The market for medical tourism grows as Americans increasingly seek medical care outside of the United States and pay cash for services.  Patients know they can obtain adequate quality care in Mexico for out of pocket costs far lower than their insurance plans with high deductibles would cover.  Posting basic outpatient visit and simple procedure prices could benefit our independent practices in the same way.  The only thing worse than ...

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It's been a rough past couple of months not only for millions of Americans whose health care futures depend on decisions to be made by the new Congress and the Trump administration but for those of us who teach about the U.S. health system for a living. As one health policy expert I follow tweeted only half-facetiously, on election night: "Dear students: all that stuff I taught you about the ...

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Three men walk into a deli for lunch, take a number, and sit quietly until called. There are no prices on display, nor is the food visible. The first man, Ron, is called to the counter and states that he is hungry when asked what brings him in. He presents his food insurance credentials, and five minutes later, he walks out the door with a 12-inch gourmet sandwich, a side ...

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The call came at 4:30 a.m. I answered when she called the second time, as I was too late to answer the first. “Dr. Harper. I think I need to go to the hospital. I just feel so weak.” It was Bessie, a patient I have known for over 15 years. She’s been struggling for a few week, and while we are working through this struggle, we are clearly not doing ...

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An excerpt from Flatlining:  How Healthcare Could Kill the U.S. Economy. In recent history, the U.S. economy has experienced the near catastrophic failure of two major market segments. The first was the auto industry and the second was the housing industry. While each of these reached their breaking point for different reasons, they both required a significant government bailout to keep them from completely melting down. What is also ...

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The concept of sickness insurance began in Germany in 1883. Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck initiated insurance for the poor. A decision about how these services were to be delivered is critical to understanding the contentious debates around health care. Could Bismarck have given vouchers for care as needed? Alternatively, should the government control the needed health care facilities? Perhaps thinking the poor did not have the capability to manage their own health, he chose ...

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Republicans have been waiting a long time for this moment. After sixty previous attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, their moment has arrived. President-elect Trump and Speaker Ryan believe that they can repeal Obamacare and roll back the clock. It won’t happen. Here’s why. 1. Millions will lose health insurance. Pre-Obamacare, nearly 20 percent of Americans went uninsured,  and this disproportionately affected lower-income levels. Those are ...

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If you understand statistics and possess the intestinal fortitude to examine a ranking methodology, you will recognize that it involves ingredients that have to be recombined, repackaged and renamed. It's messy, like sausage-making. This is not to say that the end product — hospital rankings — are distasteful. Patients deserve valid, transparent and timely information about quality of care so they can make informed decisions about whether and where to receive ...

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The Republican congressional leadership appears to be determined to move forward with a high-risk “repeal, delay and replace” plan, very early in the new 115th Congress to repeal (at least on paper) the Affordable Care Act’s key coverage provisions—Medicaid expansion, subsidies to make private insurance sold through the exchanges affordable, the individual and employer mandates, and the taxes to pay for coverage—by a simple majority vote, while delaying when the ...

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President Barack Obama, whether wittingly or not, invested his entire political capital in reforming health care in America. He gambled and lost. Not because he had nefarious intentions, but because he left the gory details to a corrupt Congress and a shady cadre of lying and conniving technocrats, ending up with something vastly different from what he campaigned on. From everything I’m reading now, President-elect Donald Trump is about to ...

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