Millions of older adults struggle to make ends meet. They’re often faced with nearly impossible choices — food or medication; rent or a doctor visit. Some 9.2% of older adults were considered poor in 2017, according to the official poverty rate.
That’s an income of less than $11,756 per year to meet basic costs for food, housing, health care and transportation. Using a more realistic Supplemental Poverty Measure, even more older adults are considered poor, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Continue reading
The Trump administration has been talking tough on drug prices for many months and, of course, pharmaceutical companies and other organizations have pushed back because they mostly oppose controls on the free market for prescription drugs.
For health care journalists covering these proposals, it’s essential to remain skeptical of any group that offers support or opposition and, as always, follow the money. Continue reading
The Houston Chronicle’s Jenny Deam delved into emergency room billing – hospital facility fees as well as “upcoding,” which means categorizing relatively minor conditions as serious or even life-threatening ailments and charging a lot for them.
It raises costs to both the patient and the insurer. Continue reading
For quite a few years, many conservatives have argued that Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) should play a key role in market-oriented health reform. HSAs, the advocates say, enable people to have financial “skin in the game” and have the potential to encourage them to shop more smartly for health care services, bringing down spending. The counterargument is that they encouraged people to stint on health care, particularly preventive care. Continue reading
The first AHCJ conference I ever attended was in 2011 in Philadelphia. I had only recently learned about the organization and knew very little about it. I’d signed up for a field trip, but I had brought my 8-month-old with me and was up late the night before, so overslept and missed it.
When I actually got to the conference (my aunt watched my son), I caught the second half of a Thursday workshop with Ivan Oransky, M.D., (now AHCJ’s president) and Gary Schwitzer of HealthNewsReview.org on how to understand and responsibly report on medical studies. It was the session I would eventually end up leading myself years later. Continue reading
One question Julie Appleby posed to a panel she moderated on the high cost of prescription drugs was simple enough: Do drug pricing reform efforts promise consumer relief?
The answer from three experts Appleby assembled for a panel discussion at Health Journalism 2019 this month in Baltimore was that, yes, efforts in Congress could provide some relief and those efforts have bipartisan support. But, as with any pending legislation, the details in the final bills will matter. Also, of course, any bill needs to pass both houses and then President Trump would need to sign it. Continue reading