Health Care The state of health care, health insurance, new medical research, disease prevention, and drug treatments. Interviews, news, and commentary from NPR's correspondents. Subscribe to podcasts.

Health Care

Authorities intercepted a woman using this drug kit in preparation for shooting up a mix of heroin and fentanyl inside a Walmart bathroom last month in Manchester, N.H. Fentanyl offers a particularly potent high but also can shut down breathing in under a minute. Salwan Georges/Washington Post/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Salwan Georges/Washington Post/Getty Images

Fentanyl-Linked Deaths: The U.S. Opioid Epidemic's Third Wave Begins

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/704557684/705395210" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The new strategy of some health plans for state employees is to pay hospitals a certain percentage above the basic Medicare reimbursement rate. It allows hospitals a small profit, the states say, while reducing costs to states and patients. shapecharge/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
shapecharge/Getty Images

Dr. Hillary Tamar, who's in the second year of her family medicine residency in Phoenix, is part of a new generation of doctors who are committed to treating addiction. Jackie Hai/KJZZ hide caption

toggle caption
Jackie Hai/KJZZ

Aspiring Doctors Seek Advanced Training In Addiction Medicine

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/695690652/704893617" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The reality of electronic medical records has yet to live up to the promise. suedhang/Getty Images/Cultura RF hide caption

toggle caption
suedhang/Getty Images/Cultura RF

Why The Promise Of Electronic Health Records Has Gone Unfulfilled

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/704475396/704562489" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Dr. Homer Venters, the former head of New York City's correctional health services, says that inmates held in solitary confinement cells, such as the Rikers Island cell shown above, have a higher risk of committing self-harm. Bebeto Matthews/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Bebeto Matthews/AP

Former Physician At Rikers Island Exposes Health Risks Of Incarceration

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/704424675/704535540" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Shawn Esco brings his dog Nibbler to a park in Jackson, Miss. He's was diagnosed with HIV 11 years ago and has stayed healthy, but the same can't be said of many of the other HIV-positive people in his life. L. Kasimu Harris for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
L. Kasimu Harris for NPR

Ending HIV In Mississippi Means Cutting Through Racism, Poverty And Homophobia

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/696862618/703206218" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Federal records show that the average fine for a health or safety infraction by a nursing home dropped to $28,405 under the Trump administration, down from $41,260 in 2016, President Obama's final year in office. Fancy/Veer/Corbis/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Fancy/Veer/Corbis/Getty Images

"What's important to me is that the facts come to light, and we get justice and accountability," Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said about litigation that has made internal Purdue Pharma documents public. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Opioid Litigation Brings Company Secrets Into The Public Eye

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/702665619/702908792" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Anna Lange, who works for the sheriff's office in Houston County, Ga., discovered that her health insurance plan excludes transgender services. She is seeking to challenge that policy. Audra Melton for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Audra Melton for NPR

The Trump administration aims to boost competition among hospitals and cut costs by letting consumers see how widely prices can vary for the same medical or surgical procedure. But health economists say patients typically have little choice in choosing their hospital. teekid/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
teekid/Getty Images

U.S. Hospitals And Insurers Might Be Forced To Reveal The True Prices They Negotiate

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/702210794/702355745" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Eli Lilly and Company, based in Indianapolis, is rolling out a half-price version of its insulin Humalog that will be sold as a generic. Darron Cummings/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Darron Cummings/AP

How Much Difference Will Eli Lilly's Half-Price Insulin Make?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/701538016/701987150" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

BrittLee Bowman competes during a recent cyclecross race. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and faced a decision on how to treat it. Courtesy of Dan Chabanov hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Dan Chabanov

Cancer Leads Athlete To Tough Choice

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/695255794/701838266" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A nurse holds a tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough vaccine in 2016. Physician Judith Guzman-Cottrill tells NPR that she has met many families who hesitate to give their children vaccines. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters hide caption

toggle caption
Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Graphic facilitator Emily Jane Steinberg rendered a visual summary in real time of the conversation at an opioid summit held in Stroud, Okla., in late February. Courtesy of Chuck Tryon hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Chuck Tryon

One health insurance startup charges patients extra for procedures not covered by their basic health plan. The out-of-pocket cost for a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy might range from $900 to $3,000 extra, while a lumbar spine fusion could range from $5,000 to $10,000. Frederic Cirou/PhotoAlto/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Frederic Cirou/PhotoAlto/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration suggests consumers who get prescription drugs mailed to them via CanaRx are at risk of getting mislabeled or counterfeit drugs. But consumer watchdog groups say the FDA has supplied no evidence that's happened. Hero Images/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Hero Images/Getty Images

A color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph shows HIV particles (orange) infecting a T cell, one of the white blood cells that play a central role in the immune system. Science Source hide caption

toggle caption
Science Source

Bone Marrow Transplant Renders Second Patient Free Of HIV

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/700361887/700380138" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The proposed legislation aims to reduce patients' costs by beefing up a Texas Department of Insurance program that scrutinizes surprise balance bills greater than $500 from any emergency health care provider. Kameleon007/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Kameleon007/Getty Images

Abortion-rights activists gathered for a news conference in New York City Monday to protest the Trump administration's proposed restrictions on family planning providers. The rule would force any medical provider receiving federal assistance to refuse to promote, refer for, perform or support abortion as a method of family planning. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The common practice of double-booking a lead surgeon's time and letting junior physicians supervise and complete some parts of a surgery is safe for most patients, a study of more than 60,000 operations finds. But there may be a small added risk for a subset of patients. Ian Lishman/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Ian Lishman/Getty Images