Health

Health
10:06 am
Fri July 31, 2015

More Previously Uninsured Californians Got Coverage Under Obamacare

Enrollment counselor Vue Yang (left) reviews health insurance options for Laura San Nicolas (center), accompanied by her daughter, Geena, 17, at Sacramento Covered in Sacramento, Calif., in February.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Just over two-thirds of Californians who did not have health insurance before the Affordable Care Act went into full effect in 2014 are now covered, according to a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The newly insured are much less likely to say that paying for health care is a problem, compared to when they were uninsured.

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Health
3:37 pm
Thu July 30, 2015

Meet The California Family That Has Made Health Policy Its Business

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, (left) poses with his uncle, Philip Lee, and father Peter Lee (seated) at the younger Peter Lee's home in Pasadena, Calif., in 2013.
Gina Ferazzi LA Times via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 30, 2015 6:24 pm

If there's such a thing as the first family of health care, the Lees may be it.

Five decades ago, two brothers helped start Medicare. Their father inspired them and they, in turn, have inspired the next generation.

To mark the anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing Medicare into law on July 30, 1965, three Lees sat down to reflect on the U.S. health care system.

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Health
12:03 pm
Thu July 30, 2015

How A Beauty Queen With Diabetes Found Her 'Sugar Linings'

Sierra Sandison, Miss Idaho 2014, during the "Show Us Your Shoes" parade at the Miss America pageant.
Courtesy of The Miss America Organization

Originally published on Fri July 31, 2015 4:31 pm

Last July, a photo changed Sierra Sandison's life. She went onstage in the Miss Idaho pageant with an insulin pump clipped to her bikini bottom. The photo and the #ShowMeYourPump hashtag she created went viral on social media and became NPR's most popular online story of the year.

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Health
4:05 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

Doctors Devise A Better Way To Diagnose Shaken Baby Syndrome

Frustration with a crying baby can lead some parents and caregivers to shake a baby.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 30, 2015 10:30 am

To tell whether a baby has been injured or killed by being shaken, the courts use three hallmark symptoms: bleeding and swelling in the brain and retinal bleeding in the eyes. Along with other evidence, those standards are used to convict caregivers of abusive head trauma, both intentional and unintentional, that can result in blindness, seizures, severe brain damage or death.

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Health
2:10 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

Texting While Walking: Are You Cautious Or Clueless?

Good thing that coat is coffee-colored.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 30, 2015 3:53 pm

Do you roam city sidewalks with your nose buried in your phone, oblivious to what's going on around you? If so, you may want to look up and start paying attention.

Texting while walking decreases the ability to walk in a straight line and slows down pace significantly, according to a study published Wednesday in PLOS ONE. But this gait change may not be as dangerous as it sounds, the researchers say.

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Health
10:58 am
Wed July 29, 2015

Progress For Bill To Bolster Medicare Patients' Hospital Rights

Hospitals can call people who stay overnight outpatients, a classification that can have surprising financial consequences.
iStockphoto

The Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but haven't been admitted to the hospital as inpatients.

The distinction is easy for patients to miss — until they get hit with big medical bills after a short stay.

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Health
11:15 am
Tue July 28, 2015

Happy 50th Birthday, Medicare. Your Patients Are Getting Healthier

A Yale University study analyzed the experience of 60 million Americans covered by traditional Medicare between 1999 and 2013, and found "jaw-dropping improvements in almost every area," the lead author says.
Ann Cutting Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 30, 2015 8:49 am

Here's a bit of good news for Medicare, the popular government program that's turning 50 this week. Older Americans on Medicare are spending less time in the hospital; they're living longer; and the cost of a typical hospital stay has actually come down over the past 15 years, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Health
8:05 am
Tue July 28, 2015

Rehab Before Cancer Treatment Can Help Patients Bounce Back

Putting some work in ahead of cancer therapy can help speed up recovery afterward.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 29, 2015 1:09 pm

Cancer patients who do rehabilitation before they begin treatment may recover more quickly from surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, some cancer specialists say. But insurance coverage for cancer prehabilitation, as it's called, can be spotty, especially if the aim is to prevent problems rather than treat existing ones.

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Health
7:53 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

California Health Insurance Exchange Keeps Rate Hikes Low — Again

At sign-up events like this one in Los Angeles in 2013, Covered California pledged "affordability" in health insurance as one of its main selling points.
Lucy Nicholson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon July 27, 2015 8:04 pm

Monthly premiums for California's 1.3 million Covered California customers will rise a modest 4 percent, on average, officials with the agency said Monday. This increase is slightly less than last year's increase of 4.2 percent for consumers who bought policies on the state's health insurance marketplace.

Some consumers could even achieve a reduction in their premium, of an average of 4.5 percent, if they choose to shop around.

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Health
12:05 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

Experiment In Coordinated Care For Medicare Failed To Show Savings

Coordinating care for high-risk patients was expected to save money and improve quality of care. A Medicare experiment didn't pan out.
Roy Scott Getty Images/Ikon Images

A $57 million experiment to provide better, more efficient care at federally funded health centers struggled to meet its goals and is unlikely to save money, says a government report on the project.

The test to coordinate treatment for high-risk Medicare patients in hundreds of communities was one of many demonstrations run by the Department of Health and Human Services' innovation center.

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