On the first-ever Health Day at a COP, more than 40 million health professionals from around the globe joined the call to action by the World Health Organization (WHO) and civil society organizations, to prioritize health in climate negotiations at COP28. Climate inaction is costing lives and impacting health every single day. Health workers demand immediate and bold action to phase out fossil fuels, transition to clean energy, build resilience and to support people and communities most vulnerable to impacts of the changing climate. They press for no more delays, no more excuses; urging action and justice now, for a healthy future for all.
As a national, grassroots, social justice organization that organizes locally in the struggle for national single payer health care in the U.S., united by the common principles that health care is a human right, must be free from corporate profit, and must be achieved through national legislation, the Steering Committee of National Single Payerfeels it is our moral duty to take a stand on what is happening to the hospitals, health care providers, patients, and civilians in Gaza. Our voice is small, and our statement will alienate some, nevertheless, it is our sincere belief that we are witnesses to a time in history when our principled voice must be heard, loud and clear.
When Hurricane Katrina touched down in New Orleans in late August 2005, nine-year-old Nia Burnett was too young to realize that her life would never be the same. Nia's family had chosen to stay in the city and wait out the storm. They all headed to a local hospital for safety. What they found were corpses lining the hallways. The whole building smelled like rotten flesh. Nia remembers later standing on the roof after the hospital started flooding, waiting to be rescued. Below her, she watched as all the neighborhoods she used to play in with her friends were swallowed up by the rising waters. Meanwhile, even more bodies floated around the hospital. It wasn't until 11 years after the storm that Nia was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Baltimore has officially joined the growing list of over 100 U.S. municipalities advocating for a nationwide Medicare for All healthcare system. This significant endorsement, led by Democratic City Councilmembers Kristerfer Burnett and Odette Ramos, aligns Baltimore with major cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in supporting a federally funded universal healthcare program. Burnett expressed gratitude to advocates who have been instrumental in advancing these resolutions nationwide, highlighting the importance of accessible healthcare for thriving communities. Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway Sr., a local pastor, emphasized the critical need for healthcare as a right, especially for those facing tough choices like affording insulin or groceries.
Judy approached Chief Steward Amy over lunch one day with big news: she was three months pregnant! Amy congratulated her. Then Judy said, “Amy, I’m a little worried about telling our boss. My doctor said there’s a new law that gives me permission to carry a water bottle at work and ask for extra bathroom breaks, but I know Bob doesn’t like to give any extra breaks. Do you know anything about this law? Can the union help me?” On the other side of the country, Eliana, a department steward, dropped off a meal for her colleague Tisha, who was at home with her eight-week-old newborn.
As a federal customer service representative, I help seniors access the healthcare they need through Medicare, often handling hundreds of calls per day to sign people up, answer their questions, help them navigate billing, and more. I am an expert on these programs, but the hard truth is that despite working for the largest federal call center contractor, Maximus, I don’t have access to affordable health coverage for myself and my three children and my pay is so low I’m struggling to stay afloat. This is why I’m going on strike today with hundreds of my co-workers who are experiencing similar struggles.
I've seen a lot of commons over the years, but I was amazed to learn about the #WeAreNot Waiting movement and its open-source automated insulin delivery (OS-AID) device for people with diabetes. This global movement of thousands of techies and allies created itself, and its device, through commoning, outflanking a stodgy, risk-averse medical device industry. The homegrown OS-AID system consists of a continuous glucose monitoring sensor worn on one's body, an electronically connected insulin pump, and a smartphone app whose sophisticated algorithm automatically monitors glucose levels and delivers just the right amount of insulin needed, in near-real time.
As Israel continues its ongoing genocidal onslaught on Gaza, over 8,500 have been killed and countless injured. Israel just bombed Gaza’s largest refugee camp multiple times, killing hundreds. According to UNICEF, Israel’s assault is killing or injuring at least 400 children every day. The state continues to cut off Gaza’s ability to communicate with the outside world as it ramps up its bombing campaign, targeting healthcare facilities and healthcare workers in its campaign. After bombing Al-Ahli hospital (and then lying about the bombing), Israel directed those at Al Quds hospital to evacuate, then began bombing the area around the hospital — 100 medical workers, 500 patients, and 14,000 refugees were inside.
