Health care in the US

035 Toledo hospital strike

20 May 2019

Rising US health insurance costs take toll on workers

By Alex Johnson, 17 May 2019

Since 2007, annual deductibles for job-based health plans—the most common form of coverage—have increased fourfold, with the average for plans rising to an estimated $1,300.

More than one million Americans lost health insurance in 2018

By Alex González, 14 May 2019

After decreasing or leveling off in past years, the number of uninsured is on the rise, with the poor or near-poor more than three times as likely to be uninsured as the non-poor.

Questcor Pharmaceuticals and Mallinckrodt: Financial parasitism and the US pharmaceutical industry

By Brian Dixon, 14 May 2019

The business strategy of Questcor and Mallinckrodt reflects the parasitic and predatory nature of the pharmaceutical industry under the pressure of finance capital.

Two thousand nurses and support staff strike at Toledo, Ohio hospital

By Jerry White, 8 May 2019

Nurses, technicians and other support staff walked out at Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center Monday to fight against increased workloads and out-of-pocket health care costs.

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.”

US Senate hearings on drug prices provide “friendly warning” to pharmaceuticals

By Brian Dixon, 2 March 2019

While some of the members of the committee occasionally posed as industry critics, the Senate hearing made it clear that no serious action will be taken to rein in high drug prices.

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.

065 Single mother arrested for unpaid ambulance bill

26 February 2019

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.

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.

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.

Thousands face loss of mental health coverage in the US

By Matthew Taylor, 29 December 2018

Congress has eliminated the Medicaid-sponsored program in line with the larger push by the ruling class to dismantle social programs.

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.

Over 4,000 Kaiser Permanente mental health workers on limited strike in California

By Kevin Martinez and Kim Saito, 14 December 2018

The National Union of Healthcare Workers is ending the five-day strike tomorrow without resolving workers’ demands for higher wages, more staffing and the restoration of pensions for new-hires.

More people with mental illnesses seeking treatment from US emergency rooms

By Alex Johnson, 5 December 2018

Grossly inadequate funding for mental health means that patients swing from poorly-equipped group home facilities to emergency rooms—and, ultimately, jails and prisons.

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

Plead for charity or die: A blunt message from the American health care system

By Nancy Hanover, 28 November 2018

One of the ugly secrets of US medical care—the rationing of life-saving procedures based on ability to pay—was exposed by the recent experiences of a Michigan woman seeking a heart transplant.

035 Mass. nurse staffing ballot question

6 November 2018

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.”

Mobilize the working class to defend nurses and secure the right to health care!

By Niles Niemuth, 2 October 2018

The interests of nurses cannot be separated from the fight to ensure the social right to health care through the abolition of the for-profit health care system.

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.

Victors Care brings class-based medical care to University of Michigan hospital

By Matthew Brennan, 28 September 2018

The foundation of Victors Care is that it grants easier and faster access to physicians, as well as comprehensive preventive care, for those who can afford to pay an additional $3,600 per year out of pocket.

26 September 2018

Support the fight of University of Michigan nurses!

By Niles Niemuth, 18 September 2018

Nurses at the University of Michigan health system have voted overwhelmingly for strike authorization in defense of adequate staffing as well as decent pay and benefits.

Six thousand University of Michigan nurses voting on strike authorization

By Acchutta Veeraiah, 11 September 2018

Nursing staff at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor are working without a contract amid threats of cuts to staffing, wages, retirement benefits and opposition to a new tier-system for care.

Nashville’s shuttering of women’s health clinic leaves only one abortion facility in the city

By Warren Duzak and Keisha Gibbs, 3 September 2018

Despite the billions invested in healthcare, and dozens of Nashville area hospitals, poor and working class women are limited to one small clinic for elective abortions.

A socialist response to the opioid crisis

By Niles Niemuth, 23 August 2018

Ending the opioid crisis that is raging throughout Michigan and across the US requires a socialist program and a frontal attack on wealth of the corporate and financial elite.

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.

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.

Hospital workers go on strike in Rhode Island

By John Marion, 25 July 2018

Workers called the strike after rejecting a new contract by vote last week.

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.

Vermont Medical Center nurses fight low pay and understaffing

By Mike Ingram, 17 July 2018

Nurses at the University of Vermont Medical Center held a 48-hour strike last week after months of stalled negotiations for a new contract.

Latest volley aimed at gutting health care for workers

Trump administration freezes “risk adjustment” payments to health insurers

By Kate Randall, 11 July 2018

Over the last year, the White House has issued executive orders and undertaken administrative actions to undercut the program popularly known as Obamacare.

