Health care providers and patients alike have been physically and emotionally frustrated when dealing with health care’s rising cost. Legislative restrictions based on cost often defy logic and common sense in a way that most people have never encountered. But what is it specifically about the health care market that gives us these fundamentally perverse situations? Many point fingers at insurance companies, big pharma, hospitals owned by private equity firms, ...

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If she had been eligible for Medicare, the hospital would have charged the government $10,000 for the services it provided to her, with Medicare picking up most of the tab. But lacking insurance, she was billed directly from the hospital, and not for a mere $10,000. The total charge: $120,000! That 1,200 percent markup is extreme. But out of the 50 U.S. hospitals with the largest price markups, 49 are for-profit ...

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I cracked a Budweiser and flipped on Spotify radio for what I was told would be a challenge.  On my computer screen, Minnesota’s health insurance exchange website waited expectantly, to which I submitted the Holy Trinity of health information -- age, date of birth, and tobacco usage -- and waited.  The next page loaded slowly, evidence of the voluminous information that would soon surface.  I had hoped for simplicity, instead, ...

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The federal government is currently debating whether the big six health insurance companies in the U.S. will soon become the big four. Aetna and Humana have announced plans to merge, as have Anthem and Cigna. The American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association strongly oppose the mergers, saying they will reduce competition in consumer markets. Meanwhile, health care provider groups continue to consolidate. Small hospitals either get swallowed up by ...

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shutterstock_180281192 When was it that we stopped respecting ourselves and our profession?  When did we decide that quietly smoldering or complaining to one another is better than standing up as a single entity for what we know is right? How did we allow misconceptions and distrust of physicians to grow? For outside forces to dictate what is best for our patients and take ...

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Pharmaceutical drugs cost too much. The new ones are always so expensive. Hence, we need more regulations. And, the government should impose them. Set price limits. Cap drugmaker profits. This will make it better for all of us. The paternalism of our government should be the strongest when we are ill. Because we may need that medicine. The government should regulate things more so we can get it cheaper. Case in point. One new medication ...

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growth-in-administrators_opt I’m taking back medicine. If you didn’t know it left or that someone stole it, I’ll give you a pass. Medicine has been disguised for a long time now. And, when you leave the scene in camouflage, you often go unnoticed. Medicine is supposed to be the science or practice of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. I love medicine. There’s so much to learn. Lots ...

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Smitty greets Sully as they meet to head to work, “Hey there, Sully! How’s your wife?” Sully answers, “Oh, geez. She’s up in bed with laryngitis.” Then Smitty says, “Laryngitis?! That damned Greek!”
As you may have guessed, I am nursing a case of laryngitis, my voice muted and strained. This time, it has not stopped me from attending to my work responsibilities or other activities. It has required some adjustments though, ...

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Patients want to receive health care that is of the highest quality. Physicians want to provide it. But what is “high-quality health care?” On that, few agree. Ask most Americans and they’re unsure where to find it. They know they want to be kept healthy, have rapid access to personalized care whenever they need it and be charged only what they can afford. Ask the leaders of the national medical and surgical ...

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shutterstock_231494431 "Doctor, the patient is complaining," said my secretary in a hush-hush voice. “She has been waiting for 30 minutes.” “She” had an appointment for later in the afternoon but phoned our office about 2 hours before the scheduled time, and requested to come earlier. No emergency. No acute complaints. We always try to accommodate, and pushed to “squeeze” her in. The earlier time, ...

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