Healthcare

New US public charge rule may deter immigrants from vaccinating children

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 28 August 2019

Fear of being denied permanent residency for using social services is already causing immigrant parents to avoid accessing essential medical services for their children.

Unison calls off Bradford hospital workers’ strike

By Richard Tyler and Robert Stevens, 28 August 2019

Behind the scenes, the union and management had been meeting in a desperate bid to avert a strike and agree to a negotiated settlement.

Oklahoma judge finds Johnson & Johnson guilty in opioid epidemic

By Benjamin Mateus, 27 August 2019

While the $572 million judgment fell short of the $17 billion sought by the state, the court’s ruling was an unambiguous finding that the giant corporation deliberately downplayed the dangers of the opioids it manufactured.

UK: Record £9.2 billion of NHS budget handed to private firms

By Ben Trent, 17 August 2019

A third of hip replacements carried out in the NHS are now done privately and community health and mental health provision have seen five years of continual gains by the private sector.

Australian health workers protest assaults on staff

By John Wilson, 17 August 2019

The Health Services Union limited the action and channelled workers’ anger into a demand for more security officers, not for increased funding and staffing.

New studies reveal growing epidemic of nurse suicides in the US

By Alex Johnson, 16 August 2019

Hospital conditions and the accompanying mental health strain are driving increasing numbers of nurses to take their own lives.

A socialist strategy is needed to defend jobs and conditions

UK: Bradford NHS workers vote to strike against privatisation

By Richard Tyler, 15 August 2019

Hospital workers in Bradford, England, facing the backdoor privatisation of their jobs, have voted to take indefinite strike action from August 26.

Bottled water distributions begin as lead water poisoning crisis erupts in Newark, New Jersey

By Daniel de Vries, 14 August 2019

After three years of cover-up, city and state officials were forced to begin distributing bottled water to residents on Monday.

Indian doctors hold national 24-hour walkout; Chinese auto workers strike; Australian railway workers vote for industrial action

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

3 August 2019

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

US doctors’ group urges probe into child migrant deaths from influenza

By Kate Randall, 2 August 2019

According to autopsy results, at least three migrant children have died in US custody as a result of influenza and its complications since December 2018, a rate of death substantially higher than that among children in the general population.

“They opened fire as if we were animals”

AMLO’s police gun down immigrant near US border

By Andrea Lobo, 2 August 2019

A migrant was shot dead while running away from police with his eight-year-old daughter hours before Trump praised Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government at a rally in Ohio.

Slump deepens in Australian residential construction industry

By Paul Bartizan and Richard Phillips, 2 August 2019

Multiple faults in new apartment buildings have become a factor in the bursting of a debt-fuelled property bubble that is threatening thousands of jobs.

UAW, Ford enforce punitive attendance policies at Chicago Assembly Plant ahead of September contract expiration

By Jessica Goldstein, 31 July 2019

The UAW is now playing a critical role in disciplining workers at the behest of Ford in advance of the September expiration of the national auto contract agreement.

Early peak in Australia influenza season causes concern

By John Mackay, 31 July 2019

The severity of deadly flu outbreaks could be minimised with global free access to vaccination, and the development of a universal vaccine.

Australian disability centre closures result in nearly a dozen deaths

By Max Newman, 26 July 2019

Former residents of a disability centre in Newcastle have died after being transferred to under-funded group homes via the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Bradford NHS workers to strike against “backdoor privatisation”

By Barry Mason, 24 July 2019

The Bradford hospital trust’s plans are aimed at enforcing government-imposed efficiency cuts of 4 percent each year, around £16 million in the current financial year.

Merchants of death

How the pharmaceutical companies, Congress and the DEA made the opioid epidemic a billion-dollar industry

By Genevieve Leigh, 23 July 2019

Previously undisclosed government information shows how drug manufacturers and distributors responded to the emerging opioid epidemic by pumping more pills into the hardest-hit regions.

