US Health Issues

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.”

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.

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.”

Congress readies band-aid measure for opioid crisis

By Tom Eley, 28 September 2018

The bill will do little to slow the growing epidemic of opioid addiction and death.

New Trump coal regulations will kill as many as 1,400 Americans annually by 2030

By Alec Andersen, 25 August 2018

According a report by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the agency’s recent rule change will lead to 1,400 more premature deaths by 2030.

Studies: US life expectancy drops as mortality rises among younger adults

By Kate Randall, 21 August 2018

While many other countries saw a rebound in life expectancy in 2016, the US and the UK saw declines for two consecutive years.

Texas firefighters denied workers compensation for cancer

By Todd Denton, 21 August 2018

More than 90 percent of firefighters in Texas are being refused medical coverage and paid sick leave for cancer caused by on-the-job toxic exposures.

New CDC estimates: A record 72,000 US drug overdose deaths in 2017

By Kate Randall, 17 August 2018

The catastrophic toll of opioid deaths, which is driving falling life expectancies, casts a grim light on the state of America in the 21st century.

Hepatitis A outbreak worsens in West Virginia, Kentucky

By Naomi Spencer, 4 August 2018

Over 1,900 people across West Virginia and Kentucky have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A in the past few months, and at least 10 people have died. Hepatitis C and HIV are likewise on the rise.

US hospitals fail to prevent unnecessary maternal deaths and injuries

By Brian Dixon, 30 July 2018

Based on recent data, a USA Today article last Thursday concluded that the United States was the most dangerous country in the developed world for women to give birth.

Trump administration proposes more cuts to drug discount program for safety net hospitals

By Kate Randall, 28 July 2018

The Trump administration and pharmaceuticals’ opposition to the 340B program is based on boosting the profits of the drug companies and clawing back any government regulations on them.

017 Trump and Medicare payments

24 July 2018

Rates of black lung highest in 25 years among Appalachian coal miners

By Tom Hall, 23 July 2018

Decades after the deadly disease was nearly eradicated, more than one in five veteran coal miners now suffer from black lung disease.

Report exposes rise in alcohol-related deaths among Millennials in US

By Isaac Finn, 20 July 2018

The increase is one part of a rising number of “deaths of despair” caused by suicide and drug and alcohol abuse, which have contributed to declining life expectancy in the US.

Boston subway rider victimized by aged train and the high cost of medical services

By John Marion, 6 July 2018

A woman stepping off a 40-year-old subway train had her leg cut to the bone, then begged her fellow passengers not to call an ambulance due to the cost.

Trump administration supports lawsuit challenging Obamacare’s pre-existing conditions protections

By Kate Randall, 15 June 2018

The action is the latest effort to chip away at the legislation after two failures to repeal it outright.

Health risks found in over 80 percent of NYCHA apartments

By Philip Guelpa, 17 April 2018

Residents are exposed to peeling paint, mold, damaged plaster, rodents, insects, inoperable appliances, severe electrical hazards, lack of heat, and malfunctioning smoke detectors.

More US states imposing Medicaid work requirements

By Kate Randall, 14 April 2018

Some states are considering expanding Medicaid while at the same time imposing work requirements, premium payments and drug testing of recipients.

Mississippi governor signs the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion measure

By Shelley Connor, 24 March 2018

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law the toughest restrictions on abortion currently seen in the US, banning all abortions past 15 weeks gestation.

Trump demands death penalty for drug dealers as answer to opioid overdose crisis

By Niles Niemuth, 20 March 2018

Trump blamed the crisis on America’s supposedly lax drug laws and pointed to countries which have “zero tolerance” policies, including the death penalty for dealers and traffickers.

Cluster of 125 people infected with HIV and syphilis discovered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

By Benjamin Mateus, 12 March 2018

While health advocates have called the outbreak an epidemic requiring immediate attention, city officials have been slow to respond to the situation.

Hospital workers protest layoffs in Michigan

By Carlos Delgado and Esther Galen, 10 March 2018

Two giant hospital chains, Ascension and Tenet, have announced layoffs and unit closures

Mental health crisis descends on Puerto Rico’s working class

By Ali Abu Elhassan, 9 March 2018

Suicides have increased by 30 percent on the island of Puerto Rico since Hurricane María made landfall almost six months ago.

Industrial tannery dump contaminates drinking water in west Michigan community

By Carlos Delgado, 2 March 2018

The levels of toxic PFOA and PFOS chemicals found in drinking water near the dump site are among the highest ever recorded in the United States.

