This week at each of our hospitals, a woman gave birth to a baby with a severe heart defect. Twenty years ago, these babies may not have lived. Today, after complex surgery and specialist care, each will go to school, live a normal life. The "medical miracles" that saved these infants — and that could save the child of someone you love — were perfected with support from Medicaid. New ...

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I was thinking of giving politics a break for my next column, instead focusing on some interesting news in the medical world. But alas, politics has permeated all aspects of life, whether professional sports or the latest TV series. Few television shows don’t have a same-sex couple or transgendered individual. Sports news can’t avoid discussions of race, climate change or gun control. What about the medical world? Is that too overrun ...

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As our elected officials consider to weigh the future of our nation’s health care, I thought I would take the opportunity to share a few vignettes of patients that I’ve encountered this year who exemplify the way that access to health care can make the difference between life and death.  The undocumented immigrant with seizures. We recently met a young undocumented Californian in his twenties in the emergency department, who came after ...

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As Republicans in the Senate are working diligently on the destruction of Obamacare, progressives in California are doggedly pursuing a distinctly opposite approach. The California single-payer bill (SB562), aims to expand health insurance coverage to all state residents regardless of income or immigration status. Just as Republicans at the federal level have tried to jam through their health care package without debate or adequate analysis of the downstream financial impact ...

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Our national useless dialogue on the future of health care in the U.S. continues. Trumpcare has a long way to go before it potentially becomes law, so no one knows what it will finally look like. Obamacare is in a death spiral anyway. So the existing financing system will change no matter what. But once again the two-party scream-at-each-other system is only talking about changes in health care financing. On one side, ...

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Despite campaign promises from then candidate Donald Trump as well as from incumbent and new members of Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare, now almost six months into the Trump presidency, Obamacare is still the law of the land. Progress, albeit slow, was apparent this week as the Senate debated their version of a replacement, following the House doing the same two months ago. Are either if these bills a true ...

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California’s state senate’s unipartisan passing of a sweeping single-payer health care bill, the Healthy California Act, has drawn attention to single payer as a solution to the decaying Affordable Care Act. The ACA decreased competition and plan availability in health insurance and leaves patients holding the bag of unaffordable premiums, deductibles, and copays. It’s no surprise that a majority of state residents 
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Darlin Kpangbah receives free health insurance through Medicaid and is grateful for the coverage in case of accidents, such as when she tore a ligament in her leg a few years ago. “I feel like I’m injury-prone,” said Kpangbah, 20, who lives in Sacramento, Calif. Without insurance, she said, the injury “would’ve been huge to pay for.” Young adults like Kpangbah were among the biggest beneficiaries of Obamacare, which helped reduce ...

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“You’re a doctor. You’re a doctor. Goddammit, you’re a doctor, man! You’re a doctor, so say so, and that’s the message, and we’ll follow you,” Jon Lovett shouted to an audience member on Pod Save America. The listener was an internal medicine resident who, in early May, asked how young physicians could better advocate for their patients. I heard this before the House of Representatives voted on the American Health ...

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As a physician, I often forget how much I know.  But there are things that remind me just how different our own experience as doctors is from those who don’t spend their days and nights taking care of the ill. I do a lot of work for television, helping writers and directors to create medically plausible stories and scenes.  I used to get worried that I might get the dose of ...

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