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The Best, Most Revealing Reporting on Our Healthcare System

Blair Hickman and Cora Currier
ProPublica / News Analysis
Published: Saturday 31 March 2012
While waiting for the Supreme Court to give its verdict on the health-care reform, we become aware of some of the most revealing reporting on the issues.
Article image

As we wait for the Supreme Court to issue its verdict on the health-care reform law, we rounded up some of the most revealing reporting on the issues. They’re grouped roughly into articles on high costs and those on insurance.

The Cost Conundrum, The New Yorker, June 2009

The article that President Obama made required reading: Atul Gawande’s 2009 piece explores why health-care costs in McAllen, Texas, were higher than almost anywhere else in America. Its citizens weren’t sicker, nor its facilities much better. He concluded that “across-the-board overuse of medicine” was the best explanation for spiraling costs.

In Medicare ’s Data Trove, Clues To Curing The Cost Crisis, The Wall Street Journal, October 2010

One Medicare database, which contains records of every payment the program makes, is “widely considered the single best source of information on the U.S. health-care system.” Yet, thanks to successful lawsuit more than three decades ago by the American Medical Association, this “powerful tool” for sniffing out fraud and abuse can’t be accessed by average citizens. Doctors’ names — and the payments to doctors — are blocked from public view.

A Simple Health-Care Fix Fizzles Out, The Wall Street Journal, February 2010

Studying different medical treatments to see which is most effective may sound like an obvious and promising way to stem America’s rising health-care costs. That's why the government is now pushing the idea. But the solution is not so simple.

Phantom Firms Bleed Millions From Medicare, Reuters, December 2011

Shell companies have scammed Medicare out of hundreds of millions of dollars, but exactly how much, and how often, isn’t clear. Medicare doesn’t have sufficient resources for targeting fraud. Overall in 2010, Medicare lost nearly 10 percent of total payouts, or $48 billion, to “improper payments.”

The Hot Spotters, The New Yorker, January 2011

Another Gawande gem: Could we lower medical costs by focusing on better care for the neediest patients? The tactic worked on New York City crime, and several pioneering programs suggest similar tactics could positively affect our health-care system. (Bonus: Follow the “Surgeon, Writer, Researcher, Dilettante” on Twitter for quality updates on health-care reform.)

Health-Care History: How the Patchwork Coverage Came To Be, Los Angeles Times, February 2012

America’s health-care system, with its emphasis on employer-provided health insurance, is something of an anomaly. (In most countries, the government collects taxes and offers health coverage to everyone.) This article traces the history of how our system came to be, from WWII-era factories to President Lyndon Johnson’s passage of Medicare and Medicaid to Obamacare.

Overlapping Health Plans Are Double Trouble for Taxpayers, The Wall Street Journal,  June 2011

Nearly 10 million poor, elderly Americans qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. Treatment for these double-counted patients is often expensive. And as the two programs squabble over which should pay, the patients themselves often end up without proper care.

How Insurers Reject You, Slate, February 2010

This dissection of BlueCross BlueShield of Texas’ 2009 coverage guidelines offers a peek at what underwriters consider when deciding who may and may not purchase a policy. In this case, any of 143 diseases triggers an automatic rejection.

Insurer Targeted HIV Patients To Drop Coverage, Reuters, March 2010

Fortis, now known as Assurant Health, was the first insurance company to single out and systematically revoke the policies of people with HIV, often “on erroneous information, the flimsiest of evidence, or for no good reason.” Insurers say the fairly common practice of “rescission,” or revoking policies shortly after issuance, helps them keep premiums down. But regulators and investigators say most cases lack a good reason for cancellation.



Author pic
ABOUT Blair Hickman

Blair Hickman is ProPublica's social media producer. Previously, she led online editorial and outreach strategy for Dowser Media. Prior to that, she was a multimedia assistant for the PBS series "Women, War & Peace" and a writer for Mediaite, focusing on news and emerging media. She's contributed content to a range of publications, including Jezebel, the New York Daily News and Patch. Hickman is a graduate of NYU's Journalism's Studio20 and Brown University's Nonfiction Writing program.

