Democrats in Congress reached a tentative agreement to press ahead on a partisan bill that would dramatically expand health benefits for people on Medicare, those who buy their own insurance and individuals who have been shut out of coverage in states that didn’t expand Medicaid. Meanwhile, controversy continues to rage over whether vaccinated Americans will need a booster to protect against covid-19 variants, and who will pay for a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Rae Ellen Bichell, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a mother and daughter who fought an enormous emergency room bill.
Kaiser Health News, Cost & Quality Blog
Two intractable failings of the U.S. health care system — addiction treatment and medical costs — come to a head in the ER, where patients desperate for addiction treatment arrive, only to find the facility may not be equipped to deal with substance use or, if they are, treatment is prohibitively expensive.
When patients with common terminal illnesses such as cancer seek permission for compassionate use of therapies in the testing stage, their requests often are approved. But those with more unusual illnesses say drug companies are rarely willing to provide access.
It could take years for follow-up studies to prove Aduhelm slows the disease — or doesn’t. Meanwhile, its maker will profit.
Your dutiful columnist tried to make use of a federal “transparency” rule to compare the prices of common medical procedures in two California health care systems. It was a futile exercise.
Veteran health journalist Marshall Allen has been exposing health care grifters for years. Now he’s written a book about how to fight them. Host Dan Weissmann spoke with Allen about some of the best tips from “Never Pay the First Bill: And Other Ways to Fight the Health Care System and Win.”
Aduhelm, approved by the Food and Drug Administration last month despite questions about its efficacy, could be prescribed to at least 1 million patients a year, for a price tag of about $56 billion. Experts suggest there might be better ways to spend that money.
A Trump administration rule mandating that hospitals disclose true prices on their websites took effect this year. But compliance is spotty and even when the data is public, it’s hard to find and understand.
The covid pandemic and President Joe Biden's agenda — a planned $400 billion infusion of support — have focused national attention on the need to expand home- and community-based long-term care services designed to keep people out of nursing homes. But the need far outpaces the staffing.