Shefali Luthra
Shefali Luthra
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In Arizona Race, McSally Makes Health Care Pledge At Odds With Track Record

In Arizona Race, McSally Makes Health Care Pledge At Odds With Track Record

“”—Subscribe to KHN’s free Weekly Edition newsletter.Past and PresentOur RulingJune 29, 2020Trailing Democratic challenger Mark Kelly in one of the country’s most hotly contested Senate races, Arizona Sen. Martha McSally is seeking to tie herself to an issue with across-the-aisle appeal: insurance protections for people with preexisting health conditions.This story also ran on .“Of course I will always protect those with preexisting conditions. Always,” the Republican said in a TV ad released June 22.The ad comes in response to criticisms by Kelly, who has highlighted McSally’s votes to...

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Shefali Luthra
6d ago
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Conflicting COVID Messages Create Cloud Of Confusion Around Public Health And Prevention

Conflicting COVID Messages Create Cloud Of Confusion Around Public Health And Prevention

This story also ran on .Regina Fargis didn’t know what to do.Fargis runs Summit Hills — a health and retirement community in Spartanburg, South Carolina, that offers skilled nursing, activities and communal meals for its residents, most of whom are over 60, the highest-risk category for coronavirus complications. In South Carolina, more than a hundred new cases were emerging daily. So she took precautions: no visitors, hand sanitizer everywhere and regular reminders for residents about the importance of social distancing.For a time, it worked. Many similar facilities were hit hard by the...

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Shefali Luthra
6d ago
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Trump’s Take On COVID Testing Misses Public Health Realities

Trump’s Take On COVID Testing Misses Public Health Realities

“If we stopped testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any.”— President Donald Trump in remarks during a June 15 roundtable discussionPresident Donald Trump sought to downplay the numbers associated with COVID-19 in the United States — which have passed 2 million confirmed cases and are nearing 120,000 lives lost — by arguing that the soaring national count was simply the result of superior testing.This story was produced in partnership with .“If you don’t test, you don’t have any cases,” Trump at a at the White House. “If we stopped testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if...

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Shefali Luthra
Jun 17
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Trump’s Comparison Of COVID-19 Death Rates In Germany, US Is Wrong

Trump’s Comparison Of COVID-19 Death Rates In Germany, US Is Wrong

“Germany and the United States are the two best in deaths per 100,000 people, which, frankly, to me, that’s perhaps the most important number there is.” — President Donald Trump in comments during a Rose Garden press briefing on May 11. Following weeks of criticism over his administration’s COVID-19 response, President Donald Trump pulled out new statistics to claim the nation is actually among the best in the world in fighting the lethal coronavirus.  This story was produced in partnership with .“Germany and the United States are the two best in deaths per 100,000 people, which, frankly,...

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Shefali Luthra
May 14
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Trump Says N95 Masks Can Be Sterilized For Reuse. Only In A Pinch, Experts Warn.

Trump Says N95 Masks Can Be Sterilized For Reuse. Only In A Pinch, Experts Warn.

“We’re also using a sterilization process ― some great equipment that will sterilize masks up to 20 times per mask. So that’s like ordering 20 times more masks.”– President Donald Trump at an April 23 White House briefing.This story was produced in partnership with .As COVID-19 cases continue to climb, front-line health care workers are decrying — in particular, describing inadequate access to personal protective equipment, or PPE. Many hospitals and state lawmakers blame Washington, saying the Trump administration has not done enough to make this critical protective gear available.But at a...

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Shefali Luthra
Apr 29
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Trump’s Claim That U.S. Tested More Than All Countries Combined Is ‘Pants On Fire’ Wrong

Trump’s Claim That U.S. Tested More Than All Countries Combined Is ‘Pants On Fire’ Wrong

“We’ve tested more than every country combined.”— President Donald Trump at White House press briefing on April 27, 2020This story was produced in partnership with .Responding to weeks of over COVID-19 , President Donald Trump claimed at a White House briefing that the United States has well surpassed other countries in testing people for the virus.“We’ve tested more than every country combined,” April 27.It was a variation on claims he had made , as well as the day after — when he said the United States had tested “more than any other country in the World, and even more than all major...

