Jan 17, 2020

TikTok takes on surprise medical bills

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

TikTok: It's for teens. It's for memes. And sometimes, it's for getting help with a surprise medical bill.

The state of play: The New York Times spotlights Shaunna Burns, who posts videos on the popular social-media app offering life advice and encouragement — including one on hospital billing that garnered thousands of replies about "how baffling the American health care system can be."

There are more authoritative resources out there — Burns' admonition to "Don't take an ambulance unless you are legit dying!" is understandable, but maybe not a maxim to live by.

  • But the simple fact that people are venting on TikTok about their billing surprises shows just how omnipresent frustration with the health care system is.
  • "I thought, 'What if people out there don’t know that they have the right to tell those people to screw off?'" Burns told NYT.

Go deeper:

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How doctors have shaped the fight around surprise medical bills

Doctors' extensive lobbying on surprise medical bills is partly to blame for Congress' inaction on the issue, reports Kaiser Health News.

Why it matters: "As Congress begins its 2020 legislative session, there is evidence the doctors' message has been received: The bills with the most momentum are making more and more concessions to physicians."

Go deeperArrowFeb 13, 2020 - Health

40% of Iowa caucusgoers said health care was their top priority

Bernie Sanders at his caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Iowa Democrats reported Monday that their biggest priorities were beating President Trump and health care — but the meltdown of their election reporting systems left their presidential choices unresolved.

Why it matters: We've been writing for months that Democrats have a major choice ahead, either picking an advocate of Medicare for All — and siding with the plan that's less popular with the rest of the country — or a public option advocate.

Health care prices still rising faster than use of services

Photo: Ricky Carioti/ The Washington Post via Getty Images

Employers, workers and families continued to spend a lot more on health care in 2018, but that wasn't because people used more services, according to the latest annual spending report from the Health Care Cost Institute, which analyzes commercial health insurance claims.

The bottom line: Higher prices remain the main culprit for exploding spending among those with private health insurance.

Go deeperArrowFeb 14, 2020 - Health