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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

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.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Delta Changes the Covid Conversation

KHN Original

With covid cases on the upswing again around the country, partisan division remains over how to address the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Biden administration proposes bigger penalties for hospitals that fail to make their prices public as required. Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Tami Luhby of CNN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest their favorite stories of the week they think you should read, too.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Here Comes Reconciliation

KHN Original

Democrats in Congress reached a tentative agreement to press ahead on a partisan bill that would dramatically expand health benefits for people on Medicare, those who buy their own insurance and individuals who have been shut out of coverage in states that didn’t expand Medicaid. Meanwhile, controversy continues to rage over whether vaccinated Americans will need a booster to protect against covid-19 variants, and who will pay for a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Rae Ellen Bichell, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a mother and daughter who fought an enormous emergency room bill.

How ERs Fail Patients With Addiction: One Patient’s Tragic Death

KHN Original

Two intractable failings of the U.S. health care system — addiction treatment and medical costs — come to a head in the ER, where patients desperate for addiction treatment arrive, only to find the facility may not be equipped to deal with substance use or, if they are, treatment is prohibitively expensive.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra

As Congress Wrestles With Plans to Expand Medicare, Becerra Says Any One Will Do

KHN Original

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.

Drugmakers’ Spending on Stock, Dividends and Executive Pay Exceeds Research, Democrats Say

KHN Original

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.