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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 […]

Medicare Stumbles Managing a Costly Problem — Chronic Illness

KFF Health News Original

Nearly a decade ago, Medicare launched a program to help the two-thirds of beneficiaries with chronic conditions by paying their doctors an additional monthly fee to coordinate their care. The strategy has largely failed to live up to its potential; only about 4 percent of potentially eligible beneficiaries in the traditional Medicare program are enrolled, […]

Paris Hilton Speaks up for California’s ‘Troubled’ Teens

KFF Health News Original

Heiress Paris Hilton is on a mission to shine a light on the “troubled teen industry,” a largely unregulated multibillion-dollar industry that is gaining public scrutiny for alleged abuse of vulnerable youths. Hilton told state lawmakers in Sacramento on Monday she was subjected to abuse disguised as therapy decades ago when she was housed in […]

Why Opioid Settlement Money Is Paying County Employees’ Salaries

KFF Health News Original

More than $4.3 billion in opioid settlement money has landed in the hands of city, county and state officials to date — with billions more on the way. But instead of using the cash to add desperately needed treatment, recovery and prevention services, some places are using it to replace existing funding. Local officials say […]

Rural Americans Are Way More Likely To Die Young. Why?

KFF Health News Original

Three words are commonly repeated to describe rural America and its residents: older, sicker and poorer. Obviously, there’s a lot more going on in the nation’s towns than that tired stereotype suggests. But a new report from the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service gives credence to the “sicker” part of the trope. Rural Americans ages […]

The NIH Hopes To Make TMJ ‘Bearable.’ It Has a Long Way To Go.

KFF Health News Original

The National Institutes of Health is spending more money than ever to solve the mysteries of TMJ disorders — little-understood ailments that afflict as many as 33 million Americans. Temporomandibular joint disorders, known as TMJ or TMD, cause pain in the jaw and face that can range from discomfort to disabling, with severe symptoms far […]

Becerra Joins the Fray Over Reproductive Rights

KFF Health News Original

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is racking up frequent-flier miles as he hopscotches the country to highlight health issues the White House hopes will become pivotal for voters this year — none more so than reproductive rights.  “No woman today should fear [not having] access to the care that she needs. President Biden […]

As Republicans Wrestle With IVF, the Biden Administration Expands Benefits

KFF Health News Original

While Republican lawmakers try to walk a fine line on in vitro fertilization — expressing support for the popular procedure, even as some of their supporters argue life begins at conception — the federal government expanded fertility benefits for millions of workers this year, including up to $25,000 a year for IVF. Many employers have […]

Unauthorized Sign-Ups Cast Shadow on Obamacare’s Record Enrollment

KFF Health News Original

The Biden administration faces what looks like a growing problem for the federal Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchange: disreputable insurance brokers enrolling people who don’t need coverage or switching them to new plans without their authorization. It happened to Michael Debriae, a restaurant server who lives in Charlotte. Unbeknownst to him, an agent in Florida […]

The GOP Keeps Pushing Medicaid Work Requirements, Despite Setbacks

KFF Health News Original

Work requirements in Medicaid expansion programs are back on the agenda in many statehouses — despite their lackluster track record. In Mississippi, the idea has momentum from GOP lawmakers advancing legislation to expand Medicaid. In Kansas, the Democratic governor proposed work requirements to try to soften Republican opposition to expansion. (She’s had little luck, so […]

A State-Sanctioned Hospital Monopoly Raises Concerns

KFF Health News Original

The Federal Trade Commission has long argued that competition makes the economy better. But some states have stopped the agency from blocking hospital mergers that create local or regional monopolies, and the results have been messy. Two dozen states have at some point passed controversial legislation waiving anti-monopoly laws, allowing rival hospitals to merge and replacing competition […]

Emergency Physicians Decry Surprise Air-Ambulance Bills

KFF Health News Original

Emergency room doctors say insurers are increasingly declining to cover costly air-ambulance rides for critically ill patients, claiming they aren’t medically necessary. And the National Association of EMS Physicians says the No Surprises Act, enacted in 2022, is partly to blame. The law protects patients from many out-of-network medical bills by requiring insurers and providers […]

This State Isn’t Waiting for Biden To Negotiate Drug Prices

KFF Health News Original

As the federal government negotiates with drugmakers to lower the price of 10 expensive drugs for Medicare patients, impatient legislators in some states are trying to go even further. Leading the pack is Colorado, where a new Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board is set to recommend an “upper payment limit” for drugs it deems unaffordable. In late […]