Health worries pervade North Texas fracking zone

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

Some residents of the heavily fracked Barnett Shale in North Texas blame their health problems on toxic oil and gas emissions.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Energy":

"… agreed to be interviewed. One referred questions to the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, but that industry trade group did not respond to repeat …"

"… ing to talk directly is Chris Faulkner, CEO of Dallas-based Breitling Energy and a passionate defender of fracking. “With proper setbacks, prop …"

"… ths before the rigs came to Bush’s neighborhood. But operator EagleRidge Energy contended that it was grandfathered under older rules, and Denton official …"

Health insurers have their way with regulators

By Fred Schulte

Billions in Medicare Advantage overpayments likely gone for good.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… s having serious heart disease.  It took years for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general to publish those findings, and …"

"… ing errors tied to a complex payment formula known as a “risk score.” Health plans collect medical data that is used to compute the Health risks for ea …"

"… and secretive that it remains unfathomable to many Health professionals. Health plans that cheat can face civil or criminal penalties, but federal officia …"

"… Advantage contracts, records show.  CMS is but one part of the giant Health and Human Services Department. The HHS Office of Inspector General is supp …"

Persistent black lung, old scourge of coal, found in autopsies of most Massey miners

By Chris Hamby

Persistent black lung, scourge of coal, found in autopsies of Massey miners

Excerpts from this story referencing "Army":

"… tandard. Yet he, too, developed black lung.After serving as a medic in the Army, Compton went to work in the coal mines of eastern Kentucky starting in 19 …"

During Mitch Daniels’ decade at Eli Lilly, the drug giant paid billions in fines and settled thousands of lawsuits

By Joanne Kenen and Rochelle Sharpe

Eli Lilly paid billions in fines, settled thousands of lawsuits while Daniels was an executive at the drug giant

Excerpts from this story referencing "presidential race":

"… n a thing,” Loss said, but added, “Mitch Daniels can’t walk into the presidential race and not expect questions about this issue.”Lilly wasn’t the only drug …"

Congressman takes swipe at program to reduce Medicare fraud

By Naseem Miller and Joe Eaton

As health reform bills consume Congress, a battle over a program designed to help cut soaring rates of Medicare overpayment and fraud is pla

Excerpts from this story referencing "Department of Health and Human Services":

"… nce it was introduced five weeks ago.The squabble is occurring just as the Department of Health and Human Services is reporting — according to the Associated Press — that the federal go …"

One-stop science shop has become a favorite of industry—and Texas

By Rosalind Adams and Lisa Song

The EPA's sluggishness in assessing chemicals has created opportunities for a consulting firm with ties to chemical and tobacco interests.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… onsultant who once worked as a Health scientist at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.  "So there is a large potential for bias, …"

"… on said, according to minutes of a 1995 meeting of the American Industrial Health Council, a now-defunct trade group funded by  the tobacco industry. …"

"… d for industry groups such as Dow Chemical. Most of the rest were done for Health Canada, the Canadian national Health agency.   Unlike the indus …"

"… the industry studies whose funders are not clearly identified on ITER, the Health Canada studies that pass TERA's review are conspicuously labeled as Health …"

Texas weakens chemical exposure guidelines, opens door for polluters

By Lisa Song and Rosalind Adams

Amid a fracking boom, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has quietly weakened air pollution guidelines for toxic chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Harris County":

"… a TCEQ report linked 1,3-butadiene and benzene to elevated cancer risks in Harris County. The county is home to Houston and many refineries and petrochemical plant …"

"… obs and philanthropy in the region." The TCEQ increased air monitoring in Harris County, but Houston wanted more concrete action. Honeycutt met frequently with El …"

High-stakes health care battle in the Green Mountain state

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: fate of Vermont single-payer initiative may depend on financing plan.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… insurance industry’s biggest opportunity to derail the state’s plans. Health insurers have reason to be concerned. Even though Vermont has just 627,000 …"

"… ide their involvement. We probably would never have known that America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main trade group, funneled more than $10 …"

"… er their strategy, Shumlin last year formed a Business Advisory Council on Health Care Financing. The 21-member council “provides the governor with advice …"

