Hospital charged a woman $5,751 for an ice-pack and a bandage

In 2016 Jessica Pell fainted and cut her ear when she fell. She went to Hoboken University Medical Center, where was given an ice pack and a bandage. That was the extent of her treatment. She did not get a diagnosis. Her bill was $5,751.

From Vox:

Pell left the ER when she discovered the plastic surgeon who would see her was out of network for her insurance. She decided to go to an in-network facility instead. She thought this was a smart way to avoid the costly fees that came with seeing a provider that wasn’t included in her health plan.

“I decided to decline treatment because I can’t really afford any surprise bills right now,” she said. “The bill I’d probably incur would not be worth saving my ear, which was sad but a choice I had to make.”

Pell’s health insurance plan paid the hospital $862, what it deemed a “reasonable and appropriate” fee for the services the hospital paid. That left Pell with a $4,989 bill that she received on February 28.

“There was no way for me to have avoided this bill, to have known what I would have been charged,” Pell says.

In other words, if you get injured in the United States and don't have the kind of taxpayer-funded medical insurance that members of Congress have, you are screwed.

Image: Shutterstock/fizkes Read the rest

Even insured Americans flock to Mexico for low-cost, high-quality health-care

American health care is so screwed up, so horribly distorted by the insurance companies' abusive practices, that millions of Americans (even those with insurance) fly to Mexico every year to get state-of-the-art medical care -- and a resort vacation in the bargain -- rather than face the US system, and save money by doing so. Read the rest

Trumpcare added $33B to government healthcare spending, in order to cover 8.9m fewer Americans, who will pay more for less

Trump is an excellent businessman and the Republicans are really good with money: if you doubt it, just take a gander at the Urban Institute's report on the costs and effects of Trumpcare: the US government will spend $33 billion more as a result of GOP policies, and cover 8.9 million fewer Americans, and those Americans will pay higher premiums (18%, on average!) to get worse care. Read the rest

Trump wants to cap lifetime Medicaid benefits, even for disabled people, the chronically ill, and people with Alzheimer's

If Trump gets his way, your elderly relatives will be evicted from nursing homes after their Alzheimer's care eats up their lifetime Medicaid benefits; as Yves Smith writes, "are family members supposed to let them wander out into traffic and have nature take its course?" Read the rest

America's execs increasingly believe health insurance industry is worse than useless

It's not just Warren Buffett and his Republican lieutenant Charlie Munger who favor single payer and view the US health insurance industry as a drag on national competitiveness and a needless expense on the bottom line: it's also companies like Walmart, Boeing, and GE, who have stopped paying insurers, buying services for their employees directly from hospitals and health-care providers. Read the rest

'Kill the Bill,' shout protesters as U.S. Senate votes on starting GOP health bill debate

As Senators vote on proceeding to debate the secret Trump/GOP health care plan aka Obamacare repeal plan *they haven't even seen,* protesters in the senate chambers and outside shouted “Kill the bill, don't kill us.” Read the rest

Ding, Dong, Trumpcare's Dead: GOP Health Care Bill Collapses With 2 Senators' Dissent

The GOP's 7-year promise to "repeal and replace Obamacare" ends in a flaming pile of fail. Read the rest

GOP lawmakers snap up surging health insurance stocks as they gut Obamacare

Paul Ryan ally Rep. Mike Conaway [R-TX, @ConawayTX11, +1 (202) 225-3605] is the proud owner of $30,000 worth of stock in UnitedHealth, who stand to benefit enormously from Rep Conaway's efforts to destroy Obamacare and replace it with a system that allows insurers to charge more and kick more than 22,000,000 Americans off their insurance. Read the rest

Under Trumpcare, surviving a gunshot wounds gives you a "pre-existing condition"

More than 1 million people have been non-fatally shot in the USA since 2000: all of them would have uninsurable pre-existing conditions in the eyes of insurers if Trumpcare passes. Read the rest

GOP abandons vote on health care repeal after CBO predicts 22 million would lose insurance

The Trump administration is failing to pull off its latest efforts to 'repeal and replace Obamacare' with a draconian plan that would leave 22 million or more without health coverage.

After a growing number of Republican senators voiced opposition to the GOP plan, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) today said he'd delay the vote on legislation until after lawmakers return from the July 4th recess.

“We will not be on the bill this week, but we will still be working to get at least 50 people in a comfortable place,” McConnell today said.

It's a big setback for Trump. It's fantastic news for every American who may need health care now, or in the future, or may have a child or parent who does. The fight isn't over, but these monsters aren't winning just yet. Read the rest

America knows the GOP's health care plan would harm Americans, new poll reveals

A Reuters/Ipsos poll June 9-13 shows “a majority of the country thinks the American Health Care Act would be harmful for low-income Americans, people with pre-existing health conditions and Medicaid recipients.”

