Stories by Sam Baker

The unexpected cost of a failed pregnancy

Woman getting an ultrasound
A pregnant woman getting an ultrasound. Photo: Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

We know childbirth is wildly expensive in the U.S. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a very depressing related story: The cost of a failed pregnancy can also be unexpectedly large, leaving women or couples to sort through and challenge medical bills on top of an enormous emotional loss.

Details: One woman profiled by the Inquirer, Jodi Laughlin, had to have an emergency C-section. Her baby then lived only 32 minutes, due to a buildup of fluid in her body.

Ohio is fighting back against one of the nation's biggest PBMs

Ohio Attorney general dave yost
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has formally demanded that OptumRx, one of the country's largest pharmacy benefit managers, pay back $16 million in "overcharges" related to handling drug benefits for a state agency.

Why it matters: This isn't a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but it's a forceful step that shows states are actively looking to claw back money from a PBM if they think the company is skimming too much profit from the drug pricing process.

Go deeper: States are the new battleground for drug middlemen

This year's flu shot is working well

Flu shot
Photo: Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

This flu season is shaping up to be a lot milder than last year's nightmare, and scientists attribute that in large part to a more effective vaccine.

The big picture: This year's flu shot is about 47% effective against the dominant strain of influenza, per NBC News. Last year's shot was 36% effective at this interim stage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that somewhere between 9,600 and 15,900 people have died from the flu since Oct. 1. That puts this flu season on pace to be a lot less deadly than last year's, when 80,000 people died.

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