Health care in the US

Sebelius out at US Department of Health and Human Services

By Kate Randall, 12 April 2014

The HHS secretary’s ouster is a crass political maneuver by the White House aimed at damage control in advance of the mid-term elections.

State of Maryland drops health exchange software

By Trent Novak, 11 April 2014

Upon its initial launch in October 2013, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange website crashed almost immediately, and it has since been plagued by a wide variety of technical glitches.

Bipartisan assault on health care intensifies in US

By Andre Damon, 7 April 2014

The Affordable Care Act constitutes a handout to major insurance companies, an attack on bedrock social programs and a pretext for companies to drop their existing health insurance coverage.

US Republican Paul Ryan’s budget plan revives voucher system for Medicare

By Kate Randall, 4 April 2014

Both big business parties are eyeing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for not only sweeping funding cuts, but ultimate destruction through privatization and other means.

White House ally reveals anti-working class agenda behind Obamacare

By Kate Randall, 31 March 2014

Ezekiel Emanuel, former adviser to the White House on health care reform, predicts that few private-sector employers will still be providing health insurance to their workers by 2025.

Three Detroit metro hospitals planning mega-merger

By Thomas Gaist, 25 March 2014

The merger was unknown to the public until it was reported in the press, indicating that the hospitals’ management preferred to keep the deal under wraps as long as possible.

As retired city workers are forced onto private exchanges

Half of Detroit’s residents too poor to afford Obamacare

By Lawrence Porter, 24 March 2014

Several hundred workers, retirees and unemployed workers attended a publicly sponsored health care exposition at Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit last Wednesday.

Obamacare short of enrollment target ahead of March 31 deadline

By Kate Randall, 18 March 2014

About 4.2 million have signed up, far short of the Obama administration’s projected 5.7 million, and only 25 percent of these are young people.

Obama peddles private health care to young people in web interview

By Andre Damon, 13 March 2014

President Barack Obama appeared in an episode of the comedy interview web series Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis Tuesday in an effort to salvage the pro-corporate Obamacare program.

Obama administration again extends life of “skinny” health plans

By Kate Randall, 7 March 2014

The Affordable Care Act has been tweaked multiple times in the interests of insurance companies and employers.

US insurers protest planned cuts to Medicare Advantage

By Kate Randall, 28 February 2014

Moves to implement cuts in Medicare Advantage reimbursements have faced an annual challenge from the insurance industry lobby.

US public sector cuts part-time work in advance of Obamacare mandate

By Kate Randall, 22 February 2014

Obamacare, whose ostensible aim was to extend health coverage to millions of workers, is apparently having the opposite effect in the public sector.

White House announces another delay in health mandate for employers

By Kate Randall, 12 February 2014

For the second time in less than a year, the Obama administration is granting certain employers additional time to comply with a mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

Congressional report: Obamacare to reduce workforce by two million

By Kate Randall, 5 February 2014

Low-wage workers are most likely to be affected, as some reduce their working hours to qualify for government subsidies to purchase health coverage on the ACA exchanges.

The impact of Obamacare

US retailer Target eliminates health coverage for part-time workers

By Kate Randall, 24 January 2014

The retail giant’s dumping of health care for part-timers indicates how Obamacare is undermining the employer-sponsored health care system in the US.

Workers, community fight Brooklyn hospital closures

By Dan Brennan, 22 January 2014

Hospital workers occupied part of Interfaith Medical Center last Friday in response to the diversion of ambulances away from the financially troubled hospital in Brooklyn, New York.

The Kellers and cancer

By Barry Grey, 20 January 2014

New York Times columnist Bill Keller and his journalist wife wrote on the case of a terminal cancer patient to argue against ordinary people receiving life-extending medical care.

US university hospital suspends its black lung unit

By Clement Daly, 13 January 2014

A group of radiologists at Johns Hopkins University Hospital has been instrumental in preventing thousands of coal miners from receiving black lung benefits.

Washington DC health exchange plagued with problems

By Trent Novak, 10 January 2014

Users of the DC Health Link web site have reported a range of issues, including finding out that their electronic applications have gone missing.

Obamacare site botches more than 100,000 Medicaid, CHIP enrollments

By Kate Randall, 8 January 2014

HealthCare.gov fails to transit proper information to the states about Medicaid eligibility, leading to dropped enrollments.

