’s KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a very expensive sleep study.
Federal officials say that some of the money changing hands has corrupted doctors and endangered patients.
HCA charges patients an “activation fee” of up to $50,000 for trauma teams at centers located in half its 179 hospitals — and they often don’t need trauma care, an analysis of insurance claims data shows.
Health care insiders get surprise medical bills, too. One of them shares tips for writing an insurance appeal.
Phone visits became an option for many Medicare and Medicaid patients during the pandemic. Now policymakers are deciding whether they’re worth the money.
Safety-net clinics especially are bracing for how the drugmaker’s policy shift could reduce their budgets and hamstring their ability to provide care to an at-risk population.
Direct primary care and health care sharing ministries can offer people more accessible or cheaper health care options, but they lack the benefits of traditional insurance and aren’t regulated.