Featured Issues

Surprising Swings in Momentum for Surprise Medical Bills Legislation

Surprise bills, the often-exorbitant medical bills that come when a patient doesn’t realize they’ve been seen by a provider outside their insurance network, have in recent months been viewed as public enemy No. 1 on Capitol Hill. After months of hearings and negotiations, millions of dollars in attack ads, full-court press lobbying efforts and countless rounds of negotiations, Congress appeared to be moving toward a solution to the nation’s surprise medical bill problem. Sort of.

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Candidates Are Betting Big On Health. Is That What Voters Really Want?

The one thing we know about health care in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race is that it’s a top issue for voters. But it might surprise people that the last time a health overhaul was a major issue in the Democratic presidential primary race ― in 2008 ― it wasn’t the candidate with the most sweeping plan who emerged as the winner.

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States Try A Gentler Approach To Getting Medicaid Enrollees To Work

The Trump administration has approved Medicaid work requirements in nine states, with requests from nine others pending. Arkansas is the only state to implement the requirements, and more than 18,000 enrollees there lost coverage from June 2018 to March 2019 — with little sign many found jobs. Since then, a federal judge struck down the work requirements in Arkansas, Kentucky and New Hampshire. A handful of states are offering alternatives to get more enrollees into jobs to lift them out of poverty and off Medicaid.

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As Vaping Devices Evolve, New Potential Hazards Scrutinized

The smokeless tobacco industry that began with low-voltage cigarette look-alikes has evolved to include customizable, high-wattage machines capable of generating enormous clouds of vapor ― and potentially toxic substances. As the technology continues to change, researchers are finding more evidence that the way vaping devices and e-liquids interact could harm consumers. High-powered devices may overheat vaping liquids to produce toxic chemicals, tobacco experts warn, and the aerosol that is inhaled may be contaminated with dangerous metals from the device.

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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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