Study shows 144,000 US inmates denied care for hepatitis C

By E.P. Milligan, 7 July 2018

If left untreated, the condition can potentially mean a slow and agonizing death sentence.

Two hundred nurses at California hospital authorize strike

By Brian Dixon, 19 June 2018

The nurses have raised concerns over understaffing and the failure of the hospital to provide adequate “meal and break relief.”

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.

Trump speech on prescription drug prices cheers pharmaceutical giants

By Brian Dixon, 14 May 2018

Trump’s speech made clear that his administration will take no action that might interfere with the drug industry’s ability to price drugs as high as the market will bear.

53,000 workers begin three-day strike at California universities and hospitals

By Evelyn Rios, 7 May 2018

Workers voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike in April, rejecting the UC’s last offer of 3 percent yearly wage increases and a prorated, lump-sum payment of $750.

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.

Strike at Ferguson, Missouri nursing home ends after 104 days

By Benjamin Mateus, 19 March 2018

The Christian Care Nursing Home strike has ended with the SEIU agreeing to a derisory 20-cent per hour wage increase.

California: 18,000 Kaiser Permanente nurses authorize strike

By Brian Dixon, 12 March 2018

The not-for-profit organization gained net income of $3.6 billion in 2017, but uses none of these fund to address the issues driving nurses to authorise a strike.

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

UNICEF: Social inequality costs the lives of 7,000 newborns daily

By Shelley Connor, 22 February 2018

According to a UNICEF report released on Tuesday, 2.6 million newborns die annually. Most of these deaths are preventable and most of them are due to social inequality.

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.

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.

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.

“Big Sugar” and metabolic syndrome, killers of millions annually worldwide

By Gary Joad, 2 February 2018

Mass consumption of excessive quantities of sugar plays a major rolein adolescent and adult diabetes, heart disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cancer, a fact that has long been suppressed by the industry and federal agencies.

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.

Corporate giants announce partnership to cut employer health care costs

By Barry Grey, 31 January 2018

The initiative heralds a further monopolization of health care by a handful of billionaire-run corporations and a further subordination of social needs to Wall Street.

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.

Kentucky becomes first state to impose Medicaid work requirements

By Shelley Connor, 18 January 2018

Within five years, state officials estimate, the new initiative will result in 100,000 fewer Medicaid enrollments in Kentucky, saving the state $2.4 billion.

“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.

Cost of hookworm treatment beyond reach of many Alabama residents

By Warren Duzak, 17 January 2018

Working class and poor residents in the southern US state face an outbreak of the hookworm parasite due to unsanitary conditions.

The deadly impact of Hurricane María extends to US hospitals

Power outages set off IV bag shortages

By Genevieve Leigh, 13 January 2018

Ongoing power outages in Puerto Rico have set off a severe crisis of IV bag shortages on the US mainland, exacerbated by a sharp increase in flu cases nationwide.

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.

The crisis of dental care under American capitalism

By Esther Galen, 11 January 2018

Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America, exposes the reality of poor dental health and lack of dental care endured by the working class and poor in the US.

Trump administration rolls back fines against nursing homes as violations mount

By Kate Randall, 30 December 2017

By one government estimate, a staggering 380,000 deaths a year may be the result of health care-associated infections in facilities for the elderly.

Health care threatened for nine million low-income US children

By Patrick Martin, 27 December 2017

The temporary “fix” to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, applied by Congress in legislation passed December 21, could actually speed the program’s collapse.

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.

CVS to purchase Aetna for $69 billion, in move expected to disrupt health care industry

By Gabriel Black, 7 December 2017

The merger would create a level of vertical integration unprecedented in US health care, while netting Aetna’s outgoing CEO half a billion dollars.

A health statistics system in shambles

The real maternal mortality rate in the United States

By Benjamin Mateus, 24 November 2017

The true scope of maternal mortality rate in the US remains uncertain due to inconsistent and under-reporting on death certificates.

The legacy of Obamacare: A five percent increase in heart patient deaths

By Kate Randall, 15 November 2017

Research published in JAMA Cardiology shows that an initiative introduced five years ago under Obamacare to reduce Medicare readmissions for heart patients has resulted in a significant increase in mortality rates.

Trump nominates former pharmaceuticals executive to head Health and Human Services

By Kate Randall, 14 November 2017

Alex Azar has a long history of traversing the revolving door between government and big business.

Trump administration encourages states to gut Medicaid, impose work requirements

By Zaida Green, 10 November 2017

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will actively “partner” with states to impose premiums, punitive work requirements and other restrictions on Medicaid.