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Shefali Luthra
May 1
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Widely Used Surgical Masks Are Putting Health Care Workers At Serious Risk

Widely Used Surgical Masks Are Putting Health Care Workers At Serious Risk

This story also ran on .With medical supplies in high demand, federal authorities say health workers can wear surgical masks for protection while treating COVID-19 patients — but growing evidence suggests the practice is putting workers in jeopardy.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said surgical masks are “an acceptable alternative” to N95 masks unless workers are performing an intubation or another procedure on a COVID patient that could unleash a high volume of virus particles.Apr 24America’s health care workers are dying from the coronavirus pandemic. These are some...

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Shefali Luthra
Apr 28
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Vaping, Opioid Addiction Accelerate Coronavirus Risks, Says NIDA Director

Vaping, Opioid Addiction Accelerate Coronavirus Risks, Says NIDA Director

In 2018, opioid overdoses claimed about . Last year, federal authorities reported that and high school students vaped. And just , about 2,800 cases of vaping-associated lung injuries resulted in hospitalizations; 68 people died.Until mid-March, these numbers commanded attention. But as the coronavirus death toll climbs and the economic costs of attempting to control its spread wreak havoc, the public health focus is now dramatically different.In the background, though, these other issues — the opioid epidemic and vaping crisis — persist in heaping complications on an overwhelmed public...

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Shefali Luthra
Apr 24
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Sanders: In Coronavirus Relief Effort, Congress Fell Short On Paid Sick Leave

Sanders: In Coronavirus Relief Effort, Congress Fell Short On Paid Sick Leave

“It has been estimated that only 12% of workers in businesses that are likely to stay open during this crisis are receiving paid sick leave benefits as a result of the second coronavirus relief package.”– Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in an April 8 op-ed published in The Guardian.This story was produced in partnership with .The pressure is building for Congress to pass a fourth coronavirus relief bill, beyond the roughly $2.2 trillion already approved to keep people and businesses viable during an unprecedented viral attack. And Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is making his case for what a...

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Shefali Luthra
Apr 13
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Fox News’ Jesse Watters Said Travel Bans ‘More Critical In Saving Lives’ Than COVID Testing. He’s Wrong.

Fox News’ Jesse Watters Said Travel Bans ‘More Critical In Saving Lives’ Than COVID Testing. He’s Wrong.

“We were slow with the testing, but very quick with the travel ban. And that’s been much more critical in saving lives.”Jesse Watters, a Fox News Channel commentator, during a March 31 episode of “The Five”This story was produced in partnership with .Defending President Donald Trump’s coronavirus response, Fox News commentator Jesse Watters highlighted federal efforts to restrict international travelers who may be infected — a ban he claimed mattered more than diagnostic testing.“We were slow with the testing, but very quick with the travel ban. And that’s been much more critical in saving...

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Shefali Luthra
Apr 3
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Medicaid Nearing ‘Eye Of The Storm’ As Newly Unemployed Look For Coverage

Medicaid Nearing ‘Eye Of The Storm’ As Newly Unemployed Look For Coverage

This story also ran on .As the coronavirus roils the economy and throws millions of Americans out of work, Medicaid is emerging as a default insurance plan for many of the newly unemployed. That could produce unprecedented strains on the vital health insurance program, according to state officials and policy researchers.Americans are being urged to stay home and practice “social distancing” to prevent the spread of the virus, causing businesses to shutter their doors and lay off workers. The Labor Department reported Thursday that more than people signed up for unemployment insurance during...

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Shefali Luthra
Apr 3
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Temperature Check: Tips For Tracking A Key Symptom Of Coronavirus Contagion

Temperature Check: Tips For Tracking A Key Symptom Of Coronavirus Contagion

April 1, 2020After I was told I’d been exposed to the novel coronavirus, I tried to follow the best medical advice. I started working from home. I socially isolated. And I “self-monitored” for signs I’d been infected.Or, at least, I tried to.COVID-19 symptoms seem pretty clear. The dry cough and difficulty breathing. Fatigue. And the fever.To track all that, the federal recommends that people who may have been exposed take their temperature twice daily. As someone who covers the outbreak, I understand the soundness of this advice. There’s a nationwide shortage of coronavirus diagnostics, so...

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Shefali Luthra
Apr 1
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What’s Missing In The Coronavirus Response

What’s Missing In The Coronavirus Response

In the age of coronavirus, Americans are being told to stay home and wear masks outside. The federal government has made way for hospitals to treat patients in repurposed hotels and dormitories. Private companies are working to push out new diagnostic tests.But the national effort has been disorganized, relying heavily on state action, said health systems experts and public health researchers. That approach has fallen short, they assert.“We’re in a lot more trouble than we need to be,” said Dr. Donald Berwick, who ran the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services during the Obama...

