My take: Medicare, balance billing, me, op-eds

Some pre-holiday takes readers have asked me about.

Here’s my take on . . .

1) . . . the Medicare cuts:
Next week is going to be an interesting week. My guess is that the Senate will hammer out something to avoid the 10% physician payment cuts. The question is, will the Republicans take money away from the Medicare Advantage plans? And will the President veto the bill? I think the answers will be yes and maybe. The Democrats have grown some balls and will play tough.

So far, the Republicans have done all they can to hurt physicians – I’m sure this debacle has caused a few to cross over party lines.

Part of me wants to see the cuts go through. With physicians dropping Medicare left and right, the AARP will go ape. It will be the closest thing we can get to a strike. Maybe then the politicians will recognize the value of physician access and do something about the payment system. Sometimes it takes a crisis to affect change.

2) . . . the lawsuit against balance billing in California:
I just received a $2,000 bill from my dentist for costs not covered by my dental insurance. There should be no reason why doctors and hospitals can’t do the same.

3) . . . why I don’t write more original pieces:
Time. My day consists of seeing 25+ primary care patients, sifting through 100+ blogs and newspapers for interesting links, and spending time with my family. Writing a polished op-ed takes me about 3-5 days. So, if I write more original pieces, my patients, blog, and family will suffer. Can’t have everything.

I’d like nothing more than to spend more time writing, but alas, it doesn’t pay the bills.

4) . . . why I didn’t publish your link:
I receive about 50+ e-mails per day asking me to link, mention, or endorse a site, book, blog, or product. I link to what I think is interesting, and it’s a completely subjective process. If you don’t like it, well, you can start your own blog.

In general, I prefer links to pieces that are well-written, easy to read, and takes a somewhat balanced, measured tone.

I can’t post everything I receive, so I apologize in advance if I can’t publish your link.

5). . . how to get an op-ed published in the newspaper:
I’ve been fortunate to have a few printed. I learned everything I know from Googling “How to write an op-ed“. Here’s a handy list of contacts for the major American newspapers.

If you get rejected, don’t despair. Often times it’s a matter of timing. Try submitting it to another publication.

That’s it for now. I’ll be taking the weekend off, but there will be a Reader Take by Dr. Leap. If you’re in Boston, you can catch me at Chowderfest on Sunday. Mmm . . . chowda.

Happy Fourth, and a belated happy First to my fellow Canadians.

Want my take? E-mail a topic or question you want me to blog about. Selected entries will be posted in the regular “My Takes” feature.

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