Health Care

Bubba73 (Jud McCranie) / Wikimedia Commons

A startling number of children eligible for Medicaid or PeachCare in Georgia still don’t have insurance coverage, a recent study has found. Another reason kids don’t see doctors as often as they should is also a factor for adults: access. It’s not just cost, but the lack of physicians, especially in rural Georgia.


For Peter Cram, an American internist who spent most of his career practicing in Iowa City, Iowa, moving to Toronto in 2014 was an easy decision.

He says he is among a handful of American doctors who went north to practice in Canada's single-payer system. Now he doesn't worry about whether his patients can afford treatment. "Everyone gets a basic level of care," he says, which lets him focus on their medical needs instead of their finances.

This post was updated Dec. 14 at 9:30 a.m. to note that Maryland extended enrollment until Dec. 22.

Gene Kern, 63, retired early from Fujifilm, where he sold professional videotape. "When the product became obsolete, so did I," he says, "and that's why I retired."

Susa / AP Photo

On this edition of "Political Rewind," we address the fallout from Michael Flynn’s guilty plea in the Russia probe and his cooperation with the special counsel’s investigation. He’s already pointing fingers at the White House transition team and, according to some, President Trump directly. Also, vulnerable Georgians may soon lose health care benefits that the federal government has long funded to help children, rural hospitals and major trauma centers like Grady. Will Congress act quickly to restore these programs?

It has been nearly a decade since Congress passed the Mental Health Parity And Addiction Equity Act, with its promise to make mental health and substance abuse treatment just as easy to get as care for any other condition. Yet today, amid an opioid epidemic and a spike in the suicide rate, patients are still struggling to get access to treatment.

Savannah Fire Department

The City of Savannah is considering charging  property owners a fee for fire service. We spoke with Susan Catron, executive editor of Savannah Morning News to hear more about this effort to make up for a budget shortfall. We also spoke about Chatham County's proposed sale of the public hospital, Memorial Health, to for-profit HCA Healthcare. Hear more in our Savannah News recap.

Updated 4:52 pm

The Trump administration is rolling back the Obama-era requirement that employer-provided health insurance policies cover birth control methods at no cost to women.

According to senior officials with the Department of Health and Human Services, the goal of the new rule is to allow any company or nonprofit group to exclude the coverage for contraception if it has a religious or moral objection.

Martin Falbisoner / CC

Today on “Political Rewind,” in the same week that yet another Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare goes down in defeat, Congress faces crucial deadlines for existing programs that have a big impact on health care in Georgia. Charity hospitals could lose millions of dollars in federal financial aid. Federal funds to help pay for medical expenses for children from low-income families also face elimination. Will Congress act to save these programs?

Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET

Republicans are once again waving the white flag on health care.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he is pulling the Republican health care bill because it does not have the votes.

Rather than endure another embarrassing vote that sees his caucus come up short, the senators agreed in a closed-door meeting to shelve the bill.

Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act insurance doesn't start for another six weeks. But the quirky insurance startup Oscar Health is launching an ad campaign Monday aimed at getting young people to enroll.

The company is boosting its ad spending after the Trump administration announced it would slash its ACA advertising budget by 90 percent.

The Capitol Hill health care fight sure seemed dead. After Republican proposals to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, failed to pass a Republican-controlled Congress, lawmakers looked poised to move on to other topics, like a tax overhaul. But this week, proposals from both the left and the right are grabbing headlines.

Lawmakers have less than two weeks of legislative days to head off a government shutdown, raise the nation's borrowing limit and provide financial assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Congress is back after a monthlong break, although it may not have seemed like Washington was on vacation based on the pace of political news in August.

With Republican efforts to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act stalled, tentative bipartisan initiatives are in the works to stabilize the fragile individual insurance market that serves roughly 17 million Americans.

In the wake of congressional Republicans' failure to pass a health care bill, two governors from different parties are going to bring their own ideas to Washington.

Pixabay

A recent report puts Georgia 41st in the nation for its quality of senior health. According to America’s Health Rankings Senior Report, that’s two slots lower than last year. We talk about senior health in the state with Kathy Floyd of the Georgia Council on Aging and Glenn Osster of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Georgia.

When Sol Shipotow enrolled in a new Medicare Advantage health plan earlier this year, he expected to keep the doctor who treats his serious eye condition.

"That turned out not to be so," said Shipotow, 83, who lives in Bensalem, Pa.

Shipotow said he had to scramble to get back onto a health plan that he could afford and that his longtime eye specialist would accept. "You have to really understand your policy," he said. "I thought it was the same coverage."

Two years ago, Cheasanee Huette, a 20-year-old college student in Northern California, decided to find out if she was a carrier of the genetic mutation that gave rise to a disease that killed her mother. She took comfort in knowing that whatever the result, she'd be protected by the Affordable Care Act's guarantees of insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET

Americans broadly disapprove of the Senate GOP's health care bill, and they're unhappy with how Republicans are handling the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Updated 3:30 p.m. ET

With their health care bill facing a perilous path, Senate Republican leaders have decided to push off a vote until after Congress returns from next week's July Fourth recess, GOP aides confirm to NPR's Susan Davis.

Medicaid is the government health care program for the poor.

That's the shorthand explanation. But Medicaid is so much more than that — which is why it has become the focal point of the battle in Washington to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Updated at 8:10 pm ET

Congressional forecasters say a Senate bill that aims to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026.

That's only slightly fewer uninsured than a version passed by the House in May.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET June 23

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller on Friday became the latest GOP lawmaker to voice concerns about the Senate health care bill — a development that further complicates Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

"I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes away insurance from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans," Heller said at a news conference back in Nevada.

Updated at 2:32 p.m. ET

Senate Republicans unveiled their long-awaited health care overhaul proposal on Thursday. The Senate bill, called the "Better Care Reconciliation Act," would repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The broad outlines of it look a lot like the House bill, the American Health Care Act, which was passed in May.

For the hundreds of rural U.S. hospitals struggling to stay in business, health policy decisions made in Washington, D.C., this summer could make survival a lot tougher.

The Republican effort to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has led to a standoff in the Senate.

Senate Democrats on Monday night began using parliamentary maneuvers to slow Senate business as part of a coordinated protest against the GOP push to pass an Obamacare replacement bill. A small group of Republican senators has been working in private for weeks, shielding from public view the bill and the negotiations surrounding it.

Republicans are running way behind schedule.

In the dream scenario outlined by party leaders back in January, President Trump would have signed legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, months ago. By early June, Republicans were supposed to be in the thick of overhauling the tax code.

When it comes to health care, Americans may be having buyer's remorse.

More adults approve of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, than the alternative health care bill passed this month by House Republicans, according to a poll published Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Would the House Republican health care bill impact insurance provided by employers? And why don't people without insurance just go to an emergency room for regular care? Here are answers to those and other recent questions from readers.

Will employer-based health care be affected by the new Republican plan?

Back in January, Republicans boasted they would deliver a "repeal and replace" bill for the Affordable Care Act to President Donald Trump's desk by the end of the month.

In the interim, that bravado has faded as their efforts stalled and they found out how complicated undoing a major law can be. With summer just around the corner, and most of official Washington swept up in scandals surrounding Trump, the health overhaul delays are starting to back up the rest of the 2018 agenda.

President Trump gave a eulogy on Thursday for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

"Obamacare is collapsing. It's dead. It's gone," Trump said in a news conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

"There's nothing to compare it to because we don't have health care in this country," he went on.

That left some Obamacare customers scratching their heads — figuratively — on Twitter.

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