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Articles written by Trudy Lieberman

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The Right-to-try-drug proposal is a solution for a non-existent problem

This fall the House of Representatives is likely to take up legislation passed by the Senate that gives terminally ill patients the right to try unproven, experimental drugs that are not yet on the market. Thirty-seven states have already passed...

 

Stalemate in D.C. leaves health insurance in limbo

What should you expect now that the drive to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act appears dead – at least for the moment?  Given how legislation gets made in Washington, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some elements of the repeal and...

 

U.S. healthcare ranked lower than in most developed nations

One thing I haven’t heard much in this latest healthcare debate is that the U.S. has the best health system in the world. That’s different from the last two times around. When the nation debated the Clinton health plan in 1994 and the Affordable...

 

Patient-centered care shouldn't be just a marketing slogan

Recently I heard from a woman in rural Nebraska who told me about her 76-year old father, who in late April had a lemon-size cancerous mass removed from his brain. The man chose to have his chemotherapy and radiation treatments at a hospital close...

 

Elderly may see drastic cuts in Medicaid, Medicare services

Older Americans may be in for a rough ride if the changes Washington politicians are considering come to pass. Because good, explanatory journalism is in short supply and TV shouting matches don’t tell you much, I decided to use this space to discu...

 

Government proposes cutting support for Meals on Wheels

Federal funding for meals on wheels is on the chopping block. The Trump administration budget blueprint released in March calls for the elimination of two federal block grants:  That’s money the federal government gives the states for social...

 

Industry fights revealing prices

Turning healthcare consumers into educated shoppers has long been a goal of employers who foot the bill for most care, politicians and some consumer organizations that believe that someday shopping for care should be as easy as comparing brands of...

 

Clarifications sought about Medicare issues

Over the past few months, these columns have raised plenty of questions about Medicare, present and future, and I’ve received many responses to those questions from readers. Today’s column addresses some of readers’ concerns about Medicare, a...

 

Don't rely on pharmacies to catch drug interactions

When you fill a prescription at your local pharmacy, you assume the medicine you receive is safe and won’t interact badly with other drugs you’re taking. That’s not an unreasonable assumption, considering that pharmacists enjoy a positive...

 

Major changes might be coming to Medicare

What’s going to happen to Medicare? That’s not an insignificant question given the political shift in Washington. Now, with Republicans controlling the presidency and both houses of Congress, some ideas they’ve been pushing for years have a...

 

Hospitals get penalized for harm

Anyone facing a hospital stay for themselves or a family member should look at new data the government released right before Christmas showing that it penalized 769 of the nation’s hospitals for having high rates of patient injuries. The monetary...

 

Changing Obamacare likely To mean higher costs, less coverage, or both

Lori Eng, a 62-year-old office manager who works in western Nebraska, sent an email not long ago telling me she was “terrified” she might lose her Obamacare health insurance. The many horror stories passed along in the media had frightened her,...

 

21st Century Cures Act Is no panacea

Will patients benefit from the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act? After listening to politicians and reading the headlines, most people might think it’s the best thing ever to come along for patients. “A new day for medical research is on...

 

What to know about choosing insurance

Even though the election is over and Republicans are in a position to repeal and replace Obamacare as they’ve been vowing to do for several years, that doesn’t mean you should avoid signing up for 2017 insurance coverage. If you’re eligible...

 

Measure would allow California to negotiate medication prices

The fight in California over a ballot initiative that would begin to control the price of pharmaceuticals paid by state programs shows how difficult it is to “do something” about the high price of prescription drugs. According to the Bureau of...

 

Residents' insurance may go up next year

Recently I got a note from a reader of these columns who lives in Warren, Ohio. He had seen conflicting reports about next year’s insurance premiums. The man was skeptical of an article he had read, which reported that insurance premiums are...

 

Obesity rates still higher than 1990

Is the message that the nation is getting too fat beginning to sink in? The answer is “yes but,” says the Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit, non-partisan group that aims to protect the health of communities and make disease prevention a...

 

Hospital safety ratings available

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently signaled to the nation’s hospitals that it was getting serious-and tough-about patient safety and the quality of care hospitals provide. The government’s rating system-five stars for...

 

Help for hearing loss is often unaffordable

Nearly two-thirds of adults over age 70 have hearing loss that doctors consider “clinically meaningful.” In plain English that means as people age, they are likely to become hard of hearing.  Many of those people, however, don’t get the help...

 

Higher insurance premiums likely

An Indiana couple who wrote to me a few weeks ago has experienced the ups and downs of Obamacare, and they wanted me to know about one downside they now face---a monthly premium of $836. “No one should have to pay those high premiums unless...

 

Protections for patients in place

Who protects consumers of healthcare? Two recent emails from readers got me thinking about that question. I don’t mean consumers in their role as patients whose medical well-being is looked after by state medical boards and health departments that...

 

Healthcare consumers get little help

Who protects consumers of healthcare? Two recent emails from readers got me thinking about that question. I don’t mean consumers in their role as patients whose medical well-being is looked after by state medical boards and health departments that...

 

Surgeries go better with experienced doctors

If you need a risky, complicated surgery, would you go to a hospital or surgeon who had performed the procedure only a time or two before? Most people would say no, but the evidence indicates otherwise. Patients do go to doctors and hospitals that...

 

3-day rule can make nursing home stays expensive

Judy Norblade, a retired marketing director, and her husband, Paul, a retired teacher, thought they had all their financial bases covered. They had Medicare, good supplemental coverage from a Medigap policy, a drug plan that paid for most of their...

 
 By Trudy Lieberman    Opinion    May 4, 2016

Life expectancy for rural women drops

Those of us who grew up in small rural communities in the 1950s and 60s, expected to have longer life spans than our parents. The trends were in our favor. White women born in 1900 could expect to live, on average, just shy of 49 years; white men 46....

 

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