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Why Do We Pay So Much for Health Care—But Get Such Poor Results?

As a primary care physician practicing for three decades in the same location, I have had the privilege of seeing patients regularly across a span of many years. I have celebrated my patients’ joys and triumphs, but also mourned with them in their deepest tragedies and sorrows. I have shared and continue to share in their trials and vulnerabilities, and often as more than their doctor; patients sometimes confide in me things they do not even share with their families.
By N.F. Hanna, M.D., Observer
April 5, 2016


Statement in memory of Dr. Quentin Young, 1923 – 2016

I write to announce with great sadness the death at age 92 of Quentin Young, M.D., PNHP’s national coordinator from 1992-2014, a physician beloved by his patients, colleagues and students, and a lifelong fighter for social justice.


Licking Wounds, Insurers Accelerate Moves To Limit Health-Law Enrollment

Stung by losses under the federal health law, major insurers are seeking to sharply limit how policies are sold to individuals in ways that consumer advocates say seem to discriminate against the sickest and could hold down future enrollment.
By Jay Hancock, Kaiser Health News
February 4, 2016


Even Insured Can Face Crushing Medical Debt, Study Finds

Here is the surest way to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having health insurance: Don’t get sick.
By Margot Sanger-Katz, The New York Times
January 5, 2016


Kaiser Poll: 58% of Americans support Medicare for all

The ACA’s third open enrollment will come to a close at the end of January and the December Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that, at this point, only 7 percent of the uninsured correctly identify this as the deadline to enroll in coverage and 20 percent say they have been contacted by someone about signing up for coverage. When asked why they have not personally obtained health insurance this year, nearly half of the uninsured (46 percent) say they have tried to get coverage but that it was too expensive. However, slightly over half of the uninsured (55 percent) say they plan to get health insurance in the next few months.
By Bianca DiJulio, Jamie Firth, and Mollyann Brodie
Kaiser Family Foundation, December 17, 2015


The country’s largest private health insurer throws a ‘tantrum’ over lower profits

UnitedHealth Group, the country’s largest private health insurer, has discovered that sick people tend to go to the doctor. And that means bills to pay. And that’s bad for the company’s bottom line.
By David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times
November 19, 2015


OVER HALF OF AMERICAN MILLENNIALS SAY THEY’D CONSIDER LEAVING THE US. HERE’S WHY I’VE ALREADY LEFT.

After fifteen months of travel, I returned to the United States ready to give American life another try. After a few months at home with my family, I moved back to San Francisco, the city I lived and worked in before traveling. I started looking for a job, looking for apartments, looking for new friends. I felt eager to re-enter American society, and pick up somewhat where I left off.
By Amanda Machado, Matador Network
November 5, 2015


Narrow Networks, Low Quality Not Linked in Covered Calif. Plans

Covered California health plans with narrow hospital networks typically do not trade quality of care for lower costs, according to a report by the California HealthCare Foundation, FierceHealthPayer reports.
California Healthline
October 19, 2015


Trapped in the System: A Sick Doctor’s Story

We spend a lot of time talking about various metrics of quality or access in the American health care system. The problem with many of them is that they rarely seem to capture the issues that people face in dealing with care. Although many metrics are improving, problems remain that still seem insurmountable.
By Aaron E. Carroll, The New York Times
September 21, 2015


Healthcare costs rise again, and the burden continues to shift to workers

American workers saw their out-of-pocket medical costs jump again this year, as the average deductible for an employer-provided health plan surged nearly 9% in 2015 to more than $1,000, a major new survey of employers shows.
Noam M. Levey, Los Angeles Times
September 22, 2015


Don’t Blame Medicaid for Rise in Health Care Spending

Health care spending growth has moderated in recent years, but it’s still putting tremendous strain on state and local governments. A recent analysis by The Pew Charitable Trusts revealed that it consumed 31 percent of state and local government revenue in 2013, nearly doubling from 1987.
By Austin Frakt, New York Times
August 3, 2015


Medicare moves into its second half-century more important than ever

According to my friend, Bernice Bonillas, it’s only warm bodies that drive movements. And so it was that I found myself returning from Los Angeles July 30 on a bus filled with other Bakersfield citizen activists, returning from a rally celebrating the 50th anniversary of Medicare.
By Patsy Ouellette, The Bakersfield Californian
August 6, 2015


As Medicare and Medicaid Turn 50, Use of Private Health Plans Surges

As Medicare and Medicaid reach their 50th anniversary on Thursday, the two vast government programs that insure more than one-third of Americans are undergoing a transformation that none of their original architects foresaw: Private health insurance companies are playing a rapidly growing role in both.
By Robert Pear, New York Times
July 29, 2015