US Health Issues

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.

US deaths from synthetic opioids surge by 72 percent

By Kate Randall, 19 December 2016

CDC research shows that heroin overdose deaths in the US have reached epidemic proportions, surpassing 30,000 in one year for the first time in recent history.

US coal miners hit by sharp rise in deadliest black lung disease

By Clement Daly, 19 December 2016

New reports have revealed a spike in the deadliest forms of the respiratory disease, which miners contract by inhaling coal dust.

$50 million more cut from West Virginia public employees health care

By Naomi Spencer, 13 December 2016

It is the latest in a series of devastating attacks on benefits for one of the lowest-paid public sector workforces in the country.

Surgeon general’s report: One in seven Americans face substance addiction

By Kate Randall, 19 November 2016

One in seven people in the US will become addicted to drugs or alcohol in their lifetimes, but only 10 percent of them will ever receive any treatment.

Obamacare: The reality hits home

By Andre Damon, 27 October 2016

On Monday, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that premiums for health insurance plans sold under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will increase on average by 25 percent in 2017, raising health care costs of millions of working people by thousands of dollars.

Two weeks before the US election

Government announces huge Obamacare premium rises for 2017

By Kate Randall, 26 October 2016

The premium increases are part of a sea change in the US health care system, in which corporations and the government are burdening working families with rising health care costs.

Minnesota nurses’ union claims contract ratification amidst opposition

By Matt Rigel and Anthony Bertolt, 14 October 2016

The contract presented and supported by the MNA is nearly identical to proposals previously rejected four times by nurses, who had been on strike for six weeks.

Research team hikes estimate: At least half of Flint, Michigan homes have lead pipes

By James Brewer, 1 October 2016

The unserious efforts being made in replacing lead service lines in Flint are further discredited by the revelation that even more homes have them.

Pittsburgh residents demand their water be tested for lead

By Samuel Davidson and James Brewer, 29 September 2016

Belated lead-in-water testing by Pittsburgh authorities showed dangerously high levels of lead in 43 percent of homes.

Zika virus spreads in Puerto Rico and Florida

By Julio Patron and David Brown, 12 September 2016

The spread of Zika in Puerto Rico and the mainland United States is driven by poverty and will impact the area for years to come.

Lead poisoning in Milwaukee provokes political crisis

By James Brewer, 10 September 2016

The mayor of Milwaukee has declared that all residents in older homes should use certified filters to remove lead from their drinking water.

Minnesota nurses strike highlights militant mood of US workers

By Jerry White, 7 September 2016

The strike by 4,800 nurses, now in its third day, reveals the sharp class tensions in the United States on the eve of the 2016 presidential elections.

SEP West Virginia candidate Naomi Spencer speaks on heroin epidemic

By Naomi Spencer, 5 September 2016

Overdoses, alcoholism and suicide are leading causes of death for young and middle-aged workers nationwide. Appalachia and the “rustbelt” of the Midwest are among the worst hit regions.

Closure of Appleton, Wisconsin abortion clinic leaves state with two centers

By Catherine Long, 27 August 2016

With the closure of the clinic, the two remaining centers will serve 1.3 million Wisconsin women.

EpiPen maker Mylan’s other drug price hikes

By Brad Dixon, 26 August 2016

Drugmaker Mylan, which increased the price of the EpiPen by over 450 percent, has raised the prices of other drugs by similar amounts.

Indiana study finds high rate of opiate addiction in newborns

By Jessica Goldstein, 26 August 2016

The disturbing findings of the Indiana study point to the impact of the economic crisis on working people.

Mosquito-borne Zika virus spreads to Miami Beach, Florida

By Matthew MacEgan, 22 August 2016

The CDC has issued a travel advisory, warning pregnant women not to visit the area.

Mosquitoes infect pregnant Florida woman with Zika

By Matthew MacEgan, 12 August 2016

Eight more people in Florida, including a pregnant woman, have contracted the Zika virus directly from mosquitoes.

US maternal death rate soars by 27 percent since 2000

By Kate Randall, 10 August 2016

The growing rate of death in childbirth is just one manifestation of the human toll taken by the vast and all-pervasive inequality and mass poverty that dominates American society.

