Health

The editorially independent news organization delivers important coverage of health care policy and politics for older Americans.

Poll: Americans Favor Government Action on Drug Prices

Most Americans value the prescription products the drug industry produces, but they sure don’t like the prices and want the federal government to take action, according to a new survey. Just over half of Americans (54 percent) are currently taking a prescription drug. While most say their drugs are easy to afford, consumers in general (72 percent) believe drug costs are unreasonable, according to the poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent part of …

Congress Approves Bill Bolstering Medicare Patients’ Hospital Rights

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but have not been admitted to the hospital. It’s a distinction that’s easy to miss until patients are hit with big medical bills after a short stay. The vote follows overwhelming approval in the U. S. House of Representatives in March. The legislation is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama, said its House sponsor, …

New Regulations Would Require Modernizing Nursing Home Care

After nearly 30 years, the Obama administration wants to modernize the rules nursing homes must follow to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid payments. The hundreds of pages of proposed changes cover everything from meal times to use of antipsychotic drugs to staffing.  Some are required by the Affordable Care Act and other recent federal laws, as well as the president’s executive order directing agencies to simplify regulations and minimize the costs of compliance. “Today’s measures set high standards for quality …

Medicaid Expansion Helps Cut Rate of Older, Uninsured Adults From 12% to 8%

The health law’s expansion of Medicaid coverage to adults with incomes over the poverty line was key to reducing the uninsured rate among 50- to 64-year-olds from nearly 12 percent to 8 percent in 2014, according to a new analysis. “Clearly most of the gains in coverage were in Medicaid or non-group coverage,” says study coauthor Jane Sung, a senior strategic policy adviser at the AARP Public Policy Institute, which conducted the study with the Urban Institute. Under the health …

Medicare Itemizes Its $103 Billion Drug Bill

The federal government popped the cap off drug spending on April 30, detailing doctor-by-doctor and drug-by-drug how Medicare and its beneficiaries spent $103 billion on pharmaceuticals in 2013. The data show that 14 drugs cost the federal government and Medicare beneficiaries more than $1 billion each, accounting for nearly a quarter of Medicare prescription drug spending in 2013. Most of those drugs are used to treat chronic conditions that plague the elderly, including diabetes, depression, high cholesterol and blood pressure, …

Family and Medical Leave Rights Expanded to All Legally Married Couples

Starting March 27, legally married same-sex couples will be able to take unpaid time off to care for a spouse or sick family members even if they live in a state that doesn’t recognize their marriage. The final rule issued by the Department of Labor revises the definition of “spouse” in the Family and Medical Leave Act to recognize legally married same-sex couples regardless of where they live. Prior to that, only couples that lived in a state that recognized …