Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
Surprise-Billing Law Loophole: When ‘Out of Network’ Doesn’t Quite Mean Out of Network
Billing experts and lawmakers are playing catch-up as providers find ways to get around new surprise-billing laws, leaving patients like Danielle Laskey of Washington state with big bills for emergency care.
Community Workers Fan Out to Persuade Immigrant Seniors to Get Covered
California has enrolled into Medi-Cal more than 300,000 older immigrant adults lacking legal residency since May, but the state doesn’t know how many more might be eligible. Community workers are now searching for them.
Dementia Care Programs Help, If Caregivers Can Find Them
Programs assisting people with dementia — and their caregivers — improve quality of life and care. But millions of unpaid family and friend caregivers may not know where or how to find help.
After Capping Insulin Copays, Colorado Sets Its Sights on EpiPens
Colorado’s proposed legislation to cap the copay for the EpiPen is part of a nationwide trend as more states try to shield patients from skyrocketing drug prices.
California Explores Private Insurance for Immigrants Lacking Legal Status. But Is It Affordable?
Nearly half a million Californians without legal residency make too much to qualify for Medicaid yet they can’t afford to buy coverage. A state lawmaker is proposing to open up the state’s health insurance exchange as a first step to providing them affordable insurance.
Readers and Tweeters Urgently Plea for a Proper ‘Role’ Call in the ER
KHN gives readers a chance to comment on a recent batch of stories.
California Dangles Bonuses for Nursing Homes That Add Staff
Rather than simply reward top-performing facilities, the state’s Medicaid program will hand bonuses to nursing homes — even low-rated ones — for hiring more workers and reducing staff turnover.
Montana Seeks to Insulate Nursing Homes From Future Financial Crises
Lawmakers are considering creating standards to set Medicaid reimbursement rates. But industry observers wonder whether the move would be too little, too late to bolster a beleaguered industry.
One Texas Judge Will Decide Fate of Abortion Pill Used by Millions of American Women
“What happens in Texas doesn’t stay in Texas,” warns an abortion rights advocate bracing for a district judge’s ruling on whether the abortion pill mifepristone was properly authorized by the FDA. His decision could force the medication off the U.S. market.
Senators Have Mental Health Crises, Too
When U.S. Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania checked himself into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment of depression this month, he got an unusual reaction from his colleagues in Congress: compassion. It’s a far cry from how politicians once kept their mental health issues under wraps at all costs. Meanwhile, GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley is stirring up controversy by proposing that all politicians over age 75 be required to pass a mental competency test to hold office. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Rachel Roubein of The Washington Post join KHN chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too.
Looming Cuts to Emergency SNAP Benefits Threaten Food Security in Rural America
In a few weeks, pandemic-era emergency boosts to SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, will be rolled back across 32 states, putting more pressure on food pantries to fill the gaps and exacerbating challenges for rural areas, where a greater share of people are enrolled in the program compared with metro areas.
States Seek Crackdown on Toxic Ingredients in Cosmetics to Close Gaps in Federal Oversight
Washington state regulators found formaldehyde, lead, and arsenic in lipstick, powder foundations, skin lotions, and hair products marketed to and popular with women of color. Now legislators there are seeking to ban the products and, like at least a dozen other states, make up for lax federal rules.
California Says It Can No Longer Afford Aid for Covid Testing, Vaccinations for Migrants
Gov. Gavin Newsom is winding down state assistance for health care services to migrants seeking asylum. He’s lobbying the Biden administration to increase aid along the state’s southern border.
A Bitter Battle Over the ‘Orphan Drug’ Program Leaves Patients’ Pocketbooks at Risk
Patients who depend upon special drugs to treat rare diseases are caught in the crossfire as drugmakers and the FDA battle over regulations that reward companies for developing treatments for relatively small pools of patients.
In Tennessee, a Medicaid Mix-Up Might Land You on a ‘Most Wanted’ List
Tennessee posts the names and photos of people arrested for alleged Medicaid fraud on a government website and social media. Some people even wind up on a “most wanted” list.
A Law Was Meant to Free Sick or Aging Inmates. Instead, Some Are Left to Die in Prison.
The First Step Act was supposed to help free terminally ill and aging federal inmates who pose little or no threat to public safety. But while petitions for compassionate release skyrocketed during the pandemic, judges denied most requests.
Why Do Politicians Weaponize Medicare? Because It Works
Politicians are again pointing fingers over who wants to cut Medicare. As past Washington brawls show, the party accused of threatening popular entitlements tends to lose elections — although it’s the beneficiaries relying on lawmakers to fund it who stand to lose the most.
Cleanup Workers Got Sick After Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. They Want BP to Pay.
After the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2020, Rodney Boblitt’s job was to patrol a 14-mile stretch of coastline in the Florida Panhandle looking for signs of oil washing ashore. Today, the 54-year-old is among thousands of other cleanup workers who are experiencing health issues and suing BP. But proving their health conditions were caused by the oil has been challenging.
Senators Say Health Worker Shortages Ripe for Bipartisan Compromise
The Senate’s top health committee focused on the worsening health care workforce shortage during its first hearing Thursday, with Sen. Bernie Sanders, its new chair, boldly promising bipartisan solutions.
California Requires Hospitals to Turn to a Patient’s Next of Kin, Closing a Longtime Loophole
A state law establishes a list of representatives who can make medical decisions for patients unable to convey their wishes. California is late to making the change; 45 other states and the District of Columbia already have next-of-kin laws.