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Jun 19, 2019

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Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who are pushing a major legislative package to lower health costs, announced their favored solution to handle disputes about surprise medical bills.

Those unexpected and often high charges patients face when they get care from a doctor or hospital that isn’t in their insurance network are a perpetual complaint from...

Jun 18, 2019

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Two years, 16 hearings and one massive bipartisan package of legislation later, a key Senate committee says it is ready to start marking up a bill next week designed to contain health care costs. But it might not be easy since lawmakers and stakeholders at a final hearing Tuesday showed they are still far apart on one simple aspect of the proposal.

That sticking point: a formula...

Jun 18, 2019

This story is part of a partnership that includes KUT, NPR and Kaiser Health News.


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Texas is now among more than a dozen states that have cracked down on the practice of surprise medical billing.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, signed legislation Friday shielding patients from getting a huge bill when their insurance company and medical provider can’t...

Jun 18, 2019

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With the first Democratic debates a week away, health care is the top issue the party’s voters say they want candidates to address, according to a poll released Tuesday.

But what they mean by that varies widely.

Nearly 9 out of 10 Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents said it is very important for candidates to discuss health issues. But 28% said they want...

Jun 14, 2019
The Friday Breeze

Newsletter editor Brianna Labuskes, who reads everything on health care to compile our daily Morning Briefing, offers the best and most provocative stories for the weekend.

Happy Friday! Have drug prices gotten so bad that patients are now turning to robbing banks to afford them? It sounds like something out of a movie script, but it’s what a Utah man told police when he was accused of just that. While it’s unverified...

Jun 14, 2019

This story also ran on NPR.
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In April 2018, 9-year-old Christian Bolling was hiking with his parents and sister in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, near their home in Roanoke. While climbing some boulders, he lost his footing and fell down a rocky 20-foot drop, fracturing both bones in his lower left leg, his wrist, both sides of his nose and his skull.

A rescue squad...

Jun 13, 2019

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Congress is finally getting down to real work on legislation to end “surprise” medical bills, which patients get if they inadvertently receive care from an out-of-network health providers or use one in an emergency. But doctors, hospitals, insurers and other health care payers can’t seem to agree on who...

Jun 12, 2019

This story also ran on Vice.
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A new Trump administration proposal would change the civil rights rules dictating whether providers must care for patients who are transgender or have had an abortion. Supporters of the approach say it protects the freedom of conscience, but opponents say it encourages discrimination.

The sweeping proposal has implications for all Americans,...

Jun 07, 2019
The Friday Breeze

Newsletter editor Brianna Labuskes, who reads everything on health care to compile our daily Morning Briefing, offers the best and most provocative stories for the weekend.

Happy Friday! This week brought us one of the most perfect click-bait stories in recent memory — each part of it adding to the what on earth? feeling you get reading it. Click here for what it was. (Just kidding!) Apparently, New York’s Medicaid...

Jun 07, 2019

This story also ran on NPR.
This story can be republished for free (details).

Amanda Bacon’s eating disorder was growing worse. She had lost 60% of her body weight and was consuming about 100 calories a day.

But that wasn’t sick enough for her Medicaid managed-care company to cover an inpatient treatment program. She was told in 2017 that she would have to weigh 10 pounds less — putting her at 5-foot-7 and 90 pounds — or...

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