KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Despite Booming Economy, Uninsured Rate Ticks Up

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The annual report from the Census Bureau, launched this week, discovered that 27.5 million Americans had been with out medical health insurance final yr, a rise of almost 2 million from 2017. The zero.5 proportion level enhance within the uninsured price — to eight.5% — was the primary in a decade and got here as unemployment and different financial indicators have been good.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration signaled that it’s shifting to ban flavored vaping liquid utilized in e-cigarettes. Companies making the merchandise have been accused of promoting to underage customers with flavors like mango and bubble gum.

And Congress is again from its summer season break, with laws to handle rising prescription drug costs and shock medical payments nonetheless on the agenda.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

The Census Bureau’s report this week defied normal financial fashions. Normally, the extra folks employed, the extra folks insured. Health advocates blame quite a lot of actions by the Trump administration for the decrease price of insured Americans. Those embrace insurance policies meant to discourage folks from staying on or signing up for Medicaid; the elimination of the tax penalty for not having protection; and the announcement that immigrants’ use of public advantages comparable to Medicaid might have an effect on their means to get a inexperienced card permitting them to stay and work within the U.S. The greatest shock within the Census Bureau report was the rise in youngsters with out insurance coverage. Coverage for teenagers has usually been a bipartisan aim on Capitol Hill. It’s not clear what precipitated that drop. It might simply be a results of variations in how the survey was carried out, or it might be one other signal of immigrants fearful about whether or not utilizing public insurance coverage might result in their deportation. The administration’s announcement that it’s shifting ahead on a ban of flavored vaping merchandise comes as worries develop amongst mother and father and public well being officers about an epidemic of lung issues across the nation. Among these fearful mother and father is first woman Melania Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems to be inching nearer to releasing her plan to curb excessive drug costs. It’s not clear but whether or not President Donald Trump will signal on to her effort. But Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is looking for help for his extra modest plan as a substitute, arguing to his Republican colleagues that in the event that they don’t stand with him, they might be pressured to simply accept Pelosi’s laws if she manages to make a take care of the president. Opponents of among the laws to curb shock medical payments seem to have made progress over Congress’ August recess with a serious promoting marketing campaign saying the measures would harm native hospitals and medical doctors. Advocates say the laws just isn’t lifeless, however the robust momentum it had is waning.

Plus, for further credit score, the panelists suggest their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they assume it’s best to learn, too:

Julie Rovner:’s “This life-threatening pregnancy complication is the next frontier in the abortion debate,” by Anna North

Joanne Kenen: The New York Times’ “Nursing Homes Are a Breeding Ground for a Fatal Fungus,” by Matt Richtel and Andrew Jacobs

Rebecca Adams: Kaiser Health News’ “‘UVA Has Ruined Us’: Health System Sues Thousands Of Patients, Seizing Paychecks And Claiming Homes,” by Jay Hancock and Elizabeth Lucas

Tami Luhby: The New York Times’ “Bernie Sanders Went to Canada, and a Dream of ‘Medicare for All’ Flourished,” by Sydney Ember

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