Texas Is Latest State To Attack Surprise Medical Bills

Texas is now among more than a dozen states that have cracked down on the practice of surprise medical billing.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, signed legislation Friday shielding patients from getting a huge bill when their insurance company and medical provider can’t agree on payment.

The bipartisan legislation removes patients from the middle of price disputes between a health insurance company and a hospital or other medical provider.

In Combating Surprise Bills, Lawmakers Miss Sky-High Air Ambulance Costs

In April 2018, 9-year-old Christian Bolling was hiking with his parents and sister in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, near their home in Roanoke. While climbing some boulders, he lost his footing and fell down a rocky 20-foot drop, fracturing both bones in his lower left leg, his wrist, both sides of his nose and his skull.

A rescue squad carried him out of the woods, and a helicopter flew him to a pediatric hospital trauma unit in Roanoke.

A Proposal To Make It Harder For Kids To Skip Vaccines Gives Powerful Voices Pause

As California lawmakers attempt to tighten the rules on childhood vaccinations, they’re getting pushback from unexpected quarters: high-profile officials who support vaccines.

In the past few weeks, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and the members of the Medical Board of California have questioned a bill that would give the California Department of Public Health authority to decide whether a child can skip routine vaccinations.

Anti-vaccine activists have capitalized on these moments, plastering Facebook pages and social media with praise for the officials’ statements.

Research suggests new way to improve the efficacy of arthritis drug

Jun 14 2019

Attaching a removable lock to an arthritis drug can make it safer and more effective, according to a new study publishing June 13 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology led by Wen-Wei Lin of Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan. The findings suggest a new way to improve the efficacy of a drug taken by millions of patients throughout the world.

KHN’s ‘What The Health’: Who Will Pay To Fix Problem Of Surprise Medical Bills?

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud.

Congress is finally getting down to real work on legislation to end “surprise” medical bills, which patients get if they inadvertently receive care from an out-of-network health providers or use one in an emergency. But doctors, hospitals, insurers and other health care payers can’t seem to agree on who should pay more so patients can pay less.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Fetal Tissue Research Is Latest Flashpoint In Abortion Debate

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The Trump administration this week announced efforts to restrict research using fetal tissue from elective abortions. The new policy bars such research by government scientists and creates hurdles for outside scientists that get funding from the National Institutes of Health. The move displaces a policy passed with bipartisan support in Congress more than 25 years ago.

Meanwhile, on the campaign trail, former Vice President Joe Biden endured backlash from other Democratic candidates and women’s groups after he said he supports the continuation of the “Hyde Amendment,” which bans federal government funding of most abortions.

Dropped From Health Insurance Without Warning: Was It Legal?

Caitlin and Corey Gaffer know they made a mistake.

Anyone could have done the same thing, the Minneapolis couple says. Still, they can’t believe it cost them their health insurance coverage just as Caitlin was in the middle of pregnancy with their first child.

Robin Hood To Rescue Of Rural Hospitals? New Math Promised On Medicare Payments

As rural hospital closures roil the country, some states are banking on a Trump administration proposal to change the way hospital payments are calculated to rescue them.

The goal of the proposal, unveiled by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma in April, is to bump up Medicare’s reimbursements to rural hospitals, some of which receive the lowest rates in the nation.

For example, Alabama’s hospitals — most of which are rural — stand to gain an additional $43 million from Medicare next year if the federal agency makes this adjustment.

Churches Wipe Out Millions In Medical Debt For Others

The leaders of Pathway Church on the outskirts of Wichita, Kan., had no clue that the $22,000 they already had on hand for Easter would have such impact.

The nondenominational suburban congregation of about 3,800 had set out only to help people nearby pay off some medical debt, recalled Larry Wren, Pathway’s executive pastor. After all, the core membership at Pathway’s three sites consists of middle-income families with school-age kids, not high-dollar philanthropists.

Congo’s Ebola epidemic inflicts heavy toll on children

BUTEMBO, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – Eight-year-old Kennedy Muhindo was running a high fever and racked by stomach pain and diarrhea.

Health workers told him he had Ebola but his first thought was for his sister who had been battling the virus.

“How is my big sister doing?” he asked health workers again and again at an Ebola treatment center on the outskirts of Butembo, a major trading hub set amid volcanic hills in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Staff said they didn’t have the heart to tell him that 9-year-old Lareine had died.