Johns Hopkins researchers find toxic levels of heavy metals in e-cigarette vapors

By Benjamin Mateus, 28 February 2018

Electronic cigarettes have high concentrations of heavy and toxic metals in their vapors caused by the release of these metals from the heating coils.

Records show neglect of Florida school gunman’s mental health

By Trévon Austin, 19 February 2018

Cruz’s counselor told the Florida Department of Children and Families that he was reported to have “an emotional behavioral disability” and was diagnosed with autism.

Report details psychological and health impact of deportation on children

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 17 February 2018

According to the medical journal Frontiers in Pediatrics, fear of deportation causes large scale socio-psychological trauma among immigrant children.

“This is a national health emergency”

WSWS interviews Fulbright scholar Chris Fradkin on impact of mass deportations

By our reporters, 17 February 2018

Fradkin authored an article in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics titled “Fear of massive deportations in the United States: Social implications on deprived pediatric communities.”

Scientists produce new treatment to block the development of breast cancer

By Benjamin Mateus, 17 February 2018

A team of researchers successfully used an inhibitor called HET0016 to block a chemical known as 20-HETE, which can promote the growth of breast cancer cells.

Texas woman, 38, falls victim to US flu epidemic and exorbitant drug costs

By Kate Randall, 13 February 2018

Heather Holland’s death casts a grim light on the deplorable state of the US health care system and the government’s lack of preparedness and funding in the face of this season’s deadly flu epidemic.

Studies connect Medicaid work requirements to poor health

By Shelley Connor, 12 February 2018

While the Trump administration heralds Medicaid work requirements as a path towards better health and prosperity for America’s poor, recent studies reveal the opposite.

Falling US life expectancy: The product of a deliberate ruling class policy

By Kate Randall, 9 February 2018

The US is wracked by record social inequality, a catastrophic health crisis, and a government health policy aimed at deliberately lowering life expectancy while catering to corporate profit.

US flu epidemic rages on, with more deaths and record hospitalizations

By Kate Randall, 6 February 2018

As the flu outbreak shows no signs of waning, the CDC has been hit by a scandal forcing its head to resign and the Trump administration is proposing drastic cutbacks to the programs that fight such epidemics.

One hundred years since the 1918 flu pandemic

America is unprepared for the next deadly influenza outbreak

By Kate Randall and Tom Hall, 1 February 2018

The deadliest flu season in years has demonstrated the complete inability of American capitalism to deal with a public health crisis on the scale of the 1918 Spanish Flu.

Nashville mayor tight-lipped on plans to gut services at General Hospital

By Warren Duzak, 27 January 2018

Mayor Barry has proposed turning the hospital into an outpatient clinic, leaving the poor and working class families without an inpatient facility, hospital beds, major surgical facilities.

Deadly flu season likely to worsen internationally

By Shelley Connor, 19 January 2018

On the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu pandemic, a particularly deadly flu season is peaking.

“If we can’t support patients coming in emergency rooms…more people are going to die”

Flu epidemic exposes scandalous state of US health care system

By Kate Randall, 17 January 2018

The intensity of the outbreak has strained hospitals and outpatient facilities, which are struggling with shortages of medical supplies amid an influx of sick patients.

Trump officials say states can impose Medicaid work requirements

By Kate Randall, 12 January 2018

The administration’s aim in imposing work requirements is to gut the health care program for the poor, which currently covers about 74 million people.

Deadly influenza outbreak spreads throughout US, most severe in California

By Dan Conway, 9 January 2018

Over the past few weeks, cases of influenza and influenza-related illnesses have skyrocketed, reaching near epidemic level proportions.

Hepatitis A outbreak continues to impact Southeast Michigan

By Muhammad Khan, 29 December 2017

Michigan had the highest per capita rate of hepatitis A infections in the United States with more than 500 cases recorded in 2017.

Hepatitis A outbreaks hit Southeast Michigan and San Diego

By Benjamin Mateus, 19 December 2017

San Diego, with the fourth largest community of homeless in the US, has seen 567 cases of Hepatitis A, with 382 hospitalizations and 20 deaths.

Homeless man found dead in donation bin in San Diego, California

By Kevin Martinez, 19 December 2017

The bin where the man was discovered was located in a shopping center parking lot one block away from the San Diego Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter.

