Health related stories and news are here.
- Published on Sunday, 22 June 2014 20:58
The U.S. spends more money on health care compared with other industrialized countries, but Americans still get the least bang for their buck -- and many still don't have access to care -- according to a report just published by the Commonwealth Fund. The report from the private health care research foundation examined data on expenditures, delivery and access to health care services among 11 industrialized countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.
Overall, the U.K. and Switzerland were rated highest for factors that included quality, access, efficiency and equity of health care. The U.S., Canada and France overall ranked lowest. The U.S. was found to perform worst in areas concerning cost of care, efficiency, equity and overall health of its citizens, even though health care expenditures were highest per capita compared with the other 10 countries in the report.
- Published on Thursday, 10 April 2014 02:09
- Written by Marland Dunn
Seven doctors each earned more than $10 million in Medicare-related payments in 2012, according to claims data released by the U.S. government Wednesday. Nearly 4,000 earned $1 million or more.
Doctors' groups have long opposed making public this kind of data about their Medicare pay on grounds that it might be unfair to doctors and taken out of context by the public. The Obama administration decided to release it in an effort to identify potential fraud and waste in the program. The spreadsheet released by the government contains more than 880,000 rows of data, one for each doctor, lab, or other medical provider receiving payments from Medicare.
In all, the data cover about 825,000 doctors. Of that pool, roughly one in five took in more than $100,000 in Medicare payments. The totals don't count doctors' income from other sources, including private insurance.
Did that ophthalmologist that received over $20 million in Medicare payments in one year invent the eye? That's unbelievable? And guess what? He is a big donor to the Democratic Party in this instance. How did the Republicans let this man become friends with the Democrats?
And people wonder why the cost of healthcare is so high and why Medicare is one if not the largest expense that the United States has. Over charging by doctors and hospitals is the biggest reason why healthcare cost are so high. This is nothing more than fraud on a large scale.
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- Published on Sunday, 09 February 2014 22:51
Some 8.7 million pounds of meat from a Northern California company have been recalled because they came from "diseased and unsound" animals that weren't properly inspected, a federal agency announced Saturday.
The recall affecting Rancho Feeding Corporation products -- as detailed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service -- marks a significant expansion of one announced January 13, when just over 40,000 pounds of the company's products were recalled.
According to the U.S. agency, Rancho Feeding "processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection."
"Thus, the products are adulterated, because they are unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce," the FSIS reported. The Petaluma company made the recall.
(How in the world can 9 million pounds of meat in the United States not be inspected. Don't they have meat inspectors at meat packaging plants any more? I guess not!)
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- Published on Thursday, 08 August 2013 01:20
Regular Wonkblog readers know that poor access to dental care is a national problem. By one estimate, 85 million Americans lack dental coverage. Tooth problems are leading causes of school absence, missed workdays, and emergency department use.
Dental access problems are most acute among adults. These are important for kids, too. The National Bureau of Economic Research recently released a nice working paper on this topic: "The effect of Medicaid payment rates on access to dental care among children."
(Of the 15 percent of the people in the United States who have dental insurance, most dental insurance plans only cover a few basic procedures like: a cleaning twice per year and some other basic things. And just look at the teeth of many people in the United States their teeth look like they have lived their entire life in a third world country. Also poor dental hygiene has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.)
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- Published on Thursday, 01 August 2013 18:31
Nebraska and Iowa health officials said they have traced an outbreak of cyclospora to prepackaged salads but can't yet tell consumers which brands were involved. And even though 397 people have fallen ill and 22 have been hospitalized, the Food and Drug Administration hasn't announced a recall.
State and federal laws protect the companies' identities until investigators are absolutely sure of the source of an outbreak. Even then, a public health risk still must be present for the states to reveal brand names, and a recall must be necessary for the FDA to reveal them.
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- Published on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 05:56
Health care expenses grew more than wages this year.
The family health care tab shows no sign of shrinking. On average, according to the latest Milliman Medical Index (MMI), a family of four covered through a typical employer health plan will pay out $9,144 this year in premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. That's up about 6.5 percent over 2012, though not as much as the prior year's increase of 7.2 percent. The 2013 rise translates into slightly more than $45 a month in higher monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.
(What else is new! And just wait until they add 40 million more people to the healthcare in the United States next year. Read:
Make Everyone Get Health Insurance And The Price Of Healthcare Will Go Up for a look at what will happen to the cost of healthcare when you add milllions of new people to the healthcare system.)
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- Published on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 19:18
Hospitals within the same city sometimes charge tens of thousands of dollars more for the same treatment, according to figures the government released publicly for the first time Wednesday. The federal list sheds new light on the mystery of just how high a hospital bill might go — and whether it's cheaper for uninsured patients to get the care somewhere else.
But it doesn't answer the big question: Why do some hospitals charge 20 or even 40 times more than others?