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health care

A military doctor sets up surgical tools
Flickr Photo/US Army Africa (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/RRummb

Andy Hurst talks with Politico editor Arthur Allen about a new report from the Pentagon that found massive problems with the U.S. military's effort to modernize health records. 

KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

It sometimes seems as if author Barbara Ehrenreich has seen it all and done it all. From “Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers” to “Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything,” the scope of her writing has been vast.

One July evening a few years ago, Carol Harnett was in a crosswalk in downtown Portland, Ore., when a driver made an illegal turn and hit her.

Transported by ambulance to a hospital, Harnett, who is president of the nonprofit Council for Disability Awareness, was diagnosed with a severely sprained right ankle and left wrist, as well as a concussion.

At the emergency room, doctors gave her steel-reinforced braces for her wrist and ankle and told her she was free to go.

The woman arrived at the emergency department gasping for air, her severe emphysema causing such shortness of breath that the physician who examined her immediately put her on a ventilator to help her breathe.

The patient lived across the street from that suburban Denver ER. The facility wasn't physically located at a hospital, says Dr. David Friedenson, the physician who took care of her that day. But it was affiliated with a hospital several miles away — North Suburban Medical Center.

A New Jersey Air National Guard member checks the blood pressure of a homeless veteran
Flickr Photo/New Jersey National Guard (CC-BY-ND-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/TDycb7

Kim Malcolm talks with Marine Corps veteran Josh Penner and Navy veteran Rebecca Murch about the potential impact of privatizing healthcare services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos (CC-BY-SA-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/22ZC4Jx

Last week, KUOW listener Carole Glickfeld reached out to us with a story.

She had come down with walking pneumonia. “I was very weak, feverish, I felt like it was the end of the world,” Glickfeld said.

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.

Screenshot TV-W

Immigrants without legal status are not eligible for government healthcare plans, like Medicaid.

More than a dozen Washington lawmakers want to create a program to cover some of these immigrants' reproductive healthcare needs, including abortion, birth control and family planning.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Swedish Health Services for allegedly refusing surgery to a transgender man.

The life expectancy of Native Americans in some states is 20 years shorter than the national average.

There are many reasons why.

Doctor
Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/bt29wL

Health insurance experts say the 2018 rates in the Affordable Care Act didn't have to be so expensive. And if a bill in Congress is approved, they won't be.

Patients receive dental care during the Seattle/King County Clinic on Thursday, October 26, 2017, at Key Arena in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

This week insurance companies in Washington announced their 2018 rates for individual health plans. On average, prices are going up 36 percent.

Some experts say it didn't have to be this high.

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

A bipartisan coalition of 24 senators — 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats — has signed on to health care legislation to prop up the individual insurance market and keep premiums down. With the expected support of all Senate Democrats, it could have the votes to pass the chamber. But questions remain over when it might actually get a vote, as well as whether President Trump and House Republicans would bring the bill over the finish line.

Washington Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray
U.S. Senate

Washington state’s U.S. senators were busy Tuesday.

Senator Patty Murray helped strike a bipartisan deal to avoid President Donald Trump's recently announced cuts to health insurance subsidies. 

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

Less than a week after President Trump said he is cutting off subsidies to health insurance companies, lawmakers announced Tuesday that they had a deal to restore the money and take other actions that could stabilize insurance markets for next year.

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday that is intended to provide more options for people shopping for health insurance. The president invoked his power of the pen after repeated Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, have failed.

"The competition will be staggering," Trump said. "Insurance companies will be fighting to get every single person signed up. And you will be, hopefully, negotiating, negotiating, negotiating. And you will get such low prices for such great care."

From left, Mark, Paxton and Cheryl Enstad pose for a portrait on Thursday, October 5, 2017, outside of the ACLU of Washington on 9th Ave., in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Paxton Enstad is 17 years old and loves to swim. He has many passions – art, baking, gingerbread sculpting – but he always loved to swim.

“When I was little I loved swimming. I would swim with my sister and my friends,” he said. “And then after puberty started I just completely stopped.”

FILE: Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell smiles as he leaves the chamber after announcing the release of the Republicans' health care bill Thursday, June 22, 2017.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Bill Radke talks to Mary Agnes Carey, senior correspondent covering health reform and federal health policy for Kaiser Health News, about how healthcare policy changes will affect patients. 

Health premiums for Washington state residents who buy into the state exchange can expect an average rise of 24 percent next year.

The proposal the Senate is considering that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would result in millions losing health insurance and a $133 billion reduction in the deficit by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office's report on the Graham-Cassidy legislation.

If Senate Republicans vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this week, it would affect the health care of pretty much every American.

Here's a recap of four key flash points in the health overhaul debate with links to NPR coverage over the past six months, and our chart laying out how the Graham-Cassidy bill under consideration in the Senate addresses those issues compared with the Affordable Care Act.

People who buy individual health insurance in Washington state can expect another round of rate hikes next year.

“I’d say double-digit [increases] are almost a certainty,” state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in an interview Thursday on TVW’s “Inside Olympia” program.

Republicans' complex health care calculations are coming down to simple math.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs 50 of the chamber's 52 Republicans to vote for a bill that aims to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act and drastically reshape the Medicaid system. McConnell's office is planning to bring the bill up for a vote next week.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel thwacked the latest Republican health care proposal Tuesday night after one of the senators sponsoring the bill invoked Kimmel's name.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., touted Tuesday on Capitol Hill that his plan passes the "Jimmy Kimmel test."

There's a chance Republicans wouldn't be so close to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act if former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania hadn't dropped into the Capitol barbershop this spring.

"I was up on the Hill, I happened to just go by the barbershop to see if I could get a haircut, and Lindsey was in the chair," Santorum said. "And Lindsey asked me what I was doing, and I thought to myself, 'Well, let me just bounce it off Lindsey.' "

The Capitol Hill health care fight sure seemed dead. After Republican proposals to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, failed to pass a Republican-controlled Congress, lawmakers looked poised to move on to other topics, like a tax overhaul. But this week, proposals from both the left and the right are grabbing headlines.

Hospice care is for the dying. It helps patients manage pain so they can focus on spending their remaining time with loved ones. But in recent years, nearly 1 in 5 patients has been discharged from hospice before he or she dies, according to government reports.

Senator Patty Murray in the KUOW offices, Jan. 2016.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Bill Radke talks to Sen. Patty Murray about the hearings she has planned with Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander. They hope to come up with a bipartisan fix to the Affordable Care Act. 

In a moment of unexpected high drama, Republicans were stymied once again in their effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act — and they have John McCain to thank for it.

In the early morning hours Friday, the senator showed why he earned the nickname "Maverick" over his long tenure.

Betting that thin is in — and might be the only way forward — Senate Republicans are eyeing a "skinny repeal" that would roll back an unpopular portion of the federal health law. But health policy analysts warn that the idea has been tried before, and with little success.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

In an emotional return to the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon, Sen. John McCain admonished the leaders of his party for how they managed the health care bill and called instead for "regular order."

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