Health care in the US

US Senate holds hearing on rising generic drug prices

By Brad Dixon, 11 December 2015

The price hikes of a number of generic drugs have limited patient access, according to expert testimony at a US Senate hearing.

US Senate report details high prices of Hepatitis C drugs

By Brad Dixon, 7 December 2015

A report released by the US Senate found that the drugmaker Gilead priced its $84,000 hepatitis C drug to maximize revenue, even as it restricted patient access.

Giant US insurer threatens to exit Obamacare coverage

By Fred Mazelis, 27 November 2015

With health insurers leaving the health care exchanges and individuals facing soaring costs, the fraud of Obamacare is being revealed more clearly with each passing year.

Drug maker Novartis pays $390 million to settle kickback claims

By Brad Dixon, 14 November 2015

The Novartis settlement is but another example of the rampant criminality and parasitism found throughout the pharmaceutical industry.

Capitalism and mortality: Death rate soars for middle-aged US workers

By Joseph Kishore, 4 November 2015

The mortality figures reflect a catastrophic decline in the social position of the working class resulting from the protracted decay of American capitalism.

Obamacare open enrollment: A widening health care disaster for workers

By Kate Randall, 3 November 2015

As Obamacare enters its third year, its reactionary, anti-working class character is becoming ever more clear. It is a health care counterrevolution.

American Cancer Society adds its voice in campaign against early breast cancer screenings

By Kate Randall, 23 October 2015

Under both the proposed US Preventive Service Task Force’s guidelines and the ACS’s revised recommendations, numerous breast cancer cases will go undetected.

Congressional deal unlikely to avert Medicare premium spikes

By Kate Randall, 21 October 2015

A freeze in Social Security benefits for 65 million Americans in 2016 means that 8 million people will also see their Medicare premiums spike by 52 percent.

Social Security benefit freeze for 65 million in US

By Patrick Martin, 16 October 2015

Nearly a third of the elderly or disabled people whose benefits are frozen will also be hit by huge increases in Medicare premiums.

Planned Parenthood fights congressional witch-hunt

By Evan Blake, 8 October 2015

The congressional hearing for Planned Parenthood, the most recent target of a right-wing smear campaign, showcased the degraded state of official politics in Washington.

US drug makers blocking generic competition to inflate prices

By Brad Dixon, 1 October 2015

Nearly a third of 280 generic drug products widely used by older Americans have increased in price since 2006.

Life expectancy plunges for low-income Americans

By Andre Damon, 29 September 2015

The gap in life expectancy between higher and lower-income Americans has soared in recent decades, according to the results of a new study commissioned by the US Congress.

US health insurance deductibles rise sharply, far outpacing wage gains

By Kate Randall, 25 September 2015

Deductibles for employer-sponsored health insurance have risen more than six times the average wage increase of US workers since 2010.

US pharmaceutical industry price-gouging and the case of Martin Shkreli

By Nick Barrickman, 24 September 2015

Shkreli’s actions represent nothing more than an unabashed and especially brazen form of everyday business practice under capitalism.

Nominee for FDA commissioner has close ties to drug industry

By Kate Randall, 23 September 2015

Pharmaceutical watchdog groups have noted Dr. Robert Califf’s long-held ties to the multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry.

Obamacare coverage terminated for 430,000 immigrants

By Kate Randall, 15 September 2015

The majority of those stripped of coverage are documented US residents and citizens caught up in an inefficient and arbitrary system.

Who would benefit from the health care co-op proposed by the UAW?

By Jerry White, 10 September 2015

The new scheme would be modeled on the retiree health care trust fund or so-called VEBA run by the UAW.

Obamacare health insurers seek double-digit rate hikes for 2016

By Kate Randall, 7 September 2015

In Delaware, South Dakota and West Virginia insurers are seeking double-digit increases for 100 percent of Obamacare plans.

Report documents pervasive shortcomings in US mental health insurance

By Trent Novak, 29 August 2015

Individuals seeking mental health treatment are twice as likely to have their claims denied by insurers than patients filing claims related to traditional medical procedures.

California insurance rates rise under Obamacare

By Julio Patron, 25 August 2015

Obamacare continues to provide enormous profits to insurers while the price of health care for workers soars to new heights.

