Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment formula has hung like an annual albatross around the necks of physicians, Congress, and medical associations for more than a decade. Finally, we have a realistic opportunity to fling that albatross into the sea. Three congressional committees -- from both the House and the Senate, with both Democratic and Republican support -- have crafted the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014, ...

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I recently asked if Obamacare was unraveling. The Obama administration announced that they are delaying the employer mandate again. In the announcement, they said that large employers, those with at least 100 workers, will only have to cover 70% of their otherwise eligible workforce in 2015 and 95% in 2016 and beyond. The administration also said that employers with 50 to 100 workers will have their mandate to provide affordable health ...

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We all know that health care costs in the U.S. are too high.  But why is American health care so expensive?  Some experts blame the desire for profit.  Russell Andrews, a  neurosurgeon and author of Too Big To Succeed laments “the morphing of American medicine from a function of a humanitarian society into a revenue stream for health care profits, drug and medical device companies, hospitals, and insurance companies.  In essence, ...

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There is a new report out from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) titled “The Slow Recovery of the Labor Market,” and as its title implies, it predicts a slow recovery from a labor perspective. Among other things, the CBO report is now making headlines in the political game of Obamacare because it forecasts a 2.5 million job reduction by 2024 due to the effects of the health care ...

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Even the best of families have skeletons: the uncle who had some shady business dealings, the cousin in drug rehab, brother with the messy divorce and custody fight, or the adult kids who are maxed out on their credit and behind in their mortgage payments but have to “keep up appearances” with their expensive suburban lifestyle.  When these things happen, there is a tendency to “keep it all in the ...

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The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to make affordable, quality health care coverage available to more Americans. But how many physicians will America need to satisfy this new demand? The debate over doctor supply rages on with very little conclusive evidence to prove one case or the other. Those experts who see a shortage point to America’s aging population -- and their growing medical needs -- as evidence of a ...

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Next in a series. Primary care physicians (PCPs) are becoming extinct.  It’s true. Not many medical students choose primary care as their career path. Older PCPs are retiring early. Many others are closing their practices or seeking employment at the local hospital. And there has always been a shortage of primary care physicians in rural and urban poor areas. Today only 30% of all physicians practice primary care (compared to ...

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As the patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) train charges forward along with implementation of the Affordable Care Act, dollars are taken directly out of our health care system to certify providers in a method with no proven benefit. And, while there is a marked shortage of primary care providers nationwide, funds that could be used toward providing the direct provision of, or access to, health care are instead devoted to accreditation, ...

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Is Obamacare unraveling? Rumors have been circulating in the marketplace all week that the administration was thinking of extending the individual health insurance policies that Obamacare was supposed to have cancelled for as much as three more years. Those rumors have now come out into the open with Tom Murphy's AP story that began running recently. That the administration might extend these polices shouldn't come as a shock. My sense has always been ...

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A little over a month ago, my family of five moved to a more spacious and modern house in the same neighborhood. I'm slowly getting adjusted to our new place -- the locations of the light switches, how to operate the refrigerator's automatic ice maker, which cycle to choose among the dozen different options displayed on our high-end washing machine. It still takes me a few minutes longer to get ...

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