Health care in the US

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.

Survey: One in four US adults burdened by medical debt

By Kate Randall, 8 January 2016

Medical bills are straining family budgets to the breaking point, forcing significant numbers of people to go without basic household necessities or to forgo treatment.

FDA capitulates to pharmaceutical company on drug claims

By Brad Dixon, 28 December 2015

The move marks the latest episode of the drug industry’s attempts to roll back restrictions on “off-label” marketing practices based on “free speech” claims.

Martin Shkreli arrested for securities fraud

By Tom Hall, 18 December 2015

The 32-year-old CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals became infamous this year for price-gouging lifesaving medication.

Obamacare enrollment deadline: Fines mount for failure to buy costly, barebones insurance

By Kate Randall, 16 December 2015

The Obama administration is seeking to use spiking “individual mandate” penalties to browbeat the uninsured into buying private coverage for 2016.

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.

Giant US insurer threatens to exit Obamacare coverage

By Fred Mazelis, 27 November 2015

With health insurers leaving the health care exchanges and individuals facing soaring costs, the fraud of Obamacare is being revealed more clearly with each passing year.

Drug maker Novartis pays $390 million to settle kickback claims

By Brad Dixon, 14 November 2015

The Novartis settlement is but another example of the rampant criminality and parasitism found throughout the pharmaceutical industry.

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.

Obamacare open enrollment: A widening health care disaster for workers

By Kate Randall, 3 November 2015

As Obamacare enters its third year, its reactionary, anti-working class character is becoming ever more clear. It is a health care counterrevolution.

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.

Social Security benefit freeze for 65 million in US

By Patrick Martin, 16 October 2015

Nearly a third of the elderly or disabled people whose benefits are frozen will also be hit by huge increases in Medicare premiums.

Planned Parenthood fights congressional witch-hunt

By Evan Blake, 8 October 2015

The congressional hearing for Planned Parenthood, the most recent target of a right-wing smear campaign, showcased the degraded state of official politics in Washington.

US drug makers blocking generic competition to inflate prices

By Brad Dixon, 1 October 2015

Nearly a third of 280 generic drug products widely used by older Americans have increased in price since 2006.

Life expectancy plunges for low-income Americans

By Andre Damon, 29 September 2015

The gap in life expectancy between higher and lower-income Americans has soared in recent decades, according to the results of a new study commissioned by the US Congress.

US health insurance deductibles rise sharply, far outpacing wage gains

By Kate Randall, 25 September 2015

Deductibles for employer-sponsored health insurance have risen more than six times the average wage increase of US workers since 2010.

US pharmaceutical industry price-gouging and the case of Martin Shkreli

By Nick Barrickman, 24 September 2015

Shkreli’s actions represent nothing more than an unabashed and especially brazen form of everyday business practice under capitalism.

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.

Obamacare coverage terminated for 430,000 immigrants

By Kate Randall, 15 September 2015

The majority of those stripped of coverage are documented US residents and citizens caught up in an inefficient and arbitrary system.

Who would benefit from the health care co-op proposed by the UAW?

By Jerry White, 10 September 2015

The new scheme would be modeled on the retiree health care trust fund or so-called VEBA run by the UAW.

Obamacare health insurers seek double-digit rate hikes for 2016

By Kate Randall, 7 September 2015

In Delaware, South Dakota and West Virginia insurers are seeking double-digit increases for 100 percent of Obamacare plans.

Report documents pervasive shortcomings in US mental health insurance

By Trent Novak, 29 August 2015

Individuals seeking mental health treatment are twice as likely to have their claims denied by insurers than patients filing claims related to traditional medical procedures.

California insurance rates rise under Obamacare

By Julio Patron, 25 August 2015

Obamacare continues to provide enormous profits to insurers while the price of health care for workers soars to new heights.

Alabama budget proposals threaten state Medicaid program

By Shelley Connor, 18 August 2015

Drastic cuts proposed in the state legislature would put an end to Medicaid in Alabama, as the program depends on matching funds from the federal government.

Obamacare enrollees highly dissatisfied with health coverage

By Kate Randall, 7 August 2015

A new poll finds that only 30 percent of people with insurance through the ACA exchanges are satisfied with their plans, mainly due to cost.

Congressional Republicans move to defund Planned Parenthood

By Evan Blake, 31 July 2015

The proposed legislation comes in response to heavily edited videos produced by a right-wing group that falsely depict the organization committing crimes.

Fifty years on: Medicare under assault

By Kate Randall, 31 July 2015

Medicare, one of the last vestiges of social reform from a previous era, today faces a bipartisan assault aimed at undermining and ultimately destroying it.

