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.

President Trump and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander are two key players in the immediate future of health coverage in this country. Decisions about the individual marketplaces, open enrollment, cost-sharing payments to insurers are being made. But Trump and Alexander are pointing in different directions, emphasizing strong disagreement about the best way forward.

Polk County is the very southeast corner of Tennessee. Its population is just shy of 17,000. It’s known for its whitewater rafting and was once the epicenter of Tennessee’s copper industry. And, at this moment, it has no hospital. The Copper Basin Medical Center closed this month, not only leaving Polk Countians without immediate medical care, but becoming the tenth rural hospital in the state to close since 2010. Today, we look at the challenges rural hospitals face.

Circle September 30 on your calendar. That's the end of the current federal fiscal year. With it may come significant changes for a children's insurance program, less money for community health centers, and a possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

There's a lot to look out for this week as the Friday deadline draws near. In this edition of HealthConnections, UT's Dr. Carole Myers talks with WUOT's Brandon Hollingsworth about the significance of September 30.

In testimony last week before the U.S. Senate's Health, Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee, Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak and Governor Bill Haslam urged Congress to keep paying cost-sharing payments called CSRs. The Trump Administration has hinted it will halt those payments, a move observers have said could be dangerous for already-precarious markets, consumers and insurers.

Let's save health care!

Okay, how?

That's where the country is right now. Polls show Americans generally agree health options, coverage and care could stand a good spruce-up (or even a major renovation). But how, and by how much, are open questions that, for now, have no clear answers either among the public or among elected officials.

Pages