Longer Looks: Emergency Room Monopolies; Gun Violence; And The Senate Tax Bill
Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
Emergency Rooms Are Monopolies. Patients Pay The Price.
Vox worked with the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) to analyze 70 million insurance bills for emergency room visits from between 2009 and 2015. We focused on the prices that health plans paid hospitals for facility fees, not the hospital charges (which can often be inflated well above what patients actually pay).We found that the price of these fees rose 89 percent between 2009 and 2015 — rising twice as fast as the price of outpatient health care, and four times as fast as overall health care spending. (Sarah Kliff, 12/4)
Americans Are Increasingly Preparing For Gun Violence.
From Bismarck, North Dakota, to San Diego, ordinary citizens are now signing up for classes to learn how they, too, can maximize their chances for survival by learning skills such as how to stanch blood loss after a mass shooting. In Georgia, all public schools are receiving “Stop the Bleed” kits so they’ll have what they need while they wait for professional first responders to arrive. And last month in Washington, D.C., nearly 40 members of Congress were trained in bleeding control techniques. The training they received is modeled on life-saving techniques first honed on the battlefield but now being promoted for civilian use in schools, churches, shopping malls, and other everyday venues. (Lisa Lewis, 11/30)
Can Surgical Patients Feel Pain Under Anesthesia?
In June 2007, in a small room that leads into the operating theater, a middle-aged woman lies on a metal trolley. She is here for a hysterectomy, though no one mentions this. She has a cannula taped to the back of her left hand through which her anesthesiologist—a craggy, compact man, handsome, with dark hair graying at the temples and deep-set eyes—will shortly administer a milky drug called propofol. (Kate Cole-Adams, 12/5)
A Food Fight Has Broken Out Between The USDA And FDA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration are in a rare public dust-up concerning oversight of an obscure group that helps determine international food standards. The FDA and former USDA officials have expressed concern that the move will put business interests ahead of food safety and could hurt the U.S.’s ability to exert influence abroad. (Anna Maria Barry-Jester, 12/4)
The Senate’s Tax Bill Is A Sweeping Change To Every Part Of Federal Health Care
The Senate tax bill is really a health care bill with major implications for more than 100 million Americans who rely on the federal government for their health insurance. The bill reaches into every major American health care program: Medicaid, Medicare, and the Obamacare marketplaces. (Sarah Kliff, 11/29)