health care

Affordable Care Act
9:12 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Obamacare Enrollees Emboldened To Leave Jobs, Start Businesses

Mike Smith, of Long Beach, Calif., now pays $200 for his family's health insurance policy, compared with the $3,000 a month he would have had to pay on the individual market last year.
Stephanie O'Neill for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:10 pm

Until recently, Mike Smith, 64, of Long Beach, Calif., worked 11 hours a day, Monday through Friday and then half a day on Saturday. He was a district manager for a national auto parts chain.

He dreamed of retiring early, but it wasn't an option for him because he and his wife relied on the health insurance tied to his job.

"At our age, with some pre-existing medical conditions, it would have been very costly to buy insurance on the open market — about $3,000 a month," he says.

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Health Disparity
9:43 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Advocates, State Working to Expand Behavioral Health Coverage For the Poor

Pamela McGuire is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Hartford.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

The Affordable Care Act is all about getting people health insurance. Once they're insured, there's another hurdle: getting them access to care. That's a particular problem for people living on low incomes.

It's even more of a problem for the poor who seek behavioral health care. 

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Dental health
10:26 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Free Dental Clinic Continues to Draw Crowds

At Hartford's XL Center, hundreds of volunteer dentists cleaned teeth and performed other procedures for whoever showed up.
Alan Yu WNPR

More than 2,000 people waited outside the XL Center in Hartford this past weekend to get free dental work at the Connecticut Mission of Mercy dental clinic.

There were so many people that hundreds had to line up overnight.

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E-Cigarettes
12:03 am
Thu April 24, 2014

FDA Moves To Regulate Increasingly Popular E-Cigarettes

A woman tries electronic cigarettes at a store in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:33 pm

The Food and Drug Administration Thursday proposed regulating e-cigarettes for the first time.

The agency unveiled a long-awaited rule that would give it power to oversee the increasingly popular devices, much in the way that it regulates traditional cigarettes.

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Public Health
10:02 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Getting Medications Where They Need to Go In an Emergency

e-Magine Art Creative Commons

This is just a test. But imagine that a something really nasty is spreading around the state.

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Opioid Prescriptions
3:54 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

FDA Advisers Vote Against Approving New Opioid Painkiller

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 9:50 pm

A key government panel Tuesday voted unanimously against approval of a powerful opioid prescription painkiller intended to provide faster relief with fewer side effects.

At the conclusion of a hearing, the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 14-0 against recommending that the agency approve Moxduo, the first drug to combine morphine and oxycodone into one capsule.

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Heroin Addiction
11:42 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Senators Blumenthal and Murphy Discuss Heroin Addiction at New Haven Forum

Office of National Drug Control Policy Acting Director Michael Botticelli (left) and Senator Blumenthal discuss how to fight this epidemic.
Credit New Haven Independent Melissa Bailey

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy held a roundtable forum on Thursday about how to deal with the heroin problem in Connecticut. Senator Blumenthal described the situation as an "epidemic and [a] scourge." 

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Affordable Care Act
4:22 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Obama: Affordable Care Act Enrollment Hits 8 Million

President Obama speaks about health care on Thursday. ACA enrollment has reached 8 million, he said, and it's "well past time" for Republicans to stop trying to repeal it.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama says that enrollment under the Affordable Care Act has reached 8 million after the March 31 sign-up deadline was extended by two weeks.

"This thing is working," he told reporters at a White House briefing on Thursday.

The president said that 35 percent of those signing up through the federal government's website were under the age of 35. The need for younger, healthier individuals to enroll in the program is considered vital to the success of Obamacare.

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Health Insurance
2:42 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Patients Often Win If They Appeal A Denied Health Claim

A 2011 GAO report that sampled data from a handful of states suggests that, even before Obamacare, patients got the claim denial overturned 39 to 59 percent of the time when they appealed directly to the insurer.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 5:29 pm

Federal rules ensure that none of the millions of people who signed up for Obamacare can be denied insurance — but there is no guarantee that all health services will be covered.

To help make sure a patient's claims aren't improperly denied, the Affordable Care Act creates national standards that allow everyone who is denied treatment to appeal that decision to the insurance company and, if necessary, to a third party reviewer.

