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"This is the chance. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said the speaker, roving the stage with a wireless mic, gesturing at both the audience in front of him and the PowerPoint presentation behind him.

TED Talk? Late-night infomercial? Nope — it was House Speaker Paul Ryan, making a hard pitch for his health care plan after a week of loud conservative criticism.

On International Women’s Day, some women walked out of their workspaces or wore the color red in solidarity. Women in the Washington Senate showed off their scarlet themed wardrobes, but didn’t travel too far. Instead, they helped pass legislation supporting pregnant working women in Washington.

A bill requiring hospitals to inform patients they may be eligible for charity care has passed the Washington State House Thursday.

By law, Washington hospitals can’t turn away people seeking emergency care because they’re not able to pay. The law also requires hospitals to screen low income patients to see if they’re eligible for charity care. 


This spring and summer may be a doozy for Lyme disease, at least in parts of the Northeast.

"We're anticipating 2017 to be a particularly risky year for Lyme," says Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York.

Ostfeld has been studying the debilitating tick-borne disease for more than 20 years, and has developed an early warning system based on mice. For more on that, check out the piece in our sister blog, Goats and Soda.

In the last three years, 33 U.S. states have passed laws aimed at helping dying people get easier access to experimental treatments that are still in the early stages of human testing. Supporters say these patients are just looking for the right to try these treatments.

Such laws sound compassionate, but medical ethicists warn they pose worrisome risks to the health and finances of vulnerable patients.

At a conference in Brussels on Thursday, more than a dozen nations and private funders pledged a combined total of $190 million for international family planning charities that stand to lose their U.S. support as a result of President Trump's Jan. 23 executive action to block U.S. foreign aid funding of groups linked to abortion.

Brothers Galen and Arthur Emery at KUOW.
KUOW Photo/Matt Martin

What should you do if a loved one is contemplating killing themselves? It’s a scary thought — and one most people aren’t prepared to answer.

What a new soda tax could mean for Seattle

Feb 27, 2017
FLICKR PHOTO/Mike Mozart(CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JDwKS6

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about a new proposal to tax soda and other sugary drinks in Seattle.

Amy Radil

Being a Daffodil Princess in Pierce County is not about winning a pageant. Kelty Pierce, 19, is emphatic on that point.

In recent days, several Republican lawmakers have faced crowds of constituents at town hall meetings around the country who are angry that they may be in danger of losing their health coverage.

Swedish Hospital's facility on Seattle's First Hill.
Flickr Photo/Matthew Rutledge (CC BY 2.0)

Bill Radke talks to Mike Baker, investigative reporter for The Seattle Times about his investigation into the high volume of surgeries in the neurosurgery department at Swedish's Cherry Hill facility. He documented his findings in a report called "Quality of Care" published in The Seattle Times. 

Welcome to the bat cave. No, we're not talking about the secret headquarters of a superhero.

This is Gomantong — an ancient cave carved out of 20 million-year-old limestone in the middle of the Borneo rain forest in Malaysia. It's part of a vast network of tunnels and caverns. And it's the perfect hideout for bats.

Up at the top are millions of bats. Literally millions. They hang upside down all day long from the cave's ceiling, sleeping and pooping.

Neon Sugar
FLICKR PHOTO/Adam Engelhart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/fqv6q

A friend might try to talk you out of smoking cigarettes or your alcohol consumption, but would they criticize your sugar habit? What if they knew that not long ago scientists were paid to proclaim the dangers of fat when the facts pointed to sugar and carbohydrates?

A display in Olympia honors deaths by suicide in Washington. The red markers are suicides by gun.
Courtesy of Jo Arlow Photography

Bill Radke speaks with Jennifer Stuber, an associate professor at the University of Washington and co-founder of Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention. February 16 is Suicide Prevention Education Day and Stuber has worked with the Washington legislature to try and craft bills to help prevent suicide, especially those committed with guns. She discusses an unlikely alliance with the NRA and how she wants to erase the stigmas around suicide. 

Americans say they're feeling more stress, according to a survey released Wednesday by the American Psychological Association.

Americans rated their stress higher in January compared to last August, increasing from 4.8 to 5.1 on a 10-point scale. That's the first significant increase in the 10 years that the association has been doing these polls.

