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Kaiser Health News

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

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Those Left Out of Medicaid Expansion Won’t Be Penalized … Or Insured

Posted on 06/28/2013 by | Health | Comments

Bulletin Today | PoliticsBy Alvin Tran, Kaiser Health News Low-income Americans who live in states that have decided not to expand Medicaid eligibility will not face penalties if they fail to buy insurance next year. Discussion: 78 million consumers saved $3.4 billion on ACA-provisioned health insurance That’s according to a final rule on exemptions to the health law’s individual mandate – the law’s controversial requirement that most Americans have health coverage or pay a penalty in 2014. That rule was published Wednesday. The health …

40,000 Health Apps: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted on 06/19/2013 by | Health | Comments

Bulletin Today | TechnologyChristine Porter is hooked on the My Fitness Pal app. In October, after deciding to lose 50 pounds, Porter started typing in everything she eats, drinks and any exercise she gets. “This is like my main page here,” says Porter, who lost 42 pounds in nine months. “It’s telling me I have about 1,200 calories remaining for the day. When I want to record something I just click the ‘add to diary’ button. I’m on it all day either through my …

How to Cut $200 Billion in Health Care Costs

Posted on 06/19/2013 by | Health | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsBy Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News The U.S. spends $200 billion each year — about 8 percent of the nation’s health care tab — on medical care stemming from improper or unnecessary use of prescription drugs, a new report out Wednesday says. Much of those costs result from unneeded hospitalizations or doctor visits, according to the study by the IMS Health’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics, which provides data and other consulting services to the health care industry. Medical costs are driven …

Organ Donor? Tell All Your Friends on Facebook

Posted on 06/18/2013 by | Health | Comments

Bulletin Today | TechnologyBy Ankita Rao, Kaiser Health News Toni Lewis-Bennett remembers hesitating when she was asked to be an organ donor while applying for her driver’s license. But years later, when a friend at work became sick, she got tested to see if she could donate her kidney to save his life. And with a green light from doctors, there was no question in her mind that she would go through with the transplant. “I felt honored to be able to do …

Could a Smartphone Save Your Life?

Posted on 06/17/2013 by | Health | Comments

Bulletin Today | TechnologyBy Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio, Kaiser Health News It’s one of those unhappy holiday surprises — a visiting family member gets sick. That happened to Dr. Farzad Mostashari last Thanksgiving. “My dad comes downstairs and he has acute pain in his eye where he had cataract surgery. And I said, ‘What’s the matter, what’s the story?’” recalled Mostashari, who lives in Bethesda, Md. “And he said, ‘Well, I think they put the wrong lens in my eye, I’d gone …

Are Brand Name Drugs Driving Up Medicare Spending?

Posted on 06/11/2013 by | Health | Comments

Bulletin Today | PoliticsBy Ankita Rao, Staff Writer, Kaiser Health News A new study suggests that cash-strapped Medicare missed an opportunity to save more than $1 billion by not addressing the varying costs and use of prescription drugs. “The main issue, and the only way to fix this, is to change what physicians are doing,” said Dr. Walid Gellad, a lead author and internist with the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and the University of Pittsburgh. Physicians in the VA system follow an approval …