Tuesdays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

The brainchild of University of Tennessee associate professor Dr. Carole Myers, HealthConnections will bring the often-abstract world of health care, coverage and policy to a human level. What is access? How do marketplaces work? What's the future of health insurance? Dr. Myers and WUOT's Brandon Hollingsworth will sort through these issues and more, all to give you a toolbox for understanding what you hear on the news, or to separate fact from fiction in the health care debate.

You can't teach an old dog new tricks, the saying goes. And for many years, people believed the brain was pretty much set in adulthood, unreceptive to change, growth and adaptation. We now know that's not strictly true. While not nearly as flexible as youthful brains, adults' grey matter can still be stretched and toned, just like a muscle.

Last week, WUOT News contributor Heather Duncan reported on efforts to fight food insecurity in East Tennessee, from farmer’s markets to food stamps. Today, we continue our look at hunger on HealthConnections. We take a special look at a group you might not think of as in need – college students. The University of Tennessee’s Dr. Betsy Anderson Steeves has been researching that very issue.

The flu feels familiar, doesn't it? It comes around every year, mainly in the winter. Most of us have had it at least once in our lives. And every year, we get the same admonition to get a flu shot. It all seems pretty routine.

But it isn't, really. More than 30,000 Americans were hospitalized for the illness during the 2017-18 flu season. And because flu strains mutate and evolve, there's no guarantee that healthy people won't catch it.

Conversations about health care and health policy are, unsurprisingly, characterized by divisions common to the current political climate. But one area of common ground is care for those with pre-existing conditions.

Before the Affordable Care Act in 2010, pre-existing conditions were a barrier to health insurance, and by extension, securing good medical care.

When you think about the factors that control health and wellness, you might think about diet, exercise or vaccinations. But do you think about housing? On the next HealthConnections, we explore the ways housing – or the lack thereof – affects the health of individuals and their communities.

The American Cancer Society's "How Do You Measure Up?" report measures each of the fifty states in nine areas considered important for cancer treatment and prevention. This year, Tennessee recieved below-average marks.

In this edition of HealthConnections, a look at Tennessee's cancer report card. Advocate and cancer survivor Michael Holtz speaks with Dr. Carole Myers about where Tennessee ranked in categories that range from palliative care to screenings and prevention.

Navigators help uninsured Tennesseans choose health coverage on the individual marketplace. The federal government plans to cut funding for that program for the second year in a row. The Trump Administration argues the program has been successful, and fewer people need the help. Health insurance advocates say it's too soon to consider navigators obsolete.

Knox County's Community Health Council, now in its fifth year, studies public health patterns, makes recommendations to civic leaders and creates plans to improve the health of the county's residents.

Two weeks ago, we explored questions about the present and future of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. In this edition of HealthConnections, we continue the conversation with a focus on Medicare.

Dr. Carole Myers examines the funding and future of Medicare, and outlines potential budget cuts that have been proposed.

In the past year Republicans on Capitol Hill have tried three times to repeal, replace or repair the Affordable Care Act. The issue has largely dropped off the front page, and doesn’t get as much public attention as it did last year. But proposals that would affect the ACA and Medicaid haven’t gone away. State governments are acting on their own. This fall, voters in Nevada and Utah will decide whether to expand Medicaid. And President Trump has called for cutting $1.5 trillion from the program over the next decade.