Roe V. Wade is Overturned

Last week, there was an unprecedented decision from the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe vs. Wade which gives the states the right to ban abortion. This was the first time in history that a “right” has been taken away from the American people. According...
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The Potter Report: Why Your Inhaler Costs So Much

The most recent Potter Report in which I wrote about the high cost of breathing for many Americans, including me, prompted calls and emails and turned out to be more timely than I expected. As I noted, my Medicare Part D pharmacy plan required me to pay $606.00 for a...
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The American Way

“It requires less effort and background investigation to buy an AR-15 assault rifle than it does to adopt a kitten from the local humane society.” This is not the exact quote that I heard recently from a well-known personality, but you get the point. Think about how crazy this sounds – it’s even more insane to realize that it’s an accurate statement. But no matter how many times this happens, America is going to stave off any effort to eliminate assault weapons, implement more comprehensive background checks or impede on any citizen’s ability to exercise their “perceived interpretation” of the 2nd Amendment. The simple fact is that most Americans are against these initiatives regardless of the body count at schools, grocery stores, synagogues and subway stations. And based on what you read and where you read it, that majority is getting bigger and louder. The bottom line is that we continue to have to deal with an armed, angry and trigger happy country. It is the American way.

The Potter Report: The Medicare Modernization Act

I’m not in the habit of wishing bad things to happen to anybody, but yesterday, when I was at the pharmacy counter, I was wishing every member of Congress would have to experience the same insanity I was experiencing. If they did, they just might do something to fix the growing crisis they helped create when they passed the so-called “Medicare Modernization Act” (MMA) in 2003.

The Potter Report: Anthem’s First Quarter Earnings

Here’s what you need to know about Anthem–the giant for-profit health insurer that owns several Blue Cross plans across the country–that no one else seems to be paying attention to:. Anthem, one of the Big Six health insurers, has gone from a company that just 10 years...

War is a Racket

Look at the front page of any newspaper and you can’t help but be affected by the scenes of suffering and tragedy coming out of Ukraine. Turn to the business pages, however, and you will find this cloud’s silver lining. On 25 February, the day after the Russian invasion, shares of the world’s five biggest defense firms—Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, BAE Systems, and Northrop Grumman—all spiked. Two months later, all but Boeing are trading higher than they were on 24 February. Clearly, if you deal in death and destruction, business is good.

The Potter Report: An Analysis of UnitedHealth Group’s Earnings Report

If there was ever any dispute that the U.S. government has become the biggest and most reliable cash cow for America’s for-profit health insurers, UnitedHealth Group’s first-quarter 2022 earnings report put that dispute to rest. Over the past 10 years, United, America’s biggest health insurer, has seen its...

The Potter Report: Biden Admin Gives Insurers Big Pay Raise

In a move generally ignored by most media outlets, the Biden administration this week made the shareholders of a small number of for-profit health insurers much richer. As I’ve noted many times in recent years, insurers’ new cash cow is the federal government’s Medicare program, which has become increasingly privatized since former president George W. Bush signed the Medicare Modernization Act into law in 2003. That law is best known for establishing the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, which, as I wrote in Nation on the Take, was largely written by lobbyists for pharmaceutical and health insurance companies to ensure an ongoing stream of billions of dollars in profits.

The Potter Report: Underinsurance

I’d like to introduce you to a couple of former colleagues of mine who played key roles in making sure you pay a lot out of your own pocket before your coverage kicks in. Meet David Cordani, CEO of Cigna, and Karen Lynch, CEO of CVS Health, which now owns Aetna. Like me, Karen is a Cigna alum.

What Events in Ukraine Can Teach Us For the Future

Now that the Russian onslaught of Ukraine has escalated from incursion to all-out war, many pundits will be claiming “I told you so,” or “we saw this coming a mile away.” Perhaps some of these people had the clairvoyance or insight to be able to make these claims now, but for the most part, people with knowledge of the players and the geopolitics involved never thought that Mr. Putin would be so bold. Why? Because he has so much to lose.

The Enigma of Stigma

Where NICU nurse Donna Schmidt worked, the earsplitting shrill of alarm bells was only sometimes drowned out by the tears of patients sobbing for help. Since June 2020, Schmidt has been fighting on the frontlines of the pandemic, but her biggest battle started on August 26th—when New York State implemented its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The Potter Report: UnitedHealth’s $24 Billion Profit

Just days after a Commonwealth Fund report showed that American families are sending health insurance companies more and more of their income every year even as their deductibles skyrocket, the country’s biggest insurer reported massive 2021 profits and told investors to expect even higher profits in 2022. UnitedHealth on...

Don’t Look Up! (or down or anywhere)

Many of you may have recently watched the film on Netflix titled “Don’t Look Up”. It was recommended to me a few weeks ago and I finally had a chance to take in the show last night. And, wow! What an interesting and timely theme for so...

A Note from the Publisher

In October 2021, the New York City Board of Health declared “racism” to be a public health crisis. Why? The statistics say that non-whites receive less treatment, worse treatment, and suffer from more disease than whites. The underlying causes are many; most having to do with discrimination and disinformation. This is not a new problem – but it has been in the news recently due to COVID and the fact that people of color suffer more from COVID than whites. Unfortunately, “racism” – as disconnected as it might sound from traditional definitions of “public health” – is not the only non-intuitive factor in our poor public health status in America.

The US is Set to Make Nuclear War More Likely

The US is about to move towards a far more likely first use of nuclear weapons, with word that the Air Force has “completed flight testing” of the cost-and-performance-plagued F35A Lightning fighter, all units of which are being “upgraded” to carry thermonuclear weapons. What this means, as explained in a...

Lower Out-of-Pockets NOW

Health insurance industry executives knew from the beginning that their strategy of moving as many Americans as possible into high-deductible health plans would lead to financial ruin and even early death for millions. But they didn’t care. They cared more about implementing a strategy that gave them greater assurance of meeting Wall Street’s profit expectations.

Wasted Resources

Tarbell was founded on the premise that healthcare was too expensive and inaccessible for millions of Americans. This underserved population needed an advocate to advance the notion of affordable and quality healthcare for all citizens. The nature of this mission obviously lends itself to those individuals, organizations and political figures who share the concept that a healthy America leads to a more prosperous America, especially when the cost of being healthy is fair and reasonable. In practical terms, this means Medicare for All or a close equivalent.

I Hear Them

Recent and ongoing world events demand attention, thought and a critical reTHINK about health, healthcare and Public Health. There is a common denominator between what’s unfolding in Afghanistan, the ongoing mass shootings in Chicago, the lack of infrastructure in Haiti, the overburdened hospitals in the United States and the persistent politicization of healthcare: Disregard for health and Public Health.