Health industry lobbyists are posing as "ordinary citizens who don't want Medicare for All"

Here are some "ordinary citizens" who have recently been featured in the press as people who are completely OK with the state of American healthcare and totally opposed to Medicare for All or any other project to reform America's worst-in-the-world health care system: "Mustafa Tameez, businessman, Texas" (Tameez is managing director at Texas-based Outreach Strategists, a public affairs and lobbying firm that reps Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, University of Texas Physicians, and St. Luke’s Hospital). Read the rest

Self-insurer Walmart flies its sick employees to out-of-state specialists to avoid local price-gougers

Walmart self-insures its workforce, rather than relying on an outside insurer like Cigna or Blue Cross; this means that it gets to make judgment calls that other firms cannot, and that has led the retail giant to a pretty weird place: for certain procedures that it believes to be overused by local hospitals, it flies its employees (even front-line, low-waged employees) to see the nation's top specialists in out-of-state facilities where they receive "concierge, white-glove care that was reserved at other companies only for highly paid executives." Read the rest

A detailed analysis of American ER bills reveals rampant, impossible-to-avoid price-gouging

For more than a year, Vox's Sarah Kliff has been investigating hospital price-gouging in America, collecting hospital bills from her readers and comparing them, chasing up anomalies and pulling on threads, producing a stream of outstanding reports on her findings. Read the rest

America is not "polarized": it's a land where a small minority tyrannize the supermajority

Writing in the New York Times, Tim Wu (previously) describes the state of American politics after decades of manipulation dirty tricks and voter suppression, where policies with extremely high levels of public approval like higher taxes on the super-rich (75%), paid maternity leave (67%), net neutrality (83%), parallel importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada (71%) and empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices (92%) are nevertheless considered politically impossible. Read the rest

Rep Pramila Jayapal's Medicare For All Act fixes America's dire and broken health-care system; take action to support it now!

Pramila Jayapal [D-WA] has introduced the Medicare for All Act, which mandates comprehensive health-care reform so that Americans can enjoy the same basic right to high-quality health care that the people in every other developed nation have had for decades, while ending the cream-skimming and price-gouging created by America's fragmented system, which is a gift to grifters and middlemen, but which leaves patients and medical professionals mired in needless expense and bureaucracy, a system so byzantine and inefficient that it would be vastly cheaper to simply give away health care than continue to charge for it. I have lived under Canadian and British socialized medicine, and currently use US private insurance. The US system is much, much worse in every conceivable way. Write to your Congressperson today and demand that they support this bill! Read the rest

During a secret meeting, a top Pelosi health aide told medical insurers that there was no need to worry about Medicare for All passing

Wendell Primus is one of Nancy Pelosi's top health aides. Leaked slides from a closed-door meeting with Blue Cross execs reveal that he has been quietly advising the health insurance industry that there is no danger of Democrats pursuing a "Medicare for All" strategy, and offered them what amounted to a quid pro quo that would keep them safe from nationalized healthcare if they would break with the pharma industry to help lower drug prices. Read the rest

Ha-ha, only serious: McSweeney's on price-gouging in the emergency room

Emergency rooms at for-profit hospitals are notorious price-gougers, where an ice-pack and a bandage can cost $5,000, and where no one will tell you how much your care is costing until months after the fact. Read the rest

Obamacare study: 25% decline in home delinquencies among newly insured poor people

Poor people were not the primary target of Obamacare; as a group, their care is more likely to be "non-compensated" (trips to the emergency room while classed as "indigent" and unable to pay), so insurance shouldn't make a big difference to them, right? Read the rest

New York hospitals illegally billed rape survivors for their rape kits, then sent debt-collectors after them

New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood has concluded that seven New York hospitals illegally billed rape survivors for their rape kits, at least 200 times, for sums ranging from $46 to $3,000, and then sent collections agents after survivors who could not pay. Read the rest

Insurance companies gouge on CPAP machines and consumables, use wireless modems to spy on your usage

Sleep apnea is a fast-growing health complaint among Americans, and that has triggered a set of deceptive and unethical measures by US health insurers to shift the cost of using CPAP machines (the forced air machines that sleep apnea patients rely on to stay healthy) to the people who use them, with the effect that it's often much cheaper to pay cash for your machine and its consumables than it is to get them through insurance. Read the rest

Leaks reveal the health care industry's playbook for smearing and spinning Medicare for All out of existence by 2020

The Intercept has published slides from Partnership for America’s Health Care Future -- a lobbying group representing the for-profit health-care sector -- detailing the organization's plan to kill Medicare for All. Read the rest

The dialysis industry just set a campaign spending record to fight California limits on pricing

At $111,000,000, the California dialysis industry's campaign spending against Prop 8 (which caps the price of outpatient dialysis) is now the most expensive in US history. Read the rest

Nobel-winning economist Joe Stiglitz on how the US economy became a "rigged, inherited plutocracy" and how to fix it

Writing in Scientific American (!), Nobel-prize-winning economist Joseph E Stiglitz (previously) describes the US economy as an "inherited plutocracy" that's "rigged" to shift an ever-greater share of the national wealth to the very richest people: Stiglitz blames the rigging on Ronald Reagan's dismantling of antitrust enforcement, inheritance tax, and other progressive measures 40 years ago -- and says that the orthodox economic apologists for economists who attribute inequality to globalism or other factors are wrong and unsupported by evidence. Read the rest

"Spread Pricing" transparency reveals the millions CVS rakes in by gouging Medicare and prisons on prescription markups

CVS isn't just in the business of operating retail pharmacies: equally important is its prescription administration services, where it buys drugs from independent pharmacies, marks them up, and sells them to government-run programs like Medicare and prisons, using "spread pricing" to determine the markup that it applies to generic drugs. Read the rest

"Bad health care has killed more American artists than I can list"

Austin Kleon, explaining why artists and people who love them should be single-issue voters and why that issue should be Medicare for All: "Bad health care has killed more American artists than I could list here without my fingers falling off." Read the rest

How much would universal health care really cost?

The Koch-backed Mercatus Institute was humiliated last month when it published a scare story claiming that American couldn't afford the $32.6 trillion cost of universal health care for the next decade, a number that seems huge until you realize that the cost of privatized US health care over the same period will be $2 trillion higher. Read the rest

None of the Above won the 2016 election

Pew's latest very detailed survey of voting patterns in 2016 goes the extra mile, by validating whether recipients actually cast a ballot, thus forming a picture of who voted, who didn't, and what policies nonvoters favored. Read the rest

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