health care costs

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WH: We'll Make August Health Care Payment to Insurers

But uncertainty still lingers on long-term prospects for cost-sharing subsidies

(Newser) - The government will make this month's payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law that President Trump still wants to repeal and replace, the AP reports. "The August payment will be made," a White House spokesman said Wednesday. Trump has repeatedly threatened to end the payments,... More »

CBO: Trump's Health Strategy Would Hike Costs 20% in 2018

If president stops ObamaCare subsidies, premiums will rise dramatically for 'silver' plan

(Newser) - People buying individual health-care policies would face higher premiums, and some may be left with no insurance options, if President Trump makes good on his threat to stop ObamaCare payments to insurers. That's the conclusion of a new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the AP reports. More... More »

Cancer From Tanning Beds Takes a Huge Financial Toll

Now considered a 'significant contributor' to cancer-related deaths

(Newser) - Tanning beds have long been associated with skin cancer, and now researchers are quantifying just what that costs the US financially. Reporting in the Journal of Cancer Policy, they calculate that in 2015, the direct medical care for skin cancers resulting from tanning bed exposure totals $343.1 million. What'... More »

Hospitals Toss $3B a Year in Cancer Drugs

Non-cancer drugs can be culprits, too

(Newser) - Some cancer drugs are barely wasted at all. Teva Pharmaceuticals' Treanda, used to treat leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, comes in four separate dosage packages, so only 1% of the drug is typically thrown away. But with 18 of the top 20 cancer drugs sold in only one or two... More »

Emergency Room Visits Rising Under ObamaCare: Poll

Three-quarters of emergency doctors cite increase

(Newser) - Backers of ObamaCare have said it would reduce the number of visits to emergency rooms, the Wall Street Journal notes, but in fact, a poll of ER doctors finds that number has been climbing. "Visits are going up despite the (Affordable Care Act), and in a lot of cases... More »

Pharma Firms Buy Drugs, Immediately Hike Prices

One health care expert calls it 'highway robbery'

(Newser) - If you've noticed the cost of your prescription meds creeping up, it might be because their original manufacturer sold them to another company, which then went ahead and hiked up the price. It's a pharmaceutical industry tactic being used more often to increase sales and bring more money... More »

Man's Desert Sex Costs Him $250K

Peter Cousins racks up an impressive medical bill after heart attack

(Newser) - A British couple's decision to make love at a Nevada hot spring has resulted in a $250,000 medical bill. Peter Cousins and Dawn Reed, who were traveling around the world, decided to have sex at the spot, which was 60 miles from the nearest phone signal—and it... More »

Couple Trapped in US Escapes $200K Bill After Early Birth

Brits Kate Amos and Lee Johnston were told they couldn't leave for months

(Newser) - When a British couple vacationing in New York had a baby 11 weeks earlier than expected, they were told they couldn't go home until March because the baby wasn't ready to fly—and that meant a $200,000 medical bill. Good news for Kate Amos and Lee Johnston:... More »

It's Back: 'Not Perfect' HealthCare.gov Now Open

Officials look to avoid new round of headaches

(Newser) - HealthCare.gov is back in action. As of yesterday, visitors can "window-shop" for plans, seeing what's available before open enrollment begins on Saturday, USA Today reports. Are we in for the technological mess that plagued the site last year? "Things will not be perfect," acknowledges the... More »

Doctors, Hospitals Stinging Patients With New Charges

They get creative to offset falling insurance payments

(Newser) - With insurance companies cutting back on payments to health care providers, the providers are stinging patients—and thwarting efforts to keep health costs down—with multiple new and unexpected charges, Elisabeth Rosenthal at the New York Times finds in the latest of a series on health care costs. Among the... More »

Medicare Fund to Last Longer Than Previously Thought

Medicare gets a 4-year boost—but disability benefits are disappearing more quickly

(Newser) - If you’ve been nervously eyeing your Social Security and Medicare updates, wondering if there will be anything left or whether a viable health program will exist by the time you punch your final timecard, Uncle Sam has (some) good news: Benefits funds for Medicare are expected to last for... More »

Way, Way Over Budget: ObamaCare Subsidies

And studies find that it's increased premiums

(Newser) - ObamaCare appears to be on pace to cost the federal government a lot more than it was counting on. So far, the government is on pace to sink $11 billion into subsidies for consumers who bought coverage on the federal insurance exchange, according to a new report from the Department... More »

America's Health Care Ranks 11th—Out of 11

US is costliest, least effective among industrialized nations

(Newser) - Americans are paying a lot more money for a health care system less effective than those of other countries, according to a report from the Commonwealth Fund think tank that ranks the US dead last out of 11 industrialized countries once again. The US was last overall and came in... More »

Hordes of ObamaCare Users Told Info Doesn't Check Out

Officials 'double- and triple-check' provided subsidy data

(Newser) - The White House intends to double-check the documents of hundreds of thousands of ObamaCare users to confirm they qualify for health subsidies, having notified them over the last two weeks that "the information in your application doesn’t match what we found in other records." In fact, government... More »

Number of Seniors on Pain Pills Surges, Alarmingly

'USA Today' analysis reveals jump over 5 years

(Newser) - More seniors are getting powerful pain meds for longer periods through Medicare, USA Today reports—and the increases are drastic. One in five seniors now gets prescribed pain drugs like Vicodin and Percocet. The number getting opioid pain medication prescriptions jumped 30% between 2007 and 2012, passing 8.5 million... More »

Odd Treatments Bring a Few Doctors Medicare Millions

Surgeon billed for $3.7M—without doing surgery, WSJ finds

(Newser) - A rare heart treatment involving strapping patients to a bed using large cuffs that promote blood flow is rarely used by America's cardiologists; the Cleveland Clinic's 141 cardiologists used it on just six patients last year. But one LA internist used it on nearly all his 615 Medicare... More »

In a Single Year, Basic Hospital Prices Soar

And experts aren't sure why

(Newser) - Over the course of a single year, hospitals charged noticeably more for a range of standard procedures, the New York Times finds. Medicare data show that for 91 of 98 common ailments, hospitals' 2012 prices increased more than the rate of inflation from a year earlier: Chest pain charges jumped... More »

Man Goes to ER for Snakebite, Gets Billed $89K

Eric Ferguson was in North Carolina hospital for 18 hours

(Newser) - When a North Carolina man was bitten by a snake in August, he was successfully treated over 18 hours at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center—for which he was billed $89,227, the Charlotte Observer reports. Some $81,000 of that was for four vials of anti-venom, which Eric Ferguson... More »

Expanding Medicaid Led to More ER Visits

Harvard research debunks ObamaCare talking point

(Newser) - One of the favorite arguments of Affordable Care Act supporters has long been that the newly-insured poor will use primary care doctors more and expensive emergency room services less, saving the government money. But a new Harvard study totally contradicts that claim. Researchers looked at Oregon's partial 2008 Medicaid... More »

Why Hospitals Can Charge $500 Per Stitch

'NYT' takes an extensive look at hospital billing

(Newser) - Hospital billing is notoriously complicated—and treatment at a US hospital is notoriously expensive. The New York Times highlights those issues in an extensive piece today, and uses stitches and similar treatments as an example of both points: One patient at a California hospital was billed $2,229.11 to... More »

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