"… chter, president of the nonprofit single-payer advocacy group Vermont Health Care for All, told me. “People need to be reminded that we will pay for …"

Don't wait 'til last minute to enroll in Obamacare

By Wendell Potter

Not all health insurance plans are created equal. Shoppers should get to work now on finding the right policy.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

Exploding the myths about American health care

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: new film takes on 'world's best' medical system.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

Court case pushed by think tank could leave uninsured out in the cold

By Wendell Potter

Supreme Court case backed by think tank hinges on single sentence in Affordable Care Act.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

Nursing homes serving minorities offering less care than those housing whites

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Nursing homes serving blacks, Latinos provide less daily registered nurse care than those housing whites.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… and Medicaid, said Rachel Seeger, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights. Seeger said that anti-discr …"

"… f quality and regulatory affairs at nursing home organization the American Health Care Association, did not address the disparity issue directly, but said i …"

"… llion verdict in a class-action lawsuit against nursing home chain Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. for failing to comply with California’s minimum nurse sta …"

Obama administration let opponents define the Affordable Care Act

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Obama administration let foes define Affordable Care Act.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… ch Massachusetts lawmakers enacted in 2006. During remarks he made at the Health Economists Conference at the University of Pennsylvania last year, Gruber …"

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

Analysis shows widespread discrepancies in staffing levels reported by nursing homes

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Analysis shows staffing levels lower than what's reported on public website.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Registered nurse":

"… ehead. On May 10, a nurse wrote that Irvin had a urinary tract infection. Registered nurse Lynette Smith wrote in a report that Escherichia coli bacteria were “in …"

Methodology for our nursing homes investigation

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein and Ben Wieder

Center compared self-reported staffing numbers with Medicare data

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… dmissions per bed with the previous data set.The Center also used the Area Health Resource File to include the degree to which an area was urban or rural, a …"

Running a five-star nursing home

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Top-rated homes had more nurses, less turnover

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… p; …"

"… omes, the studies said. Jack Wagoner, administrator of the Carlton Shores Health and Rehabilitation Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, said several of the n …"

"… nt, according to a 2012 report by nursing home industry group the American Health Care Association. Buckland estimated that half of the staff at Woodview ha …"

"… as about 55 percent for all of the homes analyzed. Bita Kash, professor of Health Policy and Management at Texas A & M University, said Medicaid’s com …"

Health insurers win midterm election!

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: midterm results create a friendlier Congress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… re prices of five of the six largest for-profit Health insurers — Cigna, Health Net, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and WellPoint/Anthem — reached their highe …"

"… ix largest for-profit Health insurers — Cigna, Health Net, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and WellPoint/Anthem — reached their highest points in a year last W …"

"… d — and in some cases even tripled. If you had invested $25,000 in UnitedHealthcare stock in 2010, you would have $78,750 today, a 315 percent return. Bu …"

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

More scrutiny coming for Medicare Advantage, Obamacare

By Fred Schulte

New round of audits coming; Obamacare too.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… erly to Health plans rapidly expanding under the Affordable Care Act. The Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, which investigates Medicar …"

"… ting illness, according to Richard Kronick, director of the HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. “I would not be surprised if there is some fr …"

Insurers spending cash, spreading fear in high-stakes California showdown

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: insurers have the cash to spread fear, confusion

Excerpts from this story referencing "politician":

"… me warning that a vote for a ballot initiative tomorrow would allow “one politician” to “interfere” with their health care treatment options. Propositi …"

"… ve sent to voters with scare headlines like this one: “Prop 45 gives one politician control over health care benefits and treatment options.” In the insurer …"

Another whistleblower suit alleges Medicare Advantage fraud

By Fred Schulte

California litigation alleges 'house calls" yielded false claims

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… nd eye” to the practices. The Health plans named in the suit are: Molina Healthcare of California; WellPoint, Inc., which operates  Anthem Blue Cross …"

"… ; WellPoint, Inc., which operates  Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield; Health Net of California, Inc. and Alameda Alliance for Health.  None would …"

"… s and Blue Shield; Health Net of California, Inc. and Alameda Alliance for Health.  None would comment. MedXM chief executive officer Sy Zahedi called …"

