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KHN senior correspondent Angela Hart appeared on Spectrum News 1’s “Los Angeles Times Today” on Nov. 29 to discuss her reporting on California’s pricey and ambitious experiment to transform its Medicaid program, called Medi-Cal.
Nearly 6 million Americans have taken Paxlovid for free, courtesy of the federal government. The Pfizer pill has helped prevent many people infected with covid-19 from being hospitalized or dying, and it may even reduce the risk of developing long covid. But the government plans to stop footing the bill within months, and millions of people who are at the highest risk of severe illness and are least able to afford the drug — the uninsured and seniors — may have to pay the full price. And that means fewer people will get the potentially lifesaving treatments, experts said.
Critics declared Colorado’s new quasi-public option a failure this fall, before it was even available for purchase on the state’s Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace. They seized on an October announcement from the state that premiums for individual coverage were rising by an average of 10% in 2023 despite the arrival of the much-anticipated Colorado Option, which was meant to drive down costs. What’s more, people in most counties had access to traditional plans that were cheaper than the new option.
Behind Florida’s decision to block clinical services for transgender adolescents is a talking point — repeated by the state’s governor and top medical authorities — that most cases of gender incongruence fade over time. The Florida Board of Medicine voted Nov. 4 to approve a rule that barred physicians from performing surgical procedures on minors to alter “primary or secondary sexual characteristics” and from prescribing them medication to suppress puberty and hormones. The rule included an exception for patients who were already receiving those treatments. 
Anna Sutton was shocked when she received a letter from her husband’s job-based health plan stating that Humira, an expensive drug used to treat her daughter’s juvenile arthritis, was now on a long list of medications considered “nonessential benefits.” The July 2021 letter said the family could either participate in a new effort overseen by a company called SaveOnSP and get the drug free of charge or be saddled with a monthly copayment that could top $1,000. “It really gave us no choice,” said Sutton, of Woodinville, Washington. She added that “every single FDA-approved medication for...
ATLANTA — Earlier this year, top leadership at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began a monumental task: turning the sprawling, labyrinthine organization known for its highly specialized, academically focused scientific research into a sleek, flexible public health response agency primed to serve the American public. It’s an attempt to keep the CDC from repeating the mistakes it made while responding to covid-19.
Assisted living communities too often fail to meet the needs of older adults and should focus more on residents’ medical and mental health concerns, according to a recent report by a diverse panel of experts. It’s a clarion call for change inspired by the altered profile of the population that assisted living now serves. Residents are older, sicker, and more compromised by impairments than in the past: 55% are 85 and older, 77% require help with bathing, 69% with walking, and 49% with toileting, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
KHN correspondent Sam Whitehead discussed Georgia’s push for Medicaid work requirements on WABE’s “All Things Considered” on Nov. 28. Click here to hear Whitehead on “All Things Considered” Read Whitehead’s “Path Cleared for Georgia to Launch Work Requirements for Medicaid” KHN correspondent Aneri Pattani discussed how states are distributing opioid settlement funds on NPR’s “All Things Considered” on Nov. 24.
After finding success investing in the more obviously lucrative corners of American medicine — like surgery centers and dermatology practices — private equity firms have moved aggressively into the industry’s more hidden niches: They are pouring billions into the business of clinical drug trials. To bring a new drug to market, the FDA requires pharmaceutical firms to perform extensive studies to demonstrate safety and efficacy, which are often expensive and time-consuming to conduct to the agency’s specifications. Getting a drug to market a few months sooner and for less expense than usual...
Listen to this story: (Click here to listen on SoundCloud.) A Missouri man who is deaf and blind said a medical bill he didn’t know existed was sent to debt collections, triggering an 11% rise in his home insurance premiums. An insurer has suspended a blind woman’s coverage every year since 2010 after mailing printed “verification of benefits” forms to her California home that she cannot read, she said. The issues continued even after she got a lawyer involved. And another insurer kept sending a visually impaired Indiana woman bills she said she could not read, even after her complaint to the...
KHN senior correspondent Angela Hart joined the nonpartisan group Democracy Winters on Nov. 19 to discuss the politics of health care in California. She focused on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s major health care initiatives, including a transformation of the state Medicaid program that will bring nontraditional, social services to some enrollees — with a focus on homeless patients.
Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Click here for a transcript of the episode.
MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — Andrea Storjohann is glad to see that she’s becoming less of a rarity in rural America. The nurse practitioner prescribes medication to dozens of patients trying to recover from addiction to heroin or opioid painkillers. The general-practice clinic where she works, housed in a repurposed supermarket building, has no signs designating it as a place for people to seek treatment for drug addiction, which is how Storjohann wants it. “You could be coming here for OB-GYN care. You could be coming here for a sore throat. You could be coming here for any number of reasons,” and...
A Montana law requiring public schools to notify parents of lessons that mention human sexuality — and allowing parents to pull their children from those lessons — has reached further and been more cumbersome than anticipated, according to two school district leaders.
ATLANTA — When Louana Joseph’s son had a seizure because of an upper respiratory infection in July, she abandoned the apartment her family had called home for nearly three years. She suspected the gray and brown splotches spreading through the apartment were mold and had caused her son’s illness. Mold can trigger and exacerbate lung diseases such as asthma and has been linked to upper respiratory tract conditions. But leaving the two-bedroom Atlanta apartment meant giving up a home that rented for less than $1,000 a month, a price that is increasingly hard to find even in the nation’s poorest...
Heather Meador y Anna Herber-Downey usan aplicaciones de citas en el trabajo, y su jefe lo sabe. Ambas son enfermeras de salud pública en el Departamento de Salud Pública del condado de Linn, en el este de Iowa. Aprendieron que estas apps son la forma más eficiente de informar a los usuarios que algunas de las personas que conocieron en estos sitios pueden haberlos expuesto a infecciones de transmisión sexual (ITS).
During a routine visit to the Good Samaritan Clinic in Morganton, North Carolina, in 2018, Herbert Buff casually mentioned that he sometimes had trouble breathing. He was 55 years old and a decades-long smoker. So the doctor recommended that Buff schedule time on a 35-foot-long bus operated by the Levine Cancer Institute that would roll through town later that week offering free lung-cancer screenings. Buff found the “lung bus” concept odd, but he’s glad he hopped on. “I learned that you can have lung cancer and not even know it,” said Buff, who was diagnosed at stage 1 by doctors in the...
Heather Meador and Anna Herber-Downey use dating apps on the job — and their boss knows it. Both are public health nurses employed by Linn County Public Health in eastern Iowa. They’ve learned that dating apps are the most efficient way to inform users that people they previously met on the sites may have exposed them to sexually transmitted infections.
Heather Meador and Anna Herber-Downey use dating apps on the job — and their boss knows it. Both are public health nurses employed by Linn County Public Health in eastern Iowa. They’ve learned that dating apps are the most efficient way to inform users that people they previously met on the sites may have exposed them to sexually transmitted infections.
When Jerry Bilinski, a 67-year-old retired social worker, scheduled cataract surgery with Carolina Eye Associates near his home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, he expected no drama, just a future with better vision. Cataract procedures are among the most common surgeries in the U.S. — nearly 4 million take place annually — and generally take about 30 minutes under light sedation. At the same time, the surgeon scheduled the placement of a little stent inside Bilinski’s eye to relieve pressure from his diabetes-related glaucoma, also a routine procedure to preserve his eyesight.

 

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