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February 22 – March 6, 2019

The purpose of this bulletin is to compile a handful of articles relating to health care coverage in the United States that are most pertinent to LIUNA and its health and welfare funds. We hope you find this biweekly bulletin helpful and informative.

The New York Times: Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ In Drinking Water Leave Military Families Reeling

When Army Staff Sergeant Samuel Fortune returned from Iraq, his body battered by war, he assumed he’d be safe.


CNN: These States Have Been Hit The Hardest By America's Opioid Epidemic

While there's early evidence that the explosive rate of opioid deaths has started to slow, opioids killed more than 49,000 people in the United States in 2017, according to preliminary data.


The Washington Post: Sorry, ER Patients. People With Elective Procedures Get The Hospital Beds First

In a medical emergency, you may have a surprisingly difficult time finding a bed in a hospital. This is because elective admissions — that is, patients whose hospital stays have been scheduled in advance — take priority over emergencies.


NPR: Beyond 'Bumper Sticker' Slogans: 2020 Democrats Debate Details Of Medicare-For-All

Bernie Sanders is back, but one of his signature policies never left. In 2015, he introduced Medicare-for-all to many Democrats for the first time. 


The Hill: Senators Grill Drug Execs Over High Prices

Members of the Senate Finance Committee grilled pharmaceutical executives during a public hearing Tuesday about their role in rising drug costs, an issue that has elicited outrage from the American public and members of Congress.


Fox News: Florida Woman Bitten By Stray Kitten Billed By Hospital For $48G: ‘My Funeral Would Have Been Cheaper’

A wildlife biologist in Florida was slammed with a nearly $50,000 medical bill after she was bitten by a stray kitten.


Kaiser Health News: Look Up Your Hospital: Is It Being Penalized By Medicare?

Under programs set up by the Affordable Care Act, the federal government cuts payments to hospitals that have high rates of readmissions and those with the highest numbers of infections and patient injuries.




Politico: State Lawmakers Pushing For Laxer Vaccine Rules Despite Measles Outbreaks

Measles is spreading from New York to Texas to Washington state in the worst outbreak in years, but some state lawmakers want to take the vaccination debate in the opposite direction: Loosening rules covering whether kids get inoculated.




Tampa Bay Times: A Support Group In Your Phone. Healing For Mental Illness Comes One Text At A Time

As rates of depression rise, a Tampa man launches Cope Notes, a service that sends out an uplifting message every day to people struggling with stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts.


KQED: Study: Sugary Drink Consumption Down By Half In Berkeley Since Soda Tax Implemented

Public health researchers say Berkeley’s soda tax is working to reduce the consumption of sugary beverages in neighborhoods hit hardest by diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems linked to too much sugar.


Dallas Morning News: 'We Hear You': Lawmakers Promise To Fix Texas' Broken Medicaid Managed-Care System

Lawmakers from both parties stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the Capitol steps Tuesday to promise major fixes to the state's broken health care system for sick and disabled Texans, including children.


The Sacramento Bee: 10,000 UC Hospital, Campus Workers Could Strike After Contract Talks Hit Wall

Union leaders for roughly 10,000 research and technical workers are contemplating whether to strike against the University of California after their union bargaining team rejected the last, best and final offer presented last week by the administration.


Concord (N.H.) Monitor: House Passes Mandatory Suicide Prevention Training Along With Dozens Of Other Bills

A bill that would require New Hampshire schools to provide at least two hours of suicide prevention training for staff each year is one step closer to becoming law.


The Star Tribune: Minnesota Health Costs Could Double To $94 Billion

The overall cost of health care in Minnesota grew at a relatively low rate during 2016, according to a new state report, but the broader trend points toward a likely doubling of expenses over the next decade.