US Health Issues

Continued rise in STDs highlights bipartisan attack on American healthcare system

By Erik Schreiber, 17 October 2019

As the CDC itself implies, the continuing increase in the incidence of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis is a scandal and an indictment of both capitalist parties.

110 Increasing cases of silicosis among construction workers

8 October 2019

As US vaping-related lung illnesses soar, FDA found negligent in enforcing e-cig regulations

By Benjamin Mateus, 7 October 2019

A report issued by the NIH’s drug abuse section highlights the dramatic rise in vaping among teenagers; 37.3 percent of 12th graders reported they had vaped in the past 12 months.

Study predicts significant outbreaks of measles in Texas due to low vaccination rates

By Gary Joad, 2 October 2019

Texas, the second most populous state, grants the greatest number of vaccine exemptions for personal philosophical and religious reasons of any state in US.

Majority of West Virginia counties rank worst in US for water quality

By Naomi Spencer, 28 September 2019

A new report finds 36 of West Virginia’s 55 counties rank among the worst in the country for drinking water violations.

Officials cover up lead in water crisis in Newark, New Jersey

By Shuvu Batta, 27 September 2019

Residents of Newark, New Jersey, continue to be exposed to lead in their tap water as their city and state officials attempt to lie their way out of the crisis.

US healthcare workers face rise in workplace violence

By Alex Johnson, 20 September 2019

One in four nurses is assaulted on the job on any given day as the healthcare crisis creates a toxic workplace environment.

Abrupt closures of two hospitals in West Virginia and Ohio leave region reeling

By Naomi Spencer, 16 September 2019

The termination of critical healthcare services will have a deeply damaging impact on the communities, and potentially deadly consequences for individuals who rely on them.

New York City mayor declares end of measles public health emergency

By Gary Joad, 16 September 2019

During a nine-month period, 52 people were hospitalized and 16 individuals placed in intensive care units. Eighty percent of those contracting measles were children.

US agency warns of lung illness epidemic among young people, attributed to e-cigarettes

By Benjamin Mateus, 9 September 2019

The FDA has issued a public warning of a rapidly developing epidemic of severe lung illnesses associated with “vaping,” with 450 cases confirmed spanning 33 states.

Johnson & Johnson v. State of Oklahoma: How the courts are covering for Big Pharma

By Genevieve Leigh, 29 August 2019

The toothless ruling follows a well-worn pattern in which giant corporations, after committing horrific social crimes, get off with a relatively small fine.

Oklahoma judge finds Johnson & Johnson guilty in opioid epidemic

By Benjamin Mateus, 27 August 2019

While the $572 million judgment fell short of the $17 billion sought by the state, the court’s ruling was an unambiguous finding that the giant corporation deliberately downplayed the dangers of the opioids it manufactured.

New studies reveal growing epidemic of nurse suicides in the US

By Alex Johnson, 16 August 2019

Hospital conditions and the accompanying mental health strain are driving increasing numbers of nurses to take their own lives.

Bottled water distributions begin as lead water poisoning crisis erupts in Newark, New Jersey

By Daniel de Vries, 14 August 2019

After three years of cover-up, city and state officials were forced to begin distributing bottled water to residents on Monday.

US doctors’ group urges probe into child migrant deaths from influenza

By Kate Randall, 2 August 2019

According to autopsy results, at least three migrant children have died in US custody as a result of influenza and its complications since December 2018, a rate of death substantially higher than that among children in the general population.

“They opened fire as if we were animals”

AMLO’s police gun down immigrant near US border

By Andrea Lobo, 2 August 2019

A migrant was shot dead while running away from police with his eight-year-old daughter hours before Trump praised Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government at a rally in Ohio.

UAW, Ford enforce punitive attendance policies at Chicago Assembly Plant ahead of September contract expiration

By Jessica Goldstein, 31 July 2019

The UAW is now playing a critical role in disciplining workers at the behest of Ford in advance of the September expiration of the national auto contract agreement.

Merchants of death

How the pharmaceutical companies, Congress and the DEA made the opioid epidemic a billion-dollar industry

By Genevieve Leigh, 23 July 2019

Previously undisclosed government information shows how drug manufacturers and distributors responded to the emerging opioid epidemic by pumping more pills into the hardest-hit regions.

