health care

Andrew Coates: A Near Miss

Apr 26, 2013

Many years back during my residency training, on my first overnight as the senior admitting resident, I got a call from an emergency physician at a tiny rural hospital. Her patient had pulmonary emboli -- blood clots to arteries of the lungs. She proposed to transfer the patient to our hospital, where closer monitoring would be available.

Andrew Coates: The Human Consequences of Austerity

Apr 22, 2013

I live in upstate New York. If you're hearing this, chances are you do too.

Blair Horner: President Obama's Budget

Apr 15, 2013

Last week, President Obama offered his plan for the federal budget.  According to the President, his proposed $3.7 trillion budget for 2014 would cut deficits by $1.8 trillion over the next decade.  The President’s plan includes a number of proposals, most notably: ending the “sequester” (that’s the current law that has automatically cut federal spending), reducing spending in the Medicare and Social Security programs, as well as tax increases that would primarily hit high-income households and corporations.

Andrew Coates: Medicare And Medicine As A Profession

Apr 12, 2013

Medicare is the publicly funded health benefit package that covers most necessary care for older Americans and people with disabilities.

The United States spends more on health care than any other nation on earth.  Yet, the U.S. has some of the worst health care outcomes of any nation in the developed world.  Why is that?  It’s due to the tortured way the nation runs its system.

Blair Horner: Health Inequality Grows

Mar 18, 2013

It’s well established that the income gap between rich and poor in America has increased over the past few decades.  Income inequality among developed nations is highest in the United States.  Most of the growth in this inequality has been between the middle class and top earners, with the disparity becoming more extreme the further one goes up in income.

In Albany today, state legislators, patient advocates, labor leaders, and health care professionals unveiled a new proposal for government funded, universal, single-payer statewide health insurance.

WAMC’s Patrick Donges spoke today with New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Democrat of Manhattan’s 75th district, sponsor of the bill and chair of the Assembly Health Committee.

Marlith/Wikimedia

A Vermont House committee has reversed itself and approved a penny-an-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to pay for health care subsidies, but the idea still appears to have a bumpy road ahead.

The House Health Care Committee had defeated the measure on a 5-5 tie vote on Friday. But on Wednesday, the panel voted in two 7-4 tallies to advance the measure.

Marlith/Wikimedia

A Vermont House committee has killed legislation that would have levied a new tax on sugary soft drinks.

In a move that drew the comment "Holy Smokes!" from a member of the Senate Health and Welfare committee, the House panel voted 5-5 on the measure. The tie vote killed the bill the committee had spent weeks drafting.

The money would pay for public health education and to help smooth the transition to a health care overhaul.

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts will begin offering stand-alone dental plans for children and adults through the state's Health Connector starting next year.

State health officials say making dental care more readily available will improve the overall health of Massachusetts residents.

Dental coverage is one of several changes coming to the state's health care exchange.

Beginning in 2014, insurers seeking to offer plans through the connector must not only meet state requirements but also federal requirements to receive the connector's seal of approval.

It's looking increasingly likely that $85 billion of automatic federal budget cuts known as a sequester will come to pass if Congress doesn't act by March 1.

Darnyi Zsoka/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

An official leading Vermont's push toward a single-payer health care system is calling efforts to coordinate electronic medical record between providers "wicked hard."

Anya Rader Wallack, chairwoman of the Green Mountain Care Board, briefed the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday on progress the board has been making to retool Vermont's health care system.

  In the September 2009 issue of the Atlantic, David Goldhill rocked the health-care world with his compelling account of how bureaucratic American health care killed his father. Now, Goldhill is back with a new book expanding on the topic, published by Knopf, entitled Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father--and How We Can Fix It.

WAMC

The administration of Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin says it wants more time to firm up the financing for a single-payer health plan to be in place by 2017.

A health care law passed two years ago gave the administration until this month to develop a financing plan. But hopes were then for a federal waiver that would allow the planned Green Mountain Care program to start in 2014. That waiver hasn't been forthcoming, pushing the date back three years.

taxcredits.net / Creative Commons

Officials from Burlington's Fletcher Allen Health Care, the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and other hospitals serving Vermont are joining to announce the creation of the nation's first statewide "accountable care organization".