The launch of the Obamacare counterrevolution

By Kate Randall, 3 January 2014

Obama’s health care “reform” was aimed from the start at cutting costs for the government and corporations, resulting in reduced medical care and rationing for the vast majority of Americans.

New Year’s launch of Obamacare: A health care counter-reform in action

By Kate Randall, 31 December 2013

The revelations of the high costs and shoddy coverage being offered through Obamacare expose the fundamental basis of the Affordable Care Act—the for-profit health care system.

White House grants new Obamacare exemptions as enrollment deadline hits

By Kate Randall, 23 December 2013

People whose policies have been canceled will be allowed to purchase “catastrophic” coverage or be granted a “hardship exemption” to avoid a penalty for not having insurance.

Obamacare a model for employer-sponsored health plans

By Kate Randall, 17 December 2013

A new poll finds shows growing opposition to Obamacare, which is serving as a model for a further gutting of the health care system.

Obamacare enrollment records contain significant errors

By Kate Randall, 4 December 2013

People who thought they had enrolled at HealthCare.gov may find they are not covered when the insurance goes into effect January 1.

As deadline for HealthCare.gov “fix” arrives

Obamacare debacle intensifies

By Kate Randall, 30 November 2013

The Obama administration has announced another setback for the Obamacare web site, a one-year delay for small businesses to sign up online for insurance policies.

Obamacare: Nearly a million Californians receive cancellation letters

By Archie Stone and Toby Reese, 26 November 2013

Those currently on health plans not meeting ACA requirements will be cut off and forced to find new coverage.

US prescription drug overdoses quadruple over last decade

By Clement Daly, 25 November 2013

A recent report by the Trust for America’s Health details the burgeoning epidemic of prescription drug abuse in the United States.

Obamacare exposed: The gutting of health care for workers

By Kate Randall, 20 November 2013

The health care overhaul is aimed at drastically reducing medical services for ordinary Americans, resulting in a deterioration of the health of workers and their families and needless disease, suffering and death.

Dozens of Democrats back Republican anti-Obamacare bill

By Kate Randall, 16 November 2013

Thirty nine Democrats joined Republicans in approving legislation that would allow insurers to offer health care plans to new and existing customers that do not meet Obamacare requirements.

Obama proposes “fix” to pro-corporate health care overhaul

By Kate Randall, 15 November 2013

Insurers will be allowed to offer health plans through 2014 that do meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act and will be able to raise premiums on these policies.

Enrollment figures underscore Obamacare debacle

By Kate Randall, 13 November 2013

Less than 50,000 people had successfully enrolled for insurance coverage through the HealthCare.gov web site as of last week, according to unofficial figures reported Monday.

Obamacare lies exposed

By Kate Randall, 12 November 2013

Every day brings new proof that the promises President Obama made about his health care “reform” were lies aimed at sugarcoating an historic assault on health care for working people.

The HealthCare.gov debacle and the fraud of Obamacare

By Kate Randall, 8 November 2013

Obama’s claim that the health bill will provide anything approaching “universal health care” is an insult to the intelligence of the American people.

US government exempts new health exchanges from anti-fraud standards

By David Walsh, 6 November 2013

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius asserts that the programs created by the Affordable Care Act are not federal health care plans, thus putting them beyond anti-kickback regulations applicable to such plans.

New York Times: Treat high medical costs as a “serious side effect”

By Kate Randall, 6 November 2013

The Times and the well-off layers that it represents continue their support of Obamacare with calls for reducing “unnecessary” medical services for working families and the poor.

Obama administration knew insurance companies would drop millions of customers

By Kate Randall, 5 November 2013

Less than three months after the health care overhaul’s passage, Obamacare regulations estimated that “40 to 67 percent” of individual customers would not be able to keep their coverage.

Obamacare and the “crisis” of an aging population

By Kate Randall, 1 November 2013

Policy papers arguing that Americans live too long and undermine US military spending by receiving pensions and medical care give a glimpse of the reactionary interests driving Obamacare.

President Obama, administration officials defend pro-corporate health care overhaul

By Thomas Gaist, 31 October 2013

The administration’s defense of the overhaul came amidst intensifying criticism over the non-functioning of the healthcare.gov web site and news that hundreds of thousands of people will lose their current policies.

