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 "Peter Shumlin":

"… ds to Know About the Affordable Care Act. …"

A dozen dirty documents

By Kristen Lombardi and Jared Bennett

Twelve documents that stand out from the Center's new archive

Excerpts from this story referencing "Benzene":

"… 0 summary of the API’s research strategy, drafted by the group’s  Benzene Task Force, explains that the research program “is designed to protect m …"

"… rs of “personal injury claims,” an email exchange among members of the Benzene Health Research Consortium urges deletion of  “the reference to leg …"

Benzene and worker cancers: 'An American tragedy'

By Kristen Lombardi

Previously secret documents illuminate a 10-year effort by petrochemical titans to counteract damning science on the carcinogen benzene.

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 …"

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 "Michigan":

"… t were particularly high in several Midwestern states, including Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.  Among metropolitan areas with at least five facilitie …"

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 "Health":

"… air, she'd wheel over to try to help other residents in the Chenal Heights Health and Rehabilitation Center in Little Rock. Irvin had been placed there by …"

"… ior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs for the American Health Care Association, the nursing home industry’s largest professional organ …"

"… after Sanders moved her from the Chenal Heights facility to the Sandalwood Healthcare nursing home in Little Rock in July 2012. Ultimately, Sanders filed s …"

"… ned the facility for its lack of staffing. Sean Mathis, a lawyer for Hope Healthcare, the firm that owns Sandalwood, said Sandalwood will “vigorously def …"

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 "Nursing home":

"… inspections in order to earn a higher rating from the federal government. Nursing home administrators and a leading industry group deny those charges. Woodview …"

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 "Obama administration":

"… up just $157,777 to settle the matter in December 2013, for instance. The Obama administration has taken years to get a new round of the RADV audits underway amid quibbl …"

Comparison shopping for a health plan

By Wendell Potter

California makes it easy to do your homework.

Excerpts from this story referencing "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, w …"

"… patient experience. They were followed by Blue Shield of California, Sharp Health Plan (in greater San Diego), and Western Health Advantage (in the Sacramen …"

"… hield of California, Sharp Health Plan (in greater San Diego), and Western Health Advantage (in the Sacramento area). All of those plans are also nonprofits …"

"… ts. The plans with the fewest stars were Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Cigna, Health Net and UnitedHealthcare of California, all for-profit companies. Convers …"

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 "Senate":

"… ng Medicare Advantage, from January through June of 2014, according to the Senate records. But critics argue that some health plans exaggerate how sick the …"

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 "judge":

"… ime leader of the unit, Dr. Paul Wheeler, testified against Steve, and the judge determined that his opinion trumped all others, as judges have in many oth …"

"… st Steve, and the judge determined that his opinion trumped all others, as judges have in many other cases. Today, however, there is final and overwhelmin …"

"… oal Corp., appealed that decision, leading to the denial of the claim by a judge. Patriot refused to say whether it would continue to fight Steve’s …"

"… ase, which he filed in 2005, grabbed my attention for a simple reason: The judge’s 2011 decision denying benefits didn’t seem to make much se …"

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 "insurance":

"… at are working directly with employers like Boeing — and cutting out the insurance company middlemen — believe they can do more than save money for th …"

"… ealth care quality and service for workers and their families in ways that insurance companies cannot.    Employers are starting to realize that ins …"

"… mployees, along with UW (University of Washington) Medicine — without an insurance firm. Officials at Providence-Swedish told me Boeing chose to work with th …"

"… s, improving service and reducing hassles that have become synonymous with insurance company interactions was equally important to Boeing. So Providence-Swedi …"

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 "Health":

"… lth system,” Dr. Elliott Fisher, director of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, was quoted as telling The Seattle Times. “ …"

"… Health insurers are quickly diversifying. Just two weeks ago, Modern Healthcare noted that because Health insurers are now required to spend at l …"

"… expect to realize higher returns. The magazine cited as an example UnitedHealth Group’s Optum division, which works in technology and population Health …"

"… th in operating earnings. Meanwhile, in its core insurance business, UnitedHealth saw its 2013 operating margin decline to 6.4 percent, down from 7.6 percen …"

Dire predictions of endless waits for a doctor have proven unfounded

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Obamacare has not resulted in long waits for a doctor.

Excerpts from this story referencing "president":

"… is suffering from a doctor shortage,” wrote Forbes blogger Sally Pipes, president of the Koch brothers-funded Pacific Research Institute, a think tank advoc …"

National Academy of Sciences agrees with EPA that formaldehyde causes cancer

By David Heath

To the chemical industry's chagrin, a National Academy of Sciences review found that formaldehyde causes cancer.

