Recently, we marked the 66th birthday of Medicaid, the jointly funded but State-run program that supports health care for the poor. Medicaid plays a huge role in selected populations: 70% of nursing home inhabitants, 56% of low-income children and 42% of adults, and 44% of people living with HIV/AIDS all have their health care paid for by Medicaid. Medicaid is much talked about these days, and the reason is of course ...

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One of the great myths of healthcare is that there is an actual "system" in the United States. If such a system exists, I have yet to become familiarized with it. What we have are mountains of paper that slavishly tie the patient, doctor, hospital and insurance carrier alike to a system of coding interpreted by individuals with no sense of what the codes mean or the labor and ...

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Not only is Social Security on the chopping block in order to respond to Republican extortion. So is Medicare. But Medicare isn’t the nation’s budgetary problems. It’s the solution. The real problem is the soaring costs of health care that lie beneath Medicare. They’re costs all of us are bearing in the form of soaring premiums, co-payments, and deductibles. Medicare offers a means of reducing these costs — if Washington would let ...

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A few weeks ago a patient came into my office referred for evaluation regarding surgery on her carotid artery. Although she had no symptoms, her primary physician had performed carotid ultrasound and found a severe narrowing on one side. She presented the results of this examination, and several additional diagnostic studies that had been performed recently. As it turned out, the doppler was inaccurate and she did not have any narrowing. ...

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37 years ago, at the very tail of the civil rights movement, my community health center (CHC) was established in Oakland to fill an unmet and urgent need. A growing population of immigrants were settling in downtown Oakland and had few choices for health care. Community surveys conducted by local leaders confirmed that residents received significantly less health care than the rest of the population largely due to a ...

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How to slow Medicare’s escalating costs has been the big health care policy issue recently, with Republicans and Democrats offering competing proposals, each part of broader plans for reducing the federal deficit—projected to be $1.5 trillion this year, with the government borrowing 40 cents for every dollar it spends. Unfortunately, neither the Medicare proposal of Representative Paul Ryan’s House Budget Committee, nor that offered in response by President Obama, can ...

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Living in Washington, DC, I can not help but notice that many interest groups are up in arms about the debt ceiling debate (or more aptly, brinksmanship) going on between the Congress and the President. AARP is running a full-length TV ad that carries a stern warning to politicians: hands off Social Security and Medicare, or else. The energy lobby has a radio ad that direly warns: raising taxes on them would ...

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Danielle and Robb Deaver are living proof of the awful reality of Nebraska’s ill-conceived “fetal pain” law. The law, which took effect last October and is the only one of its kind in America, prohibits abortions in the state after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is based on the discredited notion that a fetus may feel pain at that stage of development. Physicians who break the law face ...

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Health care leaders are busy talking to attorneys and consultants about how to set up Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). A recent Advisory Board survey found that 73 per cent of hospital finance executives said that creating such an organization was a top priority for their health system.

Last year my most popular keynote topic was patient-centered medical home creation; this year everyone wants a presentation on ACOs. However not ...

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There is no "right" answer to the healthcare reform issue. There are facts, opinions, myths, politics and reality, all in no particular order of magnitude. Unfortunately, thus far and likely in the future, the reform will be political and thus costly and painful and will not address the core issues involved in fixing the inherent systemic problems. There have been many things written with regard to this topic and I ...

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