Cutting food stamps: The ruthlessness of the American ruling class

By Andre Damon and Barry Grey, 29 October 2013

Food assistance benefits for over 45 million Americans will be slashed starting Friday.

Obamacare prompts insurers to drop hundreds of thousands from coverage

By Kate Randall, 28 October 2013

Private insurers are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to people who presently buy their own coverage and forcing others to buy more costly policies.

Obamacare premiums higher in rural areas, more costly than quoted in others

By Kate Randall, 25 October 2013

A “fix” on HealthCare.gov has been deliberately designed to provide low estimates of insurance premiums in many cases.

Despite $500 million price tag, Obamacare web site still failing

By Mike Ingram, 23 October 2013

The Obama administration has released no official figures on how many people have successfully signed up for insurance through the HealthCare.gov web site.

Obama downplays health exchange debacle

By Kate Randall, 22 October 2013

Healthcare.gov, the main government site serving 36 states, has been plagued by technical difficulties since it opened for business three weeks ago.

Obamacare “rollout” events held in Detroit

By our reporters, 18 October 2013

Several poorly-attended events were held in the city of Detroit to roll out the Affordable Care Act.

Obamacare and the assault on workers’ health benefits

By Kate Randall and Barry Grey, 16 October 2013

In both Detroit and Chicago, city workers are being robbed of their health benefits and shunted onto Obamacare exchanges.

A disastrous start for Obamacare health exchanges

By Kate Randall, 15 October 2013

In the two weeks since the launch of the web site for people to sign up for Obamacare, tens of thousands of people have been unable to access the site due to programming flaws.

Shutdown of National Institutes of Health imperils critical medical research

By Philip Guelpa, 14 October 2013

The federal government shutdown will cause severe, and in some cases, irreparable harm to a vast amount of medical research and to many critically ill patients.

Obamacare to leave 31 million uninsured

By Kate Randall, 5 October 2013

The uninsured will include people left out of Medicaid expansion, victims of an employer coverage “family glitch,” and undocumented immigrants.

US health exchanges will impose high out-of-pocket costs, limit choices

By Kate Randall, 27 September 2013

Premiums will vary widely from state to state, with many plans carrying steep out-of-pocket costs while limiting the choice of doctors and hospitals.

Lobbying frenzy in run-up to US health care exchange launch

By Kate Randall, 24 September 2013

Lobbyists and “strategic advisers” to the health care industry include former Obama administration officials who helped draft the Affordable Care Act.

The US health care overhaul and the social rights of the working class

By Kate Randall, 20 September 2013

The health care legislation has been increasingly exposed as a regressive measure tailored to cut costs for the government and corporations at the expense of medical care for ordinary Americans.

IBM latest company to shift retirees to private health exchange

By Kate Randall, 13 September 2013

The move is part of a growing trend by corporations to dump employees off company-administered plans and shift costs to workers.

Washington, DC emergency response services in shambles

By Trent Novak, 29 August 2013

A recent review of the state of Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) in Washington, DC indicates that the district’s shortage of ambulances and trained paramedics is rapidly becoming a serious public health hazard.

Workers speak out against New York hospital closures

By Dan Brennan, 28 August 2013

Angered by layoffs and health care cuts in New York neighborhoods, workers and patients denounce the spate of hospital closures.

Letter from a tutor in the Virginia community college system

17 August 2013

A reader explains: “For thousands of state employees in Virginia, President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act will not only leave them without health insurance, but also without the means to survive.”

In latest cave-in to big business

Obama grants waiver on limits to out-of-pocket health costs

By Kate Randall, 14 August 2013

A one-year grace period has been granted on a requirement for insurance companies to adhere to limits on the out-of-pocket costs of health care for those they insure.

More US doctors opting out of Medicare

By Kate Randall, 7 August 2013

The ranks of doctors accepting Medicare are steadily decreasing under the impact of the Obama health care legislation.

Brooklyn hospitals dismantled as Wall Street waits in the wings

By Dan Brennan, 31 July 2013

Brooklyn’s hospital system is in deep crisis, with two closures imminent and up to four more possible.

Detroit moves to force retirees onto Obama health care exchanges

By Kate Randall, 31 July 2013

Detroit’s emergency manager is seeking to shift retirees into inferior coverage on the insurance exchanges.

