HealthConnections

Tuesdays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

The brainchild of University of Tennessee associate professor Dr. Carole Myers, HealthConnections will bring the often-abstract world of health care, coverage and policy to a human level. What is access? How do marketplaces work? What's the future of health insurance? Dr. Myers and WUOT's Brandon Hollingsworth will sort through these issues and more, all to give you a toolbox for understanding what you hear on the news, or to separate fact from fiction in the health care debate.

2017 ended without resolution for several major questions about health and healthcare in the United States: Would CHIP funding be re-authorized? What will be the fate of community health centers? Why are some worried about major cuts to Medicare and Medicaid?

To pinpoint where the discussion stands, we turn again to Dr. Carole Myers, of the University of Tennessee College of Nursing. She will frame those questions, and explore the uncertainty over health legislation and medical programs as 2018 begins.

State lawmakers will gather once more this month, as a new session of the Tennessee General Assembly begins. The mountain of bills up for consideration will include legislation that will affect health and medicine. One will take mental illness into account in criminal sentencing. Other address suicide prevention. And will Medicaid expansion see the light of day in 2018?

On this edition of HealthConnections, we’re doing something different. Dr. Carole Myers takes over the interviewing, and she’s talking with State Rep. Jeremy Fasion. The Republican from Cocke County says it’s time for Tennessee to legalize medical use of substances derived from marijuana. He co-chaired a legislative committee that examined the issue this year, and his bill will be considered in the General Assembly early next year.

"Maternal mortality" is a clinical-sounding term that may mask what it describes: Women who die from pregnancy complications, during or shortly after birth, or from health conditions exacerbated by pregnancy.

It's expressed as a rate, a number per-100,000 births. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, and it's rising. From 2000 to 2015, U.S. rates rose from 17.1 per 100,000 births, to 25.1 - a 47 percent increase. The reasons are complex, from lack of access to medical care, to demographics, to cultural barriers.

Federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program ended on September 30. Community Health Centers face the same problem. Little progress has been made on a bipartisan approach for stabilizing the health insurance marketplaces, and now Congress debates a tax plan that has significant implications for health coverage.

Pages