RIP, Mike Resnick

Mike Resnick, a major figure in science fiction, has died after a brief battle with "a very aggressive form of lymphoma" that was diagnosed in November. He was 77. Read the rest

Medicare for All would cut most Americans' taxes, creating the biggest American take-home pay raise in a generation

When Americans get their paycheck every month, there are a ton of deductions from it -- some represent money taken by state governments, some by the feds, but one of the largest line-items is the amount taken to pay a private insurance company for some of the most expensive, least comprehensive medical insurance offered in any country on the planet. Read the rest

From Enron to Saudi Arabia, from Rikers Island to ICE's gulag, how McKinsey serves as "Capitalism's Consigliere"

On this week's Intercepted podcast (MP3) (previously), host Jeremy Scahill (previously) takes a long, deep look at the history of McKinsey and Company, whose consultants are the architects of ICE's gulags, a failed, high-cost initiative to curb violence at Rikers Island that used falsified data to secure ongoing funding -- a company whose internal documents compare management consultants to "the Marine Corps, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Jesuits" and whose government contracts bill out freshly hired, inexperienced junior consultants at $3m/year. Read the rest

Insulin prices doubled between 2012 and 2016

The historical excuse for pharma monopolists who conspired to rig prices on insulin was that hardly anyone paid full price -- everyone got their life-saving, non-optional medicine through health plans that negotiated a knock-down price. Read the rest

In any other industry, emergency medical billing would be considered fraudulent

Last summer, MD/journalist Elisabeth Rosenthal's husband had a bike accident and was seriously injured and taken by ambulance to an emergency room. Read the rest

When Republicans say "How will you pay for Medicare for All?" Democrats should answer: "Mexico will pay for it"

The "pay-for game" is that gotcha game that Conservatives like to play, wherein the ridiculous boondoggles favored by the right (billions for Trump's wall, more than a trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy, massive increases in Pentagon and intelligence agency spending, even a $16 million bomb used for no military reason) can be financed with infinite amounts of deficit spending, while any program that benefits the majority of America needs has to be "fully funded," generally by making cuts in other programs that benefit the majority of America -- something that the idiotic Democratic establishment has bought into. Read the rest

Crowdfunding to help science fiction great Mike Resnick pay off the medical bills from a near-death experience

Mitch Wagner writes, "Talented and prolific science fiction writer and editor Mike Resnick, who has written extensively over the course of a long career about colonialism and its legacies, with a particular focus and love for Africa, has had a near-death experience and started a GoFundMe to pay off his medical expenses. I'm a huge fan of Resnick, particularly his novel Santiago and African stories, and I'm saddened to learn about this." Read the rest

American health care's life-destroying "surprise bills" are the fault of local, private-equity monopolies

Surprise billing -- when your urgent or emergency medical care results in massive bills that your insurer won't cover -- are a life-destroying phenomenon for an increasing number of Americans, who not only can't shop around for an emergency room from the back of an ambulance, but who also have no way to learn in advance whether their visit will generate five- or even six-figure bills. Read the rest

"Christian" hospital charges its own nurse $900,000 for her premature baby

Lauren Bard works as a nurse at Dignity Health, a "Christian hospital" (motto: Hello humankindness). In 2018, Bard went to UC Irvine hospital to deliver her very premature (21 week) baby. Read the rest

When the company that made your prosthetic feet won't repair them

Erin Ehm's insurance company will buy her a new set of prosthetic feet every three years, but her $6,000/foot Echelon VT hydraulic prosthetics break down every 10 months. Read the rest

Crowdfunding "Vital," an sf anthology about the future of health care

"Vital: The Future of Healthcare" is a crowdfunded anthology of short science fiction stories about the future of health care, with contributions from top writers like James Patrick Kelly, Seanan McGuire, Annalee Newitz, Paolo Bacigalupi and Caroline M. Yoachim (they're also open to submissions!). Read the rest

Nearly all Americans' taxes will go down under Medicare for All

Elizabeth Warren fumbled at the latest Democratic leadership debate when she was pressed on the question of whether Medicare for All would raise taxes, and she refused to answer, creating a soundbite that made her look like a sneaky, evasive politician, to the delight of right wingers who've struggled with her image as a straight-shooting, super-competent, quick-witted daughter of the soil. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders and AOC, in conversation

The Intercept's political editor Ryan Grim chaired a 10-minute, backstage conversation between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders at a rally in Queens last weekend, just before AOC endorsed Sanders' bid for the Democratic Party's nomination for the 2020 presidential race. The pair describe their theory of change and how they can get their agenda enacted. (I am a donor to both Bernie Sanders' and Elizabeth Warren's campaigns) Read the rest

In Kansas's poor, sick places, hospitals and debt collectors send the ailing to debtor's prison

Kansas is a living laboratory for far-right experimentation with extreme economic cruelty: a state where Medicare expansions were thwarted, where xenophobia has penetrated the state bureaucracy, where a grifty, incompetent lawyer has apologized for slavery and driven women out of his own party, even as neighboring states thrive by tending to the needs of working people, rather than the super-rich. Read the rest

Sleuths discover the source of $28m in dark money lobbying in favor of emergency room "surprise bills": private equity firms that own doctors' practices

Even if you're insured and even if you assiduously verify that the emergency rooms you visit when undergoing a medical crisis are "in network" for your insurer, you can still end up with thousands of dollars in "surprise bills" from ER docs and anesthetists who don't work for the hospital -- instead, they work for private "physician staffing firms" who can and do charge whatever they want for your care. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders promises to zero out all US medical debt and end medical bankruptcies

Bernie Sanders has pledged to eliminate the $81b in outstanding US medical debt if he is elected president in 2020. Read the rest

Propublica finds millions of Americans' medical images and data sitting on unprotected, publicly accessible servers

An investigation by Propublica and Bayerischer Rundfunk found 187 servers hosting more than 5,000,000 patients' confidential medical records and scans (including a mix of Social Security numbers, home addresses and phone numbers, scans and images, and medical files) that were accessible by the public, "available to anyone with basic computer expertise." Read the rest

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