Australian cancer victim sues Bayer-Monsanto

By Frank Gaglioti, 23 July 2019

Michael Ogalirolo claims his potentially lethal cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is due to 18 years of exposure to glyphosate, the active component of the herbicide Roundup.

050 Minneapolis nurses

9 July 2019

Global conflict situations, poverty lead to rise in mental health crises

By Alex Johnson, 9 July 2019

US imperialism and its allies bear principal responsibility for the wars and military interventions that have wrought devastation throughout the world.

Giant US healthcare corporations fear hostile takeover by high-tech companies

By Benjamin Mateus, 8 July 2019

While the US population has expanded by 75 percent since 1960, to approximately 325 million people, healthcare expenditure, in constant dollars, has risen approximately 2000 percent.

Deadly Legionella bacteria found at Ford Dearborn Truck plant

By George Kirby, 5 July 2019

While Ford and the UAW have downplayed the finding, claiming the amounts are small, the CDC says there is no safe level of the bacteria.

040 Alabama woman charged with shooting death of fetus

2 July 2019

060 Legionella found at Ford Rouge

2 July 2019

055 Six killed in rural Wisconsin house fire

28 June 2019

Protesting nurses speak out in Long Beach, California

By Rafael Azul and Kimie Saito, 28 June 2019

“Patients are not numbers! Maximum patients + minimum nurses = maximum profits. And the costs are passed on to the consumers and us.”

Union works to sabotage unity of Minnesota nurses’ struggle

By Matt Rigel, 28 June 2019

The Minnesota Nurses Association is working to sell out nurses in Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region by negotiating contracts at some hospitals while others remain unsettled.

New petrochemical complex could create a “cancer alley” on Ohio River

By John Ashbrook, 28 June 2019

The Trump administration is backing a tri-state effort to build a huge fossil fuel processing facility that threatens public health and the environment.

No more lies!

The way forward in the struggle against the poisoning of Flint

By the WSWS editorial board, 28 June 2019

The following statement is being distributed to a community meeting in Flint Friday night.

“Sully” Sullenberger testifies that the 737 Max 8 was “fatally flawed”

By Bryan Dyne, 21 June 2019

The airline captain’s statement to Congress exposed the negligence of Boeing and questioned the relationship between the company and regulatory agencies.

Unreported releases from coal ash ponds may be more widespread in US than previously known

By John Ashbrook, 21 June 2019

Millions of people are potentially exposed to toxic coal ash, which can cause bone cancers, leukemia and nervous system and brain damage.

Minnesota Nurses Association announces sellout tentative deal at Children’s Hospitals in Minneapolis-St. Paul

By Jonas Boquist, 17 June 2019

It has been many decades since the unions have launched a nationwide strike in any industry. In its place they have adopted the program of union-management collaboration."

Suicide rates for doctors and young physicians among highest in the US population

By Alex Johnson, 17 June 2019

Doctors are often hesitant to seek treatment, due to the stigma associated with mental health problems.

The Commonwealth Fund’s 2019 Scorecard

Rising US “deaths of despair” driven by health care costs, lack of access to care

By Kate Randall, 14 June 2019

A new study shows that one of the major underlying causes of “deaths of despair” is social inequality, in particular lack of access to health care and the associated financial struggles.

“We went out with the nurses, we should go back with the nurses”

Mercy Health strikers in Toledo, Ohio denounce UAW sabotage of their struggle

By Shannon Jones, 3 June 2019

In an act of blatant strikebreaking, the UAW organized a vote by support staff and technicians at Mercy Health St. Vincent in order to isolate striking nurses and force them back to work.

Class action lawsuit brought in US against generic-drug makers for colluding to fix prices

By Benjamin Mateus, 30 May 2019

The soaring cost of prescription drugs is directly linked to criminal practices by giant corporations.

Kalamazoo, Michigan: “I don’t like the idea of selling my blood plasma for money, but I have to do what I’ve got to do”

US blood plasma industry targets poor and working class

By Carlos Delgado, 28 May 2019

An increasing number of US workers are selling their plasma to cover basic necessities like food, rent, gas and diapers.

Los Angeles universities quarantine 280 as US measles cases reach record levels

By Kate Randall, 27 April 2019

The CDC reports the number of measles cases has spiked to at least 695 so far this year, the highest number since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000.