Australian cancer victim sues Bayer-Monsanto

By Frank Gaglioti, 23 July 2019

Michael Ogalirolo claims his potentially lethal cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is due to 18 years of exposure to glyphosate, the active component of the herbicide Roundup.

Drug companies poured 76 billion opioid pills into US neighborhoods in just six years

By Genevieve Leigh, 19 July 2019

Newly released data shows that between 2006 and 2012, as the drug epidemic spiraled out of control, drug companies flooded the country with oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills.

UK: Bed shortages cause increasing reliance on emergency beds in NHS hospitals

By Ben Trent, 18 July 2019

Over the past 30 years, NHS bed capacity has been halved by Labour and Conservative governments.

Australian aged care inquiry hears damning evidence of abuse

By Clare Bruderlin, 18 July 2019

Testimony by care workers, patients and family members has underscored how the cost-cutting drive for profit jeopardises the health, safety and quality of life of elderly people.

Minnesota nurses struggle betrayed by union

By Jonas Boquist, 10 July 2019

The piecemeal ratifications carried out by the MNA diluted the strength of all 13,000 nurses and facilitated the implementation of contracts acceptable to hospital management.

Global conflict situations, poverty lead to rise in mental health crises

By Alex Johnson, 9 July 2019

US imperialism and its allies bear principal responsibility for the wars and military interventions that have wrought devastation throughout the world.

Giant US healthcare corporations fear hostile takeover by high-tech companies

By Benjamin Mateus, 8 July 2019

While the US population has expanded by 75 percent since 1960, to approximately 325 million people, healthcare expenditure, in constant dollars, has risen approximately 2000 percent.

Hundreds quit union as UAW pushes through sellout deal at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio

By Shannon Jones, 5 July 2019

Nurses who struck for six weeks are outraged and disgusted by the conduct of the UAW, which scabbed on their strike and then rammed through a rotten agreement.

Deadly Legionella bacteria found at Ford Dearborn Truck plant

By George Kirby, 5 July 2019

While Ford and the UAW have downplayed the finding, claiming the amounts are small, the CDC says there is no safe level of the bacteria.

Protesting nurses speak out in Long Beach, California

By Rafael Azul and Kimie Saito, 28 June 2019

“Patients are not numbers! Maximum patients + minimum nurses = maximum profits. And the costs are passed on to the consumers and us.”

Union works to sabotage unity of Minnesota nurses’ struggle

By Matt Rigel, 28 June 2019

The Minnesota Nurses Association is working to sell out nurses in Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region by negotiating contracts at some hospitals while others remain unsettled.

New petrochemical complex could create a “cancer alley” on Ohio River

By John Ashbrook, 28 June 2019

The Trump administration is backing a tri-state effort to build a huge fossil fuel processing facility that threatens public health and the environment.

No more lies!

The way forward in the struggle against the poisoning of Flint

the WSWS editorial board, 28 June 2019

The following statement is being distributed to a community meeting in Flint Friday night.

Trump plan will slash Medicaid and food stamps

By Norisa Diaz, 26 June 2019

The Trump administration is pursuing a change in the way the federal government calculates inflation to cut hundreds of thousands of people from basic social services.

Anger and disgust over UAW betrayal of Mercy St. Vincent nurses strike in Toledo, Ohio

By Shannon Jones, 24 June 2019

The union’s claim that a return to the bargaining table would lead to an improved deal, was nothing but a cynical ploy.

“Sully” Sullenberger testifies that the 737 Max 8 was “fatally flawed”

By Bryan Dyne, 21 June 2019

The airline captain’s statement to Congress exposed the negligence of Boeing and questioned the relationship between the company and regulatory agencies.

Unreported releases from coal ash ponds may be more widespread in US than previously known

By John Ashbrook, 21 June 2019

Millions of people are potentially exposed to toxic coal ash, which can cause bone cancers, leukemia and nervous system and brain damage.

