Outrageous Hospital Pricing

This year, the federal government ordered hospitals to begin publishing a prized secret: a complete list of the prices they negotiate with private insurers.

The insurers’ trade association had called the rule unconstitutional and said it would “undermine competitive negotiations.” Four hospital associations jointly sued the government to block it, and appealed when they lost.

They lost again, and seven months later, many hospitals are simply ignoring the requirement and posting nothing.

But data from the hospitals that have complied hints at why the powerful industries wanted this information to remain hidden.

It shows hospitals are charging patients wildly different amounts for the same basic services: procedures as simple as an X-ray or a pregnancy test.

NY Times

Inside the Fall of the CDC

How the world’s greatest public health organization was brought to its knees by a virus, the president and the capitulation of its own leaders, causing damage that could last much longer than the coronavirus.

When the next history of the CDC is written, 2020 will emerge as perhaps the darkest chapter in its 74 years, rivaled only by its involvement in the infamous Tuskegee experiment, in which federal doctors withheld medicine from poor Black men with syphilis, then tracked their descent into blindness, insanity and death.

ProPublica

Republican Judges Are Quietly Upending Public Health Laws

The Republican Party’s campaign to take over the federal and state courts is quietly upending a long and deeply embedded tradition of upholding vital public health regulations. The result has been a radically novel and potentially catastrophic sequence of decisions blocking state responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

NY Times

People live longer in blue states than in red states; new study points to impact of state policies

Weak environmental protections, safety rules and labor and civil rights protections may be cutting lives short in conservative states and deepening the divide between red and blue states, according to a new study on links between life expectancy and state policy.

Some states, mostly in the Northeast and the West, have seen average life expectancies rise relatively steadily, placing them on par with the wealthiest nations of Western Europe. Those states tend to have more stringent regulations.

By contrast, the life expectancy in states with more conservative health, labor and social policies — concentrated in the South and Appalachia — has stagnated in recent decades, according to the study, which adds to growing research on health and political disparities between states.

Seattle Times

Overloaded Texas County: Send Sickest COVID-19 Patients Home to Die

The county was doing a great job stifling the spread of coronavirus, with lockdowns and mandatory masks required.

Then the Republican governor overrode and canceled such precautions.

Now the hospital is overwhelmed with coronavirus patients and they’ve formed a “death panel” to decide which sick patients should just be sent home to die.

Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

The moral: Never Vote For A Republican.

Trump Attacks on Regulations Have Worsened the Coronavirus Tragedy

A report from the Institute for Public Integrity exposes Trump’s attacks on regulations and how that has worsened the Coronavirus pandemic:

The failure of the federal government to adequately safeguard the health, environment, and economy of the United States with efficient regulatory protections is not a new phenomenon. For over three years now, the Trump administration has systematically delayed, undermined, and erased key regulations that protect our health, our environment, our workplaces, our living conditions, and our economy. The steady erosion of regulatory safeguards has severely compromised our baseline defenses against Covid-19.

Coronavirus May Cause Brain Damage (Which Undoubtedly Doesn’t Include Trump Supporters)

Doctors may be missing signs of serious and potentially fatal brain disorders triggered by coronavirus, as they emerge in mildly affected or recovering patients, scientists have warned.

Neurologists are on Wednesday publishing details of more than 40 UK Covid-19 patients whose complications ranged from brain inflammation and delirium to nerve damage and stroke. In some cases, the neurological problem was the patient’s first and main symptom.

The Guardian

#ChinaChinaChina – A military contractors’ report circulating on Capitol Hill claims to have evidence that COVID-19 escaped from a Chinese lab. It’s filled with information that’s just plain wrong.

A shocking report suggesting that the coronavirus was “release[d from] the Wuhan Institute of Virology” in China is now circulating in U.S. military and intelligence circles and on Capitol Hill. But there’s a critical flaw in the report, a Daily Beast analysis reveals: Some of its most seemingly persuasive evidence is false—provably false.

The Daily Beast