Forty hospitalized after toxic chemical leak in Chicago suburb

By Jessica Goldstein, 26 April 2019

Residents of Beach Park, Illinois were ordered to stay inside and 40 people were hospitalized after toxic anhydrous ammonia leaked into the air during a chemical spill.

035 US blood plasma business

24 April 2019

New York City declares public health emergency over measles outbreak

By Kate Randall, 11 April 2019

New York City has seen 285 confirmed measles cases since the outbreak began in the fall, with 21 requiring hospitalizations, including five admissions to intensive care units.

Trump backs court action to end health coverage for 25 million people

By Patrick Martin, 28 March 2019

While the Trump administration targets Obamacare for full repeal, the Democrats are dropping calls for “Medicare-for-all” in favor of billions more for the private insurance companies.

Houston chemical fire: Residents ordered to “shelter-in-place” due to benzene danger

By Jacob Crosse, 22 March 2019

Residents of Deer Park and Galena Park, east of the Texas city, have been the most affected by the fire at Intercontinental Terminals Company.

US studies: More misery brought to you by Big Pharma

Sharp rise in fentanyl overdose deaths, ADHD-drug-induced psychosis, prescription drug rationing due to cost

By Kate Randall, 22 March 2019

A week rarely passes without the publication of a major study documenting the misery unleashed on Americans by the US pharmaceutical industry and its rapacious drive for profits.

Obesity-related cancers rise among US millennials

By Alex Johnson, 18 March 2019

One of the principal factors contributing to the rise in obesity rates among American adults is the lack of access to healthful foods among low-income and rural populations.

“Deaths of despair” continue to soar

US deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide at all-time high

By Kate Randall, 8 March 2019

The devastating toll of 150,000 Americans dying from alcohol and drug-induced fatalities and suicides in 2017 is seen by the political establishment and pharmaceutical CEOs as the “cost of doing business.”

Rise in drug abuse among women and heterosexual men diagnosed with syphilis

By Benjamin Mateus, 27 February 2019

Many of those affected lack steady employment, health care and stable housing, and face an abusive penal system.

Study links abuse-deterrent OxyContin with rise in hepatitis C infections

By Brian Dixon, 11 February 2019

According to a new study published in Health Affairs, Purdue Pharma’s switch to a new abuse-deterrent formulation of OxyContin in 2010 led to a rise in hepatitis C infections as addicts switched to injecting heroin.

FDA advisor criticizes agency’s response to opioid epidemic

By Brian Dixon, 6 February 2019

The chair of the FDA’s opioid advisory committee claimed the agency is manipulating data in favor of the pharmaceutical companies seeking approval for new opioid painkillers.

Boston jury hears testimony of how Insys Therapeutics pushed opioid painkiller and killed hundreds

By Kate Randall, 5 February 2019

Prosecutors told jurors that Insys executives were guilty of running a kickback and conspiracy scheme that bribed doctors to routinely subscribe Subsys, a highly addictive fentanyl nasal spray.

More US drug price hikes in 2019

By Alex Johnson, 4 February 2019

According to Reuters, drug manufacturers raised the prices of more than 250 prescription drugs, including the world’s top-selling medicine, Humira.

US: Measles outbreak in Washington state prompts state of emergency

By Kate Randall, 30 January 2019

In addition to the US, there has also been an uptick of people contracting measles in Canada and across Europe due to people foregoing the vaccine.

US drug company payments to doctors linked to opioid overdose deaths

By Brian Dixon, 22 January 2019

A study published last week in JAMA Network Open found that counties where doctors received payments from drug companies later experienced higher rates of overdose deaths from opioids.

Opioid overdose deaths triple among US teens and young children

By Kate Randall, 31 December 2018

The depth of the opioid crisis facing young people points to the woefully inadequate response of the government to this social catastrophe as it spirals out of control.

Federal judge in Texas rules Affordable Care Act unconstitutional

By Kate Randall, 17 December 2018

The ruling was opposed by healthcare groups and, if upheld, threatens to throw insurance markets into chaos and strip coverage from tens of millions of Americans.