General Practitioners surgery closures in UK at record high

By Ben Trent, 20 June 2019

The only way to counter the privatisation of the NHS is the mobilisation of health care workers in the UK and internationally against capitalism.

Increased privatisation of UK mental health services jeopardises patient care

By Ajanta Silva, 19 June 2019

Drastic cuts, the shutdown of facilities, and outsourcing have crippled care for the most vulnerable.

Minnesota Nurses Association announces sellout tentative deal at Children’s Hospitals in Minneapolis-St. Paul

By Jonas Boquist, 17 June 2019

It has been many decades since the unions have launched a nationwide strike in any industry. In its place they have adopted the program of union-management collaboration."

Suicide rates for doctors and young physicians among highest in the US population

By Alex Johnson, 17 June 2019

Doctors are often hesitant to seek treatment, due to the stigma associated with mental health problems.

The Commonwealth Fund’s 2019 Scorecard

Rising US “deaths of despair” driven by health care costs, lack of access to care

By Kate Randall, 14 June 2019

A new study shows that one of the major underlying causes of “deaths of despair” is social inequality, in particular lack of access to health care and the associated financial struggles.

“UAW doesn’t care about us!”

Nurses outraged over UAW sellout of hospital strike in Toledo, Ohio

By Jerry White, 14 June 2019

After nurses struck for six weeks, the United Auto Workers union unilaterally ordered them back to work, demanding that they vote on a deal without time to study or discuss it.

Minnesota nursing home workers carry out two-day strike

By Jonas Boquist, 14 June 2019

Nursing home workers struck the Guardian Angels Care Center in Elk River last week to fight for improved wages and safe staffing levels.

“We went out with the nurses, we should go back with the nurses”

Mercy Health strikers in Toledo, Ohio denounce UAW sabotage of their struggle

By Shannon Jones, 3 June 2019

In an act of blatant strikebreaking, the UAW organized a vote by support staff and technicians at Mercy Health St. Vincent in order to isolate striking nurses and force them back to work.

Mental health crisis in Australia’s refugee camps

By Max Boddy, 3 June 2019

So torturous are the conditions confronting the more than 500 asylum seekers still on Manus—some for nearly seven years—that many have inflicted bodily injury to themselves.

UAW calls for contract vote by Mercy Health support and technical staff in a bid to isolate nurses

By Shannon Jones, 1 June 2019

If the contract is ratified, medical technicians could return to work after Monday, in what is effectively an attempt by the union to force workers to cross the picket line.

Democratic governor signs Louisiana fetal “heartbeat” abortion ban

By Kate Randall, 31 May 2019

Louisiana is the fifth state to pass bans on abortions based on detection of a fetal heartbeat, following Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio.

Class action lawsuit brought in US against generic-drug makers for colluding to fix prices

By Benjamin Mateus, 30 May 2019

The soaring cost of prescription drugs is directly linked to criminal practices by giant corporations.

UK ambulance staff quitting in record numbers

By Ben Trent, 29 May 2019

The departure of ambulance staff is part of a wave of medical professionals abandoning the National Health Service.

Kalamazoo, Michigan: “I don’t like the idea of selling my blood plasma for money, but I have to do what I’ve got to do”

US blood plasma industry targets poor and working class

By Carlos Delgado, 28 May 2019

An increasing number of US workers are selling their plasma to cover basic necessities like food, rent, gas and diapers.

As UAW starts closed-door talks with management

Toledo hospital strikers call for broader mobilization

By Shannon Jones, 20 May 2019

The hospital workers, members of the UAW, who have been supported on their picket line by other sections of UAW workers, must break through the union's straitjacket and broaden their struggle further.

Rising US health insurance costs take toll on workers

By Alex Johnson, 17 May 2019

Since 2007, annual deductibles for job-based health plans—the most common form of coverage—have increased fourfold, with the average for plans rising to an estimated $1,300.

More than one million Americans lost health insurance in 2018

By Alex González, 14 May 2019

After decreasing or leveling off in past years, the number of uninsured is on the rise, with the poor or near-poor more than three times as likely to be uninsured as the non-poor.

