Center For health and Democracy

Center For Health an Democracy, Wendell Potter, November 27, 2023

Nearly half of American adults faced medical bill issues in last year – survey
High-income Americans are almost as likely to defer healthcare because of cost as people with low or average incomes in eight other developed countries, a new survey brief by the Commonwealth Fund finds.

‘Shrinkflation’ hits healthcare
Healthcare is kind of like cereal, according to a Nov. 13 LinkedIn article by Robert Pearl, MD. Dr. Pearl — the former executive director and CEO of the Permanente Medical Group, and current co-host of the podcast “Fixing Healthcare” — alleged that the healthcare industry is engaging in similar practices as packaged-good companies.

“Today I am going blind”: Many Americans say health insurance doesn’t keep them healthy
Edna Garcia thinks she has paid her dues. For 34 years, she worked as a public high school teacher in Bridgeport, Connecticut, while also serving as a local lawmaker for eight years. In her retirement, she volunteers at her church, where she helps members deal with health insurance problems.

An Arm and a Leg. ‘Your Money or Your Life’: This Doctor Wrote the Book on Medical Debt
In 2019, emergency medicine physician and historian Luke Messac was working as a medical resident. He had heard about hospitals suing their own patients over unpaid medical bills, so he decided to investigate whether the hospitals where he worked were doing the same. It turns out they were. 

Healthcare financial strain is ‘widespread’ in U.S., study finds
Financial strain surrounding healthcare is “widespread” in the U.S., especially for disadvantaged groups like those living in poverty or managing limiting medical conditions, according to a new study published in Health Affairs.

Ambulance rides for just $100? Government advisers want major billing fixes
A panel of government advisers finally has endorsed ideas for Congress to solve the particularly thorny problem of surprise ambulance bills, including a cap on how much patients would have to pay if they took an ambulance. Surprise bills have been eliminated for most health care services, but people who take out-of-network ground ambulances remain broadly unprotected — facing potentially thousands of dollars and the threat of collections for a ride that nobody really asks for.

27% of Adults Face At Least One Healthcare Affordability Challenge
Healthcare affordability is significantly impacting low- and middle-income families, but healthcare financial strain is becoming a more widespread issue for US families, a new study published in Health Affairs indicates.
The Joint Distribution Of High Out-Of-Pocket Burdens, Medical Debt, And Financial Barriers To Needed Care
Health care financial pressures in the US can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Some families face high out-of-pocket spending on insurance premiums and medical care relative to income and assets. Some face medical debt that must be paid off over time. And some face delays or go without needed care for reasons involving cost.

New recommendations outline how Congress could lower ground ambulance costs
To lower costs and improve billing for patients who need ground ambulance services, federal lawmakers should ban surprise bills, limit patient cost-sharing and make bills easier to understand, according to a committee formed by Congress to explore how to tackle these issues.
Patients don’t know how to navigate the US health system — and it’s costing them
Of all the culprits that make it harder for Americans to afford and access health care, the sheer confusion many patients experience when trying to select an insurance plan or when faced with an expensive medical bill may be the most overlooked.

59% Of Americans Worry About Paying For Healthcare, New Survey Shows
Americans are clearly struggling with their healthcare costs, as recent studies have shown. But affordability challenges are only part of the story. A new report sheds light on factors in addition to cost that keep people from paying their medical bills.

Many on Medicare Struggle to Afford Health Care
Even with their coverage, many Medicare beneficiaries struggle to pay for expenses like premiums, copayments, coinsurance, and uncovered health services, according to new data from the Commonwealth Fund 2023 Health Care Affordability Survey.

The high cost of American healthcare, in 3 charts
According to a new survey from the Commonwealth Fund, more Americans — including those with insurance — say they are struggling to afford healthcare this year, leading them to forgo or delay necessary care.