medical costs

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Vaccine Costs Rising, Some Doctors Stop Offering Them

Childhood immunization costs are skyrocketing: NYT

(Newser) - When Breanna Farris moved to Texas last year, her daughter missed the first week of school as Farris searched in vain for a provider who would give her the required vaccinations. Farris ultimately had to lie, pretending she had no insurance and taking the girl to a public health clinic,... 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 »

Insurers Panic Over $1K-a-Day Wonder Drug

Congress demands to know why Sovaldi is so expensive

(Newser) - The FDA only approved Sovaldi in December, but the hepatitis C treatment is already setting records, with as much as $10 billion in sales expected in the first year alone. And why not? It has few side effects, cures 90% of patients, and, oh yeah, costs $1,000 a day.... More »

Down With Annual Checkups!

Brian Palmer thinks people should go to the doctor when they're actually sick

(Newser) - Here's some simple advice that will save you time and money: "If you're not sick, don't go to the doctor," writes Brian Palmer at Slate . Around 45 million healthy people spend 17 million hours a year completing their annual checkups, costing the health care system... More »

Doctors: Cancer Drug Prices 'Astronomical,' Unethical

More than 100 sign piece decrying costs to patients

(Newser) - More than 100 cancer specialists from more than 15 countries are joining together to call for lower drug prices, suggesting that the current prices—which can range as high as $138,000 a year—are unconscionably high, and could be seen as profiteering. "Advocating for lower drug prices is... More »

Doctors: 90+ Procedures Are Overkill, Drive Health Costs

New list outlines the overused, useless, and harmful

(Newser) - A group of doctors have assembled a list of more than 90 medical procedures that are overused, often useless, and even harmful, in a bid to drive Americans toward consuming less care. The report, from ABIM Foundation's Choosing Wisely program calls out everything from Pap tests (which it argues... More »

Do the Huge Amounts We Spend on Cancer Pay Off?

New study says yes, experts call it incredibly misleading

(Newser) - The US spends a lot more on cancer treatments than most countries, spending an average of $70,000 per case, compared to $44,000 in Europe. But it's worth it, a controversial new study argues, because American patients live an average 11.1 years after being diagnosed, compared to... More »

Doctors: Chill With All the MRIs, EKGs

With so much unnecessary testing, doctors try to rein in excess

(Newser) - US doctors need to scale back on 45 of the most common testing procedures and treatments—such as EKGs for physicals when there's no sign of heart trouble, MRIs for routine back pain, and antibiotics for mild sinusitis. A panel of nine medical specialty boards is to make the... More »

We Should Pay for Drugs Only If They Work

Biotech exec Samuel Waksal argues for a pay-for-results system

(Newser) - Medical costs, and especially drug costs, are scandalously high in the US, but just capping them isn't the answer, biotech exec Samuel Waksal writes in the New York Times . "Individuals and insurance companies should be willing to pay—and pay a lot—for drugs when they work,"... More »

On Way Out, Medicare Boss Bashes 'Extreme' Waste

Donald Berwick says 20-30% of health care spending helps no one

(Newser) - Between 20% and 30% of all US health care spending is pure “waste,” according to departing Medicare and Medicaid chief Donald Berwick. “Much is done that does not help patients at all, and many physicians know it,” Berwick said in an interview with the New York ... More »

How to Combine the 2 Bills and Improve on Both

Sacrifices in store for Pelosi and Co.—and maybe for the industry

(Newser) - The House will need to make a lot of last-minute sacrifices when combining its health care bill with the Senate’s, but if legislators play their cards right, the final bill could be a stronger beast. The Senate must stand by its strong cost control mechanisms, writes David Leonhardt of... More »

The Senate's Health Care Plan: Try Everything

Pilot programs might be the best way to solve the cost problem

(Newser) - The Senate health care plan ensures universal coverage, but when it comes to controlling costs, all it offers is…pilot programs. Sounds pretty flimsy, right? “Two thousand seventy-four pages and trillions of dollars later, this bill doesn’t even meet the basic goal,” complained Mitch McConnell, “to... More »

Senate Dems Say Obama Plans Don't Fix Spending

Say legislation isn't aggressive enough on fee-for-service model

(Newser) - Some Democrats in the Senate are worried that reform legislation under consideration doesn't do enough to rein in out-of-control health care spending. President Obama has promised $2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years, but critics say the proposed changes aren't nearly aggressive enough on the current pay-per-visit system... More »

In Sickness and for Health Insurance

Health benefit concerns force couples into marriage and divorce

(Newser) - Health insurance worries are pushing a growing number of Americans both into and out of marriages, the New York Times reports. Couples in which one party has better health benefits are marrying hastily as medical needs outweigh any doubts about each other. One survey this year found health insurance was... More »

More Say 'I Do' for Health Plans

About 7% marry to get coverage as costs soar

(Newser) - Health-insurance worries have gotten so serious they're pushing some Americans up the aisle, the Los Angeles Times reports. In a new survey, 7% of people said they or somebody in their household had married in the last year to get health benefits. The survey also found that health-care worries trumped... More »

1 in 50 US Infants Mistreated

Study finds parents 'not being able to really care' for newborns

(Newser) - About 1 in 50 US children under age 1 is a victim of nonfatal neglect or abuse—particularly among the uninsured, a survey finds. One-third of the 91,000 victims were a week or younger when the maltreatment occurred. "It's not primarily kids being hit, but parents … not... More »

India: Solution to US Health Crisis

Uninsured find cheap, top-flight care there; your HMO could be next

(Newser) - India is a top destination for uninsured Americans needing major surgery, the Chicago Tribune reports, with prices up to 85% lower than US rates. Last year, India welcomed 150,000 medical tourists, the Chicago Tribune reports—and now, HMOs want a piece of those savings. “Employers may soon follow... More »

Back Pain's Insidious Cost Rises

US spends ever more on treatment—without much to show for it

(Newser) - Back pain is one of the US' most persistent health problems, but despite new treatment possibilities, Newsweek reports, cures remain elusive. Americans spent $85.9 billion in 2005 on medical costs relating to back pain, up from $52.1 billion in 1997. "We seem to be doing more and... More »

'Antiquated' VA Ill Equipped to Care for Vets

Bush pledges massive overhaul, which requires major funding

(Newser) - Some 700,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are eligible for VA benefits, and overhauling the overburdened system is firmly in the sights of  President Bush and a bipartisan commission. Citing "fundamental system weaknesses," a GAO report last week outlined a huge bureaucracy rife with staffing and training shortfalls,... More »

Drug Recall Hurts Poor HIV Patients

In many countries, no life-saving meds

(Newser) - In the wake of a drug recall by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche, tens of thousands of AIDS patients in the developing world no longer have access to lifesaving medicine. Last month, Roche announced a recall of the drug Viracept, after finding a hazardous chemical in some batches. But in... More »

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