Medicare accelerates plan linking US doctor pay to costs

By Kate Randall, 24 July 2013

Nearly 500,000 doctors serving Medicare patients will be evaluated on their performance in cutting costs and trimming services.

Obama, touting health care law, remains silent on delay in insurance requirement for companies

By Kate Randall, 19 July 2013

Obama’s touting of modest rebates and reined-in premiums is at odds with the entire trajectory of the health care overhaul, which is aimed at cutting costs for big business and the government while reducing care for ordinary Americans.

University of California medical workers frustrated by union’s toothless “Day of Action”

By Norisa Diaz and Clodomiro Puentes, 6 July 2013

California medical workers are growing dissatisfied and angry with their union.

White House delays health care requirement for businesses

By Richard Vargas and Barry Grey, 4 July 2013

In the latest concession to corporate interests, the Obama administration has delayed for one year implementation under its health care overhaul of a requirement for businesses to provide health insurance to full-time employees.

The California Nurses Association and health care “militancy”

By David Brown, 18 June 2013

Although presented as a “progressive” union by various pseudo-left groups, the California Nurses Association has suppressed the struggles of health care workers while subordinating them to the Democratic Party.

More than 3,500 state health workers to be laid off under Louisiana privatization drive

By Tom Hall, 12 June 2013

Louisiana's Civil Service Commission recently voted to approve the privatization of four hospitals, which will result in the layoff of thousands of state employees.

Barack Obama’s health care counterrevolution

By Kate Randall, 7 June 2013

The health care overhaul has been crafted to benefit private insurers and cut costs for corporations and the government at the expense of working families and the poor.

US health reform to slash care, leave millions uninsured

By Kate Randall, 5 June 2013

Mounting evidence shows that the Affordable Care Act will slash medical care and leave millions uninsured, while the private insurers hike premiums and boost their profits.

California first US state to implement health care exchange

By Danielle DeSaxe and Marc Wells, 3 June 2013

California is the first state to implement its own health insurance market, named Covered California, in line with Present Barack Obama's 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Health care overhaul will leave millions of poor Americans uninsured

By Kate Randall, 31 May 2013

More that half of those currently without health insurance live in states that are not planning to expand Medicaid to provide additional coverage.

Washington, DC health firm buyout leaves thousands without medical coverage

By Nick Barrickman, 27 May 2013

Chartered Health Plan, the District of Columbia’s largest health management firm, has been bought out after spending the greater part of the past year in financial difficulty.

University of California medical workers strike

By Norisa Diaz, 24 May 2013

Workers at UC Medical Centers across California went on a two-day strike this week

California nurses go on weeklong strike

By Evan Winters, 23 May 2013

In yet another effort to isolate its own membership, the California Nurses Association has called a weeklong strike.

Employers to offer bare-bones coverage under health care law

By Kate Randall, 21 May 2013

US employers will be able to avoid penalties under the Obama-backed health care legislation, while offering token plans to their workforces.

Union limits UC Medical workers to two-day strike

By our reporters, 21 May 2013

Some 13,000 patient care workers are set to strike on Tuesday and Wednesday at University of California Medical Centers after voting by 97 percent to walk out.

Health and Human Services secretary solicits corporate funds to implement Obama health care plan

By Kate Randall, 15 May 2013

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has asked insurance companies, foundations, consumer and business groups to donate to help implement the health care overhaul.

California hospital workers vote overwhelmingly to strike

By a reporting team, 14 May 2013

13,000 workers are set to strike against University of California austerity measures.

Spending on medicine dips in 2012 as Americans cut back on health care

By Kate Randall, 13 May 2013

Spending on prescription medicines fell in 2012, as growing out-of pocket costs forced more people to go without needed doctor visits, medicines and other treatments.

US preexisting conditions health plan closed for enrollment

By Kate Randall, 7 May 2013

An estimated 40,000 people with serious medical conditions will be turned away from a federal insurance plan that is running out of funds.

University of California medical workers hold strike vote

By Norisa Diaz, 1 May 2013

Medical workers at a UC Medical Center spoke to the WSWS about the alarming conditions facing both workers and patients.

