Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
Congress is in recess, so the slower-than-average news week gives us a chance to catch up on underreported topics, like Medicare’s coverage decision for the controversial Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm and ominous new statistics on drug overdose deaths and sexually transmitted diseases. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 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.
Esta vacuna reforzada contra la influenza, podría ser más efectiva contra el virus, pero es más costosa. Y no suele estar disponible para las poblaciones más vulnerables.
Federal health officials haven’t taken a clear position on whether a high-dose influenza vaccine — on the market since 2010 — is the best choice for people 65 and older. Many in that group already opt for the costlier enhanced shot. Those who get the standard vaccine are disproportionately members of ethnic and racial minorities.
In the battle against covid, pharmacies became a key place for consumers to seek vaccines and testing. Some states are expanding pharmacists’ work to include directly prescribing drugs for customers who seek some routine, point-of-care tests, such as those for flu or strep throat. But doctor groups oppose the move.
Prosecutors say opioid-seeking patients drove hours to get their prescriptions filled in Celina, Tennessee, where pharmacies ignored signs of substance misuse and paid cash — or “monkey bucks” — to keep customers coming back.
Many Medicare Advantage plans send caregivers to the homes of seniors periodically to help with housework and provide companionship. But the workers may also prod seniors into activities that boost the plans’ Medicare ratings and federal reimbursements.
KHN senior correspondents Jenny Gold and Anna Maria Barry-Jester joined KVPR’s Kathleen Schock on “Valley Edition” to discuss their investigation into the abrupt closure of one of California’s largest chain of pain clinics — and the patients left behind.
Medicare has proposed limiting coverage of Aduhelm, the costly new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and several prominent groups representing patients and their families are pressing the program to make it more widely available. But among individuals facing the disease, the outlook is more nuanced.
Private and public employers are increasingly using the government’s Medicare Advantage program as an alternative to their existing retiree health plan and traditional Medicare coverage. As a result, the federal government is paying the “overwhelming majority” of medical costs, according to an industry analyst.
CMS chief Chiquita Brooks-LaSure says the agency reserves its power to quickly institute new regulations for “absolute emergencies.” On staffing, nursing home residents might need to wait years to see any real change.
What a difference a year makes. The speech was delivered to a largely unmasked crowd of lawmakers, justices, and Cabinet members in the House chamber.
After a years-long bitter partisan fight over reforming the U.S. Postal Service’s finances and service, congressional leaders say they have a compromise. The bill, which has won endorsements from both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, would force future Postal Service retirees to use Medicare as their primary source of health coverage.
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.
KHN gives readers a chance to comment on a recent batch of stories.
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.
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.
An epic battle is playing out behind the scenes over whether the government should pay for Aduhelm, an FDA-approved Alzheimer’s drug that scientists say has not been proven to work.
Among the 764 hospitals hit with a 1% reduction in Medicare payments this year for having high numbers of patient infections and avoidable complications are more than three dozen that Medicare also ranks as among the best in the country.
If federal officials accept a court’s decision, some patients will get a chance to seek refunds for their nursing home and other expenses.
Temporary subsidies helped boost enrollment under the Affordable Care Act to a record 14.5 million, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. But unless Democrats in Congress extend those subsidies, many of those new enrollees will be in for a rude surprise just ahead of midterm elections. Meanwhile, the need to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer further crowds an already tight legislative schedule. Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Diana Greene Foster, author of “The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, a Thousand Women, and the Consequences of Having — Or Being Denied — An Abortion.”