Są one sporo droższe aniżeli

Są one sporo droższe aniżeli te bankowe, o multum swobodniej istnieje jednak urobić kasa w ów rozwiązanie.
Kolejną możnością na użyczenie pieniędzy istnieje gałąź social lending.
Pożyczki społecznościowe użyczane są na reguły ludzi-ludziom.
Osoby fizyczne łaknące pieniędzy polecają licytację internetową na której definiują intencja, oprocentowanie, miesiączkowanie natomiast inne dane.
Przekazują informacje o sobie.
Na tej podstawie inne jednostek zaciekawione inwestowaniem pieniędzy mogą podjąć decyzję się na wypożyczenie pieniędzy.
Jednak nie jakikolwiek tudzież nie zawżdy otrzyma pożyczkę w ten postępowanie.
Wszystko zależy od chwili tego, azali inne jednostek nam powierzą.
Ostatnim, tymczasem za jednym zamachem w najwyższym stopniu niebezpiecznym wybiegiem istnieje dociekanie inwestora który postanowi się nam wynająć pieniądze na lokalną łapę.
Bardzo wielu mataczy testuje wyłudzać w ów fortel mamona od czasu potrzebujących postaci, skutkiem tego wcale nie wypada wpłacać żadnych zaliczek, przedpłat, sumptów wstępnych.
Warunki udostępnienia nam pożyczki zdołają stanowić jednakowoż wielce ciasno korzystne.
Warto ergo na wskroś przemyśleć materię.
Potrzebując kapucha mamy wówczas chwilówki przez internet co najmniej kilka newralgicznych forteli na jej otrzymanie.
Są to znani i towarzysze, poufali, Spółdzielcze Fors Oszczędnie Kredytowe, banki czy w końcu instytucje pozabankowe.
Każdy ze wybiegów posiada własne wady zaś wartości, powinno sie dlatego rzetelnie zastanowić się nad tym, czego pragniemy również na jakich warunkach.

Na przypadek, chwilowka nad

Na przypadek, chwilowka nad wszelkim pilnuje serw internetowy, jaki dogląda o prostolinijne sytuacja kooperacyj między paginami.
Pieniądze bowiem kuszą, szczególnie w Internecie, gdzie wydaje nam się, że istniejemy anonimowi.
Obycie się bez debetu czy wierzytelności jest w istniejących okresach niesłychanie skomplikowane.
Są to najlepsze, niemniej jednak nie wszelkie sposoby na sfinansowanie naszych potrzeb monetarnych.
Zacznijmy wobec tego od czasu początku.
Najłatwiejszą alternatywą na dostanie pobocznej gotowizn istnieje kredyt od poufałych czy też rodziny.
Pieniądze w ów tryb zwerbowane są zwykle nieoprocentowane tudzież pożyczane są wyjątkowo na osnowie uwierzenia.
Niestety nie wiecznie jesteśmy w stanie odkryć figurę wyczekującą wydzierżawić nam siano z rozlicznych względów.
W końcu multum jednostek mówi, że „jeśli chcesz stuknąć kumpla – wydzierżaw mu pieniądze”.
Z tego również powodu zapożyczenie językowe od familii czy familiarnych istnieje z reguły na ciasne ilości a w sprawach awaryjnych.
Trudno jest pożyczyć wysoką sumę pieniędzy od czasu familii jednakowoż kumplów.
Drugim, najpopularniejszym sposobem jest wyrzyganie się spośród prośbą o debet względnie pożyczkę do banku.

Na eudajmonia, chwilowka

Na eudajmonia, chwilowka ponad wszystkim czuwa serwis internetowy, który hołubi o godziwe predyspozycja równorzędności między stronicami.
Pieniądze skoro kuszą, szczególnie w Necie, gdzie sypie nam się, że jesteśmy bezimienni.
Obycie się bez długu azaliż pożyczki istnieje w obecnych terminach nadzwyczaj dotkliwe.
Są owo najistotniejsze, atoli nie każde sposoby na sfinansowanie polskich potrzeb finansowych.
Zacznijmy ergo odkąd początku.
Najłatwiejszą alternatywą na namówienie posiłkowej gotowizn jest zapożyczenie językowe odkąd poufałych czyli familii.
Pieniądze w ten metoda załatwione są przeważnie nieoprocentowane także pożyczane są indywidualnie na istocie polegania.
Niestety nie wiecznie jesteśmy w stanie odnaleźć jednostkę spragnioną wypożyczyć nam kapucha z różnych względów.
W końcu mrowie osób mówi, iż „jeśli chcesz zlikwidować kumpla – wypożycz mu pieniądze”.
Z tego również powodu zapożyczenie językowe od chwili familii oznacza to znanych istnieje na ogół na tycie liczb tudzież w pozycjach awaryjnych.
Trudno istnieje pożyczyć wysoką liczbę pieniędzy od chwili familii bądź kumplów.
Drugim, najpopularniejszym fortelem jest zwymiotowanie się z prośbą o zadłużenie względnie pożyczkę aż do banku.

