Latest KFF Health News Stories
As Giant Hospitals Get Bigger, an Independent Doctor Feels the Pinch
Independent medical practices keep closing as doctors join behemoth hospital groups or leave the field. Research suggests that’s bad news for patients. Studies repeatedly conclude that consolidation in the health care industry is driving up costs while showing no clear evidence of improved care.
‘Separate and Unequal’: Critics Say Newsom’s Pricey Medicaid Reforms Leave Most Patients Behind
MLK Community Hospital in South Los Angeles is surrounded by poverty, homeless encampments, and food deserts. Even though California Gov. Gavin Newsom is funneling billions of taxpayer money into an ambitious initiative to provide some low-income patients with social services, hospital executives and other critics say it won’t improve access to basic care.
KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Looking Ahead to the Lame-Duck Session
Congress won’t be back in Washington until after Election Day, but lawmakers have left themselves a long list of items to finish up in November and December, including unfinished health care policies. Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call; Jessie Hellmann, also of CQ Roll Call; and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Sam Whitehead, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a family who tried to use urgent care to save money, but ended up with a big emergency room bill anyway.
Centene Agrees to Pay Massachusetts $14 Million Over Medicaid Prescription Claims
Massachusetts is the latest state to settle with St. Louis-based Centene Corp. over allegations that it overcharged Medicaid prescription drug programs.
Health Plan Shake-Up Could Disrupt Coverage for Low-Income Californians
Four managed-care insurance plans may lose contracts with California’s Medicaid program, which would force nearly 2 million low-income residents to switch their health plans — and possibly their doctors. The plans are fighting back.
Shattered Dreams and Bills in the Millions: Losing a Baby in America
On top of fearing for their children’s lives, new parents of very fragile, very sick infants can face exorbitant hospital bills — even if they have insurance. Medical bills don’t go away if a child dies.
Centene to Pay $166 Million to Texas in Medicaid Drug Pricing Settlement
Texas is at least the 12th state to settle with St. Louis-based Centene Corp. over allegations that it overcharged Medicaid prescription drug programs.
A Disability Program Promised to Lift People From Poverty. Instead, It Left Many Homeless.
A federal disability program meant to provide basic income for people unable to work has left many of its recipients homeless. Advocates for the poor say the crisis is growing worse as rents rise and Congress decides whether to make changes to the program that would affect millions of people.
Montana Health Department Seeks to Ax Board That Hears Public Assistance Appeals
Applicants for cash, food, and health care assistance would need to go to court to appeal rejections if the Montana legislature approves a proposal to eliminate the Board of Public Assistance.
Impending Hospital Closure Rattles Atlanta Health Care Landscape and Political Races
The nonprofit owners of Atlanta Medical Center, a 460-bed Level 1 trauma center in the heart of the city, plan to close the hospital in November. As many community members worry about the hole the closure will leave in the city’s safety net, the news has thrust health care into the political spotlight less than two months before Election Day.
Hospitals Divert Primary Care Patients to Health Center ‘Look-Alikes’ to Boost Finances
Medicare and Medicaid pay “look-alike” health centers significantly more than hospitals for treating patients, and converting or creating clinics can help hospitals reduce their expenses.
Los hospitales derivan pacientes de atención primaria a centros de salud “semejantes” para mejorar las finanzas
Pero, a diferencia de los centros de salud comunitarios, los semejantes no reciben una subvención federal anual para cubrir los costos operativos. Tampoco obtienen la cobertura económica del gobierno federal para casos de negligencia médica.
‘It’s Becoming Too Expensive to Live’: Anxious Older Adults Try to Cope With Limited Budgets
Three women explain how life’s surprises can catapult their efforts to carefully manage limited budgets and lead to financial distress.
Journalists Discuss the Nation’s Suicide Prevention Hotline, Abortion, and ‘Forever Chemicals’
KHN and California Healthline staff made the rounds on national and local media this week to discuss their stories. Here’s a collection of their appearances.
KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Wrapping Up Summer’s Health News
President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act and Congress is gone until after Labor Day. But the administration and lawmakers left lots of health policy achievements behind, including new rules to facilitate the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids and a potential reorganization of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, and Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, for extra credit, the panelists suggest their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.
Watch: How Nursing Homes Put Friends and Families on the Hook for Residents’ Debts
In pursuit of unpaid bills, nursing homes across Rochester, New York, have been suing relatives and friends of their residents. This CBS News report, done in partnership with a KHN-NPR investigation, takes a look at the practice and tells the stories of some of the people affected.
Inflation Reduction Act Contains Important Cost-Saving Changes for Many Patients — Maybe for You
The legislation, which the House is expected to pass Friday, would allow the federal government, for the first time, to negotiate the price of some drugs that Medicare buys. It also would extend the enhanced subsidies for people who buy insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.
KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: A Big Week for Biden
Congress is leaving for its annual summer break having accomplished far more than many expected, including, barring unforeseen snags, a bill to address the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries and extend the enhanced subsidies for insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, the abortion issue continues to roil the nation as Indiana becomes the first state to ban the procedure in almost all cases since the Supreme Court overruled the constitutional right to abortion in June. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.
KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Kansas Makes a Statement
In the first official test vote since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, voters in Kansas’ primary said in no uncertain terms they want to keep a right to abortion in their state constitution. Meanwhile, the Senate is still working to reach a vote before summer recess on its health care-climate-tax measure, but progress is slow. Tami Luhby of CNN, Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Bram Sable-Smith, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment about a very expensive ambulance trip.
They Lost Medicaid When Paperwork Was Sent to an Empty Field, Signaling the Mess to Come
Tennessee expects to soon disenroll about 300,000 people from its Medicaid program. But families like the Lesters have suffered when bureaucracy and clerical mistakes caused them to unfairly lose coverage under the same program.