You don't have to be a doctor at Johns Hopkins to know black lung disease when you see it. I know firsthand because I've seen it. I've seen it kill my father, my grandfathers and uncles. They were all coal miners who breathed coal dust for years until their scarred lungs could no longer work and they suffocated.
Health is a class issue. As the rich have become even richer, they’ve enjoyed better health and longer lives. In 1980–1982, the most affluent Americans could expect to live 2.8 years longer than those in the poorest group; by 1998–2000, the gap had increased to 4.5 years. Just imagine how much the chasm has widened since 2000.
It’s hard to imagine a more stark class dividing line, or a more poignant reminder of the heartbreaking consequences of income inequality.
Workers, businesses and community groups in Tacoma, Wash., have made that Northwest city the latest to mobilize around a paid sick days campaign. Meanwhile, the Washington, D.C., City Council is exploring strengthening the district’s paid sick leave law.
In 2012, MedStar Washington (D.C.) Hospital Center—where some 1,850 registered nurses and members of National Nurses United (NNU) work—unilaterally instituted sweeping reductions and changes in the nurses’ health benefits.
A federal judge last week upheld an arbitrator's ruling that MedStar acted unlawfully and must reimburse the nurses for any increased costs they paid and roll back the reductions and changes.
Today, 150 people will likely be killed on the job or die from job-related illnesses and disease. That deadly toll will continue tomorrow and the next day and the next until the nation “renews the commitment to protect workers from injury, disease and death,” and makes it a high priority, says the 2013 edition of the AFL-CIO’s Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.
This is the fundamental fact of American health care: We pay much, much more than other countries do for the exact same things. For a detailed explanation of why, see this article. But this post isn’t about the why. It’s about the prices and the graphs.
While many Republicans balked at passing $60 billion in relief for Hurricane Sandy cleanup (they eventually passed a little higher than $50 billion), TIME’s Steven Brill wrote that the United States spends nearly that much in health care costs each week.
Americans overspend $750 billion in health care each year. One-fifth of our economy enriches very few at the expense of everyone else. Labs, drug companies, medical device makers, hospital administrators and purveyors of CT scans, MRIs, canes and wheelchairs are some of the entities and people reaping the financial rewards by gaming the health care system, writes Time magazine's Steven Brill in a fascinating, in-depth look at why health care prices are just "too damn high" in Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us.