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Remaking Health Care

This column explores how health reform is changing the ways in which we pay for and deliver health care in the U.S. It also highlights the ways in which our current system is falling short on measures of coverage, access and affordability. On any given week, that could mean a look at how Republican plans to repeal Obamacare could reshape the individual insurance market, how the safety net system is adapting to new financial pressures, or how the trend of doctors and hospitals merging into ever-larger entities is driving up costs. We also explore health care costs and whether the Affordable Care Act or its successor plans can live up to the promise to rein them in. Throughout, we keep watch on how the goals of health reform intersect with the shaping power of markets and human behavior. Contributors include veteran health journalist Trudy Lieberman and independent health journalist Kellie Schmitt, with occasional contributions from independent journalists such as Susan Abram and Sara Stewart.

Picture of Kellie  Schmitt

A May report found a modest increase in Medi-Cal spending could give about 700,000 undocumented Californians access to care. Meanwhile, in the Salinas Valley, some say an employer-sponsored trust could provide essential care to farmworkers.

Picture of Erica Mu

After Obamacare's passage, California expanded its Medicaid benefits to allow those with mild to moderate mental health problems to receive care. But as the state's Medicaid numbers surge, some say there aren't enough providers to meet the rising demand.

Picture of Kellie  Schmitt

In response to the growing shortage of primary care doctors, some advocate for expanding the roles of nurse practitioners to expand access and lower costs. But the suggestion has met with pushback from some physician groups.

Picture of Erica Mu

Of the many projections made about the Affordable Care Act, one number stands out among the rest: 62 million. That’s the number of individuals who will gain mental health and substance abuse coverage under the ACA.

Picture of Kellie  Schmitt

Are patients more likely to comparison shop when states increase pricing transparency? A recent report found that while New Hampshire's effort was effective in highlighting price gaps between providers, consumer response was tepid and costs didn't go down.

Picture of Erica Mu

In the Health Leads program, physicians and health care providers “prescribe” basic resources to their patients such as food, housing, electricity, heating, even job training. The emerging model represents a shift in the way we think about health and the social factors that shape it.

Picture of Michelle Levander

My son's soccer injury prompted a few reflections on medical costs and coordination of care – issues more easily contemplated from a safe distance than from the emergency room.

Picture of R. Jan Gurley

The U.S. faces an impending doctor shortage because not enough new ones are being trained to meet the needs of the U.S. population and a large portion of doctors are reaching retirement age. Will impending changes within the medical industry further exacerbate the problem?

Picture of Ryan White

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is among the most famous and expensive hospitals in the country. Experts say it makes a great test case to see whether big-name hospitals can thrive in an era of cost-cutting and shrinking networks.

Picture of Ted B. Kissell

In California, Certified Enrollment Counselors fill a role under the Affordable Care Act similar to the one that’s often described as a “navigator” on a national level. But under Covered California, CECs and navigators are not the same thing.

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