health care

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

A state lawmaker is calling for renewed focus on a law that lets distressed parents of newborns leave them in the state's care. The new push comes after recent news that a baby was found dead in an East Hartford trash can. 

One California hospital charged $10 for a blood cholesterol test, while another hospital that ran the same test charged $10,169 — over 1,000 times more.

For another common blood test called a basic metabolic panel, the average hospital charge was $371, but prices ranged from a low of $35 to a high of $7,303, more than 200 times more.

Massachusetts is launching a major effort to reach out to almost 400,000 residents who must reapply for health insurance because they were enrolled in temporary plans after the state's health care marketplace website crashed last year.

Jeanine Thomas is a well-known patient advocate and active member of ProPublica's Patient Harm Facebook Community. But this week, she contributed in another forum: the World Health Organization.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

According to new data from Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT, the state’s uninsured rate has dropped by roughly 50 percent since 2012 This decrease is due, in part, to the more than 256,000 residents who’ve signed up for health insurance and Medicaid since Access Health CT’s exchange website was launched last fall. 

Vicki Hornbuckle used to play the piano at her church. But that was before her liver started failing.

"I had to give it up because I couldn't keep up," says Hornbuckle, 54, of Snellville, Georgia. "I didn't have the energy to do three services on Sunday. You're just too tired to deal with anything. And so, it's not a life that you want to live."

But Hornbuckle hasn't given up. She's fighting to stay alive long enough to get a liver transplant.

When it comes to health insurance for young adults, the Affordable Care Act made it possible for kids to stay on their parents' health plans until they turn 26. It was one of the first provisions of the law to take effect and has proved popular. But what happens when the parents are divorced? Here's a look at that question and a couple of others about coverage issues.

A Gallup poll released Tuesday suggests the Affordable Care Act is significantly increasing the number of Americans with health insurance, especially in states that are embracing it. It echoes previous Gallup surveys, and similar findings by the Urban Institute and Rand Corp.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

More than half of the state residents who signed up for new insurance under the Affordable Care Act didn't have insurance beforehand. That's according to new data released Wednesday by Access Health CT -- the state's health insurance marketplace. 

George Ruiz / Flickr

The city of Hartford and two hospitals jointly fund a program to check in on new mothers and their infants in their homes. The goal is to reduce infant mortality rates. But one of those hospitals has told the city it is pulling out. 

Health Law Calls For Automatic Enrollment Of Some Workers

Aug 5, 2014

Newly hired employees who don't sign up for health insurance on the job could have it done for them under a health law provision that may take effect as early as next year.

Last week we learned that two Americans working in Liberia for a medical charity, Samaritan's Purse, were among those who had contracted Ebola. When their symptoms took a turn for the worse, the organization announced that the two were going to get experimental treatments. One was going to get a blood transfusion from a 14-year-old boy who recovered from the disease, the organization said; the other was to get an "experimental serum." What's that?

The House voted Wednesday to approve a bill that would address widespread problems with health care for veterans.

The vote in favor of the $16.3 billion package was 420 to 5.

The problems veterans have had obtaining care has drawn national attention in recent weeks. A White House investigation into problems at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals found "significant and chronic systemic failures."

United States Army Corps Of Engineers

Doctor Ulysses Wu, the chief of infectious diseases at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, said there are lot of things out there that can kill us. "Diptheria," he said, "tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, haemophilous influenzae, pneumococus, meningicocus..." 

Wu said immunizations against those diseases are one of the greatest advances in medical science known to mankind. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The Affordable Care Act is about insuring the uninsured. Insurance is one thing, but actual access to a doctor or a provider is another.

One variable plays an important role in determining the quality of care that patients will get: how much doctors are paid. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Senator Richard Blumenthal spoke in Hartford about a bipartisan compromise to reform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health program, which has been impacted by long patient wait times.

Ray Hardman / WNPR

The number of Connecticut children living in poverty has increased 50 percent since 1990, according to a new report.

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday dealt a significant blow to the Affordable Care Act, when it threw out an IRS regulation that governs subsidies. But before the ink dried on that decision, another three-judge panel hearing a similar case issued a decision that was completely opposite.

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

The Hartford HealthCare Medical Group is contacting patients who may have received vaccines that were not stored at the proper temperature.

A Democratic effort to override the Supreme Court's recent ruling on contraceptive coverage failed in the Senate on Wednesday.

Bill sponsors fell four votes short of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on the measure.

AudioVision / Creative Commons

Later this summer, medical marijuana will become legally available to patients in Connecticut.  

Despite questions raised by the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, women in most health plans will still be able to get their birth control covered with no out-of-pocket expenses.

Av Harris / WNPR

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal released a letter on Monday to the CEO of Hobby Lobby calling on the company to follow Connecticut law and offer its employees in East Haven and Manchester full contraceptive coverage.

Rusty Blazenhoff / Creative Commons

Approved patients will soon be able to obtain medical marijuana…legally. The marijuana producers who were approved by the state earlier this year will start to get their product out to dispensaries later this summer.

We talk with Commissioner William Rubenstein from the Department of Consumer Protection about the state’s medical marijuana program. 

Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

A fifth hospital in Connecticut has announced plans to give up its not-for-profit status, and join the for-profit Tenet Healthcare group.

The Jackson Laboratory

Connecticut Congressman John Larson sponsored a health care forum on Monday at the legislative office building in Hartford. 

"Improving Our Health Care System Through Science and Innovation" was a chance for a panel of prominent health care leaders to tout how innovations in their area of expertise are saving lives and pulling down the cost of health care.

Davis Dunavin / WNPR

Pamela Spiro Wagner's apartment is full of art she's made while in psychiatric care. One piece dominates the room. It looks like a painting at first. It shows a threadbare seclusion room and a restraining bed.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal wants the VA to explain why veterans are waiting longer than 30 days to be seen in Connecticut and nationwide.

Everyone seems to talk about feeling stressed out. But what's the reality of stress in America these days?

NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a nationwide poll in March and early April to find out.

Our questions zeroed in on the effect of stress in Americans' lives. We asked about people's personal experiences with stress in the preceding month and year. We also asked about how they perceived the effects of stress, how they cope with stress and their attitudes about it.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

In a five-to-four decision Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that requiring so-called closely-held, for-profit corporations to pay for contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act, violates a federal law that protects religious freedom. 

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