Why America’s $2.9 Trillion Medical Industry Still Runs on Paper Payments by John Tozzi

Dealing with medical bills, like waiting for the cable guy or buying a used car, has become a cliché of consumer exasperation. Everything from electricity and phone bills to tax returns and parking tickets migrated to electronic payments years ago, but America’s $2.9 trillion health-care economy remains stubbornly stuck in the 1990s. The number of medical bills paid by paper check through the U.S. …

oil and nuclear

Taxpayer Subsidies for Fossil Fuels on a Warming Planet in One Word: ‘Absurd’ – Jon Queally

A new investigation by the Guardian, highlighting the large campaign contributions given by fossil fuel corporations to lawmakers who then back public subsidies for those same companies, has led presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to describe the arrangement—especially in light of the dangers posed by runaway climate change—with one word: absurd. In their examination of three specific fossil fuel projects run by Shell, …

At least 29 million health records breached by overt criminal activity

Between 2010 and 2013, data breaches of protected health information reported by HIPAA-covered entities increased and involved approximately 29 million records, with most data breaches resulting from overt criminal activity, according to a study in the April 14 issue of JAMA. Reports of data breaches have increased during the past decade. Compared with other industries, these breaches are estimated to be …

health-insurance

Consumers getting ‘skinned’ by health insurers

The reason health care costs are so high is because Americans don’t have nearly enough “skin in the game.” That was the phrase that many of my former colleagues in the insurance industry and I began using in the early 2000s as a way to deflect attention away from us. Americans — especially American employers — looked to private insurers …

Obama

‘Cynical’ Obamacare Challenge Exposes Persistent Flaw of For-Profit System

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on Wednesday in King v. Burwell, the case that could decide the future of the Affordable Care Act and the healthcare status of an estimated 9.6 million people who have purchased insurance through HealthCare.gov. “The King v. Burwell case is yet another reason to swiftly move beyond the failing ACA to a simpler, publicly financed, …

Obama

The Punishment for Ignoring Obamacare Penalty Might Surprise You

Now that April 15th is on the horizon, many taxpayers are bracing themselves for the inevitable penalty that will hit them if they don’t sign up for Obamacare. It’s estimated that at least 3 million households may have to pony up 1% of their income, or $95 per adult, if they don’t have insurance; a number which is poised to …

The Obamacare Challenge We Need? Improved, Expanded Medicare for All

As a primary care pediatrician who sees children of low-income families in Washington, D.C., I am reminded every day of the vulnerability of our children’s health to the ill-informed whims of our lawmakers and courts. Those children will be on my mind as I gather with others outside the Supreme Court today. Just yesterday, I saw my 16-year-old patient Mary, …