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State Single-Payer: The Next Frontier of American Healthcare

State Single-Payer: The Next Frontier of American Healthcare

If all the states were a giant family, Vermont would be the stereotypical Birkenstock-wearing, hippie cousin—just a little bit different and unafraid to reject the typical way of doing things. So perhaps it should not have been all that surprising when the Green Mountain State enacted a single-payer health care system, called “Green Mountain Care,” one year after the country kicked and screamed its way to an individual mandate. —Harvard Political Review, 12/17/13 More »

U.S. ranks near bottom on efficiency of health care spending

U.S. ranks near bottom on efficiency of health care spending

A new study by researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and McGill University in Montreal reveals that the United States health care system ranks 22nd out of 27 high-income nations when analyzed for its efficiency of turning dollars spent into extending lives. —PNHP, 12/16/13 More »

Congress Chooses Austerity Over Job Creation and Economic Growth

Congress Chooses Austerity Over Job Creation and Economic Growth

"At the end of the day, the bill abandons 1.3 million Americans who desperately need unemployment insurance, and does nothing to promote economic growth or job creation," Congressman Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, explained Thursday. "Furthermore, the legislation is paid for on the backs of the middle class and military families, while not touching the wealthiest amongst us and allowing corporations to continue to benefit from tax loopholes." —The Nation OpedNews.com, 12/13/13 More »

Gen. Colin Powell calls for universal health care in the U.S.

Gen. Colin Powell calls for universal health care in the U.S.

“We are a wealthy enough country with the capacity to make sure that every one of our fellow citizens has access to quality health care,” he said Thursday at a Seattle fundraiser for prostate cancer. “(Let’s show) the rest of the world what our democratic system is all about and how we take care of all of our citizens." —Puget Sound Business Journal, 12/13/13 More »

Nurses picket outside Sutter Tracy

Nurses picket outside Sutter Tracy

About two-dozen nurses who work at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital held what they called an “informational picket” outside the medical center, Thursday, Dec. 12. The employees say they were protesting hospital management’s unwillingness to bargain in their contract negotiations with the California Nurses Association, which represents the nurses. —Tracy Press, 12/13/13 More »

Texas’ Other Death Penalty

Texas’ Other Death Penalty

The first patient who called me “doctor” died a few winters ago. I met him at the St. Vincent’s Student-Run Free Clinic on Galveston Island. I was a first-year medical student then, and the disease in his body baffled me. His belly was swollen, his eyes were yellow and his blood tests were all awry. It hurt when he swallowed and his urine stank. —Texas Observer, 12/12/13 More »

Registered nurses vote to unionize at Providence Hospital in D.C.

Registered nurses vote to unionize at Providence Hospital in D.C.

Providence becomes the seventh D.C. hospital with nurses organized under the banner of National Nurses United, a federation of nurses unions. Organizers hope that bringing Providence’s roughly 400 RNs into the fold will help D.C. Council legislation that would mandate certain nurse staffing levels in city hospitals. That legislation is languishing amid fierce lobbying by hospital officials, who contend that “staffing ratios” increase costs without improving patient care. —The Washington Post, 12/12/13 More »

Critics Like Kaiser but not Manteca Cutbacks

Critics Like Kaiser but not Manteca Cutbacks

Gary Lemesh shudders to think if Kaiser-Manteca Medical Center were to make more cuts. His aging mother is one of 10 long-term patients in sub-acute care, which, according to register nurse Clarice Spann-Reeve, was inherited by Kaiser Permanente after taking over St. Dominic’s Hospital in 2004. “Gary’s mom has a mind that’s fully functional. Only her body has given out on her,” she said at the ‘Town Hall on Cuts & Closures at Kaiser-Manteca Medical Center’ session hosted by the California Alliance for Retired Americans on Wednesday at the Manteca Transit station. —Manteca Bulletin, 12/12/13 More »

Community Hospital RNs cite patient safety concerns at protest

Community Hospital RNs cite patient safety concerns at protest

Ellen Mockridge, a registered nurse at Community Hospital Long Beach for 30 years, said her life was put at risk because there are not enough nurses on staff. Once, Mockridge said she went to check on a patient with AIDS who was in an isolation room. Because there wasn’t another nurse to assist her, Mockridge said she was stuck with a needle and had to take off work for three months. She also had to take medication that she said compromised her immune system and prevented her from taking her arthritis medicine. —Orange County Register, 12/11/13 More »

Hospital Fever - Healthcare now based on unknowns

Hospital Fever - Healthcare now based on unknowns

In anticipation of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals and insurance companies nationwide have begun to cut back services. In California, Kaiser nurses recently reported that "over the last year, Kaiser has been making it harder for patients to be admitted for hospital care when sick or injured, and is sending patients home when they should still be under hospital care" (National Nurses United, Oct. 2013). —Bohemian.com, 12/11/13 More »

