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Latest KFF Health News Stories

Medicare Advantage Is Popular, but Some Beneficiaries Feel Buyer’s Remorse

KFF Health News Original

Medicare Advantage plans are booming — 30.8 million of the 60 million Americans with Medicare are now enrolled in the private plans rather than the traditional government-run program. But a little-known fact: Once you’re in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may not be able to get out. Traditional Medicare usually requires beneficiaries to pay 20 […]

Climate Change Raises Pressure on Biden To Keep Workers Cooler

KFF Health News Original

With climate change posing rising threats to human health, the Biden administration is drafting federal rules to protect construction crews, warehouse workers, delivery drivers and the rest of America’s workforce from extreme heat. The regulatory effort has been years in the making, and its fate is far from certain. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration […]

Biden Cracks Down on Prior Authorization — But There Are Limits

KFF Health News Original

More than a year after it was initially proposed, the Biden administration announced a final rule yesterday that will change how insurers in federal programs such as Medicare Advantage use prior authorization — a long-standing system that prevents many patients from accessing doctor-recommended care. “When a doctor says a patient needs a procedure, it is […]

Alex Azar’s Unusual Spin Through the Revolving Door

KFF Health News Original

Washington’s infamous revolving door took an unusual turn for former Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar. Azar spent about a decade with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. before coming to the nation’s capital to lead HHS in the Trump administration. But in September 2020, just a couple of months before former president Donald […]

The AMA Wants a Medicare Cut Reversed – And Lawmakers To Stay Out of Care

KFF Health News Original

Congress is back this week and feverishly working on a bipartisan agreement to fund the government for the rest of the 2024 fiscal year. Ahead of a potential vote, I spoke with Jesse Ehrenfeld, the president of the American Medical Association, the nation’s largest lobby group for doctors, about his organization’s priorities in Washington.  Some […]

Will CMS Crack Down on Prior Authorization?

KFF Health News Original

There’s the Idaho doctor whose infant daughter developed a brain tumor. A woman in Southern California who waited months for an MRI before dying in the hospital. And a North Carolina patient who has trigeminal neuralgia — a condition so painful it’s commonly called the “suicide disease.” They all have something in common, aside from […]

‘Forever Chemicals’ Contaminate America’s Freshwater Fish

KFF Health News Original

Gone fishing? Depending on the lake, your catch may not be safe to eat.  A group of chemicals collectively known as PFAS are found in hundreds of consumer goods, including dental floss, rain jackets and nonstick cookware. Over decades, these chemicals have spewed from manufacturing plants and landfills into local ecosystems, polluting surface water and […]

Utah Survey Shows Why So Many People Were Dumped From Medicaid

KFF Health News Original

It’s one of the biggest mysteries in health policy: What happened to millions of Americans kicked out of Medicaid last year? A survey conducted for state officials in Utah, obtained by KFF Health News, holds some clues. Like many states, Utah terminated Medicaid coverage for a large share of enrollees whose eligibility was reevaluated in […]

What a Bison Goring Can Teach Us About Rural Emergency Care

KFF Health News Original

Millions of Americans live in “ambulance deserts” — areas that are more than a 25-minute drive to the nearest emergency medical services (EMS) station. The most rural areas can be more than an hour away from help.   These sparsely populated communities can have trouble sustaining ambulance services, if small patient volumes and low reimbursements […]

The Market for Biosimilars Is Funky. The Industry Thinks PBMs Are To Blame

KFF Health News Original

Over the past year there’s been movement to rein in the three big PBMs, which face little regulation though they help set drug prices and drug choices for 80 percent of Americans and their doctors. The House voted Dec. 11, 320-71, for legislation that would require the PBMs to change some of the ways they […]

Millions of Dollars Flow From Pharma to Patient Advocacy Groups

KFF Health News Original

Pharma money is all over the place — in universities, companies doing continuing medical education for doctors and in prominent patient advocacy organizations that are household names across America. Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy nonprofit, reports today that between 2010 and 2022, the drug industry’s main lobbying group and member companies provided at least $6 […]

Republicans Once Championed Public Health. What Happened?

KFF Health News Original

It wasn’t that long ago that Republicans were all-in on boosting public health spending. “The highest investment priority in Washington should be to double the federal budget for scientific research,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) wrote in a 1999 op-ed in The Washington Post. Big spending increases for the National Institutes of Health soon […]

Gun Violence Is a Plague. Could Medicaid Help?

KFF Health News Original

To tackle America’s gun problem, a growing number of states are allowing Medicaid dollars to fund community-based violence programs intended to stop shootings. The idea is to boost resources for violence prevention programs, which have been overwhelmed in some cities by a spike in violent crime since the covid-19 pandemic.  An infusion of reliable funding, […]

Colorado Says Drug Industry Blocked Its Canada Dreams – And Biden Hasn’t Helped

KFF Health News Original

Colorado’s leaders had grand plans to import cheaper medicines from Canada, after the Trump administration issued rules in 2020 allowing states to try it. But officials in Denver say they’ve been stymied by opposition from drugmakers — as well as the Biden administration’s inaction on the policy. That’s according to a Dec. 1 report we […]

Biden’s Got a New Set of Orders for Obamacare. Is It His Last?

KFF Health News Original

The Biden administration has issued its latest official wish list for Obamacare insurance plans, potentially one of the last major Affordable Care Act health policy efforts in the president’s first term. Changes on tap for 2025? For one, the administration wants states that run their own ACA marketplaces to crack down on what’s called “network […]

DeSantis, Newsom to Tangle Over Hot-Button Health Issues

KFF Health News Original

Florida’s Republican presidential hopeful, Ron DeSantis,and Democratic firebrand Gavin Newsom of California square off today in a contest of governors that can best be described as the debate to determine ¿quién es más macho? — who is more manly — about protecting your freedoms.  Both men have led their respective states since 2019, and they’ve […]

Hospitals and Doctors Are Fed up With Medicare Advantage

KFF Health News Original

Medicare Advantage plans are pretty popular with both lawmakers and ordinary Americans — they now enroll about 31 million people, representing just over half of everyone in Medicare, by KFF’s count. But among doctors and hospitals, it’s a different story. Across the country, provider grumbling about claim denials and onerous preapproval requirements by Advantage plans […]

Medicaid’s ‘Unwinding’ Can Be Especially Perilous for Disabled People

KFF Health News Original

Earlier this year, Beverly Likens thought she’d done everything she needed to do to keep her Medicaid. Then came an unwelcome surprise: Ahead of surgery to treat chronic bleeding, the hospital said her insurance was inactive, jeopardizing her procedure. Likens had just been diagnosed with severe anemia and given a blood transfusion at the emergency room. “I […]

Nikki Haley (And Her Opponents) Struggle With a Vaccine Message

KFF Health News Original

Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley portrays herself as a voice of reason in the Republican Party. “Let’s find consensus,” she said about abortion during the first GOP primary debate. “Let’s treat this like a respectful issue.” It’s talk like that — and strong polling in a hypothetical matchup against President Biden — that has […]

Biden Administration Nibbles at the Maternal Health Crisis

KFF Health News Original

Choosing where to give birth typically comes down to what hospital is most convenient to your home, where your obstetrician practices and your insurance company’s provider network. Now, the Biden administration has given expectant parents another factor to consider: whether their hospital has won the government’s new “birthing friendly” designation. But don’t worry — a […]