health care

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Chris Costantini lay in a cold sweat, his shoulder dislocated after slipping on a porch in Kansas City, Kansas.

He’d been out alone, knocking on doors and rustling up voters for the upcoming midterms in October 2018. Now he waited for an ambulance, full of anxiety about how the injury could hinder his next performance at the Kansas City Ballet.

State Rep. Dylan Roberts (D-Avon) represents two counties on Colorado's Western Slope that face some of the highest health insurance costs in the state. So for his first two years in office, Roberts has been a key player on some of the biggest health care proposals coming out of the Capitol. His latest, which has bipartisan support, would create a new health insurance plan.

Even though Texas' prison population shrank this decade, the publicly funded costs to treat inmates' medical conditions continue to rise.

The state spent over $750 million on prison health care during the 2019 fiscal year, a 53% increase from seven years earlier, when that cost was less than $500 million.

We know the climate crisis affects public health. But what do those health impacts cost us?

Coloradans on both sides of the political aisle are celebrating the approval of a new reinsurance program that is expected to dramatically reduce health insurance premiums for some residents.

"By bringing down rates, we'll make a dent in the number of uninsured, and today we're really seeing the hard work we did this legislative session is coming to fruition," Gov. Jared Polis said last month.

Reinsurance is often described as insurance for insurance companies.

Updated 6:30 p.m.

The Trump administration has announced an ambitious plan to change treatment for kidney disease in the United States.

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday directing the Department of Health and Human Services to develop policies addressing three goals: reducing the number of patients developing kidney failure, reducing how many Americans get dialysis treatment at dialysis centers and making more kidneys available for transplant.

Nine nursing homes in Kansas and 14 in Missouri are among nearly 400 nationwide with a “persistent record of poor care” whose names had been withheld from the public, according to a U.S. Senate report released Monday.

The facilities are not included on a shorter list of homes that get increased federal scrutiny because of health, safety or sanitary problems.

When lawmakers ended this year’s legislative session, they had addressed their biggest goals: They tamped down property taxes, overhauled school finance laws and gave teachers a pay raise. By various measures, the session was a success.

To health care advocates in the state, however, it was a missed opportunity.

About 146,000 fewer children in Texas were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program between the end of 2017 and the end of 2018, according to a study released Thursday by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured women between the ages of 18 to 44, according to a new study from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

A week ago, the Kansas legislative session concluded with Democrats and moderate Republicans mounting one last stand for a decisive vote on Medicaid expansion. It didn’t work. Nor did lawmakers ultimately consider a proposal to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Kansans. That had been a top priority for first-term House Democrat Brandon Woodard of Lenexa. As the session wound down, Woodard told Jim McLean of the Kansas News Service, it was disappointing, but not defeating.

A deal to clear the way for Medicaid expansion next year that some Kansas lawmakers thought they had brokered in the waning hours of their just-finished legislative session appears to be unraveling.

Instead, the conservative leaders and moderate rank-and-file Republicans find themselves splitting in an intra-party fight.

Patients who are fed up with the bureaucracy of the health insurance industry are ditching the copays and high deductibles for a different way to get primary care.

One such patient is self-employed attorney Dan Hobart, who struggled to find insurance because of his pre-existing conditions. Even after Affordable Care Act went into effect, doctor visits were still too costly for him to get the care he needed.

Doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital say a change in the distribution of livers across the country could result in Kansans waiting longer for life-saving transplants.

So they’re backing a bill in the Kansas Legislature that would allow residents who donate their organs to specify whether they want them used to benefit Kansas transplant patients.

“The purpose of the Kansas Donor Rights act is to bring the conversation to the forefront,” said Sean Kumer, a liver transplant surgeon at KU.

Consumer advocates and health insurers are pushing Texas lawmakers to address surprise medical bills during this year’s legislative session.

The word audacious has a double meaning.

Depending on whom you talk to, either definition might apply to the way the Kansas Farm Bureau is proposing to rescue farmers and ranchers priced out of the health insurance marketplace set up under the federal Affordable Care Act.

It’s either a bold and daring move. Or, it’s presumptuous, bordering on brazen.

The powerful ag lobbying organization is petitioning lawmakers for what amounts to carte blanche authority to develop and market health coverage free of state and federal oversight.

Health care is emerging as a top priority for both Democratic and Republicans at the State Capitol this session, and some of the proposed legislation is already packing hearing rooms.

One of the bills would add autism to a list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana. Similar legislation was vetoed by former Gov. John Hickenlooper last year.

Colorado’s new legislative session is underway, with Democrats in charge of both chambers and the governor’s office. Blue control might be a game changer for health care legislation. Before, it was a stalemate. Democrats controlled the House and blocked Republican bills. The GOP controlled the Senate and blocked Democratic bills.

Andrea Hernandez ended up in a McAllen hospital after a drunken driver hit the car she was in.

“I basically got amnesia because of how hard I hit my head,” the 22-year-old says.

Like many families in Texas, Hernandez’s family is from Mexico. Her father speaks only Spanish, so she says it was valuable that her doctor was from Mexico and spoke Spanish, too.

With less than two weeks of open enrollment left, Austin nonprofit Foundation Communities says it's reporting a noticeable decline in the number of Latinos signing up for health insurance through healthcare.gov, the federal insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.

After a decade of improvement, a new study suggests the rate of uninsured children is increasing in Oklahoma.

Kansas has agreed to cover the cost of drugs to treat Medicaid patients with chronic hepatitis C without subjecting them to a lengthy list of requirements.

A legal settlement, which awaits final court approval, resolves a class action lawsuit alleging the state made it too difficult for hepatitis C patients to receive the potentially life-saving treatments.

Emergency room nurse Nathan Craft and his wife Annie don’t expect anything to be easy as they pull up stakes for the next two years. The RV they remodeled will be tight quarters for them and their two preschool-age kids. And there’s a certain amount of stress in not knowing where they’re going to set down next.

The Nebraska Department of Insurance wants to hear your questions and concerns, so once again they are holding listening sessions throughout the state beginning the first week of October.  

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Texas and Oklahoma were among non-Medicaid expansion states with the highest rates of uninsured adults, especially those living in rural areas. Meanwhile, that rate in Kansas and Nebraska were among the lowest.

A prescription drug monitoring program in Kansas will receive a federal grant worth more than $736,000 to expand.

The Kansas Board of Pharmacy oversees K-TRACS, a system for monitoring prescriptions for controlled substances.

Kansans seeking health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s federally run exchange will have the choice of three insurers in 2019.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer said in a statement that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Medica Insurance Co. and Ambetter from Sunflower Health Plan will offer 23 separate plans for individuals through HealthCare.gov, the federal government exchange.

More children are being born at hospitals that help mothers start breastfeeding, as well as teaching them the health benefits.

The trend is national, but Kansas is ahead of the curve. Forty percent of babies here are born in hospitals recognized for their efforts to support breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding protects against diseases, so the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it for the first six months of life.

For the second six months, it recommends continuing that while introducing babies to other foods.

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