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Shefali Luthra
Apr 9
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The Coronavirus, The Congressman And Me

The Coronavirus, The Congressman And Me

I got the COVID-19 text at 8:30 Tuesday night, three days after returning from a journalism conference in New Orleans.“At least one NICAR attendee has tested positive for coronavirus,” wrote my colleague Liz Lucas. Several of us had attended the data journalism conference, which draws reporters and editors from across the country.What do you do when you think you might have been exposed to a virus that is shutting down countries? As health care journalists, we are ― in theory — uniquely equipped to know. But in real life, figuring out if we are at risk and getting tested is nearly...

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Shefali Luthra
Mar 13
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Trump Wrongly Said Health Insurers Will Pay For All Coronavirus Treatment

Trump Wrongly Said Health Insurers Will Pay For All Coronavirus Treatment

The health insurance industry has “agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments.”President Donald Trump during his March 11 White House addressThis story was produced in partnership with .As coronavirus cases multiply in the United States, one concern Americans have is what they can expect to pay if they seek treatment.Speaking from the , President Donald Trump suggested that people with health insurance shouldn’t have to worry about that.“Earlier this week, I met with the leaders of the health insurance industry who have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus...

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Shefali Luthra
Mar 13
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Sanders Embraces New Study That Lowers ‘Medicare For All’s’ Cost, But Skepticism Abounds

Sanders Embraces New Study That Lowers ‘Medicare For All’s’ Cost, But Skepticism Abounds

“[”—Subscribe to KHN’s free Weekly Edition newsletter.So, Savings?The Cost-Sharing QuestionOther Estimates?The ‘Lives Saved’Our RulingFebruary 26, 2020Updated at 11:03 a.m. ET on Feb. 26: This story was updated to include information we received after the story was posted about recent studies the Sanders’ campaign referenced regarding the costs of single-payer. This update does not change the rating.Defending his signature health plan — a single-payer system known as “Medicare for All” that would move all Americans to government-funded coverage  — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders argued that the...

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Shefali Luthra
Feb 26
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Insurers Sank Connecticut’s ‘Public Option.’ Would A National Version Survive?

Insurers Sank Connecticut’s ‘Public Option.’ Would A National Version Survive?

This story also ran on .Health care costs were rising. People couldn’t afford coverage. So, in Connecticut, state lawmakers took action.Their solution was to attempt to create a public health insurance option, managed by the state, which would ostensibly serve as a low-cost alternative for people who couldn’t afford private plans.Immediately, an aggressive industry mobilized to kill the idea. Despite months of lobbying, debate and organizing, the proposal was dead on arrival.“That bill was met with a steam train of opposition,” recalled state Rep. Sean Scanlon, who chairs the legislature’s...

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Shefali Luthra
Mar 4
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Would ‘Medicare For All’ Cost More Than U.S. Budget? Biden Says So. Math Says No.

Would ‘Medicare For All’ Cost More Than U.S. Budget? Biden Says So. Math Says No.

“Sanders’ ‘Medicare for All’ plan “would cost more than the entire federal budget that we spend now.”Former Vice President Joe Biden in comments during the New Hampshire presidential primary debate, Feb.7This story was produced in partnership with .During the Feb. 7 Democratic presidential debate, former Vice President Joe Biden once again questioned the price tag of “Medicare for All,” the single-payer health care proposal championed by one of his key rivals, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.Biden argued that the plan was fiscally irresponsible and would require raising middle-class taxes....

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Shefali Luthra
Feb 14
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In Fierce Debate, Democratic Candidates Expand Health Agenda Arguments

In Fierce Debate, Democratic Candidates Expand Health Agenda Arguments

This story also ran on .Democratic presidential candidates faced off on the debate stage for the eighth time this campaign season. Meeting in Manchester, N.H., they returned to now familiar health care themes — “Medicare for All” versus a public option, the cost of prescription drugs and other key areas they say are ripe for change.Once again, candidates sparred over the cost of the single-payer health reform bill promoted by Vermont  Sen. Bernie Sanders. Former Vice President Joe Biden argued it would necessarily raise taxes, pointing to its estimated $32 trillion price-tag (a number...

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Shefali Luthra
Feb 11
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