The U.S. public health system has been starved for decades and lacks the resources necessary to confront the worst health crisis in a century. An investigation by The Associated Press and KHN has found that since 2010, spending for state public health departments has dropped by 16% per capita and for local health departments by 18%. At least 38,000 public health jobs have disappeared, leaving a skeletal workforce for what was once viewed as one of the world’s top public health systems. That has left the nation unprepared to deal with a virus that has sickened at least 2.6 million people and killed more than 126,000.
While federal and state officials continue to wrangle over coronavirus testing, the population testing positive is skewing younger. Meanwhile, the Trump administration wins a round in court over its requirements for hospitals to publicly reveal their prices, and the fight over the fate of the Affordable Care Act heats up once again. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews former Obama administration health aide Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who has written a new book comparing international health systems.
Jane Collins and Anthony Blow were stunned to learn last fall that their state tax refund was being reduced by $110 because the Charlottesville medical center said they owed money for care their son received in 2001 and 2002.
State legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom have hammered out an agreement on a budget that rejects Newsom’s proposed cuts to health care services for older and low-income people.
Six months after agreeing to a $575 million settlement in a landmark antitrust case, Sutter Health has yet to pay a single dollar and now says the terms may be untenable, given the strain caused by the pandemic.
Although the federal government has poured billions of dollars into hospitals to defray their losses from the coronavirus outbreak, new streams of fundraising have emerged — including health worker-themed beer that adds “a drop in the bucket.”
Public health officials are asking for more money in California’s state budget. But unlike some rich and powerful health care interests, they don’t have an army of lobbyists to curry favor with lawmakers.
But some of those options, like special enrollment periods, are time-sensitive.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the nation’s doctors and hospitals to reevaluate how they work. At least three major changes may have a lasting impact.
After some protests over the death of George Floyd resulted in violence, online discussions raised concerns that health plans might deny medical coverage. Although plans do sometimes make exclusions for “illegal acts” or riots, experts say concerns by people who are protesting Floyd’s death may be overstated.