Sarah Varney

Sarah Varney reports on the implementation of the federal health law in the states and the effect of state budget woes on public programs, county governments and vulnerable populations including children and the elderly. Most recently, Sarah was the health reporter for KQED’s statewide news program The California Report.

Posts by Sarah Varney

Don’t forget: Behind the King v. Burwell-Obamacare debate are human beings

BURNSVILLE, N. C.—It’s been a bitterly cold winter in the Blue Ridge Mountains for Julia Raye and her 13-year-old son, Charles. But despite the punishing weather, 2015 has been looking good: Raye is finally able to afford insulin and the other medications she needs to keep her diabetes under control. She’s a self-employed auditor who […]


Three times as many people with mental illness are in U.S. prisons than hospitals

Psychological disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder and trauma-related disorders, are rampant among inmates, and mental illness itself is a risk factor for landing in jail. “We’ve, frankly, criminalized the mentally ill, and used local jails as de facto mental health institutions,” said Alex Briscoe, the health director for Alameda County in northern California. The statistics […]


Obamacare changes how therapists do business

In the corporate world of American health care, with its consolidating hospital chains and doctors’ groups, psychologists and other mental health therapists are still mostly Mom-and-Pop shops; they’ve built solo practices, hanging their own shingles, not unlike Lucy in the Peanuts gang: “Psychiatric Help 5¢, The Doctor Is In.” But that business model is shifting […]


In conservative Arizona, government-run health care that works

As Congress debates an ambitious and far-reaching effort by the Obama administration to streamline medical care and rein in spending for the nation’s sickest and most expensive patients, Arizona – with its finger-wagging Republican governor and Tea Party enthusiasts – is occupying an unusual place in the national landscape: as a model for how a generously-funded, tightly regulated government program can aid vulnerable, low-income patients.