Despite the political angst, the doomsday predictions and a very rocky launch, the Affordable Care Act has enabled more than 8 million Americans to acquire insurance coverage through the public exchanges. Health insurance increases the probability that patients will access the medical care they need. And my colleagues at Kaiser Permanente are already seeing some positive stories emerging as a result. They’ve shared dozens of stories with me about patients with undiagnosed ...

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Did you ever read a seemingly inconsequential sentence somewhere and it then just refused to leave your mind for days on end, triggering avalanches of thoughts way beyond the original intent, if there even was one? It just happened to me a few days ago when I read one more industry article about the recent Medicare data dump. The following remark was attributed to a primary care doctor: “The U.S. is ...

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California, along with the rest of the nation, is facing a serious primary care physician shortage that grows worse every year. As health care reform takes full effect and millions more Americans gain coverage and therefore can afford to seek the care they need, many will have trouble finding a family physician or other primary care doctor to care for them, as many patients already do. We must make certain ...

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As a future doctor, I believe that digital dialogue affords medicine a powerful responsibility to educate and engage. I believe physicians have a responsibility, as daily witnesses to the gaps and failures of public policy, to advocate for social justice and policy reform. I believe that medicine should extend beyond the proximate effects of illness and injury to address their root social etiologies. I’ve always held these beliefs with firm conviction. ...

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I've long been a skeptic when it comes to disclosing information about how doctors practice medicine, how hospitals treat patients and what both doctors and hospitals charge for their services. While I am all for transparency, it's still an open question how patients or consumers of medical care can actually use that stuff to find "the one that's right for you" or "the best" as marketers like to say. I'm dropping ...

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I do not provide health care. What we physicians do is practice medicine, and what we do for patients is called medical care. No one says, “I want some health care.” What they think is, “I don’t feel well. I want to see a doctor.” People get sick and they get hurt. It’s true that many these conditions occur as a result of things they do (smoke, eat junk food, drink too much alcohol, ...

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During ACP’s annual meeting in Orlando recently, the American College of Physicians released a new position paper on reducing injuries and deaths from firearms -- the first comprehensive update of College policy since the late 1990s. (I am a co-author of the paper.) Published as an online-first article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the paper is the result of an extraordinarily comprehensive review of the evidence of the causes and ...

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As the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services prepares to enhance its Physician Compare website to include quality of care information, practices across the country are getting ready to share data on the care of their Medicare patients or face penalties come 2015. Publicly reporting performance measurement data is something we have been doing for the past seven years with 16 communities across the country as part of the Robert ...

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What a shame: Reimbursement rates are going up for private Medicare Advantage plans. Contrary to its April 7 announcement that private Medicare reimbursement rates would be reduced, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has just reversed course and announced that it will increase overall Medicare Advantage rates. The change in policy came after pressure from the political parties and insurance companies. As Medicare spending per beneficiary grows at a ...

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Next in a series. There has been a lot of interest in the Daily Beast article written by Dr. Daniela Drake, about very frustrated primary care physicians (PCPs). She quoted both Dr. Kevin Pho and myself from posts here at KevinMD.com. Dr. Drake noted that nine of 10 doctors would not recommend medicine to their children as a career and that 300 physicians commit suicide each year: “Simply put, being a doctor ...

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