Texans Can Appeal Surprise Medical Bills, But The Process Can Be Draining

In Texas, a growing number of patients are turning to a little-known state mediation program to deal with unexpected hospital bills.

The bills in question often arrive in patients’ mailboxes with shocking balances that run into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When patients, through no fault of their own, are treated outside their insurers’ network of hospitals, the result can be a surprise bill. Other times, insurers won’t agree to pay what the hospital charges, and the patient is on the hook for the balance.

A ‘Fountain Of Youth’ Pill? Sure, If You’re A Mouse.

Renowned Harvard University geneticist David Sinclair recently made a startling assertion: Scientific data shows he has knocked more than two decades off his biological age.

What’s the 49-year-old’s secret? He says his daily regimen includes ingesting a molecule his own research found improved the health and lengthened the life span of mice. Sinclair now boasts online that he has the lung capacity, cholesterol and blood pressure of a “young adult” and the “heart rate of an athlete.”

Utah Voters Approved Medicaid Expansion, But State Lawmakers Are Balking

Utah residents may have thought they were done fighting about Medicaid expansion last November. But when Utah lawmakers opened a new legislative session in late January, they began pushing through a bill to roll back the scope and impact of an expansion that voters approved in a ballot measure.

“We voted for this on Nov. 6. We were very clear about what we wanted,” said Andrew Roberts, a spokesman for Utah Decides, the group that organized the Medicaid expansion referendum, known as Proposition 3.

Trump Administration Salutes Parade Of Generic Drug Approvals, But Hundreds Aren’t For Sale

The Trump administration has been trumpeting a huge increase in FDA generic drug approvals the past two years, the result of its actions to streamline a cumbersome process and combat anti-competitive practices. But nearly half of those newly approved drugs aren’t being sold in the United States, Kaiser Health News has found, meaning that many patients are deriving little practical benefit from the administration’s efforts.

Trump Highlights Health Agenda With Vow To Lower ‘Unfair’ Drug Prices

It was not the centerpiece, but health was a persistent theme in President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address at the Capitol on Tuesday night.

Although the administration has focused more on issues of trade, taxes and immigration, the president laid out a series of health-related goals, including some that even Democrats indicated could be areas of bipartisan negotiation or compromise. Trump vowed to take on prescription drug prices, pursue an end to the HIV epidemic and boost funding for childhood cancers.

Ideas To Curb Surprise Medical Bills Percolate With Rare Bipartisan Push

Surrounded by patients who told horror stories of being stuck with hefty bills, President Donald Trump recently waded into a widespread health care problem for which almost everyone — even those with insurance — is at risk: surprise medical billing.

Trump’s declaration that taming unexpected bills would be a top priority for his administration echoed through the halls of Congress, where a handful of Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been studying the problem the past couple of years.

Transparent Hospital Pricing Exposes Wild Fluctuation, Even Within Miles

The federal government’s new rule requiring hospitals to post prices for their services is intended to allow patients to shop around and compare prices, a step toward price transparency that has generated praise and skepticism.

Kaiser Health News examined the price lists — known in hospital lingo as “chargemasters” — of the largest acute care hospitals in several large cities.

Lawsuit Details How The Sackler Family Allegedly Built An OxyContin Fortune

The first nine months of 2013 started off as a banner year for the Sackler family, owners of the pharmaceutical company that produces OxyContin, the addictive opioid pain medication. Purdue Pharma paid the family $400 million from its profits during that time, claims a lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts attorney general.

However, when profits dropped in the fourth quarter, the family allegedly supported the company’s intense push to increase sales representatives’ visits to doctors and other prescribers.

Patients Suffer When Health Care Behemoths Quarrel Over Contracts

David Lerman, a Berkeley, Calif., lawyer, changed health plans this year only to learn that his new insurer has no contract with the dominant medical provider in his community.

Anthem Blue Cross of California, one of the state’s largest health insurers, is battling with Sutter Health over how much it should pay to care for tens of thousands of its enrollees in Northern California. Sutter operates 24 hospitals in the region and lists about 5,000 doctors in its network.

New Covered California Sign-Ups Plummet

The number of new enrollees in Covered California plans plunged by nearly a quarter this year, largely because of the elimination of the tax penalty for people without insurance, officials announced Wednesday.

The decrease was steeper than expected — and larger than the drop in new enrollment in the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov. It occurred even as Covered California, the state health insurance exchange, spent millions on advertising to entice people to sign up for coverage during the open-enrollment period that ended Jan. 15.