US Health Issues

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.

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.