West Virginia: Task force concludes without a “fix” for public workers’ insurance

By Clement Daly, 17 December 2018

Throughout the strike and pro-forma hearings, teachers and public service workers demanded that health care be funded through increased taxes on the state’s oil and gas industry.

Public health expert speaks on the crisis of American healthcare

Cases like Hedda Martin’s heart transplant denial “will continue to happen”

By Nancy Hanover, 3 December 2018

Workers and young people nationwide decried Martin's callous treatment, donating generously out of their own pockets, after Spectrum Health's Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Clinic told her to make “a fundraising effort of $10,000.”

060 Lack of mental health services in US

3 December 2018

The centenary of the “Spanish Flu”—Lessons for today

Part one of a two-part series

By Benjamin Mateus, 19 November 2018

The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 was the deadliest outbreak of disease in human history, killing as many as 100 million people.

Detroit Medical Center doctors fired after speaking out for patient safety

By Joseph Lorenz, 9 October 2018

In a statement announcing his resignation from the medical staff, Dr. Ted Schreiber said, “Unfortunately, the current focus of some in health care is on profits and stock holder value.”

Congress readies band-aid measure for opioid crisis

By Tom Eley, 28 September 2018

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

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

By Alec Andersen, 25 August 2018

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

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

By Kate Randall, 21 August 2018

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

Texas firefighters denied workers compensation for cancer

By Todd Denton, 21 August 2018

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

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

By Kate Randall, 17 August 2018

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

Hepatitis A outbreak worsens in West Virginia, Kentucky

By Naomi Spencer, 4 August 2018

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

US hospitals fail to prevent unnecessary maternal deaths and injuries

By Brian Dixon, 30 July 2018

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

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

By Kate Randall, 28 July 2018

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

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

By Tom Hall, 23 July 2018

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

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

By Isaac Finn, 20 July 2018

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

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

By John Marion, 6 July 2018

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

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

By Kate Randall, 15 June 2018

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

Health risks found in over 80 percent of NYCHA apartments

By Philip Guelpa, 17 April 2018

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

More US states imposing Medicaid work requirements

By Kate Randall, 14 April 2018

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

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

By Shelley Connor, 24 March 2018

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

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

By Niles Niemuth, 20 March 2018

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

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

By Benjamin Mateus, 12 March 2018

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

Hospital workers protest layoffs in Michigan

By Carlos Delgado and Esther Galen, 10 March 2018

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

Mental health crisis descends on Puerto Rico’s working class

By Ali Abu Elhassan, 9 March 2018

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

Industrial tannery dump contaminates drinking water in west Michigan community

By Carlos Delgado, 2 March 2018

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

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

By Benjamin Mateus, 28 February 2018

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

Records show neglect of Florida school gunman’s mental health

By Trévon Austin, 19 February 2018

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

Report details psychological and health impact of deportation on children

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 17 February 2018

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

“This is a national health emergency”

WSWS interviews Fulbright scholar Chris Fradkin on impact of mass deportations

By our reporters, 17 February 2018

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

Scientists produce new treatment to block the development of breast cancer

By Benjamin Mateus, 17 February 2018

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

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

By Kate Randall, 13 February 2018

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

Studies connect Medicaid work requirements to poor health

By Shelley Connor, 12 February 2018

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

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

By Kate Randall, 9 February 2018

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

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

By Kate Randall, 6 February 2018

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

One hundred years since the 1918 flu pandemic

America is unprepared for the next deadly influenza outbreak

By Kate Randall and Tom Hall, 1 February 2018

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

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

By Warren Duzak, 27 January 2018

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

Deadly flu season likely to worsen internationally

By Shelley Connor, 19 January 2018

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

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

Flu epidemic exposes scandalous state of US health care system

By Kate Randall, 17 January 2018

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

Trump officials say states can impose Medicaid work requirements

By Kate Randall, 12 January 2018

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

Deadly influenza outbreak spreads throughout US, most severe in California

By Dan Conway, 9 January 2018

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

Hepatitis A outbreak continues to impact Southeast Michigan

By Muhammad Khan, 29 December 2017

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

Hepatitis A outbreaks hit Southeast Michigan and San Diego

By Benjamin Mateus, 19 December 2017

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

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

By Kevin Martinez, 19 December 2017

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

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

By Bryan Dyne, 28 November 2017

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