Featured Issues

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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Senate Panel Makes Surprisingly Fast Work Of ‘Surprise Medical Bills’ Package

It may seem as if the Senate has decided on a way forward to fix the nation’s “surprise medical bill” problem. Members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved a sweeping measure Wednesday that tackles a range of big-ticket health care concerns. One thing the bill specifically does not deal with: the insurance market and the Affordable Care Act, which could be why the package was voted out of the committee in just over two hours with little debate.

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Senators Agree Surprise Medical Bills Must Go. But How?

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 for paying for 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.

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Escalating Workplace Violence Rocks Hospitals

Across the country, many doctors, nurses and other health care workers have remained silent about what is being called an epidemic of violence against them. The violent outbursts come from patients and patients’ families. And for years, it has been considered part of the job. Many health care workers say the physical and verbal abuse come primarily from patients, some of whom are disoriented because of illness or medication. Sometimes nurses and doctors are abused by family members who are on edge because their loved one is ill.

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