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How Two States Reveal a Deeper Divide on Insuring Kids’ Health

KFF Health News Original

Arizona and Florida lawmakers saw trouble ahead for children in 2023, with states slated — as the covid-19 pandemic waned — to resume disenrolling ineligible people from Medicaid. So, legislators in both states voted to expand a safety net known as the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which covers those 18 and younger in […]

Presidential Politics, Polka and Wisconsin

KFF Health News Original

Wisconsin, the land of fried cheese curds and the Green Bay Packers, is one of a half-dozen key battleground states where President Biden is trying to make health care a key issue in his expected November matchup with former president Donald Trump. Biden narrowly won Wisconsin in 2020, after it went for Trump in 2016. […]

Like Doctors, More Nurse Practitioners Are Heading Into Specialty Care

KFF Health News Original

If your doctor can’t see you now, maybe the nurse practitioner can. Nurse practitioners have long been a reliable backstop for the primary-care-physician shortfall, which is estimated at nearly 21,000 doctors this year and projected to get worse. But easy access to NPs could be tested in coming years. Even though nearly 90 percent of […]

California Dabbles With Reining in Health Spending

KFF Health News Original

California is now among the states trying to keep health-care costs down by setting spending caps — a task that pits public officials against a deeply entrenched and heavily lawyered set of players. It’s uncertain whether the state can get insurers, hospitals and medical groups to collaborate on containing costs even as they jockey for […]

End of Internet Subsidy Leaves Millions Facing Telehealth Disconnect

KFF Health News Original

When the clock struck midnight on May 31, more than 23 million low-income households were dropped from a federal internet subsidy program that for years had helped them get connected. The Affordable Connectivity Program was created in 2021, in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic, to help people plug into jobs, schools and health care by reducing their internet […]

Weight-Loss Drugs Are So Popular They’re Headed for Medicare Negotiations

KFF Health News Original

The steep prices — and popularity — of Ozempic and similar weight-loss and diabetes drugs could soon make them a priority for Medicare drug price negotiations. List prices for a month’s supply of the drugs range from $936 to $1,349, according to the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker. The Inflation Reduction Act President Biden signed in […]

Biden Wants Hospitals To Report Data on Gunshot Wounds

KFF Health News Original

The Biden administration is enlisting America’s doctors to help combat gun violence. About 160 health-care executives and officials have been invited to the White House today and Friday to promote public health solutions to the epidemic. A top priority, I’m told: The White House wants hospital emergency departments to collect more data about gunshot injuries […]

Wyden Demands Penalties for Obamacare Enrollment Fraud

KFF Health News Original

Lawmakers and state officials are turning up the heat on federal regulators to stop unscrupulous, commission-hungry insurance agents from enrolling thousands of people in Affordable Care Act plans, or switching their coverage, without their knowledge. Customers often don’t discover the changes until they’re denied medical coverage or get stuck with a bill for ACA tax […]

The South Can Be a Dangerous Place To Be Black and Pregnant

KFF Health News Original

In much of the developed world, dying while pregnant or delivering a child is practically unknown. In Australia, for example, there were just 3 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births in 2021. But that’s not the case in the American South. And especially not for Black women. In South Carolina, Black women were more […]

California Pays People With Addiction To Stay Clean — With Feds’ Blessing

KFF Health News Original

Led by California, a few states are testing an experimental program that pays people to stop using hard drugs. The Golden State was the first to win approval from the Biden administration to cover the sobriety payments, with Medicaid wrapping it into an ambitious health-care initiative spearheaded by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to provide the […]

The Psychedelics-As-Medicine Movement Spreads to California

KFF Health News Original

Ecstasy, “magic mushrooms” and other psychedelic drugs could soon be recognized as therapeutic in California — one of the latest states, and the biggest, to consider allowing their use as medicine. Legislation by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D) and Assembly member Marie Waldron (R) would allow the therapeutic use of psilocybin, mescaline, ecstasy and dimethyltryptamine […]

Why Medicaid’s ‘Undercount’ Problem Counts

KFF Health News Original

Millions of people were surprised to find themselves booted from Medicaid over the past year after pandemic-era protections expired that had prevented states from terminating their coverage. Turns out, millions of them were also unaware they had been covered by the government program. Nearly 1 in 3 people enrolled in Medicaid in 2022 — or […]

Abortion Bans Are Repelling the Nation’s Future Doctors

KFF Health News Original

Ash Panakam is about to graduate from Harvard Medical School. She’s from Georgia and always assumed she would return to the South for her residency. But the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision overturning the nationwide right to abortion changed everything. “Ultimately I shifted my selection pretty drastically,” she said. “I was struggling to find a residency […]

Biden’s Nursing Home Staffing Rule Surfaces Horror Stories

KFF Health News Original

The Biden administration’s plan to set minimum staffing levels for nursing homes prompted comments from more than 46,500 people and organizations — including residents of homes and nurses with harrowing stories about conditions inside. Hundreds of comments like these cemented the resolve of officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last month to […]

An NIH Genetics Study Targets a Long-Standing Challenge: Diversity

KFF Health News Original

In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama announced a precision medicine initiative that would later be known as the All of Us program. The research, now well underway at the National Institutes of Health, aims to analyze the DNA of at least 1 million people across the United States to build a diverse health database. The key word there is “diverse.” So […]

In Oregon, Medicaid Is Buying People Air Conditioners

KFF Health News Original

Oregon has started providing air conditioners, air purifiers and power banks to help some of its Medicaid recipients cope with soaring heat, smoky skies and other dangers of climate change. It’s a first-in-the-nation experiment that expands a Biden administration strategy to take Medicaid beyond traditional medical care and into the realm of social services. “Climate change is […]

The Neglected U.S. Victims of Agent Orange

KFF Health News Original

The Department of Veterans Affairs has long given Vietnam veterans disability compensation for illness connected to Agent Orange, widely used to defoliate Southeast Asian battlefields during the U.S. war. Less well known: The powerful herbicide combination was also routinely used to kill weeds at domestic military bases. Those exposed to the chemicals at the bases are still waiting for the same […]

Whatever Happened to Biden’s Public Option?

KFF Health News Original

In the 2020 elections, then-candidate Joe Biden and many of his congressional colleagues loudly advocated for a federal “public option” health insurance plan. It was framed, at the time, as part of his incoming administration’s response to the pandemic. “Low-income Americans will be automatically enrolled in the public option at zero cost to them, though […]

Biden’s Election-Year Play to Further Expand Obamacare

KFF Health News Original

The Biden administration wants to make it easier for Americans to get dental care. But don’t try booking an appointment just yet. A new regulation out this month allows states to include adult dental care as a benefit that health insurers must cover under the Affordable Care Act. Following record ACA enrollment this year, the proposal represents an […]