This is important to you. Trust me. If you’re young at heart, it matters because it’s your tax dollars this April. If you’re wiser in years, it directly affects your health and the system you’ve been pumping money into for decades. This is the same medical system that you thought would take care of you later in life. Again, this is about your money and your health, so read on. Government-funded health insurance in the United States is administered ...

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According to OECD data, Americans see doctors less frequently than people in any developed nation. We are hospitalized less frequently, and we stay in the hospital less time than citizens of other nations. The vast majority of Americans, more than any other nation, describe themselves as healthy, and America has the largest percentage of young people in its population. So why is health care in America so much more expensive ...

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I am not an economist. This is how I start my high-value care session during the internal medicine clerkship orientation day at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), and it is absolutely true.  It doesn’t take an economist, though, to realize that health care is too expensive.  Health care spending as a percentage of GDP has increased from around 7 percent in 1970 to almost 18 percent in 2010.   An ...

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Life is tough for physicians in solo and small group practice.  The federally mandated introduction this fall of ICD-10 requires physicians and their staffs to learn a new system of coding diseases.  “Meaningful use,” another federal program, requires physicians to install and use electronic health records systems, which are complex and expensive.  And PQRS, the Physician Quality Reporting System, is beginning to penalize physicians for failing to report individual data ...

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Health care in America is a perfect example of the Pareto principle, because 80 percent of our gargantuan expenditures on health care are due to only 20 percent of us who are very sick, elderly, disabled and vulnerable in many other ways. If we genuinely wished to reduce health care expenditures, common sense dictates that we would leave the 80 percent alone and zero in on those 20 percent, trying to ...

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shutterstock_74638591 You’re 56 years old. You’re one of the 30 million people (give or take a bunch) that you hear have received health insurance in this country as a result of the Affordable Care Act. You are a positive number in the New York Times headlines the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have been wanting you to read. And, this is how it’s working ...

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I am of the belief that every ACO must be physician-led. We must depend on them not only for clinical improvement, but also for developing a culture of improvement. Culture is vitally important. Culture trumps dollars, technology, data, and about anything else you would use in clinical medicine. If I was getting into the ACO business, I would start recruiting clinicians that embrace these characteristics: 1. Team leadership. Every doc is a leader to some degree, ...

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Yeah, it happened. The SGR is finally dead. Hooray! Sort of. I mean, it's great and all that -- we'll no longer have the annual threat of a massive payment cut from a poorly crafted piece of legislation from the 1990s; we'll no longer have to endure the annual ritual of last-minute legislative theatrics to avert the yearly cuts, we'll no longer have to waste our lobbying time and effort ...

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The 92-8 vote in the United States Senate to join the House in passing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), H.R. 2, represents a remarkable milestone for the Medicare program, and for ACP advocacy on behalf of internists and patients. It is remarkable not only because it eliminates the failed Medicare SGR -- how often does Congress admit it made a mistake, and then correct it? -- but because it ...

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New York officials are doing an “experiment” that should strike fear, anger, and outrage in the hearts of doctors who take care of Medicare patients. (New York has the highest Medicaid budget of any state.) As any doctor who has a high volume of Medicaid patients knows, Medicaid pays practically nothing.  Doctors who take Medicaid usually have to carry a bigger patient load to survive.  Medicaid patients are often sicker than ...

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