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The mid 1990s was a scary time for those of us who had just enough knowledge about the downside scenarios that could come to fruition as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union.  I was serving in the Navy during the transition from the bi-polar...
Chances are, you saw a headline or heard a report that went something like this: Expanding Medicare to cover all Americans would cost $32.6 trillion dollars. If I was still a flack for the health insurance industry, I would have worked hard behind the scenes to make sure you saw...
There are really two pandemics currently wreaking havoc across the US. Both involve the same COVID-19 virus, but while they are both terrifying and dangerous, they differ in the type of damage they are causing. One epidemic is a general contagion afflicting everyone. Even...
Were it not for the business practices of some of the biggest corporations in America that profit from the manufacture and distribution of massive quantities of opioids, many of those we have lost likely would still be with us. How are those big corporations responding? In one notable case...
Wendell Potter A word to the wise: During this coronavirus crisis, keep an eye on every move of my old industry: health insurers. Behind the PR spin, they’ll be doing everything they can to deny care and maintain profits while making it look...
When most Americans think of the rights and principles that our country was founded on, we refer to the ideals of freedom, prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness written in the Declaration of Independence. However, have our political institutions evolved from this 18th century premise? When we...
My former colleagues undoubtedly where cheering when they heard Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) come to the defense of private health insurers and trash the idea of improving and expanding Medicare to cover all Americans.
Researchers at Brown and Columbia Universities found that disenrollment from MA plans “may indicate that plans do not meet the preferences of enrollees with significant chronic illness.”
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. ...
I’ve been thinking a lot about health-care mergers and acquisitions lately, and I must confess, it’s making me dizzy. All of this head-spinning thought was prompted primarily by the creation of Ballad Health Care, now the sole hospital system for my entire region of the country. Ballad was established about...
Open enrollment is over and the flood of advertisements for Medicare Advantage plans has ended for another year. I’m happy to report that, once again, I’ve managed to avoid signing up for one of those plans. For those who aren’t familiar with Medicare Advantage...
“There are millions of people in this country who can’t afford to go to the dentist. Millions.”
Without the protections in the Affordable Care Act, many would find themselves back in the "bad old days."
Big Pharma dresses wolves in sheep's clothing to keep drug prices high. Don't be deceived. Learn how to sniff them out.
I’ve been asked many times if there was one thing, one moment, that led me to leave my job at a big health insurance corporation. Yes, there was, and it occurred five days before Christmas in 2007. That was when a beautiful 17-year-old girl named Nataline Sarkisyan passed away,...
Many Medicare Advantage plans have small networks and high deductibles. If you go out of network, even unknowingly, you will be on the hook for a lot of money out of your own pocket.
I recently shared the link to an op-ed on social media explaining why, in the author’s opinion, establishment of a single payer system in the U.S. is almost inevitable.  In response, a fellow Tennessee family physician who is only a few years out of residency commented that he hopes...
Watch out! Uncle Donald is coming for your and all your relatives’ Social Security and Medicare! The all-out attack on Social Security and Medicare, the two remaining standing edifices of the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, has begun...
An Appalachian physician explains how just five insurance powers control most of the market and what that means for patients.
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...