Health Care

State Medicaid costs poised to surge from pandemic lows

State costs rose by 13% in fiscal 2023 and are expected to increase by an additional 17.2% in fiscal 2024 thanks to the phaseout of enhanced federal aid, provider rate increases and slowing but still elevated enrollment levels.

San Francisco tries tough love by tying welfare to drug rehab

Starting in January 2025, public assistance recipients who screen positive for addiction on a 10-question drug abuse test will be referred to treatment. Those who refuse or fail to show up for treatment will lose their benefits.

Amid a housing crisis, hospitals offer a dose of relief

The housing crisis may be too big for state and local governments to overcome. That’s why hospitals are stepping in to remedy housing and health care gaps.

Medical residents are increasingly avoiding states with abortion restrictions

A new analysis shows that, for the second year in a row, students graduating from U.S. medical schools were less likely to apply this year for residency positions in states with abortion bans and other significant abortion restrictions.

Paid sick leave sticks after many pandemic protections vanish

Paid sick leave protects both the community's public health and the economic security of low-wage workers.

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Don’t pull the plug on internet access for 23M families

COMMENTARY | No family should be forced to choose between one essential and another. And they don’t have to, as long as Congress acts to renew the Affordable Connectivity Program.

US long-term care costs are sky-high, but one state's plan to help pay for them could be nixed

COMMENTARY | Washington state's WA Cares Fund collects a 0.58% tax out of residents’ paychecks to fund a new long-term care social insurance program. It’s not clear, however, whether the state’s strategy is going to work out.

State legislators are taking the maternal mortality crisis into their own hands

State lawmakers—many of whom are women—are establishing new committees to study and investigate investigating pregnancy-related deaths, their causes and prevention.

Biden administration sets higher staffing mandates. Most nursing homes don’t meet them.

Under the new rules, nursing homes participating in Medicare and Medicaid will be required to follow designated nurse staffing standards.

California looks to AI to automate health insurance enrollment

The state will use artificial intelligence after a pilot found it significantly sped up processing times.

States, White House gear up to bring prescription costs down

Maryland’s prescription drug affordability board will evaluate eight drugs for potential cost reduction. The federal government could help move the process along, one expert says.

Arkansas led the nation in measuring obesity in kids. Did it help?

In 2003, Arkansas became the first state to send home "fat letters" or BMI reports about all students as part of a broader anti-obesity initiative. At least 23 states followed Arkansas’ lead. Some have since scaled back their efforts.

City-country mortality gap widens amid persistent holes in rural health care access

As rural health services continue to erode, population health declines and mortality rates increase. That endangers local economies and employment, rural health experts say.

Oregon rolls back decriminalization of drugs. But is it too soon?

At a time when drug overdoses plague the nation, Oregon will recriminalize hard drugs, walking back a first-in-the nation experiment that critics say the state botched.

States look to Medicaid to curb maternal mortality

Expanding Medicaid postpartum care from 60 days to 12 months gives states more tools for addressing rising maternal death rates.

County supports its aging residents by focusing on family caregivers

To ensure its older adults receive quality care, Fairfax County, Virginia, steps up services for their families.

Georgia’s Medicaid work requirements costing taxpayers millions despite low enrollment

The program touted as an alternative to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has cost taxpayers millions, with more than 90% going toward administrative and consulting costs rather than medical care.

What’s the status of your EMS?

COMMENTARY | As rural communities struggle to keep Emergency Medical Services operating, how do we assess the condition of those services? Are we asking the right questions?

Senate approves six spending bills, averts partial government shutdown

Counties praised the package for addressing Medicaid access for the incarcerated. Now, congressional negotiators turn to the remaining six spending bills, which will determine the future of internet subsidies and other significant programs.

States get some help to recruit caregivers for an aging population

With a projected 9.3 million direct care jobs needing to be filled by 2031, states must find ways to fill that gap. That’s why a new program is helping states build a direct care workforce.