A recent report from the Commonwealth Fund, which placed U.S. last amongst developing nations in health care, analyzed Britain’s high score on the management of chronic conditions. The authors attributed care coordination to the widespread adoption of health information technology in the National Health Service (NHS). That’s like someone saying Chinese food is tasty because chopsticks are widely used. Like quants so fastidious about decimal points they’ve missed the overall point. Where do ...

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The recent disagreement between Uwe Reinhardt and Sally Pipes in Forbes is a teachable moment. There’s a dearth of confrontational debates in health policy, and education is worse off for it. Crux of the issue is the more efficient system: employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) or Medicaid. Sally Pipes, president of the market-leaning Pacific Research Institute, believes it is ESI. Employers spend 60% less than the government, per person: $3,430 versus $9,130, ...

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You know it’s going to be one of those days when one of the first tweets on vacation inquires about the closest hospital. Victor, one of my 11-year-olds, had something in his eye courtesy of a big gust of wind outside of Westminster Abbey. He was complaining enough to let me flip his eyelid and irrigate his eye on the square in front of Big Ben. (I’m sure several people thought ...

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“We lost our regular doctor with Obamacare, so now we have to see you.” I routinely ask my new patients how they heard about our pediatric office, and this is the answer I dread most. My pediatric practice is a very nice and modern private office, and in my opinion, full of excellent physicians. I entrust my own children’s care to my partners. But none of that matters when you’re the rebound doctor, the ...

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In a previous post, I described how the American health care system is morphing into a system designed to service impoverished populations, and concluded that the transition “will take time, thoughtful planning, lots of innovation and a carefully cultivated disdain for human life.” However, a new blog post from Dr. Peter Ubel makes me think that it may not take that much time after all. It seems that Dr. Ubel ...

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The unrelenting opposition by American conservatives to Obamacare may have the unintended consequence of leading the United States to a single-payer system like Canada’s. How’s that, you say? Isn’t the whole point of conservative opposition to Obamacare to drive home the point that the government is incapable of managing people’s health care?  Yes.  And aren’t conservatives effective in driving home that point? Yes, polls show that confidence in government is at ...

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“Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on. “I do,” Alice hastily replied; “at least–at least I mean what I say–that’s the same thing, you know.” “Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see!” The brilliant Lewis Carroll had a field day with logical fallacies in ...

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I am a long-time proponent of measuring provider performance and aligning it with payment as an effective means for improving the quality of care and with it, patient outcomes. Because of this, I welcomed the value-based purchasing concepts and quality improvement initiatives that are fundamental to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But, as in so many things, the devil is in the details and, despite their best efforts, measure designers can't always ...

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Are American doctors paid too much or too little? A version of column was published in USA Today on July 2, 2014. There are some who think that I’m overpaid as a physician, and that my salary fuels rising health costs.  I can understand their point: A May 2014 survey released by the Medical Group Management Association found that internal medicine doctors like myself have a starting median annual salary of $190,000, ...

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This is a simple plan that would empower patients, improve the lot of primary care physicians and likely hold down medical costs while improving quality in the health care system. I would first like to present the plan, then elaborate on how it could accomplish the above objectives. The first part of the plan would set aside a portion of each person’s health care dollars (i.e., insurance premiums) and place it ...

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