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Autism Spectrum Disorders
10:02 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Early Childhood Autism Treatment Is Key, But Diagnosis Is Difficult

A young boy with autism with a line of toys he sorted before falling asleep.
Credit Andwhatsnext / Creative Commons

Most children with autism are well past their fourth birthday by the time they’re diagnosed with the condition, according to new government data.

Their parents and teachers may have raised red flags earlier, but it takes months or years to confirm suspicions with a formal diagnosis. And therapy rarely starts without one.

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White House
2:51 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Obama Nominates Budget Director To Replace Sebelius

Sylvia Mathews Burwell is pictured March 4, 2013, as President Obama nominates her to be budget director. At the time, she was president of the Walmart Foundation. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 2:57 pm

President Barack Obama says he’s nominating his budget director, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, to succeed Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services secretary.

The Cabinet shuffle lets Obama put a new face on his new health care law.

The move comes more than a week after the close of sign-ups for insurance coverage on the law.

After a rocky start that Sebelius was blamed for, the administration rebounded strongly to exceed expectations by enrolling 7.1 million people by the March 31 deadline.

Burwell’s nomination requires Senate confirmation.

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WAMC News
1:48 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Vermont Senate To Debate Lyme Disease Bill

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 11:17 pm

Doctors and other health professionals would be immune from professional conduct charges if they pursued a hotly debated course of treatment for Lyme disease under a bill given preliminary approval by the Vermont Senate.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri April 11, 2014

DCF's Handling of a Transgender Teen; Updates on a Heroin Epidemic

What's causing the nation's heroin epidemic?
Credit Mark Wragg/iStock / Thinkstock

The U.S. is in the middle of a heroin epidemic. It’s something that has become increasingly problematic in northeastern states like Connecticut. This hour, a panel of local reporters and health experts from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts share their stories. 

We also hear about a controversial decision by the state Department of Children and Families to transfer a transgender teenager to one of Connecticut’s adult prisons, even though, as we’ve discussed on the show, the state now has a “locked” facility for girls like her. WNPR’s Lucy Nalpathanchil joins us with more on that story.

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White House
6:53 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Is Resigning

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning from her post after serving for five years.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 7:35 pm

Health Secrerary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning after a five-year term that will no doubt be remembered for the calamitous implementation of President Obama's signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

If you remember, when the federal government unveiled HealthCare.gov, where Americans could buy health insurance mandated by Obamacare, the site was essentially useless for weeks after it launched in October.

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Reflecting On Obamacare
3:28 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Head of State Health Insurance Exchange Reflects on Lessons Learned

Kevin Counihan says Access Health CT's two retail storefronts performed well, enrolling over 70 percent of their 14,000 visitors.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Now that the deadline for enrollment in Obamacare has passed, the head of Connecticut's health insurance exchange has said he learned a few lessons.

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Healthy Connecticut
10:47 am
Tue April 8, 2014

For Connecticut's DPH, a Big-Picture Snapshot of State Health

Healthy Connecticut 2020 is a statewide health assessment and plan.
Credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images News / Thinkstock

A new report called "Healthy Connecticut 2020," from the state Department of Public Health, outlines some of the challenges facing Connecticut health care professionals in the coming decade.

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Affordable Care Act
5:03 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Connecticut to Share Its Obamacare Computer Code

Credit Michael Himbeault / Creative Commons

Connecticut's Obamacare enrollment website did well enough this year to attract the interest of other states. Officials from Access Health CT said they are finalizing a deal with the state of Maryland to share computer code.

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Not Parkinson's?
3:33 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Involuntary Shaking Can Be Caused By Essential Tremors

Deep brain stimulation eased Shari Finsilver's tremors, but didn't stop them entirely. Here she uses both hands to stabilize a glass of water.
Marvin Shaouni for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 3:51 pm

Katharine Hepburn had it. So did playwright Eugene O'Neill and Sen. Robert Byrd. Essential tremor is a condition that causes involuntary shaking.

While it usually develops in middle age, it can start much earlier. Shari Finsilver was aware of her hands shaking as a child.

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Affordable Care Act
4:09 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Obamacare Enrollment Surged in Connecticut as Deadline Expired

Credit Slawomir Fajer/iStock / Thinkstock

President Obama said that more than seven million people have signed up for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Connecticut saw a huge surge in enrollments as Monday's deadline passed. 

