Health care in the US

Facing defeat in Republican-controlled House, Trump scuttles Obamacare replacement bill

By Barry Grey, 25 March 2017

Both Trump and the Democrats signaled their readiness to collaborate in devising new means to slash health care benefits.

Trump, Republicans postpone vote on Obamacare replacement bill

By Barry Grey, 24 March 2017

The bill has been made more brutal in an attempt to win over the most diehard opponents of health care for poor and moderate-income people.

Pittsburgh Town Hall: Democrats cover for attack on health care

By Samuel Davidson, 24 March 2017

Over 500 people attended a Town Hall meeting in Pittsburgh to express outrage over cuts to health care.

Key House Republicans and Trump agree to Medicaid block grants, work requirements

By Kate Randall, 20 March 2017

Under a block grant, states would receive a fixed annual amount of federal funding, forcing them to either cut benefits or remove people from the program altogether

Over 3,000 yearly deaths in Pennsylvania expected from repeal of Obamacare

By Douglas Lyons, 17 March 2017

Researchers estimate that more than 1.1 million people in the state would lose health insurance and 3,525 premature deaths would result each year from a total repeal.

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.

Republicans push plan to gut Medicaid and slash taxes for the wealthy

By Kate Randall, 13 March 2017

The Republican bill to replace Obamacare will slash taxes for the wealthy by $600 billion.

A socialist policy for universal health care

By Niles Niemuth, 11 March 2017

Under the cover of a struggle over Obamacare, the bipartisan attack on health care for working people in America is being intensified.

Obamacare replacement plan targets Medicaid

By Kate Randall, 8 March 2017

Beginning in 2020, the Republican plan would convert federal funding for Medicaid to a per capita allotment, as well as end Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid.

“If a miner comes between a coal operator and a dollar, they’ll always take the dollar”

US coal miners face loss of retiree health coverage, black lung benefits

By Samuel Davidson, 6 March 2017

Thousands of retired coal miners and surviving widows have been sent letters notifying them that their health benefits will be cut off April 30 when funding for 22,600 recipients runs out.

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.

Republican health care plan guts Medicaid, shifts funds from poor to rich

By Kate Randall, 18 February 2017

The proposals would roll back Medicaid expansion under Obamacare and convert the program to either a per capita cap or a block grant to the states.

“Health care has been under attack for quite a long time”

Protests in support of Planned Parenthood draw tens of thousands nationwide

By a WSWS reporting team, 13 February 2017

Supporters of Planned Parenthood mobilized nationwide on Saturday to counter demonstrations by right-wing opponents of the right to abortion.

Opponent of Medicaid, Medicare sworn in as Health and Human Services secretary

By Kate Randall, 11 February 2017

Tom Price once wrote, “Nothing has had a greater negative effect on the delivery of health care than the federal government’s intrusion into medicine through Medicare.”

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.

Drug distributors fined for failing to report suspicious orders of opioids

By Brad Dixon, 1 February 2017

Drug distributors have repeatedly failed to report “suspicious orders” of opioids, while industry lobbying has curtailed enforcement of the law by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

US deaths from cervical cancer higher than previously thought

By Gary Joad, 31 January 2017

Some 12,990 cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed last year and 4,120 women died of the disease.

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.

Trump nominee reaffirms support for assault on Medicare and Medicaid

By Zaida Green, 19 January 2017

Representative Tom Price, named to head the Department of Health and Human Services, testified before a Senate committee.

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 trails other developed countries in access to health care

By Esther Galen, 12 January 2017

A recent survey of adults in 11 advanced countries placed the United States dead last in access to medical care and affordability.

Democrats offer to work with Republicans in revamping Obamacare

By Kate Randall, 7 January 2017

Obamacare has set the stage for an intensified assault on Medicare, the government insurance program for seniors and the disabled, and Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor.

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.

Obamacare defenders extol health care overhaul as boon to corporate profits

By Kate Randall, 5 January 2017

Obama’s health care overhaul was never about providing universal or even near-universal, decent quality health care for the American people.

Former officials at US fentanyl maker charged with bribing doctors

By Brad Dixon, 24 December 2016

Federal agents arrested six former employees of Insys Therapeutics for allegedly bribing doctors to prescribe the company’s highly addictive fentanyl product, Subsys.

$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.

Heroin epidemic in the US reaches historic proportions

By Genevieve Leigh, 12 December 2016

The year 2015 marks the first in recent history in which more people died from heroin-related causes than from gun homicides.

The 21st Century Cures Act: A gift to the US pharmaceutical industry

By Brad Dixon, 12 December 2016

The bill guts the regulatory powers of the US Food and Drug Administration, weakening the standards used to judge the safety and efficacy of drugs and medical devices.

The Zika pandemic and Washington’s indifference

By Gary Joad, 6 December 2016

According to the Centers for Disease Control, as of late November, 182 people in Florida have been infected with Zika by local mosquitos, and in Massachusetts there are 101 cases of travel-associated Zika.