Purdue Pharma and the opioid epidemic

By Brad Dixon, 6 August 2016

Purdue Pharma’s marketing of the painkiller OxyContin has made the company billions, while contributing to the opioid epidemic in the United States.

Michigan Obamacare insurers request 17 percent premium hikes

By Kate Randall, 3 August 2016

Any premium increases will affect 345,000 people in Michigan, including Detroit city workers who have been forced onto the Obamacare insurance marketplace.

First cases of mosquito-contracted Zika on US mainland reported in Florida

By Matthew MacEgan, 2 August 2016

Fourteen people have contracted the Zika virus from mosquitoes in a small area north of downtown Miami known as Wynwood.

Obamacare insurance rates set to spike in California in 2017

By Toby Reese, 21 July 2016

Similar leaps in premiums are expected throughout the nation.

US insurers seek 10 percent Obamacare premium increase for 2017

By Kate Randall, 18 June 2016

Premiums under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are set to rise in 2017, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

New data exposes widespread lead poisoning of Michigan children

By James Brewer, 10 June 2016

Figures released Monday by state health authorities show that the lead poisoning in Flint is just the tip of the iceberg.

Mental health crisis mounts in Illinois amid budget impasse

By Jessica Goldstein, 7 June 2016

An 11-month budget impasse and funding cuts threaten basic mental health provision in Illinois.

Zika virus causes first mainland US case of microcephaly

By David Brown, 6 June 2016

The Zika virus continues to spread, particularly in areas of concentrated poverty, as researchers struggle to predict its potential impact.

Minnesota nurses demonstrate against health care cuts

By Anthony Bertolt and Matt Rigel, 23 May 2016

Allina Health has demanded nurses give up their current union health care plans and replace them with the company’s more expensive program.

Zika virus threatens 2016 Olympics

By David Brown and Julio Patron, 16 May 2016

Plans to hold the Olympics in the middle of Brazil’s Zika epidemic threaten to greatly increase the global reach of the virus.

First Zika death on US territory as Congress delays funding

By David Brown, 2 May 2016

The CDC has confirmed the first Zika-related death in Puerto Rico as the conditions that have allowed the virus to spread continue to worsen.

Sharp rise in US suicide rate

Eighty percent increase among middle-aged white women

By Kate Randall, 23 April 2016

The Centers for Disease Control study follows recent reports showing a decline in life expectancy among US whites and sharp increases in lifespan divergences between rich and poor.

Zika virus expected to spread in US

By David Brown, 22 April 2016

The Zika epidemic threatens to expand its geographic reach, while scientists describe more severe neurological effects of infection.

Significant price hikes for insulin and top selling US drugs

By Brad Dixon, 14 April 2016

The activities of Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals are merely the most extreme examples of what is a common practice in the pharmaceutical industry.

US drug prices doubled since 2011

By Brad Dixon, 18 March 2016

Since 2008, the prices of brand-name prescription drugs have increased by a whopping 164 percent.

Inequality, class and life expectancy in America

By Barry Grey, 15 February 2016

The widening disparity in life expectancy between the poor and the rich is a stark commentary on the growth of social inequality and class polarization in the United States.

US Congress holds hearing on drug prices

By Brad Dixon, 8 February 2016

While there was plenty of political grandstanding by legislators, the primary concern was to protect the profits of the pharmaceutical industry by reining in the most egregious offenders.

US Congressional memos highlight price-gouging strategies of drug companies

By Brad Dixon, 5 February 2016

The practice of hiking prices to enrich shareholders and then obfuscating the issue through PR is endemic to the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.

Expedited US drug approvals lack adequate post-market oversight

By Brad Dixon, 29 January 2016

Expedited approvals reduce the time needed to test a drug’s safety and efficacy by allowing drug sponsors to conduct shorter and smaller clinical trials.

Michigan governor calls out National Guard over Flint water crisis

By a WSWS reporting team, 14 January 2016

The lead-poisoning disaster in Flint is the direct result of cost-cutting measures carried out under the Michigan emergency manager law.

