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

Your massive surprise hospital bills are making bank for private equity

Private equity firms like Blackstone and KKR have acquired massive health companies like Teamhealth and Emcare, which bill out doctors to the hospitals they work for, taking those doctors out of the hospitals' insurance agreements and massively hiking their fees -- that's why when you go to a hospital, even one that's covered by your insurer, you still end up with massive surprise bills for your care. Read the rest

Shahid Buttar: the civil rights cyberlawyer and community organizer who's challenging Pelosi from the left #ShahidVsPelosi

I endorsed Shahid Buttar's primary challenge to Nancy Pelosi in 2018, and I'm proud to do so again for the 2020 primary, especially as Pelosi has allowed herself to be played by Trump on American concentration camps and mass ethnic-cleansing raids. Read the rest

Stephen Fry explains the vast superiority of UK healthcare to America's omnishambles, which Brexiteers hope to import

After Brexit, Tory leaders are hoping to strike a bilateral trade agreement with the USA that will begin the dismantling of the NHS, starting with a ban on price-controls for pharma and open doors for America's wasteful, cruel, useless health-care insurance mega-corporations. In this video, national treasure Stephen Fry explains how the UK and US systems compare, and how American media lies about the state of the NHS to credulous, mouth-breathing Fox News zombies. If you want to keep the NHS out of any UK-US trade deal, sign the petition here. Learn more about Brexit here. Read the rest

After Propublica expose, the "nonprofit," "Christian" Memphis University Hospital suspends practice of suing the shit out of poor people

Memphis University Hospital is a tax-exempt nonprofit whose CEO, Dr. Michael Ugwueke, took home $1.6m last year; the hospital itself makes an operating surplus of $80m/year -- and it also sues the shit out of its patients, running its own in-house collection agency and filing more garnishment claims than any other hospital in the state. Read the rest

The widening health gap between America's rich and poor is the result of worse health for the poor, not better health for the rich

Apologists for wealth inequality often argue that inequality is a poor measure of whether a society is just or not: in the gospel of the right, society naturally forms hierarchies with the "best people" at the top (depending on what kind of right winger you are, that's either rich people or male people or white people or straight people, or some combination thereof), and they proceed to bring prosperity to all of us by ordering us around and telling us what to do, so that their wisdom can be played out for the world (see also: "job creators"). Read the rest

How Memphis's Methodist University Hospital, a "nonprofit," sued the shit out of its Black, poor patients while raking in millions and paying execs more than a million each

Methodist University Hospital in Memphis is a nonprofit: it pays virtually no local, state or federal tax; but unlike other Methodist hospitals, Methodist University Hospital is relentless in pursuing medical debts from indigent patients. The hospital owns its own collection agency, and is one of the leading litigants in Tennessee's debt courts. Read the rest

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