Latest California Healthline Stories
A 2017 law designed to help lower the cost of hearing aids mandated that federal officials set rules for a new class of devices consumers could buy without needing to see an audiologist. But those regulations are still on hold.
Kaiser Health News gives readers a chance to comment on a recent batch of stories.
Nursing home operators acknowledge that large numbers of staff members are not getting the shots but fear a federal vaccination mandate could drive away workers in a tight labor market.
As the delta variant continues to spread around the U.S., the Biden administration is taking steps to authorize covid vaccine boosters, require nursing home workers to be vaccinated and protect school officials who want to require masks despite state laws banning those mandates. Meanwhile, the U.S. House is returning from its summer break early to start work on its giant budget bill, which includes a long list of health policy changes. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.
The U.S. Senate worked well into its scheduled August recess to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget blueprint that outlines a much larger bill — covering key health priorities — to be written this fall. Meanwhile, the latest surge of covid is making both employers and schools rethink their opening plans. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Yasmeen Abutaleb of The Washington Post join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.
When the program began half a century ago, backers believed the benefits would expand over time, but politics and concerns about money have stymied most efforts. Now congressional Democrats are looking to add vision, dental and hearing care.
The Medicare rule, designed by the Trump administration to take money away from drug industry brokers and provide refunds to patients, has not been implemented. But budget analysts say if it were, it would cost the government money. So senators are pushing the rule aside and claiming to save billions of dollars, which they want to use instead on new projects.
Pharmaceutical companies routinely cover the cost of patient copays for expensive drugs under private insurance. A federal judge could make the practice legal for millions on Medicare as well.
Medicare has proposed revamping its payment rules to get more people into a diabetes prevention plan that helps them eat better, exercise more and maintain a healthier lifestyle. Out of an estimated 16 million Medicare beneficiaries whose excess weight and other risk factors make them eligible, only 3,600 have participated since 2018.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who is helping to negotiate the health care spending framework for the Democrats’ budget plan, said lawmakers may have to settle for very basic versions of programs deployed in the package. But the key, he added, is to get the “architecture of these changes, bold changes,” started and show people what is possible.