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Latest KFF Health News Stories

A Battle Between Drugmakers and Insurers Hits Patients in the Wallet

KFF Health News Original

There’s a long-running battle between insurers and drugmakers over financial assistance programs that purport to help patients afford expensive drugs. And lately, insurers have been losing ground as lawmakers, regulators and courts weigh in. The issue is whether coupons and other copay aid many patients get from drugmakers should count toward annual insurance deductibles and […]

Under Fire for Massive Health System Hack, Biden Team Leans on Insurers

KFF Health News Original

The Biden administration has hit on a strategy to deal with the massive, industry-paralyzing cyberattack on a UnitedHealth Group unit: pressuring insurers to fix it. Federal officials have been in constant conversation with senior leaders at UnitedHealth and across the industry, including at a Monday meeting where Department of Health and Human Services and White […]

Joe Biden’s Skittish Support for Abortion Rights

KFF Health News Original

President Biden spent much of his State of the Union speech last week talking about two subjects central to his reelection campaign while seemingly trying not to name them. One was Donald Trump, or as Biden called him, “my predecessor.” The other was abortion. It’s hardly news that Biden, an 81-year-old devout Catholic, is uncomfortable […]

GOP-Led States Expand Crackdowns on Transgender Care

KFF Health News Original

South Carolina’s legislature is poised to pass a bill prohibiting doctors from offering some health-care services to transgender minors — part of a new wave of anti-trans legislation from Republican-led states. The South Carolina bill, which passed the state House of Representatives in January and is under consideration in the Senate, would bar health-care providers […]

Colorado Isn’t Giving up on Its Drug Importation Dream

KFF Health News Original

Colorado hopes to join Florida to become only the second state authorized to import prescription drugs from Canada. But they’re hitting the same hurdles: drugmakers — and the FDA. Colorado officials recently amended their 2022 importation application with the Food and Drug Administration, in the process revealing new correspondence that shows the state’s so-far fruitless […]

Newsom’s $6.4 Billion Homelessness Gambit Hangs by a Thread

KFF Health News Original

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ambitious attempt to combat the mental health and addiction epidemic in his state is leading by a razor-thin margin, calling into question whether voters trust him to confront the state’s growing homelessness crisis. Newsom asked voters on Tuesday to approve his $6.4 billion bond measure, dubbed “Treatment not Tents” — the […]

Why Hospitals in Many States With Legal Abortion May Refuse To Perform Them

KFF Health News Original

Many states that tout themselves as protectors of reproductive health care, including California, Michigan and Pennsylvania, have little-noticed laws on the books protecting hospitals that refuse to provide it. The laws shield at least some hospitals from liability for not providing care they object to on religious grounds, leaving little recourse for patients. The providers — many of them […]

Biden’s Got a Taker for One of His Gun Safety Proposals: California

KFF Health News Original

California could give President Biden a political win this year on gun violence. State senators passed sweeping legislation in January that would toughen gun storage requirements, embracing a White House priority that has languished in Congress. Many states, including California, have laws in place requiring gun owners to securely store their firearms when children are […]

The Supreme Court Confronts a Public Health Challenge: Homeless Encampments

KFF Health News Original

Homelessness is a soaring public health crisis, with a record 653,000 unhoused people in the United States, according to federal estimates. Tent and recreational vehicle encampments have exploded in recent years, crowding streets and sidewalks from Portland, Ore., to New York. In California, where roughly a third of all the nation’s homeless people live, doctors […]

Opposition to Medicaid Expansion Thaws in an Unexpected Place: The Deep South

KFF Health News Original

For more than a decade, some Southern states have resisted Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, even though data suggest it could help their residents. Today, the large majority of uninsured Americans who would gain coverage under Medicaid expansion — and who would benefit from affordable access to care — live in non-expansion states […]

Nikki Haley Wants ‘Consensus’ on Contraception. It’s Not That Easy.

KFF Health News Original

Nikki Haley, the last candidate standing between Donald Trump and the GOP presidential nomination, insists that being “unapologetically pro-life” doesn’t make her anti-birth control. “Let’s find consensus,” she urged at a GOP presidential debate in November. “Let’s make sure we make contraception accessible.”  If only consensus were that easy. In some conservative circles, contraception is […]

States Get in on the Prior Authorization Crackdown

KFF Health News Original

Last month, my colleague Lauren Sausser told you about the Biden administration’s crackdown on insurance plans’ prior authorization policies, with new rules for certain health plans participating in federal programs such as Medicare Advantage or the Affordable Care Act marketplace. States are getting in on the action, too. Prior authorization, sometimes called pre-certification, requires patients […]

The No Surprises Act Comes With Some Surprises

KFF Health News Original

The No Surprises Act, the landmark law intended to protect patients from surprise out-of-network medical bills, has come with, well, some surprises. A little more than two years after it took effect, there’s good and bad news about how it’s working. First, it’s important to note that the law has successfully protected millions of patients […]

Senators Weigh Whether Health Care AI Needs a Leash

KFF Health News Original

The Senate Finance Committee contemplated the future yesterday: artificial intelligence and its potential applications to health care. And it turns out the future looks an awful lot like the past and present: Democrats want regulations. And the industry wants money. “There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic,” Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) […]

Even in Bright-Blue California, Abortion Is on the Ballot

KFF Health News Original

The race to replace the late Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is in full swing in California. Although the state enshrined abortion rights into its constitution, the prospect of a national abortion ban has the candidates vying for a Senate seat putting a spotlight on reproductive rights. Or, at least the Democrats are. Steve Garvey, a […]

Halfway Through ‘Unwinding,’ Medicaid Enrollment Is Down About 10 Million

KFF Health News Original

We’re halfway through the Medicaid “unwinding,” in which states are dropping people from the government health insurance program for the first time since the pandemic began. Millions of people have been dumped from the rolls since April, often for procedural issues like failing to respond to notices or return paperwork. But at the same time, […]

Advocates Say a Practice Harms Disabled Children, Yet Congressional Action Is Stalled

KFF Health News Original

In the photos, a 9-year-old boy with autism appears barricaded between cubbies and furniture stacked near the walls of a North Carolina classroom. His mother, Erin McGrail, said her son was physically restrained at least 14 times while in third grade at Morrisville Elementary School. She said she learned details of his seclusion only after […]

Is the Nation’s Primary Care Shortage as Bad as Federal Data Suggest?

KFF Health News Original

Federal policymakers have been trying for a long time to lure more primary care providers to understaffed areas. The Biden administration boosted funding in 2022 to address shortages and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) pushed sweeping primary care legislation in 2023. But when KFF Health News set out last year to map where the primary care workforce shortages really are — and where […]

A Legal Battle Over Herring Fishing Has Big Implications for Health Care

KFF Health News Original

What do herring fishing and health policy have in common? Quite a bit, it turns out, owing to a case now before the Supreme Court. If the justices rule as expected, based on this month’s oral arguments, they could dramatically change the way federal health agencies operate. “The upheaval caused … would be immense,” argues […]

The FTC Escalates Biden’s Fight Against Drug Prices

KFF Health News Original

It’s daggers out at the Federal Trade Commission in its fight against anticompetitive practices in health care. This past year, it has issued more stringent guidelines to block and discourage hospital mergers, and it investigated practices by middlemen in the drug supply chain. Now drug manufacturers themselves are in the agency’s crosshairs. In November, the FTC challenged the validity of more […]