Health Care

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Americans are divided on lots of issues. But a new national survey finds that people across the political spectrum agree on at least one thing: Our health care system needs fixing.

Courtesy of Dr. Marty Makary

The United States spends more than $3 trillion on health care every year. That comes out to about double the spending per person than other wealthy nations—yet with worse health outcomes in comparison.


Lisa Gillespie/Side Effects Public Media

In 2011, Alex Randolph was in Iraq, in the middle of a tour of duty with the Army. What happened one evening would haunt him for years, and change the way his friends back home saw him. Those memories eventually led Randolph to think about killing himself.


Election 2018: Health Care Is Huge Issue In Midwest

Nov 2, 2018
Photo by Steve Rainwater is licensed under CC 2.0. https://www.flickr.com/photos/steevithak/38676565790/in/photolist-21VHvxd-29CkoKn-24Xntgq-23CjviE-25N9oiy-Fkwenx-22eU9tE-HHHr9i-E27ecB-24VWTtE-MjkYbQ-L6RWTK-29qisaF-29FHLcp-25tzq3h-GRUtqw-JMDVEK-26CjHeS-2

Across the Midwest, health care has emerged as one of the year’s biggest campaign flash points — in races from U.S. Senate to state attorney general.

Christine Herman / Illinois Public Media

After 18 years serving the Metro East region of Illinois, pediatrician Kristin Stahl is crafting an exit strategy - and may eventually close her practice.  Two years of unpaid bills during the state’s budget impasse have driven her into debt and to the end of her patience.        


Brandon Smith/IPBS

Indiana governor Mike Pence is in the spotlight this week as the man Donald Trump has chosen as his running mate. His decisions about health and healthcare in Indiana have drawn attention from within and outside the state. And his record could be important in November, because his running mate doesn’t have a legislative record at all.

Over the past six decades, China has been experimenting with radically different forms of health care systems.

As the country struggles to figure out the best way to get health care to 1.3 billion people, the rest of the world can learn from its past successes and failures, researchers wrote Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live.

In addition to the normal thrills and chills of the income tax filing season, this year people will have the added excitement of figuring out how the health law figures in their 2014 taxes.

The good news is that for most folks the only change to their filing routine will be to check the box on their Form 1040 that says they had health insurance all year.

"Someone who had employer-based coverage or Medicaid or Medicare, that's all they have to do," says Tricia Brooks, a senior fellow at Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families.

In the numbing cold, several thousand demonstrators marched in Moscow on Sunday, protesting plans to make drastic cuts in the city's health care system. It was the second protest in the past month over a pocketbook issue that affects most Russian consumers — especially as people feel the effects of a weakening economy.

About a year ago at a Miami-Dade County school board meeting, superintendent Alberto Carvalho was happy to announce the district and the teacher's union had just ratified a new contract.

"I believe that this contract honors and dignifies what you do every single day," he told the school board members. It included bonuses for most teachers and it settled how to handle health care expenses after yet another year of rising costs.

"We know exactly what the district pays out in terms of claims, because we are the insurance company. There's no profit to be made," he said.

Dr. Oliver Korshin practices ophthalmology three days a week in the same small office in east Anchorage, Alaska, he's had for three decades. Many of his patients have aged into their Medicare years right along with him.

For his tiny practice, which employs just one part-time nurse, putting all his patients' medical records in an online database just doesn't make sense, Korshin says. It would cost too much to install and maintain — especially considering that he expects to retire in just a few years.

There's a project in the neighborhood of Harlem in New York that has a through-the-looking-glass quality. An organization called City Health Works is trying to bring an African model of health care delivery to the United States. Usually it works the other way around.

If City Health Works' approach is successful, it could help change the way chronic diseases are managed in poverty-stricken communities, where people suffer disproportionately from HIV/AIDS, obesity and diabetes.

Obamacare 2.0 is underway with another round of open enrollments that continues until the middle of February. Colorado is one state that’s seen a decline in the number of uninsured since the federal Affordable Care Act went into effect nearly a year ago.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, John Daley of Colorado Public Radio explains that the push is on to sign up even more people.

The Great Digital Divide In Healthcare: Older Americans May Be Left Behind

Nov 14, 2014

When it comes to the benefits of electronic health records, older Americans may be left behind, says a new University of Michigan study.

Less than a third of Americans age 65 and over use the Web for health information and barely 10 percent of those with low health literacy – or ability to navigate the health care system – go online for health-related matters, according to the nationally-representative study that appears in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.    

HealthCare.gov barely worked when it launched last fall, with only six people able to enroll in a plan on opening day.

I write about health and health care, but even I'm not immune to the "young and invincible" mentality. My annual dental checkup is more than six months overdue.

A provision of the Affordable Care Act that took effect in 2010 aimed to make it easier for young adults to access preventive care by allowing them to stay on their parents' insurance until they turn 26. As of 2011, some 3 million young adults gained coverage through this provision.

So does this mean more young people are getting their annual checkups and cholesterol screenings?

Army veteran Randy Michaud had to make a 200-mile trip to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Aroostook County, Maine, near the Canadian border, every time he had a medical appointment.

Michaud, who was medically retired after a jeep accident in Germany 25 years ago, moved home to Maine in 1991. He was eligible for VA medical care, but the long drive was a problem.

He's one of millions of veterans living in rural America who must travel hundreds of miles round-trip for care.

It's being called the million dollar faint.

Ram Lakshmanan and his team were onstage at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York on Tuesday evening. They were finalists for the Hult Prize, which each year awards $1 million to the best plan for addressing global problems. They were making their pitch for a better healthcare plan that would include something they're calling "Doc-in-a-Box."

And then the 30-year-old entrepreneur collapsed.

Go around the country and you'll hear lots of frustration about just how difficult it is to get out of poverty — and more importantly, how to stay out. The official U.S. poverty rate may have gone down to 14.5 percent in 2013 according to new numbers out Tuesday, but still more than 45 million were poor.

In my teens, I stumbled onto the wide trail of "the writer's bildungsroman," the coming-of-age stories that often gave me too much to identify with. That whispered clear messages while I slept and while I tried to imagine a life far, far outside the heat and farmlands of where I grew up.

With a 91-3 vote in the Senate Thursday, Congress has passed a massive $16.3 billion bill to address problems with health care for veterans and other problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The bill now moves forward to the White House for President Obama's signature. The House voted overwhelmingly to approve the bill on Wednesday.

The House voted Wednesday to approve a bill that would address widespread problems with health care for veterans.

The vote in favor of the $16.3 billion package was 420 to 5.

The problems veterans have had obtaining care has drawn national attention in recent weeks. A White House investigation into problems at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals found "significant and chronic systemic failures."

Employer Health Costs Are Expected To Rise In 2015

Jun 25, 2014

Increases in health costs will accelerate next year, but changes in how people buy care will help keep the hikes from reaching the speed seen several years ago, PricewaterhouseCoopers says.

The prediction, based on interviews and modeling, splits the difference between hopes that costs will stay tame and fears that they're off to the races after having been slow since the 2008 financial crisis.

What Stops Doctors From Practicing At The 'Top Of Their License'

Jun 20, 2014
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Physicians may be wasting time with tasks that could be done by others with less training on their teams. That's the finding of recent research from Dubuque, Iowa internist Dr. Christine Sinsky who works with Medical Associates Clinic and Health Plans. She referred to the problem as doctors not working at the “top of their license.”

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