Featured Issues

The Deep Divide: State Borders Create Medicaid Haves And Have-Nots

State borders have become arbitrary dividing lines between Medicaid’s haves and have-nots, with Americans in similar financial straits facing vastly different health care fortunes. This affects everything from whether diseases are caught early to whether people can stay well enough to work. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The ACA, passed in 2010, called for extending Medicaid to all Americans earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level, around $17,000 annually for an individual. But the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 let states choose whether to expand Medicaid.

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Despite Booming Economy, Uninsured Rate Ticks Up

The annual report from the Census Bureau, released last week, found that 27.5 million Americans were without health insurance last year, an increase of nearly 2 million from 2017. The 0.5 percentage point increase in the uninsured rate — to 8.5% — was the first in a decade and came as unemployment and other economic indicators have been good.

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Back To School 2019: Backpack, Lunchbox And A Drug Test

The rise in drug testing is a reaction to the still-raging opioid epidemic and liberalized marijuana laws spreading across the country, according to health experts and educators. More schools are adopting drug testing even as research remains mixed on how effective it is at reducing teen drug use. Supporters say it gives kids a reason to say no to drugs and may identify students who need help with drug problems. But opponents argue it invades student privacy and diverts money from educational priorities like books.

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After A Rural Hospital Closes, Delays In Emergency Care Cost Patients Dearly

Nationwide, more than 110 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and in each instance a community struggles to survive in its own way. In Fort Scott, home to 7,800, the loss of its 132-year-old hospital opened by nuns in the 19th century has wrought profound social, emotional and medical consequences. Kaiser Health News and NPR are following Fort Scott for a year to explore deeper national questions about whether small communities need a traditional hospital at all. If not, what would take its place?

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Surprise Medical Bill Legislation Takes A Step Forward, But Will It Lead To A Step Back?

The House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday approved its version of legislation to curb surprise medical bills. Though this step was an important advance, there’s still a long way forward before Congress agrees on a legislative solution to this high-profile consumer concern. These bills, the unexpected and often high charges patients face when they get care from a doctor or hospital that isn’t in their insurance network, have been the hot issue on Capitol Hill for months.

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Federal Appeals Court Takes Up Case That Could Upend U.S. Health System

The fate of the Affordable Care Act is again on the line, as a federal appeals court in New Orleans takes up a case in which a lower court judge has already ruled the massive health law unconstitutional. Not only would such a decision immediately affect the estimated 20 million people who get their health coverage through programs created under the law, ending the ACA would also create chaos in other parts of the health care system that were directly or indirectly changed under the law’s multitude of provisions.

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