Sugar industry withheld evidence linking sucrose to bladder cancer for five decades

By Bryan Dyne, 28 November 2017

Internal documents also reveal that the sugar industry suppressed research linking sucrose and heart disease.

A health statistics system in shambles

The real maternal mortality rate in the United States

By Benjamin Mateus, 24 November 2017

The true scope of maternal mortality rate in the US remains uncertain due to inconsistent and under-reporting on death certificates.

New York Mayor de Blasio covered up for city’s failure to test for lead contamination in public housing

By Philip Guelpa, 23 November 2017

De Blasio and the New York City public housing authority covered up the city’s failure to conduct mandated lead paint inspections for four years.

California health authorities identify three more cases of Legionnaires’ disease

By Brad Dixon, 20 November 2017

This brings the total number of cases of the disease in the past month to 15, two of which have been fatal.

America’s oligarchy: No money for opioid crisis, endless funds for corporate tax cuts

By Andre Damon, 28 October 2017

On the same day that Congress moved forward on nearly $6 trillion in tax cuts to the super-rich, the Trump administration declined to allocate any funds to address the opioid crisis.

Trump administration’s CMS head leads assault on Medicaid

By Kate Randall, 28 October 2017

Seema Verma sees the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare as having extended coverage to millions of low-income Americans who should not be getting government-sponsored health insurance.

Trump declares opioid epidemic “will get worse before it gets better”

By Patrick Martin, 27 October 2017

The official declaration of a “public health emergency” is a political stunt that adds not one dollar to efforts to save the lives and health of millions suffering from opioid addiction.

New reports document declining life expectancy and worsening health of US workers

By Jerry White, 24 October 2017

Middle-age workers are being forced to retire later, even as they confront poorer health and a lower life expectancy than their older peers.

California declares state of emergency over Hepatitis A outbreak as death toll rises to 19

By Kevin Martinez, 19 October 2017

While the number of new cases shows signs of slowing, the city of San Diego has forcefully removed homeless encampments from the downtown area.

Merchants of Death: The pharmaceuticals, Congress and the US opioid epidemic

By Genevieve Leigh, 19 October 2017

A recent investigation by the Washington Post and “60 Minutes” has exposed the complicity of the pharmaceutical giants and the Democratic and Republican parties in the worst drug epidemic in US history.

Deaths caused by Leptospirosis reported in Puerto Rico

By Benjamin Mateus, 16 October 2017

There is a scarcity of clean water in rural communities, whose residents are resorting to washing and bathing in local rivers and springs.

A new stage in the bipartisan health care counterrevolution

Following Trump executive orders, Democrats offer Obamacare “fix”

By Kate Randall, 14 October 2017

Any “compromise” on health care reform is a conspiracy against the working class, premised on the subordination of the need for health care to the profits of the corporations and the capitalist market.

Trump administration limits access to birth control under ACA

By Trévon Austin, 7 October 2017

A new mandate revokes the requirement for companies and organizations that claim religious or moral objections to provide birth control.

For one in four US women: Nearest abortion facility over 30 miles away

By Zaida Green, 6 October 2017

In many counties, women must travel dozens or hundreds of miles to reach an abortion facility and are often forced to travel to another state.

US Congress fails to reauthorize insurance program covering 9 million children

By Kate Randall, 3 October 2017

The failure to reauthorize CHIP threatens health insurance coverage for about 9 million lower-income children across the US.

Access to obstetric services in rural US communities continues to decline

By Benjamin Mateus, 3 October 2017

Nine percent of rural counties lost hospital-based obstetric services over the last decade meaning that more than half now have no such services at all.

CDC report finds large increase in sexually transmitted disease across the US

By Matthew Taylor, 2 October 2017

The rise in easily preventable and treatable diseases, including syphilis, has coincided with the slashing of funding for public health programs and clinics, which provide accessible testing and treatments.

As Republican Obamacare repeal collapses, Democrats push pro-corporate “compromise”

By Josh Varlin, 27 September 2017

The Democrats are seeking a bipartisan deal with the Republicans that would retain the basic framework of Obamacare while introducing regressive changes being demanded by the insurance monopolies.

San Diego death toll from hepatitis A outbreak rises to 16

By Kevin Martinez, 25 September 2017

City officials knew that a public health crisis was brewing years before the current outbreak but rejected preventive measures as too costly.

Study highlights health epidemic: More than one in four US adults is obese

By Kayla Costa, 6 September 2017

Adult obesity rates for 2016 hit over 30 percent in 25 US states, and, in five states, topped 35 percent, the highest levels in the world.