Alabama budget proposals threaten state Medicaid program

By Shelley Connor, 18 August 2015

Drastic cuts proposed in the state legislature would put an end to Medicaid in Alabama, as the program depends on matching funds from the federal government.

Obamacare enrollees highly dissatisfied with health coverage

By Kate Randall, 7 August 2015

A new poll finds that only 30 percent of people with insurance through the ACA exchanges are satisfied with their plans, mainly due to cost.

Congressional Republicans move to defund Planned Parenthood

By Evan Blake, 31 July 2015

The proposed legislation comes in response to heavily edited videos produced by a right-wing group that falsely depict the organization committing crimes.

Fifty years on: Medicare under assault

By Kate Randall, 31 July 2015

Medicare, one of the last vestiges of social reform from a previous era, today faces a bipartisan assault aimed at undermining and ultimately destroying it.

Second health mega-merger in three weeks

Anthem to buy Cigna, creating biggest US health insurer

By Kate Randall, 25 July 2015

The Anthem-Cigna deal is the latest in a flurry of mergers and acquisitions encouraged by the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act.

US federal disability insurance trust to be depleted next year

By Tom Hall, 23 July 2015

Although the funding crisis can be solved with a technical fix, the political establishment is using this manufactured crisis to push for deep cuts to disability benefits.

White House official in charge of Obamacare rollout hired as health insurance lobbyist

By George Gallanis, 17 July 2015

Marilyn Tavenner will become the CEO of a firm that lobbies on behalf of some of the largest health insurance companies in America, including Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Surge in prices boosts drug industry profits

By Brad Dixon, 14 July 2015

An investigation by Bloomberg News found that the prices of supposedly competing prescription drugs rose in lockstep.

US health insurers seek huge rate increases for 2016

By Kate Randall, 6 July 2015

Many insurers are requesting double-digit premium hikes, citing diminishing profits and a larger than expected pool of unhealthy enrollees.

Obamacare fuels wave of takeovers

Aetna, Humana announce biggest-ever merger of health insurers

By Barry Grey, 4 July 2015

The deal is the biggest to date in a flurry of mergers and acquisitions spurred on by the Obama administration’s health care overhaul.

Paul Krugman’s apologia for Obamacare

By Andre Damon, 27 June 2015

Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act by declaring the health care overhaul a “policy triumph.”

US Supreme Court upholds Obamacare subsidies

By Kate Randall, 26 June 2015

The majority opinion states that without the subsidies the ACA would collapse, sending the insurance market into a “death spiral.”

Pittsburgh-based health system cutting costs with early retirement offers

By Evan Winters and Phyllis Scherrer, 24 June 2015

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is seeking to eliminate thousands of higher paid caregivers.

Los Angeles cops who killed Ezell Ford set to be exonerated

By Evan Blake, 8 June 2015

Separate investigations by the Los Angeles Police Department chief and the LAPD Inspector General will clear the cops who killed Ezell Ford last August.

Medical technicians and paramedics picket against low-wage exploitation

By K. Rowe and Toby Reese, 6 June 2015

Working EMTs and paramedics have been picketing at San Diego City Hall since last Thursday in protest over the extension that maintains appallingly low wages.

Insurance companies apply for rate hikes for Obamacare plans

By Tom Hall, 30 May 2015

The companies argue that hikes submitted to state regulators, which are larger than in the past, are necessary due to Obamacare signees being older and sicker than expected.

US panel’s screening guidelines threaten mammograms for 17 million women

By Kate Randall, 18 May 2015

Thousands of cases of breast cancer could be missed, resulting in preventable deaths, if the US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations are adopted.

HIV epidemic in rural Indiana exposes social crisis in US

By Zaida Green, 11 May 2015

Driving the outbreak are high levels of poverty and unemployment, conditions found in small towns throughout the United States.

Strike of California nurses ends

By Marc Wells, 2 May 2015

After a tentative agreement, 6,500 nurses in eight California hospitals returned to work.

California and Illinois nurses set to strike

By Marc Wells, 25 April 2015

Nurses at eight California hospitals and one Chicago medical center have announced a strike against understaffing, limited by the unions to a one- or two-day action.