In part due to Trump sabotage

Obamacare premiums to soar in 2018

By Kate Randall, 4 November 2017

The most vulnerable population group will be households—as many as 2 million people—that are ineligible for subsidies.

Toddler hospitalised after Atlanta hospital denies father’s kidney transplant for son

By Zaida Green, 1 November 2017

Emory University Hospital is demanding that the father of the two-year-old document three months of parole compliance before he is allowed to donate his kidney.

Severe US nursing shortage accelerates rural hospital closures

By Gary Joad, 1 November 2017

Changing healthcare needs, demographic shifts and the choking down of funding for nurse training will leave the US short of 1.2 million nurses in two years time.

America’s oligarchy: No money for opioid crisis, endless funds for corporate tax cuts

By Andre Damon, 28 October 2017

On the same day that Congress moved forward on nearly $6 trillion in tax cuts to the super-rich, the Trump administration declined to allocate any funds to address the opioid crisis.

Trump administration’s CMS head leads assault on Medicaid

By Kate Randall, 28 October 2017

Seema Verma sees the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare as having extended coverage to millions of low-income Americans who should not be getting government-sponsored health insurance.

Trump declares opioid epidemic “will get worse before it gets better”

By Patrick Martin, 27 October 2017

The official declaration of a “public health emergency” is a political stunt that adds not one dollar to efforts to save the lives and health of millions suffering from opioid addiction.

New reports document declining life expectancy and worsening health of US workers

By Jerry White, 24 October 2017

Middle-age workers are being forced to retire later, even as they confront poorer health and a lower life expectancy than their older peers.

“I think the government is trying to kill us off”

Hundreds line up for free medical care in West Virginia

By Jerry White and Zac Corrigan, 23 October 2017

The free clinic event in Charleston revealed the deep social crisis in the United States, which is largely ignored by the corporate controlled media.

Trump’s Department of Justice attempts to block 17-year-old immigrant from getting abortion

By Josh Varlin, 23 October 2017

The government’s arguments against allowing the unaccompanied minor to receive an abortion mirror the notorious Dred Scott decision and presage a further attack on democratic rights.

Trump rejects bipartisan health care plan a day after endorsing it

By Kate Randall, 19 October 2017

The bulk of the Alexander-Murray bill is aimed at lowering requirements for private insurers and reducing the quality of health care coverage offered.

Behind the opioid crisis: Republicans and Obama cleared the way for corporate murder

By Patrick Martin, 16 October 2017

A joint investigation by “60 Minutes” and the Washington Post found that Republicans and Democrats in Washington did the bidding of giant drug distribution companies responsible for fueling the opioid crisis.

White House prepares executive order undercutting Obamacare

By Kate Randall, 11 October 2017

Small businesses would be able to establish association health plans free from Obamacare requirements to cover essential medical services.

Trump administration limits access to birth control under ACA

By Trévon Austin, 7 October 2017

A new mandate revokes the requirement for companies and organizations that claim religious or moral objections to provide birth control.

For one in four US women: Nearest abortion facility over 30 miles away

By Zaida Green, 6 October 2017

In many counties, women must travel dozens or hundreds of miles to reach an abortion facility and are often forced to travel to another state.

US Congress fails to reauthorize insurance program covering 9 million children

By Kate Randall, 3 October 2017

The failure to reauthorize CHIP threatens health insurance coverage for about 9 million lower-income children across the US.

Access to obstetric services in rural US communities continues to decline

By Benjamin Mateus, 3 October 2017

Nine percent of rural counties lost hospital-based obstetric services over the last decade meaning that more than half now have no such services at all.

CDC report finds large increase in sexually transmitted disease across the US

By Matthew Taylor, 2 October 2017

The rise in easily preventable and treatable diseases, including syphilis, has coincided with the slashing of funding for public health programs and clinics, which provide accessible testing and treatments.

“Health care is a human right”

IYSSE speaks at health care rally at University of Illinois Chicago

By our reporters, 28 September 2017

While organizers of a rally at UIC promoted Sanders’ single-payer “Medicare for All” bill, the IYSSE outlined the socialist response to health care crisis.

As Republican Obamacare repeal collapses, Democrats push pro-corporate “compromise”

By Josh Varlin, 27 September 2017

The Democrats are seeking a bipartisan deal with the Republicans that would retain the basic framework of Obamacare while introducing regressive changes being demanded by the insurance monopolies.

San Diego death toll from hepatitis A outbreak rises to 16

By Kevin Martinez, 25 September 2017

City officials knew that a public health crisis was brewing years before the current outbreak but rejected preventive measures as too costly.