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Chemistry Council":

"… eing declared a known carcinogen. The industry’s chief lobby group, the American Chemistry Council, has persuaded members of Congress that the findings of both the Environme …"

"… e 2011” report, Cal Dooley, president and chief executive officer of the American Chemistry Council, said in a statement titled “The Safety of Formaldehyde is Well-Studied …"

"… fer Sass, a scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the American Chemistry Council’s efforts “a vicious attack on government scientific assessments [mean …"

"… f the 2011 formaldehyde review. Forty-seven assessments are affected. The American Chemistry Council said in its statement that the academy “misses an opportunity to advance …"

Ten major findings from our investigations so far this year

By Jared Bennett and Sarah Whitmire

Investigations from the first half of 2014

Excerpts from this story referencing "real estate industry":

"… n just another island haven for dirty money Thanks to lax U.S. rules and real estate industry’s no-questions-asked approach, Manhattan has become America’s own isla …"

How Medicare Advantage plans code for cash

By Fred Schulte

Federal study criticizes Medicare Advantage and calls for changes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… ncludes. Congress created Medicare Advantage in 2003 to encourage private insurance companies to venture into the senior care market, and has remained support …"

"… inistration to make substantial cuts to its payment rates. Lobbying by the insurance industry and the fear of angering seniors also has largely quieted concern …"

Feds seek new authority to recoup Medicare Advantage overcharges

By Fred Schulte

Impact: Feds act to recoup overcharges following Center investigation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Insurance":

"… the proposal,” said Clare Krusing, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s trade group. Congress created Medicare Advantage a …"

Even low doses of arsenic trigger cancer in mice, study finds

By David Heath

Study by the National Institutes of Health found levels of arsenic similar to what some people consume caused cancer in mice.

What to do if your drinking water contains arsenic

By David Heath

Millions of Americans unwittingly consume arsenic, a potent carcinogen also linked to IQ deficits in children, in their drinking water.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency":

"… s crust, and it finds its way into food, water, soil and air. In 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considered tightening the drinking water standard for arsenic — then at …"

Medicare Advantage plans require more scrutiny

By Fred Schulte

Government inspector says private Medicare plans difficult to investigate due to lack of access to data.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… omplete data that would facilitate oversight” of the fast-growing health insurance plans. His comments came in testimony prepared for a Wednesday hearing of …"

"… e” Medicare. But Medicare Advantage plans, which are often run by large insurance companies and accept a set monthly fee from the government for each patien …"

"… y” and “difficulties with access to information” held by the private insurance companies. He wrote that fraud investigators have no central place to acce …"

"… ernment. Congress created Medicare Advantage in 2003 to encourage private insurance companies to jump into the senior care market without hesitation. Since th …"

Praise for UK-style health system vindicates spurned nominee

By Wendell Potter

Former Medicare chief's support for UK's health care system may win votes in race for governor of Massachusetts.

Excerpts from this story referencing "New York":

"… ok to the Brits when it comes to health care. In a research report by the New York-based Commonwealth Fund that evaluated the health care systems of several …"

Get involved: Help Medicare Advantage investigation go further with donations and news tips

Join us in finding problems with Medicare Advantage billing, “risk scores”, or home visits.

Home is where the money is for Medicare Advantage plans

By Fred Schulte

Medicare Advantage home visits may not improve health, but boost risk scores and cost taxpayers billions.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… rd in a three-part series. Some of the senior citizens who called Arizona insurance agent Denise Early wondered why their Medicare Advantage health plans were …"

"… plans by nearly $3 billion a year, according to a report prepared for the insurance industry’s trade association. Health plans argue that home visits help …"

"… er than what I had already documented,” he said. Early, the independent insurance agent in Tucson who blogs on Arizona Medicare issues, said from her vantag …"

"… re Act. Starting this year, people of all ages who buy coverage off state insurance exchanges will be scored by health status to decide the amount of money he …"

150 billion reasons Medicare Advantage matters

By Eleanor Bell

Reporter Fred Schulte discusses his investigation into billions of dollars misspent on Medicare Advantage plans.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… yers’ money, that there should be some accountability. …"

"… d, let’s start from the beginning: Medicare Advantage was introduced by Congress more than a decade ago to stabilize health care costs, has it been effecti …"

Why Medicare Advantage costs taxpayers billions more than it should

By Fred Schulte, David Donald and Erin Durkin

Critics warned of billing abuse in Medicare Advantage health plans, but oversight is lagging.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Obama administration":

"… y to cover millions of uninsured people. That’s consistent with an early Obama administration promise to reduce payments to the health insurers. But support for Medica …"

Whistleblower suit says health plan cheated government out of more than $1 billion

By Fred Schulte

Lawsuit: executives worried health plan would be ‘screwed’ if feds heard of overcharges.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… tion to these illegal practices.” Valdez filed the lawsuit in Santa Ana, California, in April 2011, but it remained under court seal until February of this ye …"

"… Valdez is a veteran health care executive and consultant who headed the California regional office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2 …"

"… is allegations to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the central district of California, which has since launched an investigation. That investigation “has not …"

Explaining Medicare Advantage, and why it matters to you

By Fred Schulte and Sarah Whitmire

Explaining risk scores, Medicare Advantage and what alleged overbilling could mean for the Affordable Care Act.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… y of the $70 billion in "improper" payments? The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the program, has broad authority to recoup overpaymen …"

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