Questcor Pharmaceuticals and Mallinckrodt: Financial parasitism and the US pharmaceutical industry

By Brian Dixon, 14 May 2019

The business strategy of Questcor and Mallinckrodt reflects the parasitic and predatory nature of the pharmaceutical industry under the pressure of finance capital.

Australian Labor Party’s fraudulent cancer care pledge

By Gary Alvernia, 13 May 2019

Even if implemented in full, the plan would not significantly reduce the exorbitant costs of cancer therapy and care.

The Australian election and the fraud of the NDIS

Max Boddy: SEP candidate for Hunter, 10 May 2019

The National Disability Insurance Scheme was always designed to privatise the disability sector, push people off welfare payments and slash public spending.

Two thousand nurses and support staff strike at Toledo, Ohio hospital

By Jerry White, 8 May 2019

Nurses, technicians and other support staff walked out at Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center Monday to fight against increased workloads and out-of-pocket health care costs.

Los Angeles universities quarantine 280 as US measles cases reach record levels

By Kate Randall, 27 April 2019

The CDC reports the number of measles cases has spiked to at least 695 so far this year, the highest number since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000.

Forty hospitalized after toxic chemical leak in Chicago suburb

By Jessica Goldstein, 26 April 2019

Residents of Beach Park, Illinois were ordered to stay inside and 40 people were hospitalized after toxic anhydrous ammonia leaked into the air during a chemical spill.

Privatisation of UK’s National Health Service escalates

By Ben Trent, 23 April 2019

An investigation found that over 1 million patients were forced to seek alternative treatment in the preceding five years due to the closure of nearly 450 GP surgeries.

Western Australia Labor government dismisses water contamination risks in indigenous communities

By Margaret Rees, 20 April 2019

Labor has dismissed evidence of a potential correlation between poor water quality and elevated levels of kidney disease and type-2 diabetes.

New York City declares public health emergency over measles outbreak

By Kate Randall, 11 April 2019

New York City has seen 285 confirmed measles cases since the outbreak began in the fall, with 21 requiring hospitalizations, including five admissions to intensive care units.

UK cancer patients’ lives imperilled, suffering deepened by treatment delays

By Ajanta Silva, 10 April 2019

In England alone, more than 127,000 cancer patients have been left waiting more than two months to start their treatment over the last five years.

Trump backs court action to end health coverage for 25 million people

By Patrick Martin, 28 March 2019

While the Trump administration targets Obamacare for full repeal, the Democrats are dropping calls for “Medicare-for-all” in favor of billions more for the private insurance companies.

Houston chemical fire: Residents ordered to “shelter-in-place” due to benzene danger

By Jacob Crosse, 22 March 2019

Residents of Deer Park and Galena Park, east of the Texas city, have been the most affected by the fire at Intercontinental Terminals Company.

US studies: More misery brought to you by Big Pharma

Sharp rise in fentanyl overdose deaths, ADHD-drug-induced psychosis, prescription drug rationing due to cost

By Kate Randall, 22 March 2019

A week rarely passes without the publication of a major study documenting the misery unleashed on Americans by the US pharmaceutical industry and its rapacious drive for profits.

Obesity-related cancers rise among US millennials

By Alex Johnson, 18 March 2019

One of the principal factors contributing to the rise in obesity rates among American adults is the lack of access to healthful foods among low-income and rural populations.

Australian royal commission into aged care begins second hearing

By Clare Bruderlin, 18 March 2019

Government cost-cutting has led to chronic under-staffing and poor care, particularly in facilities run for profit.

“Deaths of despair” continue to soar

US deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide at all-time high

By Kate Randall, 8 March 2019

The devastating toll of 150,000 Americans dying from alcohol and drug-induced fatalities and suicides in 2017 is seen by the political establishment and pharmaceutical CEOs as the “cost of doing business.”