Republican Congress, Trump plan assault on Medicare

By Kate Randall, 26 November 2016

The attack on Medicare will be a centerpiece of the drive by the Trump administration to destroy all that remains of the social reforms of the past century.

Sharp Healthcare nurses in San Diego, California to begin three-day strike

By Marko Leone, 26 November 2016

Nurses are determined to fight, while the union has called a limited strike to let off steam while it works to impose a contract on management’s terms.

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.

Another apologia for Obamacare from the New York Times’ Paul Krugman

By Kate Randall, 31 October 2016

The columnist downplays the impact of skyrocketing premiums, deductibles and co-pays to tout the pro-corporate health care “reform” as a brilliant success.

“They are picking on the most vulnerable sections of society”

Blue Cross retirees stage picket over health care cuts

By Shannon Jones, 28 October 2016

Scores of retirees protested in downtown Detroit Thursday to oppose management's attempts to slash their health care benefits.

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.

Blue Cross retirees in Michigan to protest health benefit cuts

By E. Galen, 25 October 2016

Thousands of retired workers are losing group coverage and being forced onto individual plans offered through a private exchange, at much higher cost.

Medicare overhauls doctor payment rules

By Brad Dixon, 21 October 2016

Under the guise of providing “quality” care, the new rules are part of a cost-cutting strategy that incentivizes doctors to ration care for patients.

Obamacare open enrollment: Consumers face premium hikes, narrowing networks

By Kate Randall, 14 October 2016

Health policy analysts predict that ACA consumers will face premium hikes, higher out-of-pocket costs, and narrowing networks as they shop for new insurance coverage.

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.

Minnesota nurses’ union seeks to ram through concessions contract

By Anthony Bertolt and Matt Rigel, 12 October 2016

The WSWS calls on nurses to reject the sellout contract and combine this rejection with a political mobilization of the working class in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and beyond.

Defeat MNA sellout!

Mobilize the working class behind the Minnesota nurses strike!

By Ron Jorgenson, 3 October 2016

The fact that the unions could bring such a sellout agreement to a vote only underscores the need for nurses to take the conduct of the strike into their own hands.

Negotiations resume as Minneapolis nurses’ strike enters fourth week

By Ron Jorgenson, 27 September 2016

The federal mediator's recall of both sides indicates that the company, union and Democratic Party are preparing to force through a sellout contract against the resistance of striking nurses.

CEO of EpiPen maker testifies before US Congress

By Brad Dixon, 23 September 2016

The congressional hearing was called after Mylan acquired the EpiPen from another company and then hiked the price by more than 500 percent.

Allina nurses’ strike and the union’s fraudulent “corporate campaign”

By Ron Jorgenson, 21 September 2016

The AFL-CIO has long used such campaigns to block any genuine mobilization of the working class against the government-backed corporate attacks.

US prisons ration expensive hepatitis C drugs

By Brad Dixon, 17 September 2016

Fewer than 4 percent of US prisoners with hepatitis C receive the newer drugs for the disease due to their exorbitant price.

Allina Health, media, join forces to break Twin Cities nurses as union isolates strike

By Ron Jorgenson, 10 September 2016

The Minnesota Nurses Association is continuing to isolate the strike, now in its sixth day, while appealing to the company to accept the concessions contract the union has proposed.

“Health care is a human right”

Minneapolis students express support for striking Allina nurses

By Matt Rigel and Anthony Bertolt, 8 September 2016

As management continues operations with the use of strikebreakers, the union is keeping nurses throughout the region on the job and is doing nothing to mobilize broader support in the working class.

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.

As Minneapolis nurses strike, unions join arms with Democratic officials in Labor Day events

By Patrick Martin, 6 September 2016

The trade unions used the Labor Day events to promote the campaign of Hillary Clinton, the consensus candidate of Wall Street, the military-intelligence apparatus and most of the political establishment.

Mobilize the entire working class in the Twin Cities

Defend the striking Allina nurses!

By Ron Jorgenson, 5 September 2016

4,800 nurses at five hospitals in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area begin a strike today to defend their health care benefits and oppose dangerous patient-to-nurse ratios.

Minnesota nurses union calls open-ended strike for Labor Day

By Matt Rigel, 1 September 2016

The Minnesota Nurses Association has called a strike under pressure from rank-and-file nurses.

EpiPen price gouging: Capitalism and the US health care crisis

By Kate Randall, 31 August 2016

The EpiPen scandal has become a focal point of anger over the subordination of health care to huge corporations driven by an insatiable quest for profit.

One-third of US counties will have only one Obamacare plan in 2017

By Kate Randall, 30 August 2016

The mass exodus of high-profile private insurance companies from the ACA exchanges is leaving millions with less choice for coverage.

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.

Pfizer gobbles up cancer drug maker in $14 billion deal

By Brad Dixon, 25 August 2016

Pfizer will acquire Medivation’s cancer drug Xtandi, which is priced at $129,000 for a year’s treatment.

