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Hospitals in rural America face a dire financial forecast. The government has an incentive plan to help them keep their emergency departments open, while shutting their inpatient services. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

People gathered at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. in July at a rally held by the Center for Medicare Advocacy. They protested denials and delays in private Medicare Advantage plans. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and other members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus could force a federal government shutdown Oct. 1. The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and prevention would be affected. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Jen Coghlan outside the home where she grew up in Perry, Iowa. Her father, Henry Ruhl, plans to leave the house to her, but Coghlan expects she'll have to sell it after he dies to settle a $226,611 from Medicaid for the care of her mother, who died in 2022. Coghlan says the family didn't realize that her mother was on Medicaid. KC McGinnis for KHN hide caption

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KC McGinnis for KHN

Idaho removed nearly 10,000 people from Medicaid in the pandemic's first years when enrollees couldn't be reached. The episode previews what could occur in other states after April 1, when a COVID-era coverage mandate ends. Eric Harkleroad/KHN hide caption

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Eric Harkleroad/KHN

President Joe Biden spoke about his administration's plans to protect Medicare and lower health care costs, Thursday, the same day his administration released draft guidance of Medicare's new plan to regulate drug prices. Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption

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Patrick Semansky/AP

Retiree Donna Weiner shows some of the daily prescription medications for which she pays more than $6,000 per year through a Medicare prescription drug plan. She supports giving Medicare authority to negotiate drug prices. Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP hide caption

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Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

Maurice Miller lies in bed in his room at a nursing home in Takoma Park, Md., on Thursday. The Biden administration is planning to establish a federal minimum staffing requirement for nursing homes as part of a broader push to improve care for seniors and people with disabilities. Eric Lee for NPR hide caption

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Eric Lee for NPR

Nursing home residents suffer from staffing shortages, but the jobs are hard to fill

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Some doctors, medical associations and members of Congress are complaining that the rule released by the Biden administration this fall for implementing the law to stop surprise medical bills actually favors insurers and doesn't follow the spirit of the legislation. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images hide caption

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Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Advocates for expanding Medicaid in Kansas staged a protest outside the entrance to the statehouse parking garage in Topeka in May 2019. Today, twelve states have still not expanded Medicaid. The biggest are Texas, Florida, and Georgia, but there are a few outside the South, including Wyoming and Kansas. John Hanna/AP hide caption

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John Hanna/AP

12 Holdout States Haven't Expanded Medicaid, Leaving 2 Million People In Limbo

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Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, leads some of the Biden administration's efforts to expand Medicaid access. Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag hide caption

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Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, sworn in last week as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, says she will focus on improving Americans' access to health care. Any discussions of shoring up Medicare funding, she says, should also entail strengthening the program's benefits. Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images hide caption

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Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

Hospitals may soon be at risk of losing a critical funding stream — Medicare funding — if they don't comply with new COVID-19 data reporting requirements. John Lamparski/NurPhoto via Getty Images hide caption

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John Lamparski/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Trump Administration Plans Crackdown On Hospitals Failing To Report COVID-19 Data

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More than 65% of the nation's small, rural hospitals took out loans from Medicare when the pandemic hit. Many now face repayment at a time when they are under great financial strain. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma, pictured at a White House event last month, says her agency will be stepping up fines for nursing homes that fail to sufficiently control infections. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

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Evan Vucci/AP

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), speaks during a news conference in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, March 10th, 2020. Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Trump administration said Wednesday that inspectors will be dispatched to determine whether staff at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., followed infection-control rules in the weeks leading up to deaths of residents there from COVID-19. shapecharge/Getty Images hide caption

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shapecharge/Getty Images

Kate Clyatt, 28, works seasonally as a ranch hand in southwest Montana, and relies on the state's Medicaid program for health coverage. "Ranching is just not a job with a lot of money in it," Clyatt says. "I don't know at what point I'm going to be able to get off of Medicaid." Corin Cates-Carney/Montana Public Radio hide caption

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Corin Cates-Carney/Montana Public Radio

Rural Seasonal Workers Worry About Montana Medicaid's Work Requirements

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The same steep growth and use of big data that attracted venture capital cash to companies that administer Medicare Advantage plans have led to scrutiny of the companies by government officials. Federal audits estimate such plans nationwide have overcharged taxpayers nearly $10 billion annually. 123light/Getty Images hide caption

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123light/Getty Images

From 2012 through 2016, federal health inspectors cited 87% of U.S. hospices for deficiencies. And 20% had lapses serious enough to endanger patients, according to two new reports from the HHS Inspector General's Office. sturti/Getty Images hide caption

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sturti/Getty Images

HHS Inspector General Finds Serious Flaws In 20% Of U.S. Hospice Programs

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