US Senate hearings on drug prices provide “friendly warning” to pharmaceuticals

By Brian Dixon, 2 March 2019

While some of the members of the committee occasionally posed as industry critics, the Senate hearing made it clear that no serious action will be taken to rein in high drug prices.

Australia: Sydney residents protest downgrading of Mona Vale Hospital

By John Wilson and John Harris, 2 March 2019

Protests continue against the hospital’s closure in the lead up to the March 23 New South Wales state election.

Report: British Columbia mental health problems on the rise

By Penny Smith, 1 March 2019

The annual report by the province’s health officer found that perceptions of mental wellbeing among BC residents were among the lowest in the country.

Rise in drug abuse among women and heterosexual men diagnosed with syphilis

By Benjamin Mateus, 27 February 2019

Many of those affected lack steady employment, health care and stable housing, and face an abusive penal system.

Australia: Victorian Labor government’s bogus healthcare promises

By Margaret Rees, 25 February 2019

The Andrews government is preparing to accelerate the privatisation of the health system.

Steve McDowell, campaigner for Australian paramedic rights, speaks with WSWS

By Cheryl Crisp and John Mackay, 12 February 2019

“The thing is, if NSWA treated their staff the way their staff treat the public, there would be no issue.”—Steve McDowell

Study links abuse-deterrent OxyContin with rise in hepatitis C infections

By Brian Dixon, 11 February 2019

According to a new study published in Health Affairs, Purdue Pharma’s switch to a new abuse-deterrent formulation of OxyContin in 2010 led to a rise in hepatitis C infections as addicts switched to injecting heroin.

NHS 10-year plan: Recipe for further attacks on services and privatisation in UK

By Ajanta Silva, 7 February 2019

Under the banner of providing more choices, the government is ready to send more and more patients to private hospitals with the NHS footing the bill.

FDA advisor criticizes agency’s response to opioid epidemic

By Brian Dixon, 6 February 2019

The chair of the FDA’s opioid advisory committee claimed the agency is manipulating data in favor of the pharmaceutical companies seeking approval for new opioid painkillers.

Boston jury hears testimony of how Insys Therapeutics pushed opioid painkiller and killed hundreds

By Kate Randall, 5 February 2019

Prosecutors told jurors that Insys executives were guilty of running a kickback and conspiracy scheme that bribed doctors to routinely subscribe Subsys, a highly addictive fentanyl nasal spray.

More US drug price hikes in 2019

By Alex Johnson, 4 February 2019

According to Reuters, drug manufacturers raised the prices of more than 250 prescription drugs, including the world’s top-selling medicine, Humira.

US: Measles outbreak in Washington state prompts state of emergency

By Kate Randall, 30 January 2019

In addition to the US, there has also been an uptick of people contracting measles in Canada and across Europe due to people foregoing the vaccine.

British Columbia’s opioid crisis hits construction workers hard

By Penny Smith, 29 January 2019

The disproportionately high death rate from opioids among construction workers underscores the precarious working conditions facing tens of thousands of workers in an industry that has produced multi-million dollar profits for real estate developers and property speculators.

US drug company payments to doctors linked to opioid overdose deaths

By Brian Dixon, 22 January 2019

A study published last week in JAMA Network Open found that counties where doctors received payments from drug companies later experienced higher rates of overdose deaths from opioids.

Opioid overdose deaths triple among US teens and young children

By Kate Randall, 31 December 2018

The depth of the opioid crisis facing young people points to the woefully inadequate response of the government to this social catastrophe as it spirals out of control.

Thousands face loss of mental health coverage in the US

By Matthew Taylor, 29 December 2018

Congress has eliminated the Medicaid-sponsored program in line with the larger push by the ruling class to dismantle social programs.

Australia: Understaffing and equipment shortages at new Sydney public-private hospital

By Clare Bruderlin, 21 December 2018

The state Liberal government marketed the $840 million hospital as having state-of-the-art facilities.

