Recently, the Board of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) announced that, for now, it would continue participating in the Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC), the secretive American Medical Association committee that, through a longstanding relationship with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has heavily influenced physician reimbursement. At nearly the same time, Medicare announced that it will go broke in 2024, a decade sooner ...

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It’s getting scary. We are facing, before the end of this decade, a bifurcated future. The way things are going now—with the economy wheezing, doctors bailing, chronic disease rising fast, boomers sliding out of the Viagra years into the Depends years, reimbursements getting squeezed ever tighter, Medicaid sputtering on fumes, and 30 million or more new people soon swarming our doors with insurance cards—if we don’t pull a rabbit out ...

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by Rishi Manchanda, MD, MPH Mr. M walked into the community clinic where I work with a portable oxygen tank in tow. At 62, he's gaunt and winded, battling a disease that is progressively scarring his lungs. Every breath is a fight. Instead of the clear flow of air, I hear the sound of velcro ripping when I place my stethoscope on his chest. In medicine, his ...

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is in the process of being rolled out, however many questions remain. Will it guarantee universal coverage? Will it stand up to the many court challenges? The private insurance industry will receive an estimated 400 billion in taxpayer money to subsidize the purchase of these plans. Is this the best way to spend our money? Many of us in the health field remain skeptical ...

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by Terry O’Keefe The State of Vermont just passed the nation’s first single-payer universal healthcare system. While there are still some bureaucratic hurdles to cross, Vermont will soon install the kind of system that healthcare progressives have been drooling about for decades. And whether you think that puts Vermont on the high road to healthcare nirvana, or the low road to socialized medicine, I think we ...

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A guest column by the American Medical Association, exclusive to KevinMD.com. There is said to be an old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. As I wrap up my year traveling the country as President of the AMA, I can without a doubt say physicians are living – and practicing medicine – in interesting times. This can be a challenge, but does not need to be a curse. There are ...

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Whether specialists make too much money depends on whom you ask. Policy experts If you ask policy experts, most of whom are progressives, they will say  "yes, of course, specialists make too much money." Too many specialists making too much money spoil the national health care broth. Just look at any other country, especially countries with government-run systems. Specialists there make one-half of what our specialists bring home. Look at their total ...

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The number of patients with acute care problems visiting the emergency rooms is steadily climbing. According to the article Hospitals Work to Reduce ER Wait Times posted on the ASQ website the rate is increasing at a 3% annual rate.  This leads to several problems, including longer waiting time.  An analysis of the growth reveals several trends in the demographics ...

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Surgery is expensive, there are no doubts about that. However, there are a few things a patient without insurance who desires surgery can do to minimize the costs as much as possible. Before going into cost-cutting measures, you first need to understand where the costs come from. In rank order, the costs of surgery come from (highest to lowest):

by J. Walden Retan MD Begin with what everyone knows.  Healthcare costs and health insurance costs are climbing more than twice as fast as the cost of living, and have been for years. There is no need for numbers to prove the point. Just ask anyone who buys health insurance on their own, any employer trying to take care of his employees, any employee whose wages ...

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