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Healthcare costs

Labor Unions Band Together To Tackle High Hospital Prices

The Coalition for Affordable Hospitals launched Friday morning and held a rally in Manhattan’s City Hall Park ahead of a City Council hearing on hospital costs. The effort includes nine unions that represent New Yorkers as well as the New York State Council of Churches and PatientRightsAdvocate.org, a nonprofit that promotes transparency in health care prices. The group is pushing legislation in Albany that would give health plans — including those managed by labor unions — more leverage to haggle over the price of health care. New York City has come to be dominated in recent years by a handful of large, private hospital systems that have expanded their reach by buying up independent hospitals, doctors’ offices and other types of health care providers.

Debt Strike Needed As Debt Collectors Keep Coming After Millions Of People

Over the past couple decades, Capital One, Lugo’s pursuer, helped lead the way in transforming the nation’s local courts into collection machines. As recently as the 1990s, these courts conformed to the picture most people have in their heads, primarily working as a venue where a judge resolved disputes between two sides represented by a lawyer. Now the most common type of case is debt collection, a recent Pew Charitable Trusts report found. Lining up against debtors who are almost never represented by an attorney, debt collection companies win millions of court judgments each year, which then allow them to seize debtors’ wages for years into the future. An old unpaid bill will fall off a credit report after seven years, but a court judgment can haunt someone forever.

Why Are Drug Prices Rising So Much?

Corporations' quest for profits is what "is driving up drug prices and nothing more." That's according to Dennis Bourdette, M.D., chair of neurology in the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine, who co-authored a study published Monday that sought to find out companies' rationale for the escalating prices on medications for patients with multiple sclerosis. Prices for those drugs, an accompanying press release notes, have jumped up by 10% to 15% every year for the past decade.

How Employees And Employers Get Bled By Health Insurance

“The single biggest issue in health care for most Americans is that their health costs are growing much faster than their wages are,” KFF CEO Drew Altman said. “Costs are prohibitive when workers making $25,000 a year have to shell out $7,000 a year just for their share of family premiums.” Many lower-wage workers cannot afford the contributions and forego the health insurance even if their companies offer it. As a result, at companies with many lower-wage workers, only 33% of the workers are covered by the employer’s health insurance, compared to 63% at the other companies. For single coverage of the employee only, the annual cost of the average health insurance premium — employer and employee contributions combined — rose 4.2% in 2019, to $7,188, with the employee paying 17% or $1,242 (up from 14% in 1999) and the employer paying 83% or $5,946 (down from 86% in 1999).
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