41 percent of American adults polled are opposed to the House plan. 30% support it. Another 29% said they "don't know." Read the rest

Republicans are trying to pass Trumpcare in secret, here are simple resources to fight that

Senate Republicans are currently working in secret on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and overhaul the American health care system. The process is so secretive, in fact, that even Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price hasn’t seen what’s in it yet. But we do know that Senate Republicans are working from the bill passed by the House of Representatives, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found would leave 23 million fewer Americans insured by 2026. And the 13 GOP Senators crafting the bill (who all happen to be men) are doing so without any public hearings or open drafting sessions.

And it’s happening quickly. Republicans are reportedly hoping to vote on the bill by June 30 so that it can be finalized before the July 4 holiday recess. Given that the bill will affect 1/6 of the American economy not to mention millions of lives, it’s more important than ever to speak out. Here are some resources for doing so:

The most effective way to make your voice heard is to call your representatives and share your story and thoughts about the bill. You can find the name and contact information for each GOP senator’s dedicated health staffer at Is TrumpCare Still Dead?

If you aren't represented by a GOP senator, you can also use the same database to call the offices of the 13 GOP Senators working on the bill: Mitch McConnell (KY), Orrin Hatch (UT), Lamar Alexander (TN), Mike Enzi (WY), John Thune (SD), Ted Cruz (TX), Mike Lee (UT), Tom Cotton (AR), Cory Gardner (CO), John Barrasso (WY), John Cornyn (TX), Rob Portman (OH), and Pat Toomey (PA). Read the rest

Vox interviewed 8 GOP senators about the health bill, and their answers are real head scratchers

"Senate Republicans can't answer simple and critical questions about the health care bill they're crafting in secret," says Vox after asking eight Republican senators how their bill will actually improve the health care system in the United States. Their vacuous non-answers are truly mind-boggling.

Highlights:

Tara Golshan But generally speaking, what are the big problems it is trying to solve?

John McCain You name it. Everything from the repeal caucus, which as you know, they have made their views very clear — Rand Paul, etc. And then there are the others on the other side of the spectrum that just want to make minor changes to the present system. There’s not consensus.

...

Jeff Stein So you're saying [the bill] will lower the rates?

Chuck Grassley Um, if you're talking about lowering the rates from now down, no. The rates could be way up here. [Points to sky] And if they — if we get a bill passed, it maybe wouldn't go up or would go up a heck of a lot less than they would without a bill.

Jeff Stein By "rates," are you talking about premiums?

Chuck Grassley Yeah, premiums. … I'm sorry I have to go.

Image: Gage Skidmore Read the rest

Trumpcare would leave 23 million fewer insured by 2026, CBO forecast of GOP health bill shows

The plan Donald Trump and the GOP released to dismantle "Obamacare," the Affordable Care Act, will increase the projected number of people without health insurance by 14 million next year and by 23 million in 2026, the Congressional Budget Office reported Wednesday. The long-awaited "CBO report" you've been hearing about in the news was finally released today, weeks after The American Health Care Act, or "Trumpcare," narrowly passed the House. The 10-year figure of 23 million people losing their insurance coverage is slightly less than originally estimated, but still completely insane. Read the rest

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month: Trumpcare’s dangerous impact on mental health care

Last week, I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly uninsurable. While tracking the Trumpcare vote (AHCA), I felt like Princess Leia, helplessly watching the Empire destroy her home planet. Yes, the Senate still has to vote on it, and no, I’m not saying that Republicans are evil. But for me and so many Americans, Obamacare (ACA) got rid of the terror and carnage of being denied or unable to afford healthcare coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Watching it dismantled was disturbing.

Obamacare also did away with the false separation of mental health from physical health. Trumpcare does the opposite, classifying mental health care as non-essential, meaning that states, employers, or insurers will decide if the 1 in 5 Americans who struggle with mental illness will be covered at all. May is Mental Health Awareness Month , so here’s one fact to be aware of:

“The World Health Organization determined that depression is presently the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.” - World Health Organization

That’s just ONE KIND of mental illness. How will Trumpcare affect you, your friends or family with mental health issues? Like this:

The House bill allows states to let health plans:

Drop coverage of mental health and substance use (one of the essential health benefits). Charge people higher premiums if they have a pre-existing condition, like depression or anxiety. Create high-risk pools, which are another way of charging people with mental illness more money and providing less coverage. Read the rest

Rep Tom MacArthur passed Trumpcare by excluding pre-existing conditions -- then he faced a Town Hall

Trumpcare was dead on arrival (again) until Rep Tom MacArthur [R-NJ; Twitter: @RepTomMacArthur; DC: (202) 225-4765; Burlington County: (856) 267-5182; Ocean County: (732) 569-6495] introduced an amendment that allowed insurers to refuse to cover people with "pre-existing conditions" including surviving domestic violence and/or rape, living with PTSD, being born with a congenital defect, and so forth. Read the rest

Reporter arrested for asking HHS Tom Price this forbidden question on Trumpcare and domestic violence

A reporter in West Virginia was arrested on Tuesday after attempting to ask a Trump official about the administration's plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Dan Heyman, a reporter for Public News Service, says he asked Price repeatedly about whether domestic violence is considered a preexisting condition under the new GOP healthcare bill. Read the rest

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