I received my Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins in 2006. I took a course on transportation safety where we focused on designing roads for safety, making airlines safer, and decreasing the risk of medical helicopter crashes. In 2007, I worked for Public Citizen, Ralph Nader’s consumer advocacy group. Ralph’s book, Unsafe at Any Speed, forced the automobile industry to focus on converting their cars from steel death ...

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by Peter J. Pitts "Newspeak," the language of Big Brother, was designed "not to extend but to diminish the range of thought." Some well-known examples of Newspeak are Bellyfeel (a blind, enthusiastic acceptance of an idea), Duckspeak (meaning literally to quack like a duck or to speak without thinking), Crimethink (the Newspeak word for thought crime) and Goodthink (or "political orthodoxy"). Which brings us from the nightmare fantasy of "1984" to the health ...

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Governor Brewer’s decision to withhold liver transplants for Medicaid recipients in Arizona should serve as a loud warning to the electorate regarding governmental intrusions into health care financing and health care operations. The decision was ill advised on the basis of multiple factors.  The survival rates differ from one facility to another. What is the liver transplant survival rate and what information needs to be considered when looking at such numbers? For example, ...

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Here is a letter to the editor in a recent Philadelphia Inquirer:

… In 1986, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor law, which requires hospitals to admit all who arrive at the emergency room and treat them without regard for their ability to pay. In essence, we had federally mandated national health care – ...

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Medicare was touted as the social entitlement program that would forever change health care access for our seniors. But is it becoming the biggest challenge to seeing the doctor of your choice? For the first time in the almost 50 years of the program more and more Medicare recipients are facing the challenge of finding a doctor who will take their government sponsored insurance. Sure, there have recently been ...

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The system we had before health reform became law was simply not working. I think we can all agree on that. A significant number of people oppose "Obamacare." I can understand that. But repeal doesn't really solve the problem. Sure, if you think that health reform has or will actually make our system worse than it was before, it seems prudent to undo the legislation, but that brings us back ...

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Primary care physicians, including pediatricians, are usually really nice people. But old baseball fans will remember that Leo Durocher famously said, "nice guys finish last." How true. And, as one result, the American healthcare system and the American people are the real losers. A deliberate radical change in the behavior of American primary care physicians and their representative organizations could go a long way toward fixing our broken healthcare system. Primary care physicians ...

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As reported by MSNBC, the federal government will no longer allow flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to be used for over the counter medications, without a prescription. FSAs, which are offered by many employers, allow you to use tax free dollars for medical expenses that aren't covered by your insurance. FSAs are a great idea and can be used for things like eye glasses, dentistry, or even nicotine patches ...

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It’s amazing how much trouble a couple of hundred inexpensive health insurance policies can cause. Up until recently, few people were aware of the existence of so-called mini-med policies. Marketed primarily by for-profit insurers Aetna and Cigna, they are designed to provide bare-bones coverage to employees of low-wage low-margin service companies. Unlike other approaches to affordable insurance that emphasize catastrophic coverage, mini-meds typically keep premiums affordable (some as low as $15 ...

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The emphasis on primary care as the “key” to lifting the quality of U.S. healthcare may be exaggerated according to a report by Dartmouth’s Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. "Primary care forms the bedrock of a well-functioning, effective health care system," the researchers observe. But-- and this is an important caveat- "simply increasing access to primary care, either by boosting the number of primary care physicians in ...

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