health care costs

While thousands of cities and counties have banded together to sue opioid makers and distributors in a federal court, another group of plaintiffs has started to sue on their own: hospitals.

Florida is one of nine states that have taken on unexpected health care bills by passing comprehensive regulations. 

University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine / Via the South Florida Sun Sentinel

Seeing your doctor in person could wind up costing you a lot more than another option insurance companies are starting to push: unlimited 24/7 access to primary care doctors via smartphone, tablet or computer, with zero out-of-pocket co-pays, as reported by the Sun Sentinel.

Welcome to the future of telemedicine, also known as telehealth.

When the first HIV drug, AZT, came to market in 1987, it cost $10,000 a year.

That price makes Peter Staley laugh today. "It sounds quaint and cheap now, but $10,000 a year at that time was the highest price ever set for any drug in history," he says.

Elham Mirshafiei was at the library cramming for final exams during her senior year at California State University, Long Beach when she grew nauseated and started vomiting. After the 10th episode in an hour, a friend took her to the nearest emergency room. Diagnosis: an intestinal bug and severe dehydration. In a few hours, she was home again, with instructions to eat a bland diet and drink plenty of fluids.

House Approves Canadian Drug Imports

Apr 12, 2019

Drugs from Canada could be imported into Florida if the federal government agrees, under a bill that passed the state House on Thursday. 

C.M. Guerrero / Miami Herald

Citing financial pressures and operating losses, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Jackson Health System — among Miami-Dade’s largest employers — are expected to announce layoffs and other cutbacks in the coming weeks.

In a memo to staff obtained by the Miami Herald, Nicklaus Children’s executives said they will eliminate pay raises this year for all employees, reduce pension contributions and limit new hires to workers who provide direct service to patients.

The Trump administration is weighing whether to require hospitals to publicly reveal the prices they charge insurance companies for medical procedures and services — prices that are currently negotiated in private and kept confidential.

The Department of Health and Human Services says its aim is to boost competition and cut costs by letting consumers see how prices vary from place to place. But health economists say such "transparency" might not actually bring down costs for patients.

When Erin Gilmer filled her insulin prescription at a Denver-area Walgreens in January, she paid $8.50. U.S. taxpayers paid another $280.51.

She thinks the price of insulin is too high. "It eats at me to know that taxpayer money is being wasted," says Gilmer, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes while a sophomore at the University of Colorado in 2002.

The diagnosis meant that for the rest of her life she'd require daily insulin shots to stay alive. But the price of that insulin is skyrocketing.

About a quarter of Americans surveyed say they've had trouble paying for their prescription drugs, and a majority welcome government action to help cut the cost of medications.

A survey released Friday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds that many people have skipped or rationed their prescription medications or have substituted cheaper over-the-counter drugs.

Compassion for a hungry stray kitten led to a nip on the finger — and also took a bite out of Jeannette Parker's wallet.

In a rural area just outside Florida's Everglades National Park, Parker spotted the cat wandering along the road. It looked skinny and sick, and when Parker, a wildlife biologist, offered up some tuna she had in her car, the cat bit her finger.

"It broke my skin with his teeth," she recalls.

Trump Highlights Health Agenda With Vow To Lower ‘Unfair’ Drug Prices

Feb 6, 2019

It was not the centerpiece, but health was a persistent theme in President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address at the Capitol on Tuesday night. 

Surrounded by patients who told horror stories of being stuck with hefty bills, President Trump recently waded into a widespread health care problem for which almost all people — even those with insurance — are at risk: surprise medical billing.

Trump's declaration that taming unexpected bills would be a top priority for his administration echoed through the halls of Congress, where a handful of Republican and Democratic lawmakers had already been studying the problem.

Matt Gleason had skipped getting a flu shot for more than a decade.

But after suffering a nasty bout of the virus last winter, he decided to get vaccinated at his Charlotte, N.C., workplace in October. "It was super easy and free," said Gleason, 39, a sales operations analyst.

That is, until Gleason fainted five minutes after getting the shot. Though he came to quickly and had a history of fainting, his colleagues called 911. And when the paramedics sat him up, he began vomiting. That symptom worried him enough to agree to go to the hospital in an ambulance.

Sarah Witter couldn't catch a break even though her leg had gotten several.

As she lay on a ski trail in Vermont last February, Witter, now 63, knew she hadn't suffered a regular fall because she couldn't get up. An X-ray showed she had fractured two bones in her lower left leg.

A surgeon at Rutland Regional Medical Center screwed two gleaming metal plates onto the bones to stabilize them. "I was very pleased with how things came together," the doctor wrote in his operation notes.

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