health care

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Newscom

About a third of the Arizonans who bought health insurance on the federal marketplace for 2015 will have to find a new provider following action by state insurance regulators to suspend the state's nonprofit insurance co-op's ability to sell new policies.

The suspension of Meritus Health Partners means about 59,000 people will need new insurance.

The percentage of adult Arizonans who smoke continues to drop.

The Arizona Department of Health Services says the percentage of smokers as of 2014 was at an all-time low of 15.3 percent. That's down a percentage point from the rate in 2013.

Tobacco prevention and cessation programs head Courtney Ward says the decrease continues a trend. She says factors behind that trend include an ongoing anti-tobacco media campaign and a 2007 tobacco tax increase approved by voters.

The number of abortions reported in Arizona is down.

A state report says there were 12,900 reported abortions performed in Arizona in 2014. That's down 3.7 percent from the 13,401 reported abortions performed in 2013 in Arizona.

About three-quarters of the abortions performed in 2014 involved surgical procedures, while the remainder used a medication-induced procedure.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

A proposed federal regulation would limit the pharmaceutical chemicals reaching the nation’s waterways.

The rule will affect hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and long-term care centers. They’ll be banned from flushing pharmaceuticals classified as hazardous waste down the drain. That includes chemotherapy drugs, blood thinners, nicotine and certain nutritional supplements. 

AZ Central

Gov. Doug Ducey wants able-bodied Arizonans on the state's Medicaid program for the poor to pay into health savings accounts and be charged co-pays for some services. But those proposals and others he's touting got a tough reception at the first meeting where the public was allowed to weigh in.

Charlie Leight/The Republic

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey plans to ask the federal government to approve major changes to the state's Medicaid insurance plan designed to encourage recipients to better utilize services and possibly cut state costs.

The plan to be formally announced Monday applies to able-bodied adults who don't provide care for small children, about a quarter of the state's 1.7 million Medicaid recipients. They would be charged co-pays for some services and required to pay 2 percent of their income into a health savings account.

 A battle over how former Gov. Jan Brewer funded the expansion of the state's Medicaid program is finally going before a judge.

Lawyers will argue about the constitutionality of Arizona's hospital "bed tax" in a Phoenix courtroom Thursday. The case that could determine whether 350,000 residents remain covered under the state's Medicaid expansion.

The case hinges on whether the assessment is a tax that should have been passed by a 2/3 vote in the state Legislature or a fee that can be passed by a majority vote.

Open enrollment for health insurance through the federal government’s Affordable Care Act Marketplace ends Sunday. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, this year in Arizona there’s been a significant increase in those purchasing insurance through the program.

Nicole Gilbert/Cronkite News

The Navajo Nation spans three states and 27,000 square miles. Many homes are so remote and spread out that they don’t have addresses. And, that can make healthcare difficult, especially follow-up care after hospitalization. That’s why John Georgas is working on a computer project and mobile app to identify homes without street addresses to make healthcare access a little easier. Inzaurralde

There’s some new information now available online to help you choose a hospital both by quality of care — and what it will cost you. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.