A historic attack on Medicare

By Kate Randall, 17 April 2015

The new Medicare bill, which takes aim at health care for seniors, has been hatched as a conspiracy behind the backs of the American people.

US Senate passes “milestone” bill to means-test Medicare, ration health care

By Andre Damon, 16 April 2015

The bill, overwhelmingly backed by both Democrats and Republicans, is a significant step in the ongoing drive to attack Medicare and health care in the United States.

University of California doctors strike

By Marc Wells, 16 April 2015

For the second time in three months, doctors at the University of California went on strike against the UC administration over stalled contract negotiations.

US political establishment hails bipartisan bill attacking Medicare

By Kate Randall, 28 March 2015

The bill is designed to effect a paradigm shift in health care, away from “fee for service” to a system that rewards doctors for rationing care and cutting costs.

US House passes sweeping new bipartisan assault on Medicare

By Kate Randall, 27 March 2015

The coming together of the Republican and Democratic parties behind the overhaul underscores the unanimity within the ruling class on the need for massive cuts in health care spending.

US Supreme Court hears challenge to Obamacare subsidies

By Kate Randall, 6 March 2015

A ruling for the plaintiffs could invalidate subsidies for up to 7.5 million people purchasing coverage on the federal Obamacare exchange.

Up to six million face Obamacare penalties for 2014

By Toby Reese, 20 February 2015

Tax penalties imposed on the uninsured who fail to sign up for health coverage by the February 15 deadline will be higher than last year.

New York Times takes aim at treatment for peripheral artery disease

By Kate Randall, 12 February 2015

Using flawed data analyzed by a health care think tank, the Times targets “huge payments” by Medicare to treat PAD, a serious condition that can lead to gangrene, amputations and death.

Urgent care center replaces shuttered hospital in impoverished Pennsylvania town

By Evan Winters and Phyllis Scherrer, 10 February 2015

This dramatic downgrade graphically illustrates the reality of health care rationing for the poor and working class in the United States, supported by the entire political establishment.

US measles outbreak spreads to fourteen states

By Kevin Martinez, 4 February 2015

The Centers for Disease Control said Monday that 102 people have become infected with the virus in the US.

Six million hit with Obamacare penalties for being uninsured

By Jerry White, 30 January 2015

The penalty is a minimum of $95 for individuals but can be one percent of family income—potentially hundreds of dollars—if a dependent is not covered.

US announces plan to ration health care under Medicare

By Kate Randall, 28 January 2015

The realignment of Medicare more directly with the profit dictates of the market will become the model for the American health care system as a whole.

Measles outbreak in California spreads to six other states

By Kevin Martinez, 24 January 2015

The disease, declared eradicated in the US in 2000, has made a comeback.

Influenza reaches epidemic proportions in US

By E.P. Bannon, 23 January 2015

Roughly 8.5 percent of all deaths across the country for the week ending on January 10 resulted from influenza or pneumonia.

Striking California mental health workers denounce attacks on health care

By our reporters, 19 January 2015

Some 2,600 mental health care workers in California are in the second week of a strike against Kaiser Permanente.

California mental health care workers strike

By David Brown, 15 January 2015

Without a contract for four years, mental health workers in the National Union of Healthcare Workers at Kaiser Permanente are holding a series of partial strikes across California.

Ezekiel Emanuel’s latest advice: “Skip Your Annual Physical”

By Kate Randall, 13 January 2015

Emanuel’s advice that people stop having annual exams illustrates the agenda behind Obamacare—the rationing of health care for the vast majority of ordinary Americans.

Loss of temporary Medicaid subsidies: Another Obamacare blow to US working poor

By Thomas Gaist, 30 December 2014

The expiration of temporary federal support for state-based Medicaid programs will reduce health care availability for the low-income families by as much as 40 percent.

California nurses strike at San Bernardino Hospitals

By Kevin Martinez, 11 December 2014

Nurses went on a two-day strike Tuesday, after a county judge issued a temporary restraining order against a portion of them.

Widespread opposition to closure of Boston-area municipal hospital

By John Marion, 8 December 2014

Unions and state officials in Massachusetts are collaborating with Steward Health Care Systems to close the 124-year-old Quincy Medical Center.