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Affordable Care Act
2:13 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Obama: The Affordable Care Act Is Working, 'Helping People... Coast To Coast'

The HealthCare.gov website has been a source of delays and confusion for those trying to sign up for health insurance under the ACA.
Jon Elswick AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 5:00 pm

This post was updated at 4:40 p.m. ET. with Obama's comments.

President Obama emerged from the White House on Tuesday to rousing applause. He announced that 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health care through the federal exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act.

"This law is doing what it's supposed to do," Obama said at the Rose Garden. "It's working. It's helping people from coast to coast."

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Health Insurance
10:23 am
Mon March 31, 2014

ACA Expected to Increase Demand for Primary Care Doctors; Quinnipiac University Responds

With the open enrollment deadline looming, organizations across Connecticut are helping people sign up for health insurance coverage. Health centers are open Monday in many cities, including Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Norwich, and Waterbury, with extra in-person help. 

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Affordable Care Act
9:57 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Seven Things to Watch As the Health Care Enrollment Deadline Passes

Credit scyther5/iStock / Thinkstock

Just because open enrollment for people who buy their own health insurance formally closes March 31 doesn't mean debate over the health law will take a hiatus. After more than four years of strident rhetoric, evidence about how the law is actually working is starting to trickle in. 

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Affordable Care Act
5:19 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Federal Obamacare Deadline Extends, But Connecticut's Does Not

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

As the deadline to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act approaches, the federal government now says it will give some people extra time to enroll. But that change won't apply to people in Connecticut.

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Obamacare
4:07 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

As Obamacare Deadline Approaches, Penalties Loom for Those Who Miss It

Gov. Dannel Malloy sells Obamacare as the enrollment deadline approaches.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Officials say enrollment in the state's health insurance marketplace is surging as the March 31 deadline to sign up approaches. 

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Affordable Care Act
10:37 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Last Chance To Ask About Health Law Before Sign-Up Deadline

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 11:23 am

This is it. The deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act this year is March 31. With time running out, the questions about how the health law and the exchanges work keep pouring in. Here are a few more to check out while the clock ticks down.

My son will be 19 in May. I claim him as a dependent on my taxes. If I don't provide for his medical coverage and he is unemployed and makes no income, how is he supposed to pay his penalty? Or are they going to take his penalty out of my tax return because he is a dependent on my return?

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Business of Medicine
11:58 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Hospital Mergers in Connecticut Raise Concerns Over Patient Costs

Yale-New Haven Hospital acquired the Hospital of St. Raphael in September 2012.
Credit Connecticut Health I-Team

Hospital administrators in Connecticut who have been involved in the unprecedented streak of mergers and consolidations often tout the financial benefits and efficiencies of such moves.

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Access Health CT
7:31 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Customers Rush To Retail Store In Connecticut To Buy Obamacare

DeLisa Tolson signed up for health insurance at a retail store set up by Connecticut's exchange. She says she was so happy with the experience, she told all her friends.
Jeff Cohen/NPR

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 12:25 pm

Mike Dunn stands inside a store in downtown New Haven, looking through the big glass windows at his future customers outside. He's not selling phones or food or clothes. He's selling Obamacare.

There's one week left to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and states have gone to great lengths to enroll as many people up as possible. In Connecticut, the exchange has opened two retail storefronts where people can walk in and sign up.

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Affordable Care Act
12:49 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Doctors Say Obamacare Rule Will Stick Them With Unpaid Bills

A checkup might include more pointed questions about insurance status for people with subsidized health coverage.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 2:04 pm

Doctors worry they won't get paid by some patients because of an unusual 90-day grace period for government-subsidized health plans.

So several professional groups for doctors are urging their members to check patients' insurance status before every visit. Consumer advocates say these checks could lead to treatment delays or denials for some patients.

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Medicine
8:07 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Cancer Treatments Could Hurt Your Heart

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for cancer survivors. A relatively new scientific field called "cardio-oncology" is working to change that.

Chemotherapy and radiation may save you from cancer, but they can also do a lot of damage to your heart. 

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The End of Life
4:13 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Public Testifies on "Aid in Dying" Bill

Credit photonewman/iStock / Thinkstock

A legislative hearing was held Monday on a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to the terminally ill.  The session brought emotional testimony from those both in favor and opposed. 

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