(Hannah Norman / KHN photo illustration / Getty Images)

Medicare Punishes 2,499 Hospitals for High Readmissions

The federal government’s hospital penalty program finishes its first decade by lowering payments to nearly half the nation’s hospitals for readmitting too many Medicare patients within a month. Penalties, though often small, are credited with helping reduce the number of patients returning for another Medicare stay within 30 days.

Democrats’ Plans to Expand Medicare Benefits Put Pinch on Advantage Plans’ Funding

As lawmakers weigh new spending provisions to cover dental, hearing and vision services for Medicare beneficiaries, a group supporting Medicare Advantage plans is airing commercials that raise concerns about the funding for those private plans.

Pharma Cash to Congress

Pharma Campaign Cash Delivered to Key Lawmakers With Surgical Precision

With an eye to shutting down Medicare drug price negotiations, drug companies and their lobbying groups gave roughly $1.6 million in the first six months of 2021, with Democrats edging closer than they have in a decade to Republicans’ total haul.

Bill Of The Month

How Billing Turns a Routine Birth Into a High-Cost Emergency

“Obstetrical emergency departments” are a new feature in some hospitals that can inflate medical bills for even the easiest, healthiest births. Just ask the parents of Baby Gus.

Medicare Plans’ ‘Free’ Dental, Vision, Hearing Benefits Come at a Cost

The ads for supplemental Medicare Advantage plans describe vision and dental benefits, even grocery discounts and food deliveries. But look at the fine print.

Understaffed State Psychiatric Facilities Leave Mental Health Patients in Limbo

The pandemic has so seriously strained already tight state psychiatric hospitals in Georgia, Virginia, Texas and elsewhere that these facilities for the poorest and most vulnerable people with mental illness struggle to admit new patients.

Analysis: A Procedure That Cost $1,775 in New York Was $350 in Maryland. Here’s Why.

The state’s unique health system controls what hospitals can charge for services.

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Special Coverage

Postcard From East Hollywood

Children With Disabilities Face Special Back-to-School Challenges

For children with special needs returning to an L.A. classroom, mask-wearing is the least of their troubles.

‘Are You Going to Keep Me Safe?’ Hospital Workers Sound Alarm on Rising Violence

Health care workers already bore the brunt of workplace violence in the U.S. Now, tensions from an exhausting pandemic are spilling over into hospitals.


Read our latest coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.

Look Up Your California Hospital

Is it being penalized by Medicare?

Health Industry Wields Power in California’s High-Stakes Battle to Lower Health Care Costs

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to regulate out-of-control health care spending in California. The effort is being shaped by the very health industry players that would be regulated.

Medi-Cal Makeover

The state is embarking on a massive transformation of the program, which has been slammed for providing subpar care and limited access to specialty treatment. The goal is to improve health care quality and save money. Will it work?

Needle Exchanges Are Targets of Eco-Rooted Lawsuits. A New Law Will Stop That.


Asking Never Hurts

Asking Never Hurts

Wildfire smoke is here to stay. Here’s how to clean the air inside your home.


Illuminating the newsmakers and behind-the-scenes players who shape health care in California.

Picture of Health

Home Births Gain Popularity in ‘Baby Bust’ Decade

Over the past decade, California has seen a sustained rise in the proportion of people who opt to give birth at home or in midwife-run birthing centers rather than in a hospital. Covid has further fueled that trend.

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