More large US companies drop retirees from health plans

By Douglas Lyons, 1 December 2014

Among large employers with 1,000 or more workers, 60 percent have instituted caps on benefits for retirees eligible for Medicare.

Obamacare adviser: Administration exploited “the stupidity of the American voter”

By Kate Randall, 18 November 2014

The president has attempted to distance himself from Gruber’s comments because he is well aware of the inconvenient truths they reveal about Obamacare.

Cost of Obamacare coverage to rise in 2015

By Kate Randall, 17 November 2014

People who bought Affordable Care Act plans last year could face premium increases of as much as 20 percent unless they switch plans.

California Nurses Association backs Democrats with Ebola protest

By David Brown, 17 November 2014

The two-day strike at Kaiser Permanente facilities was used by the CNA to present Governor Jerry Brown, who has slashed health care, as a champion of nurses’ safety.

US Veterans Affairs head announces restructuring, firings

By Kate Randall, 12 November 2014

Secretary Robert McDonald said that 35 VA staffers would be losing their jobs and another 1,000 may be fired because they “violated our values.”

US Medicare “open enrollment” period highlights attacks on health care

By Fred Mazelis, 12 November 2014

Profit interests continue to undermine one of the last remaining Great Society reforms of the 1960s.

US Supreme Court to hear challenge to Obamacare subsidies

By Kate Randall, 10 November 2014

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear King v. Burwell comes just days before the beginning of open enrollment for the second year of the Affordable Care Act.

Detroit Medical Center to outsource housekeeping in cost-cutting drive

By Shannon Jones, 1 November 2014

The DMC has a long history of aggressive downsizing and cost-cutting going back to the tenure of now-Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan as CEO

ALS patients face loss of Medicare coverage for speech-generating devices

By Kate Randall, 28 October 2014

Medicare may not provide coverage for speech-generating devices that can be upgraded to connect to the Internet or perform basic functions such as turning on room lights.

Lack of training, safety at Texas hospital where nurses contracted Ebola

By Kate Randall, 17 October 2014

Texas Health Presbyterian’s handling of Ebola cases has come under fire from registered nurses at the hospital.

Ebola in America

By Andre Damon, 16 October 2014

The incompetent and irresponsible response to the Ebola crisis in the US stands as an indictment of the American political establishment.

Majority of Texas abortion clinics to close following court ruling

By Kate Randall, 4 October 2014

The court action could force nearly one million Texas women to drive at least 300 miles round trip to access their constitutionally protected right to an abortion.

“Why I Hope to Die at 75”: Ezekiel Emanuel’s sinister argument against prolonging life

By Kate Randall, 27 September 2014

Emanuel’s prescription is to do away with America’s “manic desperation to endlessly extend life,” forego advanced medical treatment and allow death to take its course.

“Dying in America” report: Latest volley in campaign to slash heath care costs

By Kate Randall, 19 September 2014

A new report from the Institute of Medicine argues that because people are living longer into old age, money spent to keep them alive should be slashed.

Brain damage affects 3 in 10 former National Football League players

By Alan Gilman, 18 September 2014

In a lawsuit brought by former players, the National Football League has admitted that nearly a third of retired players will suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s and other long-term cognitive diseases.

White House threatens to cut off Obamacare subsidies to 360,000

By Kate Randall, 16 September 2014

The Obama administration says it will cut off government subsidies to about 360,000 people if they do not offer proof of their income within the next two weeks.

US insurers discourage the sick from enrolling in health plans

By Kate Randall, 4 September 2014

Health plans with narrow hospital networks and high out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs discriminate against patients with chronic health conditions.

US insurers discourage the sick from enrolling in health plans

By Kate Randall, 4 September 2014

Health plans with narrow hospital networks and high out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs discriminate against patients with chronic health conditions.

Obamacare threatens immigrants with loss of health coverage

By Douglas Lyons, 21 August 2014

Federal health officials are threatening some Obamacare enrollees with loss of coverage if they fail to send proof-of-citizenship documentation.

The crisis in American mental health care

By Trent Novak, 13 August 2014

Roughly one in every four adult Americans experiences a mental illness in any given year.