Minnesota nurses authorize open-ended strike against Allina

By Matt Rigel, 22 August 2016

The MNA has refused to call a strike, even though nurses have once again overwhelmingly rejected Allina Health’s demands for cuts to health care benefits and heavier workloads.

The Obamacare counterrevolution six years on

By Kate Randall, 22 August 2016

The Obama administration’s signature domestic “achievement” stands exposed as a plan concocted by and for the insurance companies and corporate America to slash their costs and increase their profits.

Critical turning point as nurses vote on concessions

Mobilize Minnesota workers behind Allina nurses

By Matt Rigel, 18 August 2016

Some 4,800 nurses are voting on a concessionary contract, including cuts to healthcare that will save management $10 million.

Aetna pullout highlights pro-corporate, anti-working class character of Obamacare

By Kate Randall, 17 August 2016

Even as giant insurance firms are reducing their participation in the Obamacare exchanges, they are implementing gargantuan premium hikes on their remaining policies.

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.

Minnesota nurses contract talks continue with Allina Health

By Matt Rigel, 23 July 2016

Negotiators for Allina Health are sticking fast to their demands for the gutting of health care plans for 4,800 nurses in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region.

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.

UnitedHealth cuts Obamacare options for tens of thousands

By Kate Randall, 20 July 2016

The largest US health insurer has indicated it is drastically scaling back its Affordable Health Care public exchange offerings despite a 13 percent rise in second-quarter profits.

Illinois health insurer announces liquidation as Obamacare co-ops collapse

By Kristina Betinis, 18 July 2016

Land of Lincoln Health insurance co-op is set to close after posting more than $1 billion in losses over the last year.

Nurses unions shut down emerging strike wave

By Eric London, 27 June 2016

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to nurses on the picket line in Los Angeles who were eager to continue the fight against for-profit health care.

Minnesota nurses union ends strike without new contract

By Anthony Bertolt and Matt Rigel, 27 June 2016

As the week-long walkout by Minnesota nurses concludes, nurses have been ordered back to work without the slightest concession from Allina Health executives.

Kaiser Permanente nurses in Los Angeles on strike again

By Marc Wells, 25 June 2016

Nurses launched a four-day strike at Kaiser’s Los Angeles Medical Center, fighting for back pay, better wages, adequate staffing and patients’ safety.

Minnesota and Los Angeles nurses fight cost-cutting measures

By Matt Rigel, 24 June 2016

Los Angeles nurses began a four-day strike Thursday, joining 4,800 striking nurses in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

Twin Cities nurses strike against gutting of health care benefits

By Anthony Bertolt and Matt Rigel, 20 June 2016

Minnesota nurses are engaged in a week-long strike to oppose attacks on employee health benefits and chronic work overloads.

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).

Massachusetts: Nurses at Brigham and Women’s hospital authorize one-day strike

By John Marion and Mike Ingram, 15 June 2016

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke with nurses as more than 2,300 voted in favor of a strike.

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.

Nurses at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s prepare strike vote

By John Marion, 24 May 2016

The May 31 vote will determine whether 3,300 nurses at one of the country’s leading hospitals go on strike.

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.

Sanders’ phony “Medicare for All” proposal

By Esther Galen, 30 April 2016

The purpose of Sanders’ proposal is not to transform the US health care system, but to promote illusions that such a transformation can be achieved through the Democratic Party under capitalism.

Insurers set to sharply increase Obamacare premiums

By Kate Randall, 26 April 2016

Citing big losses, many insurers will ask state insurance commissioners to approve double-digit hikes in premiums under the Affordable Care Act.

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.

West Virginia budget impasse threatens public employee healthcare

By Clement Daly, 9 April 2016

Faced with a $120 million budget shortfall, the West Virginia Public Employee Insurance Agency has approved draconian cuts to the healthcare of some 230,000 state workers and retirees.

Seven-day nurses strike ends at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles

By Marc Wells, 23 March 2016

Nurses have gone without a wage increase for six years and face chronic understaffing.

Kaiser Permanente nurses in Los Angeles on one-week strike

By Marc Wells, 19 March 2016

1,200 nurses walked out March 15 at Kaiser’s Los Angeles Medical Center, after six years without a wage increase and complaints about understaffing and back wages.

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.

Medicare to test cost-cutting plan for Part B prescription drugs

By Kate Randall, 12 March 2016

Physician groups say the CMS plan will adversely affect the care of vulnerable Medicare patients being treated for cancer and other complex conditions.

Obama stumps for Affordable Care Act in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

By Kate Randall, 4 March 2016

The president’s argument that signups for Obamacare prove that the law champions health care as a “right for all people” is undermined by an examination of the ACA plans.

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.

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.

More US drug price hikes in 2016

By Brad Dixon, 18 January 2016

Drug makers kicked off the New Year with a new round of drug price hikes despite growing public anger and political backlash.