By Liz Essley Whyte for the Center for Public Integrity. Despite massive losses for Democrats in races from the White House to governors’ offices Tuesday, those on the left celebrated some significant victories with state ballot measures. From marijuana to minimum wage to gun control laws, they won many key initiatives among the 162 statewide measures — part of a concerted plan put in motion more than a year ago to circumvent Republican-led legislatures and take policy questions directly to voters. Progressive advocates appeared to lose major healthcare initiatives in California and Colorado, however. The Center for Public Integrity tracked how those fighting over these measures shaped their messages with TV ads, typically an expensive yet far-reaching endeavor. Media tracker Kantar Media/CMAG estimates that more than $384 million was spent through Monday just to air TV ads about such measures this election.
By Alexander Reed Kelly for Truth Dig – Half of U.S. physicians are “disengaged, burned out, and demoralized and plan to either retire, cut back on work hours, or seek non-clinical roles,” reports MedPage Today, citing a new nationwide survey commissioned by The Physicians Foundation. “Many physicians are dissatisfied with the current state of the medical practice environment and they are opting out of traditional patient care roles,” said Walker Ray, MD, president of The Physicians Foundation, in remarks that appeared with the survey.
By Patrick Gillespie for CNN – Prices for medicine, doctor appointments and health insurance rose the most last month since 1984. The price increases come amid a broader debate about climbing health care costs and high premiums for Obamacare coverage. A recent report by Kaiser/HRET Employer Health Benefits forecasts that the average family health care plan will cost $18,142, up 3.4% from 2015. That’s faster than wage growth in America.
By Mark Almberg for PNHP – Zarr noted that since the ACA’s passage the number of uninsured has fallen by about 41 percent – from about 49 million people in 2010 to 29 million in 2015, with the largest gains among the poor, near-poor, and minorities. He said such gains “can only be welcomed, since research shows that having some kind of coverage is better than none.” But he said the Census Bureau report shows that new sign-ups dramatically slowed last year, with a decrease in the uninsured rate of only 1.3 percentage points from 2014.
By Samuel L. Dickman et al for PNHP – US medical spending growth slowed between 2004 and 2013. At the same time, many Americans faced rising copayments and deductibles, which may have particularly affected lower-income people. To explore whether the health spending slowdown affected all income groups equally, we divided the population into income quintiles. We then assessed trends in health expenditures by and on behalf of people in each quintile using twenty-two national surveys carried out between 1963 and 2012.
By Staff for Telesur. President Rafael Correa marks nine years in office Jan. 15, 2016, having overseen the transformation of Ecuador. It will be his last full year in power after his recent decision not to stand again. Correa will go down in history as one of the most successful Ecuadorean presidents. Ecuador before Correa was defined by its political and economic instability, with seven presidents forced out of office in a decade. Neoliberal measures applied by previous administrations left the country one of the poorest and least-developed in the region, but the government of Rafael Correa has undertaken a series of deep reforms, which have delivered remarkable changes for Ecuador’s long-excluded majority. President Rafael Correa said in 2014, “People must prevail over capital,” adding that politics is about whose interest governments serve: “Elites or the majority? Capital or humankind? The market or society? Policies and programs depend on who holds the balance of power.”
By Staff of Aljazeera – Thousands of junior doctors walked off the job Tuesday in England in a bitter dispute over pay and working conditions — the first such strike in 40 years. About 50,000 junior doctors — those who are training and have between one and 10 years of experience — were on strike for 24 hours protesting government plans to change pay and work schedules. The strike has forced the cancellation of about 4,000 operations and outpatient procedures. The striking doctors argue patients will be put at risk by the government’s policies, while the government says the National Health Service (NHS) needs more flexibility to deliver services on weekends.
By Richard Quinn for Hospitalist. A group of hospitalists in Oregon have formed what is believed to be the first hospitalist union in the country—but it may not be the last. Hospitalists at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center locations in Springfield and Eugene, Ore., voted to form the union, dubbed Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association, to have more say in patient care and working conditions there. Talk of unionizing started afterhospitalists objected to a recommendation by a PeaceHealth consultantthat their group’s employment model be outsourced and run by a national management firm rather than remain hospital-owned. “We really didn’t have much of a say other than all quitting, which we didn’t want to do because we like where we work,” says hospitalist and union spokesperson David Schwartz, MD. “We started talking about unionizing.”