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Two years ago in Dallas, I met an 85-year-old woman and her 65-year-old son.  Both were very hungry with almost no food in their fridge or in their cupboards. After they had paid their bills, their meager monthly income from Social Security was dwindling. For lunch the mother wanted...
Tarbell will be testing out some new story formats and features ahead of the new year! One of our first is "Ask Tarbell", a Q&A on policy, spin and general queries surrounding US government. If you have a question, or feedback on this piece, write to us at hello@tarbell.org....
Along with crunchy leaves and pumpkins, fall brings a slew of advertising for insurance plans that fill the gaps in Medicare coverage.  Misleading and confusing messages continue to reach beneficiaries and those nearing Medicare age.  To take myself as an example, I’ve received an invitation to a Medicare Advantage plan...
Maybe – just maybe – Americans will get some relief from the relentlessly rising prices of pharmaceuticals. That of course depends on Congress pushing back against the drug companies’ formidable lobbying machine, their generous campaign contributions, and the industry’s historical coziness with members of Congress. But this year seems different.  When...
The Democratic debates may make you think Americans are scared of "losing" private insurance. But candidates who Medicare For All are still going strong.
Now that it has settled into a monopoly over Central Appalachia’s health care, the Ballad Health system is stirring new controversy with a move intended to conserve money:  consolidating intensive care facilities. Last year, they announced plans to merge their two Level 1 trauma facilities and their two neonatal...
You would think that making the prices charged by hospitals and doctors available to their patients would be a no-brainer.  After all, we’ve become accustomed to knowing the price we pay for cars, carrots, comic books, and almost everything else we buy. Why not knee surgery or appendectomies? The medical...
Tarbell is highlighting the government fines and penalties businesses pay when they engage in fraudulent or criminal behavior. Often, these fines are just a small part of the firms’ annual revenue and don’t actually serve as a deterrent. To these companies, it’s just the cost of doing business. International company...
Last month, the New York Times ran a cautionary tale about the heart surgery and care astronaut Neil Armstrong received and his death two weeks later at a community hospital in a Cincinnati suburb in 2012. The Times had received documents from an anonymous tipster who said he/she was “compelled...
Is the beloved program on its last legs?
Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia is slated to close in September, less than two years after a private equity firm bought it.
At the recent Democratic debate, Lester Holt asked for a show of hands: Who would end the role of private insurance companies as part of health care reform? Four hands went up – Bernie Sanders, Bill de Blasio, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris. Other candidates argued for incremental expansions...
Consumers hoping a couple of recent policy proposals might lower prices for their prescription drugs may be out of luck, at least for now.  Earlier this year, the Trump administration had proposed a rule that would have required prescription drug manufacturers to disclose list prices for drugs advertised on TV. ...
A retired Tennessee physician and professor watches his state shred the medical safety net of his state. Just when I thought things couldn’t get much worse for the TennCare program, they did. (TennCare is Tennessee’s Medicaid managed care program.) First, Medicaid has not been expanded under the Affordable Care Act in...
Frances Leath no longer works in management for pharmaceutical industry giant Eli Lilly and Company, but she keeps tabs on the company where she spent the first 15 years of her career. She still lives in Indianapolis, home of the company headquarters. She has watched as Lilly’s dramatic increases...
Is the U.S. ready for a discussion about paying for caregiving, an increasingly vexing and costly problem for a growing number of Americans? The answer may be “yes.” It has become obvious that long-term-care insurance is not the answer to paying for nursing homes and other kinds of care for...
The Senate Special Committee on Aging has just released one of the most damning reports on the nation’s nursing homes that I’ve seen in a long time. The short document should be required reading for any family thinking of moving a relative to a nursing facility. Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey,...
If ever there were a weak link in hospital care, it's what happens when you or a loved one leaves the hospital. It's becoming clear that the process known as discharge planning is deficient, can be harmful, and sometimes results in a patient's decline. One in five patients across the...
An Appalachian physician explains how just five insurance powers control most of the market and what that means for patients.