Health Care

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

It’s hard to get basic health care like shots and x-rays in rural Oklahoma. The federal government considers all but one of the state’s 77 counties to have a primary care shortage. The problem is driving a legislative effort to allow highly educated nurses to fill that gap — but doctors and nurse practitioners are butting heads on who is qualified to help.

Lindsi Walker sits behind a glossy wooden desk at Cordell Memorial, a hospital on Oklahoma’s western plains. She’s surrounded by pictures of her family — a stethoscope hangs around her neck.

Richard Klein switched doctors last year. The new doctor put him on a new blood pressure drug.

But it didn't help.

The failure was entirely predictable.

Klein, an associate professor at Florida International University in Miami, realized later that he had tried the same medicine unsuccessfully a few years before, but he hadn't remembered that fact during the appointment.

It was an understandable mistake for Klein and his doctor.

Comprehensive health care coverage for more than 800,000 low-income people in New York and Minnesota, who pay a fraction of the typical cost of a marketplace plan, may be in jeopardy after the federal government partially cut funding this year.

Updated at 11:17 a.m. ET

Health care costs are "a hungry tapeworm on the American economy," Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett says, and now his firm is teaming up with Amazon and JPMorgan Chase to create a new company with the goal of providing high-quality health care for their U.S. employees at a lower cost.

Updated at 12:39 p.m. ET

Health care workers who want to refuse to treat patients because of religious or moral beliefs will have a new defender in the Trump administration.

The top civil rights official at the Department of Health and Human Services is creating the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom to protect doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to take part in procedures like abortion or treat certain people because of moral or religious objections.

Over President Trump's first year in office, the U.S. underwent some changes that he would probably cheer. The economy continued strengthening (including, yes, the stock market, as the president likes to emphasize) and the number of people apprehended while trying to enter the country illegally fell sharply. However, some changes are less promising: The nation's carbon dioxide emissions rose, and the amount of student debt grew by $47 billion.

We have put together a wide variety of statistics to show how the U.S. has changed in the past year.

The Senate returns Wednesday, and President Trump made his way back to Washington on Monday after lying fairly low to end the year in Palm Beach, Fla., at his personal resort.

His first year was a mixed bag of legislative accomplishments (tax overhaul) and failures (health care), the book is still out on his foreign policy posture, and the Russia probe continues.

So what should we expect in 2018? There are four areas of domestic policy the president is particularly focused on, according to the White House — immigration, infrastructure, welfare and health care.

Despite some last-minute challenges, Republicans appear to have the votes to give President Trump his first legislative victory.

Final passage of the bill that will reshape the tax system and touch nearly every American is expected early this week, possibly Tuesday or Wednesday.

It will be Trump's first significant legislative accomplishment, not a bad Christmas gift for a president, who often boasts of lesser successes.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

After her divorce, Lori Taylor wanted a home all her own. She moved back to Oklahoma to be near her aging parents, but she had a problem. For years her personal caregiver had been her now ex-husband.

“I have cerebral palsy and that’s brain damage that I incurred at birth, and it affects my motor skills. I’m confined to an electric wheelchair. I can stand but I can’t walk, I have very limited use of my arms,” Taylor says, sitting in the living room of her Norman apartment.

There's new — and shocking — evidence about the toll that health care costs are taking on the world's most vulnerable.

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