Here’s a look back at the 10 issues KFF tracked this year with some of our top findings summarized:
Health care costs continuing burden for many Americans: From our data showing that family health insurance premiums for employer coverage rose 7% to nearly $24,000 this year and have become unaffordable for many workers in small employer in our Dying Broke series that focuses on how older Americans are struggling. pay for long-term care The health care affordability crisis continues to plague Americans and remains a top issue in the 2024 election. And while anti-obesity medicine has received much attention, coverage, cost, and access are unclear. More than 100 million people in America41% of adults have incurred medical bills they cannot pay.
Access to Abortion and contraception remained a top issue for voters following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year. We track state abortion policies and litigation throughout the year, and we also explore contraception rights across the U.S. Our newsroom reflects how the issue is unfolding nationally and in the states. Abortion has also played a role in discussions in Congress about reauthorizing PEPFAR, the US signature program to provide HIV prevention and treatment services to millions, which has saved more than 25 million lives in 20 years.
Medicaid enrollment began to sink, with further declines expected. Our annual survey of state Medicaid directors found that states expect national Medicaid enrollment to decline by 8.6% in state fiscal year 2024 as state Medicaid agencies continue to eliminate protections continued enrollment related to the pandemic. As of December 13, more than 12 million people have been disenrolled from Medicaid because of the unwinding. Some have regained coverage, so the net enrollment decline will be lower. At the same time, North Carolina just this month expanded their Medicaid programs to cover low-income adults, joining 39 other states and the District of Columbia.
Medicare drug price negotiations begin, authorized as part of last years Inflation Reduction Act, but with significant debate by the drug industry. Medicare open enrollment ended on December 7, and we heard from Medicare beneficiaries about their views on marketing practices, seeking options, and their coverage. Many seniors let their plans renew automatically.
Covid is still a thing but Americans are starting to worry about the pandemic, and their chances of getting sick, as our COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor shows. Interest in getting the latest booster decreased even though most Black and Hispanic adults expected to get it while most White adults did not. Plus, following the end of the public health emergency declaration in May, finding a booster and paying for it has been confusing for many, prompting a cheat sheet to help figure it out.
Wrong information continues to be prevalent in health issues, and KFF found that at least four in 10 people say they’ve heard each of 10 specific false claims but relatively few believe those claims are actually true true Most are simply uncertainty, creating chaos in the middle, which can be reached with reliable information from trusted sources, such as doctors and local television news.
Promoting health equity remains a top issue for health policy experts and researchers. New survey research from KFF shows that six-in-10 Black adults, about half of American Indian and Alaska Native and Hispanic adults, and four-in-10 Asian adults say that they prepare for possible insults from providers or staff and/or they feel they must be careful about their appearance in order to be treated fairly during health care visits at least once. KFF Health News also continues its coverage of how health outcomes differ based on race and ethnicity.
Everything old is new again? And, to close out the year, we hear from former President Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), which they want to replace or change Affordable Care Act (ACA). The KFF poll shows that Americans broadly support the ACA, with more than twice the share of Democratic voters (70%) than Republican voters (32%) saying it is a very important issue for the candidates. Additionally, there was record enrollment in the ACA marketplace this year. KFF Health News explored the issues in its What the Health podcast episode and its summary of relevant media coverage.
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