What We’re Reading: Health Coverage Difficulties; Congress Pressed on Drug Shortages; US Hospitals’ Aggressive Debt Collection


Most people with health insurance coverage experienced health coverage problems in the past 12 months; oncologists are pressing lawmakers to implement long-term solutions to chemotherapy shortages; the nonprofit Human Rights Watch is calling out US hospitals for forcing people into debt.

Most Consumers Experience Issues Using Health Coverage, Survey Says

In a survey of 3,605 people with health insurance, 58% reported experiencing at least 1 problem using their coverage in the past year, according to a KFF news release. The survey, which included a nationally representative population of individuals insured through an employer, Medicare, Medicaid, or Affordable Care Act marketplaces, found that an even higher proportion of people with the greatest health care needs reported having issues using their insurance. Among the problems reported were denied claims for care they believed to be covered, delays and denials of care that eeded prior authorization, and trouble finding in-network providers.

Congress Pressed to Act on Chemotherapy Drug Shortages

Oncologists urged lawmakers to act amid shortages of essential chemotherapy drugs during a hearing held by the House Commitee on Energy and Commerce's subcommittee on health Tuesday, reported The Hill. The majority of cancer centers reported shortages of commonly used chemotherapy drugs in a recent survey, and most of those shortages can be attributed to the temporary closure of a drug manufacturing plant in India after the FDA discovered quality control issues. Although measures like the importation of drugs from other countries have been implemented to mitigate the shortages, health care community members say that the current shortage is a result of a years-long trend that will need an industry-wide solution.

International Rights Org Calls Out US Hospitals for Debt Collection Tactics

Human Rights Watch, a nonprofit known for spotlighting victims of war, famine, and political repression worldwide, is calling on the American government to protect patients from aggressive billing and debt collection tactics used by nonprofit hospitals, according to KFF Health News. In a report published June 15, the organization targets US hospitals for forcing millions of American patients into debt and for using strategies such as legal action against patients. The organization considers these tactics to sabotage patiens' human rights, and the report, “In Sheep’s Clothing: United States’ Poorly Regulated Nonprofit Hospitals Undermine Health Care Access,” demands stronger government action to protect Americans from such practices.

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