health care

The opioid epidemic has cost the United States more than $1 trillion since 2001, according to a new study, and may exceed another $500 billion over the next three years.

File Photo / WBFO News

The visual images on television were very clear: Republicans were vocal in their praise of President Trump's State of the Union message, while Democrats were not wearing out their hands with applause. However, there was one issue that seemed to cross the aisle: infrastructure.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Reaching back half a century to Martin Luther King Jr., economic activists have revived King's Poor People's Campaign with the Truth Commission on Poverty.

About 1 in 10 Americans will have some kind of medical device implanted over their lifetime — artificial hips, pace makers, stents, cataract lenses. Drugs must undergo two clinical trials before hitting the market, but fewer than half a percent of high-risk medical devices have undergone that standard.

Towne Garden Pediatrics

A local pediatric clinic is going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to health care. The Towne Garden Pediatric Clinic on William Street has been collecting children's coats, snow suits and other items for its young patients.

Having failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Congress is now working on a tax overhaul. But it turns out the tax bills in the House and Senate also aim to reshape health care.

Here are five ways the tax legislation could change health policy:

1. Repeal the requirement for most people to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty

President Trump's plan to eliminate the subsidies that help insurance companies absorb the cost of covering people with lower incomes is now before a federal judge. In the meantime, the clock is ticking down to the next open enrollment period under the existing health law - known as Obamacare.

For people who buy health insurance through the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, the 2018 open enrollment period begins in one week. But many consumers are confused about what to expect. No wonder.

Updated at 4:06 p.m. ET

A proposal in the Senate to help stabilize Affordable Care Act marketplaces would ensure that subsidies paid to insurance companies benefit consumers rather than padding the companies' profits.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

Less than a week after President Trump said he is cutting off subsidies to health insurance companies, lawmakers announced Tuesday that they had a deal to restore the money and take other actions that could stabilize insurance markets for next year.

The Trump administration has made a number of changes to health policy in the past two weeks, raising questions about how consumers will be affected. Will the new rules for birth control coverage affect access to an intrauterine device? Might an association health plan help bring down costs for workers at small businesses? And if you're healthy, doesn't a short-term health plan that is cheaper than marketplace coverage make sense? Here are some answers to those questions.

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET

The Trump administration said Thursday that it would end the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing reduction payments designed to help low-income Americans get health care. Not paying the subsidies, health care experts have warned, could send the health insurance exchanges into turmoil.

WBFO's Mike Desmond

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is blasting the Trump Administration's federal tax proposal, saying it will cost New Yorkers more than $17 billion.

New legislation introduced Wednesday has made Ontario the first province in Canada to require public disclosure of payments that pharmaceutical and medical device companies make to doctors.

Catholic Health

Joseph McDonald has lead the hospitals and institutions of Catholic Health for the last 15 years, overseeing the challenges of a budding organization, operating in a region overflowing with competition, and building a team that is ready for the uncertain future of American health care. On Tuesday, McDonald announced his retirement and WBFO's Avery Schneider spoke with him about his long tenure and what lies ahead for Catholic Health.

It wasn't that long ago that the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act died once and for all in the Senate.

Lawmakers have less than two weeks of legislative days to head off a government shutdown, raise the nation's borrowing limit and provide financial assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Congress is back after a monthlong break, although it may not have seemed like Washington was on vacation based on the pace of political news in August.

File Photo

Republican Congressman Tom Reed is bucking his GOP President, calling on the Trump Administration to continue making what are known as Cost Sharing Reduction payments, to prevent destabilizing the health insurance marketplace.

In a moment of unexpected high drama, Republicans were stymied once again in their effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act — and they have John McCain to thank for it.

In the early morning hours Friday, the senator showed why he earned the nickname "Maverick" over his long tenure.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

The defeat of the GOP Senate health care bill is a major blow to all Republicans involved.

President Trump, whose approval rating is lower than any recent president this early in his term, is now staring at an agenda imperiled. Despite his boasts, he has achieved little of significance through Congress. That failure is compounded by the fact that his party controls both chambers.

National Publiuc Radio

Both Republicans and Democrats are saying the Senate health care bill will not pass, even if an actual vote is delayed longer. WBFO talked with Congressman Brian Higgins, who said it is time to look beyond the plan for something new.

The GOP's latest proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act hews closely to the earlier bill that didn't win enough support among lawmakers to bring to a vote.

Perhaps the biggest change in the document released Thursday is that it leaves in place the Affordable Care Act taxes on wealthy individuals. It uses that money to reduce the number of people left without insurance coverage by the law's changes. This latest version adds $70 billion to a fund for states — bringing the total to $132 billion — to help support coverage of low-income people.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office weighed in on the Senate health care bill on Monday, saying that 22 million people would lose health coverage in the next 10 years under the Senate's plan. Of those, 15 million would lose Medicaid coverage. It's projected to lower the deficit by billions over 10 years, and also cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare. The long-awaited plan marks a big step toward achieving one of the Republican Party's major goals.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans will release a discussion draft of their version of the health care bill on Thursday, with a vote likely next week.

Private health care talks have been underway in the Senate for weeks. McConnell tapped a 13-member working group last month to hash out senators' differences over the House-passed American Health Care Act. McConnell's office has since taken the lead drafting the Senate version of the party's long-promised legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Two Toronto law firms have launched a Canada-wide class-action lawsuit against the manufacturers of implantable defibrillators that can fail with little or no warning because of potentially defective batteries.

Avery Schneider / WBFO News

For many people, the term “population health” may be a new and undefined concept. What do you know about it, and does it involve you? Find out.

Almost 100 hospitals reported suspicious data on dangerous infections to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials, but the agency did not follow up or examine any of the cases in depth, according to a report by the Health and Human Services inspector general's office.

Most hospitals report how many infections strike patients during treatment, meaning the infections are likely contracted inside the facility. Each year, Medicare is supposed to review up to 200 cases in which hospitals report suspicious infection-tracking results.

After weeks of will-they-or-won't-they tensions, the House managed to pass its GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act on Thursday by a razor-thin margin. The vote was 217-213.

Democrats who lost the battle are still convinced they may win the political war. As the Republicans reached a majority for the bill, Democrats on the House floor began chanting, "Na, na, na, na ... hey, hey, hey ... goodbye." They say Republicans could lose their seats for supporting a bill that could cause so much disruption in voters' health care.

House Republicans approved their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.

Here's a rundown of key provisions in the American Health Care Act and what would happen if the Senate approves them and the bill becomes law.

Buying insurance