Time to Let the Sunshine In

By AARP Executive Vice President Debra Whitman, Ph.D. and AARP Director of Health Services Research Leigh Purvis Starting today, AARP members and consumers of all ages will be able to get a better idea of what may be driving their health care provider’s decisions thanks to the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, or Sunshine Act. The Sunshine Act requires drug and medical device manufacturers to publicly report virtually all payments, gifts, and other services provided to health care providers and teaching …

Momentum Builds to Close Health Coverage Gap

When you’re sick, what do you do? A. Nothing, B. Call a doctor, or C. Go to the E.R.? Every day, millions of hard-working Americans who have lost their jobs or are struggling in jobs without health coverage choose A. Nothing. That is, until their condition gets so bad they are forced to choose C. and go to the ER. Without affordable health coverage, paying for a doctor’s appointment is just too expensive, and the necessities of daily living like …

Health Care Law Helps Add 3 Million to Medicaid

By Erica Werner, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) – Three million Americans signed up for Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s new health care law as of the end of February, the administration announced on April 4, offering its first full accounting of how much the safety net health program has grown since implementation of the law. Many were newly eligible because of the law’s Medicaid expansion, while others already eligible but not yet enrolled came forward because of publicity around the …

Report Shows Rampant Patient Harm in Skilled Nursing Facilities

If ever there were a statistic to make your heart stop, this is it: 1 out of every 3 patients who went to skilled nursing facilities after a hospital stay was harmed by his or her treatment. A study released this week by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that this harm included infections and medication errors. The report looked at 653 Medicare patients from more than 600 skilled nursing facilities who had been …

GlaxoSmithKline Ends Payments to Doctors

Pharmaceutical companies make lots of money and spend lots of money, including lavish payments to doctors for consulting; expenses-paid conferences, cruises and other events for doctors; and bonuses for sales reps who exceed sales targets, even if that means pitching a drug for uses the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved. Over the past three years, the investigative journalists at the nonprofit ProPublica, along with its news media partners, have been writing about these practices in the series Dollars for Doctors …

26 States With a Big Health Coverage Gap

This week, Health Insurance Marketplaces opened in states across the country.  It’s true: Many more Americans will now have access to affordable health care.  But, other hard-working people, who live in states that have not yet committed to expanding Medicaid, will fall into a new coverage gap. That’s right: In the 26 states that have not accepted federal funding to expand Medicaid, adults who earn up to $15,000 a year will not qualify for any type of subsidy through the …