California: Immigrants eligible for Medicaid may not receive coverage

By Clodomiro Puentes, 2 August 2014

The expansion of Medicaid in California under Obama’s Affordable Care Act has been falsely promoted as a huge success.

Bipartisan US veterans’ health deal provides $10 billion for private care

By Kate Randall, 30 July 2014

The scandal at Veterans Affairs has been seized on as a pretext for opening up veterans’ health care to privatization.

Arkansas denies life-extending drug to Medicaid recipients

By Douglas Lyons, 24 July 2014

Chloe Jones, a fourteen-year-old cystic fibrosis patient, has been denied the use of a life-extending drug by the state of Arkansas.

US courts deliver conflicting rulings on Obamacare subsidies

By Kate Randall, 23 July 2014

Striking down subsidies on the federal health care exchange would do away with one of the few remaining supposedly progressive features of Obamacare.

US Veterans Affairs agency manipulated disability data

By Kate Randall, 16 July 2014

New revelations of manipulation of disability data point to systemic corruption at the VA that extends beyond the scandal over the agency’s medical treatment of veterans.

California’s whooping cough epidemic

By Henry Allen, 12 July 2014

A growing number of whooping cough infections could be the start of the worst pertussis outbreak in 70 years.

Obamacare drug benefits block access to vital medicines

By Kate Randall, 8 July 2014

Many ACA plans have “closed” drug formularies that exclude some drugs to treat chronic diseases, saddling patients with the full cost of these medications.

Obama nominates ex-CEO to head Veterans Affairs

By Kate Randall, 1 July 2014

Robert McDonald has been chosen to lead the VA not for his experience in health care or civil service administration, but as an executive at a Fortune 500 company.

Maryland governor blocks strike by Johns Hopkins Hospital workers

By Nick Barrickman, 30 June 2014

Union officials welcomed the government intervention.

New revelations of neglect and coverup at US veterans health care facilities

By Kate Randall, 25 June 2014

Psychiatric patients languished for years without treatment at one VA facility, while “deceased” records were removed from files at another so veterans would not be counted as having died waiting for care.

Study ranks US health care system last among 11 nations

By Kate Randall, 21 June 2014

A new study by the Commonwealth Fund ranks the US last or near last on access to care, efficiency and equity of treatment between the rich and poor.

Millions in US fall into Medicaid gap

By Douglas Lyons, 13 June 2014

In states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage under Obamacare, the very poorest have been left without health care coverage.

VA audit shows nearly 60,000 US veterans face delays receiving health care

By Kate Randall, 11 June 2014

The audit found that 13 percent of schedulers at hospitals and clinics reported being told by supervisors to falsify appointment records.

Federal judge blocks rule lowering drug prices for poor hospitals

By John Andrews, 10 June 2014

A federal judge ruled that the US Department of Health and Human Services lacks the authority to enact a rule to lower the price of certain prescription drugs and medications sold to hospitals servicing low-income patients.

Washington DC veterans and residents speak out against privatization of VA health care

By Danielle DeSaxe and Nick Barrickman, 7 June 2014

Veterans at the Community Clinic Southeast, which serves the neighborhood of Anacostia, spoke to the WSWS.

Bipartisan deal on US veterans’ health care includes step toward privatization

By Kate Randall, 6 June 2014

Under a two-year trial, veterans who live 40 miles or more from a VHA facility “will be able to go to the doctor of your choice, under the direct supervision of the VA.”

The drive to privatize US veterans’ health care

By Kate Randall and Barry Grey, 2 June 2014

The real scandal at the US Department of Veterans Affairs is the social catastrophe reflected in the thousands of veterans seeking treatment for injuries from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

VA secretary resigns amid push to privatize US veterans’ health care

By Kate Randall, 31 May 2014

The moves to privatize the government program underscore the hypocrisy of the official glorification of veterans.

Calls mount for VA head’s resignation in wake of damning report on US veteran care

By Matthew MacEgan, 30 May 2014

A report from the VA’s inspector general shows that patients waited an average of 114 days for a primary care appointment.

More private insurers to hop on Obamacare gravy train

By Kate Randall, 28 May 2014

New tweaks to Obamacare regulations virtually guarantee that any dent in insurance company profits will be offset by “risk corridor” and other funds.