Liz Borkowski

A new study in NEJM finds that after Texas excluded Planned Parenthood and other providers affiliated with abortion providers from its family-planning program for low-income women, the program paid for fewer women to get some of the most effective forms of contraception.

Economists have suggested that people with traditional insurance coverage over-consume healthcare because each doctor visit or lab test requires a relatively low co-payment. If we paid more for each service – had “skin in the game” – the thinking goes, we’d be more judicious about the healthcare we consume and shop around for the best value. But evidence is mounting that asking people to pay more for care doesn’t turn them into smarter shoppers.

The spread and toll of Zika

Zika virus has been linked to thousands of cases of microcephaly (infants born with abnormally small brains and heads) and is spreading throughout the Americas.

Recent stories address the Zika virus, which is linked to babies born with small heads; a reporter with advanced cancer covering the assisted-suicide movement; and more.

The omnibus spending bill includes a measure that allows the use of federal funds for state and local needle-exchange program — and it was championed by Kentucky Republicans.

As 2015 drew to a close, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced some good news: Fewer US patients are dying from hospital-acquired conditions like pressure ulcers and catheter-associated infections.

Recent pieces address how poor single moms survive, harassment of abortion providers, independence for the elderly, and more.

Last month, researchers in China reported on a gene that makes bacteria resistant to a last-ditch antibiotic. Now, researchers have found that gene in other countries. Meanwhile, CDC reports findings on “nightmare bacteria” CRE.

As many of us indulged in Thanksgiving meals last week, NPR’s Planet Money podcast and WAMU’s Metro Connection shared stories on ways food banks are using technology to improve food distribution.

Researchers in China identified a gene that confers resistance to a last-resort antibiotic, and then found that gene in E. coli isolates from raw meat samples, pigs, and 16% of hospital patients with infections.