Communities across California, frustrated with the growing number of homeless people living on public property, have tasked police and sanitation workers with dismantling encampments they say pose a risk to health and safety. The routine cleanups have spawned another public health concern: the loss of the displaced people’s personal possessions, including medicines.
Small hospitals and patients in rural areas have been hit hard by the boom in high-deductible health plans. Often when a patient arrives at a rural hospital needing critical care, the person is stabilized and transferred to a larger facility. But bills from the first site of care generally get applied to the patient’s deductible. When patients can’t afford their deductible, the smaller hospital winds up eating the costs.
For rural physicians, the burden of responding to the opioid epidemic falls squarely on their already loaded shoulders. For one doctor in a small Wisconsin village, there was no question that she wanted to rise to the challenge.
A group of Democratic state attorneys general are betting the Supreme Court will take up the case and overturn a federal appeals court ruling in time for the 2020 elections. In other high-court news, most Republicans in Congress are asking the justices to use a Louisiana law to overturn the landmark abortion-rights ruling, Roe v. Wade. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal and Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Rovner also interviews NPR’s Richard Harris, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature.
Nearly a decade ago, Dr. Jeffrey Brenner and his Camden Coalition appeared to have an answer to remake American health care: Treat the sickest and most expensive patients. But a rigorous study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows the approach doesn’t save money. “We built a brilliant intervention to navigate people to nowhere,” Brenner tells the “Tradeoffs” podcast.
A parental consent requirement for minors who seek abortions is still on the books in left-leaning Massachusetts, as well as about two dozen other states. But a proposed Massachusetts law seeks to repeal that consent requirement and shore up the right to abortion in case the Supreme Court strikes down the federal right to the procedure.
Some of California’s most prized rivers, bays, beaches and streams are contaminated with levels of fecal bacteria that exceed state limits, threatening human health. While aging sewage infrastructure is largely to blame, homeless encampments are also a probable source of contamination.
For years, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, one of California’s largest nonprofit hospitals, has been spending less on charity care than other nonprofit hospitals in the state. Now it is expanding eligibility for free and discounted medical care.
Seema Verma, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, sat down for a rare interview with KHN senior correspondent Sarah Varney. They discuss her views on President Donald Trump’s plan for sustaining public health insurance programs, how the administration would respond if Obamacare is struck down by the courts in the future and her thoughts on how the latest “Medicare for All” proposals would affect innovation and access to care.
American marijuana has a reputation for being the best in the world. But the federal prohibition on marijuana makes shipments across state lines or overseas a pipe dream. While U.S. firms expect the restrictions to drop in the coming years, they are stuck operating within state borders. That’s left Canadian cannabis growers to dominate the export market, with U.S. firms falling further behind each year.