Second health mega-merger in three weeks

Anthem to buy Cigna, creating biggest US health insurer

By Kate Randall, 25 July 2015

The Anthem-Cigna deal is the latest in a flurry of mergers and acquisitions encouraged by the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act.

US federal disability insurance trust to be depleted next year

By Tom Hall, 23 July 2015

Although the funding crisis can be solved with a technical fix, the political establishment is using this manufactured crisis to push for deep cuts to disability benefits.

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.

Surge in prices boosts drug industry profits

By Brad Dixon, 14 July 2015

An investigation by Bloomberg News found that the prices of supposedly competing prescription drugs rose in lockstep.

US health insurers seek huge rate increases for 2016

By Kate Randall, 6 July 2015

Many insurers are requesting double-digit premium hikes, citing diminishing profits and a larger than expected pool of unhealthy enrollees.

Obamacare fuels wave of takeovers

Aetna, Humana announce biggest-ever merger of health insurers

By Barry Grey, 4 July 2015

The deal is the biggest to date in a flurry of mergers and acquisitions spurred on by the Obama administration’s health care overhaul.

Paul Krugman’s apologia for Obamacare

By Andre Damon, 27 June 2015

Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act by declaring the health care overhaul a “policy triumph.”

US Supreme Court upholds Obamacare subsidies

By Kate Randall, 26 June 2015

The majority opinion states that without the subsidies the ACA would collapse, sending the insurance market into a “death spiral.”

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.

Medical technicians and paramedics picket against low-wage exploitation

By K. Rowe and Toby Reese, 6 June 2015

Working EMTs and paramedics have been picketing at San Diego City Hall since last Thursday in protest over the extension that maintains appallingly low wages.

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.

Strike of California nurses ends

By Marc Wells, 2 May 2015

After a tentative agreement, 6,500 nurses in eight California hospitals returned to work.

California and Illinois nurses set to strike

By Marc Wells, 25 April 2015

Nurses at eight California hospitals and one Chicago medical center have announced a strike against understaffing, limited by the unions to a one- or two-day action.

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.

US Senate passes “milestone” bill to means-test Medicare, ration health care

By Andre Damon, 16 April 2015

The bill, overwhelmingly backed by both Democrats and Republicans, is a significant step in the ongoing drive to attack Medicare and health care in the United States.

University of California doctors strike

By Marc Wells, 16 April 2015

For the second time in three months, doctors at the University of California went on strike against the UC administration over stalled contract negotiations.

US political establishment hails bipartisan bill attacking Medicare

By Kate Randall, 28 March 2015

The bill is designed to effect a paradigm shift in health care, away from “fee for service” to a system that rewards doctors for rationing care and cutting costs.

US House passes sweeping new bipartisan assault on Medicare

By Kate Randall, 27 March 2015

The coming together of the Republican and Democratic parties behind the overhaul underscores the unanimity within the ruling class on the need for massive cuts in health care spending.

US Supreme Court hears challenge to Obamacare subsidies

By Kate Randall, 6 March 2015

A ruling for the plaintiffs could invalidate subsidies for up to 7.5 million people purchasing coverage on the federal Obamacare exchange.

Up to six million face Obamacare penalties for 2014

By Toby Reese, 20 February 2015

Tax penalties imposed on the uninsured who fail to sign up for health coverage by the February 15 deadline will be higher than last year.

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.

Urgent care center replaces shuttered hospital in impoverished Pennsylvania town

By Evan Winters and Phyllis Scherrer, 10 February 2015

This dramatic downgrade graphically illustrates the reality of health care rationing for the poor and working class in the United States, supported by the entire political establishment.

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.

US announces plan to ration health care under Medicare

By Kate Randall, 28 January 2015

The realignment of Medicare more directly with the profit dictates of the market will become the model for the American health care system as a whole.

Measles outbreak in California spreads to six other states

By Kevin Martinez, 24 January 2015

The disease, declared eradicated in the US in 2000, has made a comeback.

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.

Striking California mental health workers denounce attacks on health care

By our reporters, 19 January 2015

Some 2,600 mental health care workers in California are in the second week of a strike against Kaiser Permanente.

California mental health care workers strike

By David Brown, 15 January 2015

Without a contract for four years, mental health workers in the National Union of Healthcare Workers at Kaiser Permanente are holding a series of partial strikes across California.

Ezekiel Emanuel’s latest advice: “Skip Your Annual Physical”

By Kate Randall, 13 January 2015

Emanuel’s advice that people stop having annual exams illustrates the agenda behind Obamacare—the rationing of health care for the vast majority of ordinary Americans.

Loss of temporary Medicaid subsidies: Another Obamacare blow to US working poor

By Thomas Gaist, 30 December 2014

The expiration of temporary federal support for state-based Medicaid programs will reduce health care availability for the low-income families by as much as 40 percent.

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.