On Monday afternoon, Israel began the second phase of its war on Gaza, which continues to unfold after Israeli bombardment continued from Sunday night and into Monday morning, reportedly focusing on the north of the Gaza Strip, where Israeli forces have attempted to advance. The bombardment killed dozens of people. Both Hamas and Israel reported Israeli army tanks approaching the outskirts of Gaza City, where witnesses told AFP they blocked an essential road that links the north of the Gaza Strip to the south. Similarly, Al Jazeera reported that Israeli tanks are dividing Gaza into two parts after their incursion towards Salah al-Din Street, a vertical road running through Gaza.
Over 17,000 migrants from Latin American and Caribbean countries have been bused into Chicago since August 2022, the majority arriving since May 2023 when Title 42 expulsions ended. Chicago has struggled to house these new arrivals, and has resorted to hosting many in park field houses and police stations. As of October 13, about 3,000 migrants are being hosted at police stations, with hundreds of these families sleeping outside in recreational camping tents as the number of people allowed to stay inside the stations has been limited. To address the overflow problem, the city plans to create “base camps” where migrants will be sheltered in winterized tents.
One of the largest non-nurse health care strikes in Pacific Northwest history began at 6:30 a.m. this morning, shedding light on skilled workers who often get overlooked. We’re demanding that PeaceHealth, a Jesuit-run health system, raise wages and fix critically short staffing—two issues that are closely related. The strikers are 1,300 workers at two hospitals in southwest Washington: PeaceHealth Southwest in Vancouver, and PeaceHealth St. John in nearby Longview. The strike will last five days; workers will return to work October 28. PeaceHealth had announced that it would cut off health insurance if the strike continued into November.
As the United Nation’s agency responsible for public health, the World Health Organization (WHO) strongly condemns Israel’s repeated orders for the evacuation of 22 hospitals treating more than 2000 inpatients in northern Gaza. The forced evacuation of patients and health workers will further worsen the current humanitarian and public health catastrophe. The lives of many critically ill and fragile patients hang in the balance: those in intensive care or who rely on life support; patients undergoing hemodialysis; newborns in incubators; women with complications of pregnancy, and others all face imminent deterioration of their condition or death if they are forced to move and are cut off from life-saving medical attention while being evacuated.
The federal government is losing as much as $140 billion per year by subsidizing private Medicare Advantage plans, according to a bombshell new report. In the groundbreaking investigation, health care researchers identified the four major ways that private insurers systematically exploit the taxpayer-funded national health insurance program while denying care to the nation’s most vulnerable patients. The researchers additionally found that seniors could save over $1,800 in annual fees taken from their Social Security checks if the government redirected what it spends subsidizing Medicare Advantage plans to instead reduce premium costs. Under the current arrangement, “traditional” Medicare pays about $12,000 a year to private Medicare Advantage insurers for every patient whose care they “manage.”
Kaiser Permanente’s $200 million settlement with the State of California for its repeated failures to provide patients with adequate and timely mental health care was a long while coming. The deficiencies themselves? Kaiser’s own employees say they’ve been hiding in plain sight. “Years and years of banging our heads against the wall have finally paid off,” said Ilana Marcucci-Morris, a therapist at Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland Medical Center. “This has the potential to make Kaiser a leader in mental health care, rather than a serial violator of mental health care laws.” The settlement, announced late Thursday by the state’s Department of Managed Health Care, includes a $50 million fine.
There ought to be nine nurses on the day shift at 9 Tower, a trauma surgery unit inside the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Instead, some days there are just three. “Sometimes I’d look at a patient’s face and know that I won’t be able to maybe help feed them when they need to be fed,” said nurse Sophia Moccio, “or clean them when they need to be cleaned. It is distressing, and depressing for us.” Staffing levels this bad are a major reason why she and 1,700 of her co-workers at RWJUH have been on strike since August 4. Nurses in her 34-bed unit often have to manage the care of six patients apiece—and sometimes seven or eight.