Whenever a discussion of health care policy is initiated, the importance of health insurance, of extending coverage, takes center stage. The need for insurance quickly becomes an undeniable truth, a universal imperative. And no one ever seems to question this subtle premise before getting more patients fitted with shiny, new policies. This was precisely the case with the Affordable Care Act. My question, however, is simple. Where is the evidence that ...

Read more...

Legislative bodies are moving with unprecedented swiftness to ensure we lead healthier lives. From bans on soda to bans on fast food, from mandates on health insurance coverage to mandates on EMR use, from bans on trans fats to mandates on care delivery models, our governments (federal, state, and local) are supposedly helping us live well. But our current approach to health care is about as scientific as our approach to fashion -- ...

Read more...

Despite representing only 4% of the world’s population, the United States accounted for almost 35% ($326 billion) of the global market for pharmaceutical drugs in 2012. Not surprisingly, the pharmaceutical industry’s business practices, considerable marketing budgets, and substantial profits are hotly debated as part of virtually every health policy discussion. But before addressing the possibility of transcendent evil in that industry, we should pose a more mundane yet critical question: ...

Read more...

Trauma surgeons earn their patients’ respect every day, acting decisively in the face of calamity and uncertainty, heroically beating back death with steel blades and iron wills. Primary care physicians, however, have traditionally been at a relative disadvantage with regard to public opinion. After all, reconciling medication lists, reviewing lab results, and discussing health behaviors simply aren’t as exciting. In fairness, though, surgeons have always had one other advantage: anesthesia. ...

Read more...

As we address the issue of quality in healthcare, there is much to be learned from other industries. I believe our current approach, though, is a dangerous one, one that won’t yield the desired results. Thus far, we’ve approached quality assurance as if healing were an industrial process, a process similar to those that yield cars, air conditioners, or even cheeseburgers. But in an age where science, technology, and health policy ...

Read more...

“Doctors are crooks.” “They’re getting worse than lawyers.” “I don’t go anymore. They’re just out for a buck, and they don’t really do anything for you anyway.” “I stopped getting checkups when my old one retired. He was good, took his time. I haven’t found anyone like him since.” “They always think they know everything ... a bit too much self-importance there, without ever walking in my shoes.” “They all say the same thing; it’s ...

Read more...

Today’s question is a simple one. How many patients can a physician see in one day and still be thorough? Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for efficiency. But we need to recognize when efforts at efficiency become “medical sloppiness” or, frankly, malpractice. With health care policy and insurance reimbursement what they are today, it’s not uncommon to encounter physicians seeing forty, fifty, and even sixty or more patients a day ...

Read more...

Whenever a discussion of health care policy is initiated, the importance of health insurance, of extending coverage, takes center stage. The need for insurance quickly becomes an undeniable truth, a universal imperative. And we never seem to question this premise enough before getting more patients fitted with shiny, new policies. This was precisely the case with the Affordable Care Act. But where is the evidence insurance plays any role in ...

Read more...

The recent health care discussion in the media has centered around the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, now no longer a lengthy, inert document but rather a living, breathing manifestation of what should be a collective, unambiguous vision for the delivery of care in the United States. It is, however, anything but comprehensive in scope, and the coverage has primarily focused on crashing websites, politics, calls for resignations, and ...

Read more...

1 Pages