health care

Health Care
3:32 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Time To Get Out Of The High-Risk Health Insurance Pool?

High-deductible "last resort" health plans have been the only option for some folks with pre-existing conditions. No more.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 3:16 pm

The online health insurance marketplaces can't open soon enough for Chris and Kristi Petersen. Enrolled in the Iowa high-risk insurance pool because insurers on the private market won't cover them, the couple pays more than $1,300 each month for a plan with a $2,500 annual deductible and a 20 percent copay for medical services. It's more than they can afford.

"At the end of this year, these exchanges are either going to have to offer some relief, or I'm just going to quit working and let the welfare take care of us," says Chris. "I'm fed up with it. I'm fed up with insurance."

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Health Care
7:28 am
Fri July 19, 2013

White House Muddles Obamacare Messaging — Again

President Obama walks off the stage after speaking about the Affordable Care Act during an event in the East Room of the White House on Thursday. Obama argued that the law is holding insurance companies accountable and putting money back into the pockets of consumers.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 6:13 am

This summer was supposed to be a time to reintroduce the public to the Affordable Care Act and teach people how to sign up for benefits this fall.

But that's not what's happening.

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Medicine
5:36 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Doctors Heed Prescription For Computerized Records

Heather Garris, a custodian of medical records, organizes patients' files at Colorado Springs Internal Medicine in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Barry Gutierrez for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 9:39 am

Uncle Sam wants your doctor to go digital. And the federal government is backing that up with money for practices that start using computerized systems for record keeping.

Nearly half of all physicians in America still rely on paper records for most patient care. Time is running out for those who do to take advantage of federal funds to make the switch. So practices like Colorado Springs Internal Medicine are scrambling to get with the program.

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Health Care
11:21 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Palm Beach County Expands Drug Take-Back Program

Twenty-two drop boxes like this one give Palm Beach County residents places to safely dispose of their old prescription medications.
Credit C. DiMattei

Palm Beach County wants your drugs.

Actually, the county only wants the medications taking up space in your bathroom cabinet, the ones that might end up in the wrong hands. 

At first glance, the receptacles cropping up all over Palm Beach County look like the donation bins that collect old clothes for charity.  But printed on the front of each drop-off box is the urgent instruction to “Deposit Your Unwanted Prescription Drugs Here!” 

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Health Care
8:39 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Messy Rollout Of Health Law Echoes Medicare Drug Expansion

Back in 2006, President Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt talked with reporters during a trip to Florida, where Bush spoke to volunteers helping seniors sign up for the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Mike Stocker AP

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 5:13 am

It hasn't been a good week for the Affordable Care Act. After announcements by the administration of several delays of key portions of the law, Republicans returned to Capitol Hill and began piling on.

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Health Care
6:41 am
Mon July 1, 2013

You Ask, We Answer: Demystifying The Affordable Care Act

Families soon will be able to sign up for new health insurance options through the Affordable Care Act. In Washington, D.C., Dr. Cheryl Focht of Mary's Center performs a checkup of Jayson Gonzalez, 16, while his mother, Elizabeth Lopez, looks on.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 10:25 am

The biggest changes in health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act are set to begin less than three months from now. Oct. 1 is when people can start signing up for coverage in new state health exchanges. The policies would kick in on Jan. 1, 2014.

It can all be a little confusing, we agree. So two weeks ago, we asked what you wanted to know about the health law.

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Health Care
4:12 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Outreach For New Health Insurance Exchanges Targets Latinos

Elva Jaldin, a promotora, talks with Andrea Velandia about health. Soon Jaldin will help women like Velandia sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Jenny Gold

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 6:05 pm

Andrea Velandia, 29, is just the sort of person the architects of the new health insurance marketplaces had in mind when they were thinking about future customers.

She's young, in good health, uninsured and Latino.

"We're very healthy. We don't have many issues," she says of her family. For the most part, she and her husband avoid the health system. "It's very expensive to go to the doctor to get a regular checkup," she says. "And you only have an option to go to the emergency room, which is even more expensive."

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Health Care
10:45 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Top Medicare Prescribers Rake In Speaking Fees From Drugmakers

How does the doctor decide what to write on the prescription pad?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 5:38 pm

When the blood pressure drug Bystolic hit the market in 2008, it faced a crowded field of cheap generics.

So its maker, Forest Laboratories, launched a promotional assault on the group in the best position to determine Bystolic's success: those in control of prescription pads. It flooded the offices of health professionals with drug reps, and it hired doctors to persuade their peers to choose Bystolic — even though the drug hadn't proved more effective than competitors.

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Health Care
4:17 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Could LeBron And RGIII Help Sell The Affordable Care Act?

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III already promotes Subway sandwiches. Will health insurance be next?
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 5:26 pm

Who's going to be more successful at selling health insurance to young men this fall: NBA MVP LeBron James, NFL rookie of the year Robert Griffin III, or Mom? If officials at the Department of Health and Human Services get their way, all may be drafted.

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Health Care
12:15 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

With Health Exchanges Poised To Open, PR Push Draws Scrutiny

In San Jose, Calif., on June 6, President Obama encouraged people to sign up for insurance in the nation's largest health insurance market.
Stephen Lam Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 9:07 pm

This weekend marks 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes.

But like everything else about the health law, even this seemingly innocuous effort has been touched by controversy.

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Health Care
11:20 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Scammers Find Fertile Ground In Health Law

Confusion over the details of the new health care law is leaving many people vulnerable to con artists. Evelyne Lois Such, 86, was recently the target of an attempted scam.
Matt Nager for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 10:18 am

One recent morning, Evelyne Lois Such was sitting at her kitchen table in Denver when the phone rang. Such, who's 86, didn't recognize the phone number or the deep voice on the other end of the line.

"He asked, 'Are you a senior?' and I said yes, and he said, 'Well, we are sending out all new Medicare cards, and I want to make sure I have all your statistics just correct,' " Such recalls.

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Community Contributor
2:01 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Unlike Most States, Florida Forbids Nurse Practitioners From Prescribing Some Drugs

Florida law restricts nurse practitioners from prescribing all kinds of medicine.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Once upon a time, nurses were not allowed to take blood pressure – only the doctor could do that. Times change.

  But they haven’t changed enough. For 19 years, nurse practitioners in Florida have tried to get the right to practice to the full extent of our education and capability, which includes prescribing scheduled substances. So far, our efforts have been fruitless.

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Roe V. Wade
8:32 am
Tue January 22, 2013

'Roe V. Wade' Turns 40, But Abortion Debate Is Even Older

While the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision of Jan. 22, 1973, is usually considered the start of the abortion debate, the move to relax state abortion laws began with medical and law professionals in the 1960s. Here, Eunice Kennedy Shriver and doctors from Johns Hopkins University and the Harvard Divinity School announce the International Conference on Abortion on Aug. 9, 1967.
Bob Daugherty AP

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 3:57 pm

Jan. 22, 2013, marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

But the conventional wisdom that the court's 7-2 decision marked the beginning of a contentious battle that still rages today is not the case, according to those on both sides of the dispute.

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