San Diego declares public health emergency after death toll from Hepatitis A outbreak rises to 14

By Kevin Martinez, 5 September 2017

At least ten people have succumbed to the infectious disease since officials promised a solution more than two months ago.

Fetid floodwaters in the “chemical coast” carry toxins and disease

The incalculable human health consequences of Hurricane Harvey

By Gary Joad, 2 September 2017

The flooding in Houston, the acknowledged petrochemical capital of the world, has unleashed a toxic soup of chemicals, carcinogens and bacteria, posing a grave threat to human life.

Serious outbreaks of syphilis and hepatitis underscore social crisis in America

By Genevieve Leigh, 30 August 2017

Among drug users and the homeless in the US, diseases such as syphilis and hepatitis are making a dangerous comeback.

Nearly 10 million US seniors food-insecure

Worsening hunger for older Americans

By Gary Joad, 22 August 2017

Some 14.7 percent of US seniors are food-insecure, a rise of 37 percent over 2001.

As Americans die younger, corporations to reap billions in pension costs

By Kate Randall, 11 August 2017

Shortened life expectancy is the result of deteriorating conditions of life, exacerbated by the deliberate policy of both big business parties to restrict access to affordable health care.

US health catastrophe: Drug overdose deaths approach 60,000 a year

By E.P. Milligan, 10 August 2017

More Americans have died from drug overdoses since 2000 than in all the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries combined.

Indiana Medicaid plan under Pence seen as model for attack on health care

By Matthew Taylor, 5 August 2017

In 2015 the state of Indiana introduced a Medicaid expansion plan which converts the entitlement program into a fee-based insurance program.

Democratic campaign chairman declares willingness to fund anti-abortion candidates

By Nick Barrickman, 2 August 2017

The Democrats’ adaptation to the Republican right and anti-abortion sentiment comes amid factional infighting after Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 presidential election.

Experts warn of public health crisis as Detroit rejects halt to water shutoffs

By Kathleen Martin, 1 August 2017

Data from the Henry Ford Global Health Initiative found that patients are 1.55 times more likely to get a water-borne illness if they live on a block where a water shutoff occurs.

US Senate fails to pass Obamacare repeal legislation

By Kate Randall, 29 July 2017

The defeat of the Republican health care legislation marks a temporary pause in the assault on Medicaid as a guaranteed social benefit based on need.

Brain damage found in 99 percent of deceased NFL players

By Alan Gilman, 28 July 2017

The study showed that repeated head injuries cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Way cleared for bipartisan attack on Medicaid

US Senate votes to open debate on Republican health care legislation

By Kate Randall, 26 July 2017

Despite certain tactical differences, both big business parties are in agreement on unprecedented cuts in health care and the dismantling of the core social programs dating from the 1930s and 1960s.

As Trump seeks to revive bill to “repeal and replace” Obamacare

Democrats push for bipartisan plan to slash health care

By Barry Grey, 20 July 2017

The Democratic Party response to Republican disarray over health care is to push for a bipartisan bill that would “fix” Obamacare to make it even more punitive for working people and more profitable for the giant insurance companies.

New study shows half of all opiate prescriptions given to patients suffering from depression or anxiety

By Matthew Taylor, 20 July 2017

The study’s conclusions point to the widespread overprescribing of opiates to those diagnosed with mental illness.

The opioid epidemic in the US: A national health emergency

By Genevieve Leigh, 18 July 2017

The drug epidemic is a symptom of a diseased social system, the product of nearly four decades of social counterrevolution overseen by the ruling class and its political representatives, Democratic and Republican.

Hepatitis A on the rise in California

By Kevin Martinez, 4 July 2017

The disease, which affects the liver, has already claimed four lives in San Diego, making it the largest outbreak in the state in almost 20 years.

The emerging class struggle over health care in the US

By Joseph Kishore, 29 June 2017

The Democrats and Republicans are continuing their stage-managed debate over measures that will have devastating consequences for millions of Americans.

US hospital visits due to opioid issues top one million a year

By Genevieve Leigh, 21 June 2017

Visits to emergency rooms and inpatient stays for opioid-related issues are skyrocketing, straining treatment facilities in rural areas and urban centers alike.

Senate Republican health plan could make deeper cuts to Medicaid than House version

By Kate Randall, 20 June 2017

The Senate plan to repeal Obamacare could cut an additional $64 billion from Medicaid by changing the way growth in per-patient spending is calculated.