GAO takes on Medicare Advantage spending

By Fred Schulte

GAO will investigate program spending.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… subsidiary of New-Jersey based Aveta, Inc., denied the allegations. …"

"… ars every year. The Government Accountability Office, the watchdog arm of Congress, is conducting the probe at the request of the House Ways and Means Commit …"

"… care Advantage has grown explosively under the risk-scoring formula, which Congress put in place in 2004. Officials expect the program to cost taxpayers as mu …"

"… essive. The Medicare Advantage industry has enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress as the program has grown. In recent years, the industry has successfully l …"

Comparison shopping for a health plan

By Wendell Potter

California makes it easy to do your homework.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Department of Health and Human Services":

"… ng competing health plans, you can go to healthcare.gov, maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or a private online source like healthinsurance.org, which has been aroun …"

A call for more scrutiny of private Medicare Advantage plans

By Fred Schulte

Researchers say aggressive billing by private plans may require more scrutiny

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… “upcoding.” Researcher Richard Kronick, director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, said off …"

"… ick, director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, said officials should consider tightening audit …"

"… ed to kill or scale back planned pay cuts to the Health plans. America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s primary trade group, spent nearly $5 mil …"

"… p overpayments. Clare Krusing, director of communications for America’s Health Insurance Plans, did not respond directly to a question about the payment …"

California coverage plan for undocumented echoes earlier call by Schwarzenegger

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: former governor supported plan allowing coverage for undocumented residents.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… s law does allow the undocumented to receive state-funded care through the Health Safety Net program for low-income persons). Schwarzenegger was feeling pre …"

"… ented immigrants is nearly a billion dollars a year,” Schwarzenegger’s Health and Human Services Secretary, Kim Belshe, told PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill …"

"… . Among the many businesses and organizations supporting Lara’s bill is Health Access California, a statewide Health care consumer advocacy coalition. " …"

"… munities, and they need to be fully included in our Health system, too,” Health Access executive director Anthony Wright told me. “This (expanding cover …"

How a coal miner's autopsy proved a top doctor wrong

By Chris Hamby

When a coal miner's lungs finally gave out, his autopsy proved a top doctor was wrong — giving hope to thousands of other miners.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicine":

"… onary and critical care Medicine at the West Virginia University School of Medicine and, before that, ran the X-ray-reading program at the National Institute …"

Obamacare helps millions, but falls short in many ways

By Wendell Potter

The Affordable Care Act has reduced the ranks of the uninsured, but cost of care must be addressed.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… ot just those who have become newly insured over the past year. President Barack Obama cited some of the impressive statistics last Thursday, the day after the o …"

New types of health care delivery are improving the 'patient experience'

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: eliminating role of insurers could improve health care delivery.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… s in It for Me? What Everyone Needs to Know About the Affordable Care Act. …"

"… fact, in some ways they have been part of the problem. Providence-Swedish Health Alliance, a not-for-profit, hospital-based accountable care organization ( …"

"… he Health insurance market are hiring companies like Chicago-based Valence Health, a fast-growing firm that offers services ranging from claims adjudication …"

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

Health insurers turning into who knows what?

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: health insurers are transforming themselves — but into what?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… at insurers with well-known brands like Aetna, Blue Cross, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare have been around forever and likely will always be with us as they are …"

"… profitable than other business lines that once defined them. As for UnitedHealthcare and WellPoint, few people had even heard of them 25 years ago. But tha …"

"… 30 countries in which we operate around the world.” According to UnitedHealth Group’s website, it is “the most diversified Health care company in th …"

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

Black lung disease surges to highs not seen since the '70s, research shows

By Chris Hamby

The likely culprit: a failure by coal mining companies to use readily available tools to control the dust that lodges in miners' lungs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… the researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in a letter …"

"… to improve miners’ Health.” Back in 1969, the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act limited the amount of dust allowed in mines with the e …"

"… 1, parts of a long-awaited rule from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration took effect, and regulators say it should close these looph …"

Taking insurance companies out of health care

By Wendell Potter

If Boeing experiment flies, health care system could be transformed.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… ner of Blue Cross, was one developed by an executive of Baylor Hospital in Texas in the late 1920s. In the not too distant future, I believe we will be goi …"

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