University of California’s medical workers to hold strike vote

By Thomas Gaist, 30 April 2013

Thirteen-thousand patient care workers in the University of California’s medical system will vote on a possible strike starting April 30.

84 million US adults lack adequate health care coverage

By Kate Randall, 29 April 2013

One-quarter of adults reported being unable to pay for basic necessities such as food, heat or rent due to medical costs.

Sharp decline in employer-sponsored health coverage in US

By Kate Randall, 13 April 2013

The number of Americans covered by employer-sponsored health plans has dropped 10 percent in a decade, while premiums charged by private insurers have more than doubled.

Obama defends plan to cut Medicare and Social Security

By Andre Damon, 9 April 2013

After media reports that the Obama administration plans to slash Medicare and Social Security in its latest budget proposal due to be released Wednesday, government officials have been seeking to diffuse popular opposition to the cuts.

Communities across US feel impact of sequestration cuts

By Kate Randall, 9 April 2013

The effects of the sequestration order signed by President Obama on March 1 began to be felt in earnest beginning April 1.

Obama attacks Medicare and Social Security

By Kate Randall, 6 April 2013

The new Obama budget will cut hundreds of billions of dollars from vital programs on which millions of retired and disabled people depend.

US sequester cuts treatment for thousands of cancer patients

By Kate Randall, 5 April 2013

Medicare patients are being told to seek cancer treatment at hospitals, where it will be more expensive and accessibility is not assured.

The drive to dismantle Medicare

By Andre Damon, 1 April 2013

Following the imposition of $1.2 trillion in sequester spending cuts, Obama and the Republicans are turning their attention to slashing and ultimately dismantling Medicare, the government health insurance program for the elderly in the United States.

Obama, Republicans plot sweeping attack on Medicare

By Fred Mazelis, 30 March 2013

The plan that is being discussed would restructure Medicare to impose major increases in deductible payments on millions of beneficiaries.

Eastern Kentucky hospital workers authorize strike

By Naomi Spencer, 25 March 2013

Some 2,200 health care workers at hospitals in the Appalachian region could strike by April 1.

California governor prepares implementation of Obama health care bill

By Thomas Gaist, 7 March 2013

Deceptive claims of expanded coverage for poor and working class families are an attempt to cover over the real impact of the ACA.

The health care crisis in the US prison system

By Gary Joad, 20 February 2013

More than 800,000 incarcerated persons in the US suffer from a chronic health problem needing regular attention, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and HIV.

California governor’s budget foreshadows new assaults on health care

By Thomas Gaist, 14 February 2013

Governor Brown’s agenda includes a restructuring of health care programs to shave hundreds of millions of dollars from the budget.

US health care “individual mandate” will leave 30 million uninsured

By Kate Randall, 1 February 2013

Details released on the “individual mandate” show that Obama’s overhaul leaves millions without insurance, while disqualifying other low-income families from receiving federal subsidies.

US life expectancy lowest among industrialized countries

By Kate Randall, 11 January 2013

Unaffordable health care, high levels of poverty and income inequality, as well as the prevalence of gun violence, are major contributing factors to the poor life expectancy rate in the US.

Mental health care cuts hit rural Wisconsin

By Gary Joad, 7 January 2013

A mental health facility for inpatient care and its companion outpatient care clinic have been shuttered in Cumberland, Wisconsin.

The New York Times continues its campaign: Breast cancer screenings cause more harm than good

By Kate Randall, 26 November 2012

An opinion piece in the New York Times argues that regular mammography screenings to detect breast cancer are “not all they’re cracked up to be.”

The meningitis outbreak and health care for profit

By Kate Randall, 19 October 2012

The deadly fungal meningitis outbreak in the US continues to spread. According to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 247 people in 15 states have been sickened in the outbreak, and the death toll has risen to 19. Health authorities expect these numbers to continue to rise.

US meningitis outbreak: A deadly product of deregulation

Statement by Jerry White, SEP candidate for US president

By Jerry White, 16 October 2012

The fungal meningitis outbreak can be traced directly to the profit-motive of the corporate entity implicated and the lack of government oversight of drug manufacturing.

Deadly meningitis outbreak linked to contaminated steroids

By Kate Randall, 9 October 2012

Eight people have died from a fungal form of meningitis linked to contaminated steroids produced by a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy.