Latest KFF Health News Stories
Dental Therapists Help Patients in Need of Care Avoid the Brush-Off
Dental therapists are licensed providers who offer basic care traditionally provided by dentists, including fillings and simple tooth extractions. But opposition from interest groups and the profession’s relative newness mean more than two-thirds of states don’t yet have them.
Massage Therapists Ease the Pain of Hospice Patients — But Aren’t Easy to Find
The pandemic disrupted the massage industry. Now those who specialize in hospice massage therapy are in demand and redefining their roles.
How the Mixed Messaging of Vaccine Skeptics Sows Seeds of Doubt
Some GOP members of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic have two-stepped around vaccine skepticism, proclaiming themselves to be pro-vaccine while also validating the beliefs of people who oppose vaccine mandates. The result could have serious public health consequences.
Debt Deal Leaves Health Programs (Mostly) Intact
The bipartisan deal to extend the U.S. government’s borrowing authority includes future cuts to federal health agencies, but they are smaller than many expected and do not touch Medicare and Medicaid. Meanwhile, Merck & Co. becomes the first drugmaker to sue Medicare officials over the federal health insurance program’s new authority to negotiate drug prices. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Lauren Weber of The Washington Post, and Jessie Hellmann of CQ Roll Call join KFF Health News’ chief Washington correspondent, Julie Rovner, to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KFF Health News senior correspondent Sarah Jane Tribble, who reported the latest KFF Health News-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature, about the perils of visiting the U.S. with European health insurance.
Personal Medical Debt in Los Angeles County Tops $2.6 Billion, Report Finds
Medical debt is a leading public health problem, researchers say. Despite the county’s ongoing expansion of health coverage, the prevalence of medical debt remained unchanged from 2017 to 2021.
Burnout Threatens Primary Care Workforce and Doctors’ Mental Health
Burnout is a widespread problem in the health care industry. Although the pandemic made things worse, burnout among doctors is a long-standing concern that health systems have become more focused on as they try to stop doctors from quitting or retiring early.
A Windfall in Health Insurance Rebates? It’s Not as Crazy as It Sounds
The billion-dollar amount cited by former Sen. Al Franken, while an estimate, is likely very close to what insurers will owe this year under a provision of the Affordable Care Act that compels rebates when insurers spend too little on actual medical care.
Listen to the Latest ‘KFF Health News Minute’
“Health Minute” brings original health care and health policy reporting from the KHN newsroom to the airwaves each week.
A ‘Payday Loan’ From a Health Care Behemoth
UnitedHealth Group is the largest health insurer in the United States. And it keeps growing. This has led some health care experts to call for antitrust regulation of this “behemoth” company.
Recovery From Addiction Is a Journey. There’s No One-and-Done Solution.
Drug use has become a major public health crisis, but effective treatment remains hard to find. It does exist though. Columnist Bernard J. Wolfson offers advice on finding help and says not to expect a quick solution.
As Fewer MDs Practice Rural Primary Care, a Different Type of Doctor Helps Take Up the Slack
The number of DOs is surging, and more than half of them practice in primary care, including in rural areas hit hard by doctor shortages.
California Confronts the Threat of ‘Tranq’ as Overdose Crisis Rages
California officials are stepping up efforts to combat the spread of xylazine, a powerful animal sedative that’s increasingly being used by people, often with devastating results. It’s mostly been an East Coast phenomenon, but ‘tranq,’ as it is known, is beginning to appear in the Golden State.
Will a ‘National Patient Safety Board,’ Modeled After the NTSB, Actually Fly?
A push is underway to create a National Patient Safety Board modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board, an independent federal agency that investigates plane crashes and other transportation disasters. But unlike the NTSB, some patient safety advocates say, the current proposal is toothless and wouldn’t provide transparency about the nation’s hospitals.
How to Negotiate With Resistant Aging Parents? Borrow These Tips From the Business World
Negotiation techniques can help health care providers and family caregivers find common ground with older adults who resist advice or support.
The Gun Violence Epidemic Is ‘Locking Us Back in Our Room’
As the leading cause of death for teens, firearm injuries are detrimental to more than just physical health. It takes a major toll on young people’s mental health.
The Debt Ceiling Deal Takes a Bite Out of Health Programs. It Could Have Been Much Worse.
A bipartisan deal to raise the government’s borrowing limit dashed Republican hopes for new Medicaid work requirements and other health spending cuts. Democrats secured the compromise by making relatively modest concessions, including ordering the return of unspent covid funds and limiting other health spending.
When KFF Health News’ “What the Health?” podcast launched in 2017, Republicans in Washington were engaged in an (ultimately unsuccessful) campaign to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. The next six years would see a pandemic, increasingly unaffordable care, and a health care workforce experiencing unprecedented burnout. In the podcast’s 300th episode, host and chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner explores the past and possible future of the U.S. health care system with three prominent “big thinkers” in health policy: Ezekiel Emanuel of the University of Pennsylvania, Jeff Goldsmith of Health Futures, and Farzad Mostashari of Aledade.
Watch: Payback for the Opioid Crisis: How Did the Sackler Family Skirt Liability?
KFF Health News senior correspondent Aneri Pattani appeared on PBS NewsHour to discuss the ruling surrounding drugmaker Purdue Pharma’s role in the opioid crisis and her reporting into the ongoing distribution of opioid settlement funds.
As Medicaid Purge Begins, ‘Staggering Numbers’ of Americans Lose Coverage
In what’s known as the Medicaid “unwinding,” states are combing through rolls to decide who stays and who goes. But the overwhelming majority of people who have lost coverage so far were dropped because of technicalities, not because officials determined they are no longer eligible.
More States OK Postpartum Medicaid Coverage Beyond Two Months
Montana, Alaska, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming are among the latest states moving to provide health coverage for up to a year after pregnancy through the federal-state health insurance program for low-income people.