Medicare and Medicaid are mandatory spending programs and that keeps them relatively safe in the early days of the shutdown, but 42% of the Department of Health's staff will be furloughed.
By converting to a Rural Emergency Hospital, existing rural hospitals commit to changing their model of care, with a focus on emergency medicine, in exchange for subsidies from the federal government.
For the first time ever, nursing homes may soon have to guarantee a registered nurse is working 24/7 in every facility.
Emanuel Medical Center in rural Georgia racks up more than $350,000 a month in losses providing health care for low-income and uninsured patients. But a new state funding proposal could significantly reduce those deficits, not just for the 66-bed Swainsboro facility, but for most rural hospitals in the state.
Depending on where they lived, demands for repayment can drain the assets that a patient on Medicaid leaves behind after they die. Iowa aggressively collects "clawback" funds.
The federal agency that oversees Medicaid suggested Idaho wasn't trying hard enough to reach beneficiaries before letting their coverage lapse. Consumer advocates fear that could happen again.
Drugmakers will be required to pay Medicare back for price increases that outpace inflation. The industry is expected to put up a fight over implementation.
Even the savviest Medicare drug plan shoppers can get a shock when they fill prescriptions: That great deal on medications in fall is no bargain after prices go up as much as 8% by winter.
To address the problem of poor care, President Biden is calling for a federal minimum staffing requirement in nursing homes. The nursing home industry says there aren't workers to fill the jobs.
Congress passed a law last year to shield patients from surprise out-of-network medical charges. But many doctors in the House now say the way the law is to be implemented unfairly favors insurers.
They don't qualify for Medicaid in their states, but earn too little to be eligible for subsidized ACA health plans. It's a gap in health care coverage, and some politicians are trying to fix it.
With record levels of people relying on Medicaid for health care, the Biden administration is making moves to expand it even farther.
Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the new head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, says she'll focus her time in charge on getting more Americans insured.
Draft documents obtained by NPR show that the federal government is preparing to enforce new data reporting requirements, threatening to withhold vital Medicare funding from noncompliant hospitals.
The federal loans were meant to help hospitals survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet they're coming due now — at a time when many rural hospitals are still desperate for help.