Blair Horner: From one cliff to the next

Jan 7, 2013
Blair Horner
C.W. McKeen / The Post - Standard, 2006

After long and contentious negotiations that extended late into New Year’s Day, Congress passed a measure to at least temporarily avert the most immediate consequences of the so-called “fiscal cliff.”  As you no doubt saw in media coverage over the holidays, on New Year’s Day Democratic and Republican leaders settled on a fared-down package of income tax rate increases for the well-to-do and did little on spending reductions.

WAMC

Vermont has received conditional federal approval for its plan to create a consumer-friendly health insurance exchange.

Vermont is among a number of  states that have received word from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that they are compliant with regulations, and have appropriately outlined timelines that will allow them to have a health exchange running by October 1.

     A small college in Springfield Massachusetts has been awarded a federal grant for its nursing school.  It will help respond to a  national call for a more  highly educated and ethnically diverse workforce in nursing.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports

WAMC

Massachusetts launched a network Tuesday to allow healthcare providers to share patient’s electronic medical records.  It was hailed as a milestone in the effort to bring better coordination to the cumbersome health care system.. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

  

Throughout the O+ Health and Wellness Festival weekend of Oct. 5-7, artists, musicians and even festival volunteers will be exchanging talent for talent with medical caregivers, doctors, educators and professionals for health screenings during an on-site weekend clinic.

We will ask you the question on the Massachusetts ballot this November: Should people nearing the end of terminal illnesses be allowed to obtain a prescription drug to end their lives?

How important is the issue of health care to you in this year's Presidential Election?

Massachusetts lawmakers have given initial approval to a bill designed to save up to $200 billion in health care costs over the next 15 years.

Legislative leaders say the bill will also help guarantee the future of the state's landmark 2006 health care law and set Massachusetts on a path to being the first state to holding the future growth of health care costs close to the rate of inflation.

Many Americans have health-related problems that are defined as pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is a health problem that existed before you apply for a health insurance policy or enroll in a new health plan.

A pre-existing condition can be something as common and as serious as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes and asthma – chronic health problems that affect a large portion of the population.  Even if you have a relatively minor condition such as hay fever or a previous accidental injury, a health plan can deny coverage.

Today’s health system often falls short in addressing the pain, physical symptoms, emotional concerns, and other chronic care needs that patients face. These needs are increasingly the norm for cancer patients and their caregivers.  As medical care advances, illnesses that were death sentences a few decades ago have now become chronic illnesses that need to be managed.    As a result, quality of life care needs now span over many years or even decades.

Shumlin: VT Will Push Ahead with Health Overhaul

Jun 27, 2012
Vermont Governor's Office

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin says the state will push ahead with an overhaul of its health care system, no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court does with the federal Affordable Care Act.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

Shumlin tells The Associated Press he's worried that if the law is struck down in its entirety, the state could lose up to $400 million a year in federal funding it had been hoping to use to subsidize universal access to health care.

Cancer patients in northeastern Vermont should be getting better coordinated — and maybe less expensive — care in the near future, if a program that's part of the state's health care overhaul is successful.

The Green Mountain Care Board is spearheading the state's push to make health care access universal while controlling costs, and on Monday it announced cancer care in the St. Johnsbury area will be brought into a new pilot program.

A new study shows that opponents of President Barack Obama's health care plan clearly beat supporters in getting their message across through the media. More from WAMC’s Dave Lucas…

The study released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that opponents won because their positions were sharper and easier to understand. The critics also more frequently drove coverage, particularly when Tea Party demonstrations came to the fore.

Pew director Tom Rosenstiel said the competition wasn't even close.

A leader of Vermont's efforts to reform its health care system says the state's efforts to provide insurance for nearly all of its residents likely will continue, even if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to strike down President Barack Obama's health care law.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports…

Anya Rader Wallack crossed the Connecticut River on Monday to meet with doctors at New Hampshire's Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Northern Berkshire Healthcare, owner and operator of the North Adams Regional Hospital, has announced they have recovered from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

Northern Berkshire Healthcare entered Chapter 11 restructuring in June of last year. Now the parent organization of North Adams Regional Hospital and source of about 575 jobs in North Adams has announced profits and a plan to move forward.

Pages