General practitioners abandoning Britain’s National Health Service

By Ben Trent, 19 December 2018

A poll by the General Medical Council’s regulating body concluded there was a high risk of doctors leaving the profession “in unprecedented numbers.”

Federal judge in Texas rules Affordable Care Act unconstitutional

By Kate Randall, 17 December 2018

The ruling was opposed by healthcare groups and, if upheld, threatens to throw insurance markets into chaos and strip coverage from tens of millions of Americans.

West Virginia: Task force concludes without a “fix” for public workers’ insurance

By Clement Daly, 17 December 2018

Throughout the strike and pro-forma hearings, teachers and public service workers demanded that health care be funded through increased taxes on the state’s oil and gas industry.

Over 4,000 Kaiser Permanente mental health workers on limited strike in California

By Kevin Martinez and Kim Saito, 14 December 2018

The National Union of Healthcare Workers is ending the five-day strike tomorrow without resolving workers’ demands for higher wages, more staffing and the restoration of pensions for new-hires.

Britain's NHS denies life-saving treatment to migrants

By Kelly Taylor, 14 December 2018

A 71-year-old Jamaican woman, Elfreda Spencer, died of sepsis this year after being denied chemotherapy because she could not afford to pay the upfront cost of her treatment.

National Health Service workers among increasing users of food banks in Britain

By Ben Trent, 7 December 2018

A survey of 21,000 health workers found that 49 percent had to seek financial help from friends and family the previous year.

More people with mental illnesses seeking treatment from US emergency rooms

By Alex Johnson, 5 December 2018

Grossly inadequate funding for mental health means that patients swing from poorly-equipped group home facilities to emergency rooms—and, ultimately, jails and prisons.

Public health expert speaks on the crisis of American healthcare

Cases like Hedda Martin’s heart transplant denial “will continue to happen”

By Nancy Hanover, 3 December 2018

Workers and young people nationwide decried Martin's callous treatment, donating generously out of their own pockets, after Spectrum Health's Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Clinic told her to make “a fundraising effort of $10,000.”

Plead for charity or die: A blunt message from the American health care system

By Nancy Hanover, 28 November 2018

One of the ugly secrets of US medical care—the rationing of life-saving procedures based on ability to pay—was exposed by the recent experiences of a Michigan woman seeking a heart transplant.

The centenary of the “Spanish Flu”—Lessons for today

Part one of a two-part series

By Benjamin Mateus, 19 November 2018

The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 was the deadliest outbreak of disease in human history, killing as many as 100 million people.

Royal College of Nursing leadership in UK seeks re-election in defiance of no confidence vote

By Ajanta Silva, 7 November 2018

These are the same people who deliberately sold a rotten pay offer and were the subject of members’ outrage when the real details of the deal came to light.

UK: NHS subsidiary companies—tools for tax exemption and privatisation

By Ben Trent, 31 October 2018

Large swathes of NHS provision have been sold off to the private sector, driving down the pay, terms and conditions of workers and hugely reducing the quality of services.

“National crisis” facing UK National Health Service as deficits grow

By Ben Trent, 16 October 2018

The budget deficits are the outcome of a systemic attack on a public health service provider with the intent of bringing the 70-year-old institution into private hands.

Detroit Medical Center doctors fired after speaking out for patient safety

By Joseph Lorenz, 9 October 2018

In a statement announcing his resignation from the medical staff, Dr. Ted Schreiber said, “Unfortunately, the current focus of some in health care is on profits and stock holder value.”

UK nurses vote to remove Royal College of Nursing leadership after pay deal sellout

By Ajanta Silva, 3 October 2018

There is growing opposition among nurses and health care workers to a deal that includes an effective cut in real wages following years of attacks on wages and conditions.

Mobilize the working class to defend nurses and secure the right to health care!

By Niles Niemuth, 2 October 2018

The interests of nurses cannot be separated from the fight to ensure the social right to health care through the abolition of the for-profit health care system.