Healthcare

Image of tools in doctor's office
Morgan / Flickr/Creative Commons

Contrary to popular belief, statistics show that North Carolina does not have a doctor shortage problem; it has a doctor distribution problem.

Experts say the lack of funding for graduate medical education (GME) in rural areas is one reason that those communities have worse health outcomes.

Spending on high-price specialty drugs has risen dramatically in the past thirteen years, according to new research from UNC-Chapel Hill.

photo of a stethoscope
Wesley Wilson / Pexels

When the Affordable Care Act went into effect, the federal government hoped visits to the Emergency Room - some of the most expensive treatments in the industry - would decrease.

Instead, ER visits are rising. Experts blame the spike on patients who have health insurance for the first time and have yet to visit a primary care physician.

North Carolina is considering changes to state health insurance plans that would eliminate the 80/20 plans.
TaxRebate.org.uk / Flickr Creative Commons

The Board of Trustees that manages the state health insurance plans for government employees is considering major changes to the state health plan.

The board is considering proposed elimination of the 80/20 plan. The measure is in response to a legislative order to reduce costs for the more than 690,000 employees and retirees who receive health benefits through the state. 

Prison Bars
Michael Coghlan / Flickr Creative Commons

Increasing prison population means higher healthcare costs for taxpayers. In addition, the rising number of elderly people in prison means more chronic diseases with higher treatment costs.

Policymakers are considering early release as one viable option for reducing elderly populations behind bars. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Triangle Business Journal reporter Jason deBruyn about the latest. 

An image of the Supreme Court
Kjetil Ree / Wikimedia Commons

The United States Supreme Court issued a decision today upholding tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court's opinion.

Three justices, the court's most conservative members, dissented. The decision allows 460,000 North Carolinians to continue to receive subsidies for their health insurance.

Dr. Richard Bock, a vascular surgeon, listens on speaker phone to another surgeon who is asking for advice before starting bypass surgery.
William Woody / wwoody@citizen-times.com

Mission Health System dominates the healthcare field in Western North Carolina, owning or partnering with six hospitals and controlling more than 40 percent of hospital beds in Western North Carolina. The nonprofit company began its expansion in the 1990s. It absorbed small rural hospitals struggling to foot the bill for an aging, low-income and underinsured population in Western North Carolina. 

Supreme Court building, Washington, DC, USA. Front facade.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Daderot

The U.S Supreme Court will take up a case this week that potentially puts half a million North Carolinians at risk of losing their subsidized health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

In King v. Burwellthe high court will examine whether the federal government can assist in paying insurance premiums for all Americans or if it can only offer funds in states that have created their own health care exchanges.

Tulane Publications via Flickr/Creative Commons

A legislative subcommittee has endorsed a measure that would take oversight of the state's Medicaid program away from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The subcommittee approved the measure Thursday.
 

It would place an eight-member board in charge of the state's Medicaid program. The group would run Medicaid with a set amount of funds, given by the legislature every year. That means it would have the power to increase or reduce services for patients.

A picture of George Poehlman and other aid workers
Dr. George Poehlman

Doctor George Poehlman recently returned from an eight-week aid mission in Liberia.  Upon his return, the retired Durham, N.C. family physician put himself in voluntary quarantine at a time when some other doctors around the country have refused such quarantine, noting that it's not necessary.

Image of a nurse checking vitals.
Flickr/Londa Dudley

Note: This is a rebroadcast of a show that aired May 5, 2014.