One of the biggest reasons to

One of the biggest reasons to vote socialist this fall. Protest votes matter, we should sit this out nor should we vote for something we don't want--Obama is a supporter of big biz and capitalism and that's not a healthy thing.I'm working of the Durham/Lopez campaign; here's their statement on health care:http://www.socialism.com/drupal-6.8/?q=node/1862

So we are let big pharma and

So we are let big pharma and corp America (the 1%) who just ripped off how many trillions of dollars out of tax payers hands to continue running our medical systems for our country? Who's administrative costs are 10 times higher than a government run system currently running along side of the scam system? And, I mean any for profit business will not truly support there customers! and that's you and me. They support share holders, and again the 1% effects all decisions by our government! The best government money can buy!!!! There incentive is to make high level profits for themselves, period! Finding a cure for cancer, diabetes, hiv, will never happen in a "I'm in it for the money" business. They will produce a lot more profits from stringing this disease along for a life time of maintenance drugs and the suffering of millions of people. Why cure a money maker like diabetes? Routine check ups, daily drug cost, It is a annuity the pays big in the end. Heart attacks, strokes, poor circulation, mri's several times a year, countless operations, costly blood test every 3 months, ever increasing need to use more technology in the managing of the disease, it is endless. I've been diabetic for over 45 years now, and every time I have walked into a new doctors office, the expression on there face would be one of GLEE, as if there retirement just came in. There is not one, NOT ONE incentive for finding a cure for this killer disease or any other disease that is producing profits at the level they are producing now. The US will never have a single payer system, NEVER. Our brightest and best students make decisions about there future on where they can make the most money, not if they can truly contribute to the need of millions of people. This has been ingrained to our society that is as natural as breathing. MONEY comes first, using god given talents never, I might have to work at that. We are now in the possession of a society that con not understand why medical cost are so high. PLEASE!!!!!

As a patient I witnessed my

As a patient I witnessed my doctor defraud medicare.

The way he did this was he refused to diagnose my ailment. He hummed and he hawed and he sent me yonder and hither for all sorts of expensive tests that would be billed to the tax payers of America. He was "playing dumb".

You see, the nature of my ailment was such that once the problem was diagnosed the "gravy train" would come to an end.

How was this little problem resolved? My wife diagnosed the problem. The fact that she is untrained and has no education beyond high school didn't seem to matter. We were desperate to find answers because my symptoms were especially painful and problematic. All she did was pick up a science magazine from the local library. In the magazine she found an article about my particular disease. It could not have been more clear that she was on the right track.

We never returned to the doctor in thief. I am now recovering.

Medicare fraud is systemic! No wonder doctors are in favor of maintaining the status quo. They are rewarded for poor medical practices. They receive free money at the expense of the tax payers.

It's a wonderful system. Ripped off by greedy insurance companies. Ripped off by greedy doctors. Ripped off by the greedy pharmaceutical industry and ripped off by the for-profit health care services industry (hospitals).

This is where we should apply "mandatory minimum" prison sentences.

And then we have to listen to these ignorant people complain about "Obamacare". As if the system we have now is somehow worth preserving. I guess that's what they hear on Fox "News".

The true cost of Obamacare is

The true cost of Obamacare is staggering. White House estimates were for a $900 Billion cost when they initially gutted $500 Billion from the plan. Then CBO Scored it for $1760 Billion, then a budget committee says $2600 Billion and now recently discovered, hidden Unfunded Liabilities, raise the cost over 75 years to over $17,000 Billion or $17 Trillion; it will bankrupt America.

Obamacare cannot work as stated. It will require death panels with government bureaucrats determining who what where and how you receive your care. But of course that is the plan of a fascist government.

Watch Video at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qHZAgv9uLw&feature=player_embedded#t=17s

I assume the FLA in your name

I assume the FLA in your name means Florida.

How stupid were the Republicans of Florida? They elected the worst medicare fraud criminal in history to governor. Now THAT is stupid. But that's a Florida Republican for you-stupid enough to elect Jeb Bush too.

There are no "death panels" in "Obamacare". But there are death panels in the private health insurance system we now live under.

You are nothing more than an ignorant corporate spokesman.