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.

US steelmakers attack employee health care

By Evan Winters, 28 November 2015

Steelmakers ArcelorMittal and US Steel each took steps over the past month to shift health care costs onto the backs of workers or retirees.

Manhattan Project fallout: Nuclear waste health catastrophe in St. Louis, Missouri

By Gary Joad, 27 November 2015

Nuclear waste dumps from the Manhattan Project have resulted in clustering of unusually high cancer rates in younger people and children.

Research on antidepressant drugs distorted by pharmaceutical industry

By Brad Dixon, 20 November 2015

Authors with links to industry were 22 times less likely to report negative statements about antidepressant drugs than authors with no industry affiliation.

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.

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.

Drugs cost up to 10 times more in US

By Brad Dixon, 9 October 2015

Prescription drugs cost up to 10 times more in the United States than they do in other countries, according to a new report.

US: Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ price-gouging strategy

By Brad Dixon, 6 October 2015

Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ strategy is to buy drugs from other companies and then jack up the prices to enrich the company’s shareholders.

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.

US states move to cut Planned Parenthood funding

By Kate Randall, 19 August 2015

Officials in a number of Republican-controlled states are seeking to cut funding to the group that provides reproductive and health services to 5 million women annually.

Buffalo, New York: Opioid overdosing reaches epidemic proportions

By Josh Varlin, 7 August 2015

There were 10 overdoses in a single day last month, including one death, with one woman overdosing twice within three hours.

Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the Bronx exposes safety issues

By Sandy English, 6 August 2015

Seven people have died and 86 have taken ill in the Bronx from the airborne bacterial form of pneumonia known as Legionnaire’s disease.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

WHO, CDC heads warn of Ebola epidemic’s dangers

By Niles Williamson, 14 October 2014

The head of WHO described the vast social and economic inequalities highlighted by the Ebola crisis, saying, “The rich get the best care. The poor are left to die.”

Health care workers protest conditions faced in treating Ebola

By our reporter, 14 October 2014

Healthcare workers in several countries have protested the lack of training and equipment necessary for safely treating those infected with Ebola and halting the spread of the virus.

Political issues in the Ebola crisis

By Patrick Martin, 13 October 2014

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa requires immediate, massive global action to save lives and prevent the spread of the disease.

The Ebola epidemic: A social disaster in West Africa

By Niles Williamson, 9 October 2014

Responsibility for the ongoing Ebola crisis in West Africa lies with the imperialist powers that have subjected the continent to extreme economic exploitation.

First Ebola case diagnosed in US

By Shannon Jones, 2 October 2014

A man from Liberia visiting family in Texas is the first person in the US diagnosed with the deadly virus.

“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.

US safety regulators aided GM in cover-up of deadly defects

By Shannon Jones, 18 September 2014

Although it was in possession of reports linking an ignition defect in GM cars to fatal crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took no action.

Obama administration approves Pennsylvania plan to privatize and eliminate Medicaid as an entitlement

By Douglas Lyons, 4 September 2014

The federal government has approved an alternative to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion called Healthy PA Private Coverage Option.

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.

US Centers for Disease Control anthrax investigations reveal widespread safety issues

By Gabriel Black, 29 July 2014

In the wake of a massive budget cut in 2013, an investigation probing the anthrax scare at several CDC labs found a culture of “insufficient” safety.

The face of food stamp cuts: Chicago, Illinois

By Chris Davion, 27 May 2014

WSWS reporters recently spoke to Chicago-area residents about the impact of the tens of billions in food stamp cuts implemented over the past two years.

Maternal death in childbirth up 50 percent in America

Mortality rate higher than China and Saudi Arabia

By Andre Damon, 6 May 2014

The incidence of maternal death in childbirth in the US has soared by 50 percent since 1990, according to an international study published Friday in the British medical journal Lancet .

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.

West Virginia law firm accused of “cutthroat approach” to fighting black lung claims

By Clement Daly, 20 February 2014

Numerous reports and studies have documented the alarming resurgence of black lung throughout the coal mining industry.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.