Nurses union seeks greater hospital financial disclosure

Nurses union seeks greater hospital financial disclosure

The state’s largest nurses union is pressing forward with a bid to require greater financial disclosure by Massachusetts hospitals and limit the pay of top hospital executives, moves fiercely opposed by the hospital industry. —The Boston Globe, 12/11/13 More »

Typhoon Haiyan’s havoc in Philippines pulls nurse to homeland

Typhoon Haiyan’s havoc in Philippines pulls nurse to homeland

When Typhoon Haiyan slammed into her native country, Girlie Garnada spent the next day in tears as she watched the horrifying images on television. "Seeing those bodies on the side of the road, I couldn't imagine if I was there," she said. Her immediate family was spared, but she wondered what happened to some other relatives. Finally she saw a familiar face: her husband's cousin, Annaliz Kwan, the former mayor of the city of Guinan, pleading for aid. —Tampa Bay Times, 12/10/13 More »

Portland nurse joins relief effort in Philippines

Portland nurse joins relief effort in Philippines

PORTLAND, Maine — A Portland woman is joining a national contingent of nurses on a relief trip to the Philippines, an island country still recovering from the deadliest typhoon ever to strike it. Typhoon Haiyan, reportedly the strongest such storm to ever make landfall, hit the Southeast Asian country early last month, killing nearly 6,000 people. —The Bangor Daily News, 12/09/13 More »

An effective eye drug is available for $50. But many doctors choose a $2,000 alternative

An effective eye drug is available for $50. But many doctors choose a $2,000 alternative

The two drugs have been declared equivalently miraculous. Tested side by side in six major trials, both prevent blindness in a common old-age affliction. Biologically, they are cousins. They’re even made by the same company. But one holds a clear price advantage. Avastin costs about $50 per injection. Lucentis costs about $2,000 per injection. —The Washington Post, 12/09/13 More »

Burbank Nurse Heads To Philippines For Typhoon Relief Effort

Burbank Nurse Heads To Philippines For Typhoon Relief Effort

WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) — A Burbank man is among a group of registered nurses departing Monday for the Philippines to provide medical support in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. KNX 1070′s Vytas Safronikas reports as families are busy with December holiday preparations, Paolo Montenegro and others are going to serve others in need thousands of miles away. —CBS Los Angeles, 12/09/13 More »

Gen. Colin Powell calls for universal single payer health care in the U.S.

Gen. Colin Powell calls for universal single payer health care in the U.S.

Former Secretary of State and longtime Republican Colin Powell is calling for a universal health care solution in the U.S. “We are a wealthy enough country with the capacity to make sure that every one of our fellow citizens has access to quality health care,” he said Thursday at a Seattle fundraiser for prostate cancer. “(Let’s show) the rest of the world what our democratic system is all about and how we take care of all of our citizens." —Puget Sound Business Journal, 12/09/13 More »

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, dies aged 95

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, dies aged 95

Nelson Mandela led South Africa from apartheid to multi-racial democracy and will be mourned around the world. Nelson Mandela, the towering figure of Africa's struggle for freedom and a hero to millions around the world, has died at the age of 95. South Africa's first black president died after years of declining health that had caused him to withdraw from public life. —The Guardian, 12/05/13 More »

Bungling the Easy Stuff

Bungling the Easy Stuff

One of the patients featured in the TIME cover story I wrote last March--"Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us"--was Emilia Gilbert, a school-bus driver. Gilbert was 61 years old in 2008 when she slipped and fell one evening in her backyard in Fairfield, Conn. She was taken to the emergency room at Bridgeport Hospital, where she was treated for some cuts and a broken nose. She left a few hours later with a bill for $9,418, which included $6,538 for CT scans and $239 for a routine blood test. The charges, I found, were based on something called the hospital chargemaster--a list of hugely inflated prices that no one could explain or defend. —Time, 12/05/13 More »

Local Fallbrook Nurses Protest Working Conditions at Fallbrook Hospital

Local Fallbrook Nurses Protest Working Conditions at Fallbrook Hospital

Registered Nurses at Fallbrook Hospital held a protest Tuesday to speak out about patient concerns and other hospital issues. Watch the video report. —NBC San Diego, 12/04/13 More »

Nurses Picket Greenbrier Valley Medical Center

Nurses Picket Greenbrier Valley Medical Center

FAIRLEA — Nearly a dozen registered nurses lined a strip of land between Greenbrier Valley Medical Center and Route 219 Tuesday afternoon, protesting what they say is the unwillingness of the hospital’s management to negotiate a labor contract with them. “This hospital made $15 million last year,” said RN Tracey Paxton, one of the picketers. “We don’t think it’s too much to ask that they provide the equipment we need to do our jobs. We need to be at our patients’ bedsides, not trying to find another IV pole or blood-pressure cuff.” —Register-Herald Reporter, 12/04/13 More »

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