True the system's terrible

True the system's terrible and in need of fixing. Remember what Winston Churchill said about Democracy. Exchange Government and Democracy for Health Care and Universal Health Care; it sounds like this: 
Many forms of health care have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that universal health care is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that universal health care is the worst form of health care except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. 
I have excellent VA care. I'd wished all others be covered like that. I'd like to hear homeless people's points of view on this matter. People deciding now on health care are like diners at the end of feast discussing hunger over a glass of cognac.

As a retired healthcare

As a retired healthcare professional for 45 years, I've had a lot of time to think about fraud and how to root it out. This statement "Medicare doesn't have sufficient resources for targeting fraud", Isn't true they just don't know the way to do it. In this situation I define fraud as charging for services that were never given. To this end the person who has the best information is the patient. Medicare and most insurance companies do send out "Explanation of Benefits" or know as EOB's, BUT, it is very difficult for the patient (the person with the best information about fraud) to understand the EOB! If Medicare and all insurance companies worked to design an easily understood universal EOB and then give the patient a bounty for uncovering any fraud, it would nearly put an end to fraud. And the cost to Medicare and the insurance companies? Minimal!

good as they are, focused on

good as they are, focused on the latest manipulation of our health care and social sanity, these articles are but reports on symptoms of a disease that eats away at the basic reason for having a society - the protection and flourishing of all of its members. To begin with, I recommend Jeanne Kassler's 1994 classic, "Bitter Medicine: Greed and Chaos in American Health Care" to get a look at the evolution of the blueprint of the insurance industry to capture the American health care system - doctor by doctor, congressman by congressman.

Even the immediate judicial assault by the 1% on our health care falls far short of the bottom of the well where the real wound festers and infects the health of our our social body. It oozes from the wound of how we get these judicial strong-armed salesmen for our corporate ruling classes in the first place. The right has no problem or shame in blocking or pushing judicial appointments by waving their litmus tests of sexual hysteria, work-slavery, social darwinism, religious fanaticism and life and liberty to those who can afford it. Yet when its the Democrats option to block or thwart, some great social conscience takes hold. "Nope," says the right, judicial appointments are strictly a matter of "intellectual and judicial qualifications" - the ability to think and adjudicate cases fairly, when it is their corporate mouthpiece that's up for appointment. And the Democrats always cave to that - not compromise, cave. How do we get a court that is anything but 8 to 1 in favor of ACA and its Constitutionality? Try the left of center, liberal, Democrats who don't hold up a comparison chart of litmus tests, right v. left, at every judicial nomination - "family values" v. social justice; 1% v. 99%, workers v. owners, economic/social justice v. hysteria and profit.

My report - we have Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to thank for putting our health care at risk, as much as any greedy insurance CEO, or profit squeezing provider. Even when the symptoms are pain and death for tens of millions, they are still only symptoms. Money is the sugar in the diet of our political diabetic. Any surprises in the Court decisions are purely coincidental.

Question- Where's the

Question- Where's the articles on how single payer would bring medical costs way down?
Answer- The main stream media doesn't bother to cover it.

That particular subject is

That particular subject is verboten.

But not to worry, our soldiers are dying in far off countries keeping the world safe for democracy and protecting our freedom(s).

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

Boris Badenov's picture

Impeach those activist

Impeach those activist judges.

As a patient I witnessed my

As a patient I witnessed my doctor defraud medicare.

The way he did this was he refused to diagnose my ailment. He hummed and he hawed and he sent me yonder and hither for all sorts of expensive tests that would be billed to the tax payers of America. He was "playing dumb".

You see, the nature of my ailment was such that once the problem was diagnosed the "gravy train" would come to an end.

How was this little problem resolved? My wife diagnosed the problem. The fact that she is untrained and has no education beyond high school didn't seem to matter. We were desperate to find answers because my symptoms were especially painful and problematic. All she did was pick up a science magazine from the local library. In the magazine she found an article about my particular disease. It could not have been more clear that she was on the right track.

We never returned to the doctor in thief. I am now recovering.

Medicare fraud is systemic! No wonder doctors are in favor of maintaining the status quo. They are rewarded for poor medical practices. They receive free money at the expense of the tax payers.

It's a wonderful system. Ripped off by greedy insurance companies. Ripped off by greedy doctors. Ripped off by the greedy pharmaceutical industry and ripped off by the for-profit health care services industry (hospitals).

This is where we should apply "mandatory minimum" prison sentences.

And then we have to listen to these ignorant people complain about "Obamacare". As if the system we have now is somehow worth preserving. I guess that's what they hear on Fox "News".

That would be a start.

That would be a start.

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