US surpasses most of the world in health care inequality

By Kate Randall, 9 June 2017

While poor and working-class Americans have access to substandard care, if they can get health care at all, a growing number of health care companies are catering to the rich.

Mylan may have overcharged US government by $1.27 billion

By Brad Dixon, 5 June 2017

Between 2006 and 2016, Mylan Pharmaceuticals misclassified its EpiPen Auto-Injector, used to treat anaphylaxis due to allergic reactions, as a generic product instead of a branded product.

Trump rule denies birth control coverage to hundreds of thousands of women

By Kate Randall, 3 June 2017

The new rule greatly expands the number of employers and insurance companies that could qualify for an exemption to the ACA mandate, simply by claiming a moral or religious objection.

Planned Parenthood to close 10 clinics in Iowa and the mountain West

By Gary Joad, 24 May 2017

Wyoming will become the second US state without any Planned Parenthood facility, joining North Dakota.

Trump administration seizes on Aetna pullout from ACA to push Republicans’ health plan

By Shelley Connor, 16 May 2017

If insurers are unable to make an adequate profit under Obamacare, they either hike their prices or pull out of the insurance market.

Life expectancy study shows 20-year gap between richest and poorest US counties

By Naomi Spencer, 10 May 2017

Counties in the eastern Kentucky coalfields registered the sharpest declines in life expectancy between 1980 and 2014.

Hypocrisy and lies: Barack Obama accepts “Profile in Courage” award in Boston

By Kate Randall, 9 May 2017

Although Obama did not mention the ACA or “Trumpcare” in his remarks accepting the award, it is clear that the passage of Obamacare was one of the main reasons he was chosen.

Over 8.3 million American adults suffer from severe psychological distress

By Kathleen Martin, 22 April 2017

Research released by the Psychiatric Services journal indicates disturbing growth of psychological distress in the United States, correlating directly to the continuing economic crisis.

Super-rich in America live 15 years longer than the poorest 1 percent

By Kate Randall, 11 April 2017

Income-based disparities in US life expectancy are worsened by the for-profit US health care system.

US health care debate: A bipartisan drive to lower life expectancy

By Jerry White, 16 March 2017

The current debate obscures the basic motivation guiding both big business parties: to restrict access to affordable health care and sharply reduce the lifespan of American workers.

Nominee for US Food and Drug Administration commissioner has deep ties to drug industry

By Brad Dixon, 15 March 2017

Scott Gottlieb has close ties to the drug industry and, if confirmed, will work to roll back regulations at the FDA.

US government agency projects 24 million to lose health coverage under Republican plan

By Kate Randall, 14 March 2017

This massive surge in the uninsured would come largely on the backs of the poor through draconian cuts to Medicaid, effectively ending it as an entitlement program.

US: Republican governors call for dramatic changes to Medicaid

By Kate Randall, 27 February 2017

While agreeing in principle with drastic cuts to Medicaid, the governors want input on how to impose them under any Obamacare replacement legislation.

Trump plans rollback of drug industry regulations

By Brad Dixon, 6 February 2017

Trump met with pharmaceutical industry lobbyists and executives at the White House last week.

Trump nominee defends administration’s assault on health care

By Kate Randall, 25 January 2017

Price arrogantly dismissed questioning about the new administration’s planned assault on Medicare, Medicaid and health care in general.

Pledging “insurance for everybody,” Trump prepares to escalate attack on health care

By Kate Randall, 17 January 2017

The president-elect gave no specifics on how he will achieve “much lower deductibles,” and a less expensive system in which all Americans are “beautifully covered.”

US Congress moves to repeal Obamacare in order to impose even deeper health cuts

By Kate Randall, 14 January 2017

Trump and the Republicans are opposing Obamacare, itself a pro-corporate attack on health care for working people, from the right, moving to dismantle Medicaid and strip more people of health coverage.

Trump taps anti-vaccine activist to chair vaccine safety panel

By Brad Dixon, 13 January 2017

Robert F. Kennedy has for the past decade promoted the debunked claim that vaccinations are linked to autism, which was also supported by Trump during his campaign.

US Senate report details price-gouging by pharmaceutical companies

By Zaida Green, 6 January 2017

The pharmaceutical companies, operating like hedge funds, cornered the markets on drugs for rare and life-threatening conditions to maximize profits.