Most doctors will tell you that Medicare payments to doctors haven’t increased in a decade, and that doctors are turning away Medicare patients in droves. But they would be mistaken on both counts. An authoritative compilation of current data from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission shows what is really happening with Medicare physician spending: Medicare spending per beneficiary on physicians’ fee schedule services steadily increased from 2001 to 2011.  In 2001, Medicare ...

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Most of the attention given to the nascent state health insurance exchanges has largely focused on their role in improving access to insurance for individuals and small employers, not on the role they can play in improving health care quality. As envisioned by the Affordable Care Act, health insurance exchanges provide an opportunity to create more organized and competitive insurance markets by offering a choice of plans, establishing rules on the ...

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The dream of reason did not take power into account - modern medicine is one of those extraordinary works of reason - but medicine is also a world of power. -Paul Starr, The Social Transformation of American Medicine, 1984 How can primary care's position be reasserted as a policy leader rather than follower? Even though it is a linchpin discipline within America's health system and its larger economy - ...

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When I first got interested in medicine, I also got interested in health policy. I was already out of college and so I decided to educate myself - not a bad discussion topic for med school interviews, after all - and found it much, much harder than expected. There were so many topics, so many opinions, and so little that seemed to connect up to give me the big picture. ...

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A guest column by the American Medical Association, exclusive to KevinMD.com. As the new president of the AMA, I’m excited to help lead the nation’s largest physician organization during this important time for our health care system. The year is off to a positive start – only two weeks after I was inaugurated at the AMA’s Annual Meeting, the Supreme Court ...

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I recently had the privilege of joining the Yale Cancer Center’s contingent on a visit to University College London in the U.K., where we share a number of scientific collaborations. Between discussions of pathways, particles, and personalized medicine, some of the “tea time” conversation turned to policy and how uninsured patients with cancer in the U.S. get care. We talked about ...

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My initial reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold The Affordable Care Act was to breathe a sigh of relief.  The law, particularly the individual mandate – the cornerstone provision – is constitutional and now we can get on with the real task at hand of transforming the U.S. health care system into one in which high-quality and safe care is delivered in an effective, timely, and patient-centered manner. ...

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On the surface, two Wall Street Journal articles painted a gloomy and depressing picture of US healthcare, now and beyond. That wasn’t my take. I felt a rush of optimism. Let me explain. In, ObamaCare’s Lost Tribe: Doctors, deputy WSJ editor, Daniel Henninger wrote about the (forgotten) plight of doctors in the Affordable Care Act. He critiqued the mainstream media coverage of the Supreme Court decision because it left out mention of ...

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A guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD.com. In early June I participated in ACP Services 2012 Leadership Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  I sincerely believe that we have an obligation to share our experiences with elected representatives. Internists through ACP have been doing this for years and have raised awareness of the high ...

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If the government was a physician, it wouldn't be an ordinary doctor like you or I. It would be a sexy actor like the ones we see on those medical melodramas that have become so popular over the last few years.  His hair coiffed, his jacket pressed and free of stains, and his manor confident he would rush into the trauma bay.  As the beeping monitor flat lines, he would sweep the nurses ...

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