Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
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.
After a troubled start to the new Medi-Cal prescription drug program, the state’s contractor has hired staffers to reduce wait times for medication approvals and patients seeking help. But some doctors and clinics report that patients continue to face delays.
In anticipation of the Supreme Court rolling back abortion rights this year, both Democrats and Republicans are arguing among themselves over how best to proceed to either protect or restrict the procedure. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are at risk of losing their health insurance when the federal government declares an end to the current “public health emergency.” Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Shefali Luthra of The 19th, and Rachana Pradhan of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Jay Hancock, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a couple whose insurance company deemed their twins’ stay in intensive care not an emergency.
In May 2021, Lags Medical Centers, one of California’s largest chains of pain clinics, abruptly closed its doors amid a cloaked state investigation. Nine months later, patients are still in the dark about what happened with their care and to their bodies.
Missouri has more people waiting to have their Medicaid applications processed than it has approved since the expansion of the federal-state health insurance program. Although most states process Medicaid applications within a week, Missouri is taking, on average, more than two months. Patient advocates fear that means people will stay uninsured longer, leading them to postpone care or get stuck with high medical bills.
State Medicaid agencies for months have been preparing for the end of a federal mandate that has prevented states from removing people from the safety-net program during the pandemic.
The Biden administration is getting rid of several policies implemented by Trump-era appointees that restricted enrollment. Federal officials now say states can no longer charge premiums to low-income residents enrolled in Medicaid and have ruled out work requirements.
Problems with California’s new Medicaid prescription drug program are preventing thousands of patients from getting their medications, including some life-saving ones. State officials say they’re working on fixes.
The backroom deal with politically connected Kaiser Permanente, which infuriated other Medi-Cal health plans, allows the health care giant to continue selecting the enrollees it wants.
The covid-19 pandemic exposed how state and local governments’ severely outdated technology can hinder unemployment benefits, food stamps, Medicaid, vaccine registrations, and the flow of other critical information. Now, with hefty federal pandemic relief and unexpected tax windfalls, states may finally have the chance to revamp their information technology for health care and social services. But can they?
The Supreme Court temporarily blocked a federal rule requiring larger businesses to mandate employees be vaccinated or wear masks and undergo weekly testing. At the same time, however, it allowed a federal order that health care workers be vaccinated.
States are required to set up transportation to medical appointments for adults, children and people with disabilities enrolled in the Medicaid program, and contracts can be worth tens of millions of dollars for transportation companies. But patients say the companies that deliver those rides are showing up late — and sometimes not at all — leaving them in bad weather, disrupting their care and even causing injuries.
On Jan. 1, California started buying prescription drugs for its nearly 14 million Medicaid enrollees, a responsibility that had primarily been held by managed-care insurance plans. State officials estimate California will save hundreds of millions of dollars by flexing its purchasing power, but some health clinics expect to lose money.
Despite state Republican leaders’ rigid opposition to expanding the health program designed for low-income residents, advocates successfully gathered enough signatures to get the measure on the fall ballot.
Add nursing homes to the list of industries jolted by Amazon’s handsome hourly wages. Enticed by an average starting pay rate of $18 an hour and the potential for benefits and signing bonuses, low-wage workers are fleeing entry-level elder care for jobs packing boxes.
California wants to hold nursing homes accountable for the quality of care they provide by tying Medicaid funding more directly to performance. But the nursing home industry, an influential player in the Capitol, is gearing up for a fight.
In January, California’s Medicaid program will begin offering nontraditional services —such as ridding homes of roaches, replacing mattresses and installing air purifiers — to some low-income asthma patients. But the rollout could be chaotic, with insurance companies struggling to identify groups that can deliver the services.
Cerca de 2 millones de californianos padecen esta afección crónica y costosa, y viven en zonas con alta contaminación.
A record number of hospitals closed in rural America last year. For the residents of Cuthbert, Georgia, the loss has meant many problems, including delayed care for emergencies that can turn deadly.
In West Virginia, older residents often go without dental care, and a quarter of people 65 and older have no natural teeth, the highest rate of any state in the country. But a powerful senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin, has rebuffed efforts to add a dental benefit to Medicare.