Bill Gates, Co-Chair the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation shows a vaccine during a press conference in 2011.
Flickr Photo/UN Geneva (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9Jn7Rj

Deborah Wang talks with Geekwire co-founder Todd Bishop about how Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation are spending the $30 billion gift from billionaire Warren Buffett.

M. Lorena González
KUOW Photo/Meghan Walker

New moms and dads who work for the city of Seattle will now be allowed 12 weeks of paid leave. The City Council unanimously adopted a new parental leave policy Monday with the support of Mayor Ed Murray.

Supporters say expanding the paid parental leave law is a step toward closing the gender pay-gap.


A suburban Portland fire district has a valentine for potential heart attack victims. And if it makes hearts un-flutter, you could see the messages shared more widely across the region and country in coming years via a lifesaving smartphone app.

You won’t have to worry about unclear labels on any pot-infused sweets in Washington state after Valentine’s Day. A rule to help keep children from getting more than just a sugar high goes into full effect Tuesday.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has opened an inquiry into potential abuses of the Orphan Drug Act that may have contributed to high prices on commonly used drugs.

In a statement, Grassley said the inquiry is "based on reporting from Kaiser Health News" and strong consumer concern about high drug prices.

"My staff is meeting with interested groups and other Senate staff to get their views on the extent of the problem and how we might fix it," Grassley wrote.

The Senate confirmed Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., early Friday as the new secretary of Health and Human Services.

He was approved by a party-line vote of 52-47. Democrats were concerned that the conservative congressman wants to pare down government health programs. They were also troubled by lingering ethics questions over Price's investments.

After President Trump blocked U.S. aid money from supporting any group that provides or "promotes" abortion in other countries, The Netherlands announced it would launch a fundraising initiative to support any affected organizations.

Now, several other countries — including Sweden, Finland, Belgium and Canada — have signaled their participation.

Ten thousand years ago, at the dawn of the agricultural revolution, many of our worst infectious diseases didn't exist.

Here's what changed.

Seattle & King County Public Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin
KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell

Emily Fox speaks with Dr. Jeff Duchin, public health officer for Public Health-Seattle and King County, about how ending the Affordable Care Act will impact people of color.

This story is part one of a two-part investigation. Read part two here.

Ellen Bethea sat alongside her husband's hospital bed after doctors told her that Archie, the man she had been married to for almost five decades, wouldn't make it.

"As soon as everybody else was asleep and I was sitting there with him, he passed on," she remembers. "So I think he kind of waited for me to be with him."

Women with breast cancer who are at high risk for having a BRCA mutation that raises cancer risk often don't get genetic testing, or even a chance to speak with a genetic counselor who'd help them weigh the necessity of such a test, a study finds.

A widely used blood test to measure blood-sugar trends can give imprecise results, depending on a person's race and other factors. This test means diabetes can sometimes be misdiagnosed or managed poorly.

Doctors have been cautioned before that results from the A1C test don't have pinpoint accuracy. A study published Tuesday underscores that shortcoming as it applies to people who carry the sickle cell trait.

Everyone expects Congress to change the Affordable Care Act, but no one knows exactly how.

The uncertainty has one group of people, the homeless, especially concerned. Many received health coverage for the first time under Obamacare; now they're worried it will disappear.

Joseph Funn, homeless for almost 20 years, says his body took a beating while he lived on the street.

Now, he sees nurse practitioner Amber Richert fairly regularly at the Health Care for the Homeless clinic in Baltimore.

The innovation of synthetic fleece has allowed many outdoor enthusiasts to hike with warmth and comfort. But what many of these fleece-wearing nature lovers don't know is that each wash of their jackets and pullovers releases thousands of microscopic plastic fibers, or microfibers, into the environment — from their favorite national park to agricultural lands to waters with fish that make it back onto our plates.

This has scientists wondering: Are we eating our sweaters' synthetic microfibers?

There's a moment in the Broadway musical Hamilton where George Washington says to an exasperated Alexander Hamilton: "Winning is easy, young man. Governing's harder."

When it comes to health care, it seems that President Trump is learning that same lesson. Trump and Republicans in Congress are struggling with how to keep their double-edged campaign promise — to repeal Obamacare without leaving millions of people without health insurance.

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