Despite assurances over the course of his presidency that undocumented immigrants brought to the United States by their parents would be protected by this administration, President Trump has announced recently that he is considering ending the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program. DACA was announced by former President Obama in August 2012 as an initiative providing individuals who came to the United States as children and who meet certain other ...

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When health officials learned that the 2015 measles outbreak was caused by clusters of unvaccinated children, Americans once more wanted to understand why some parents do not vaccinate their children. In our highly polarized culture, media commentators and even academics began to connect opposition to vaccination to either the left or right of politics. So a question arises: Who is more likely to be opposed to vaccination, liberals or conservatives? As ...

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Last week a physician friend recommended watching the movie the Big Short. The description given to me was that it was a great movie that was all about a bunch of guys who saw the 2008 financial crisis coming. Sure enough, that very weekend, I planned a night in to get take out and watch it on Netflix. And it sure didn’t disappoint. Starring Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell, Christian Bale, and ...

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To listen to all those desperate to reform health care, you get the impression that physicians are pretty horrible people. We are all sexist, greedy, money grubbing tyrants who will perform unnecessary tests and procedures just to make money. We don't care about quality or cost. We are killing off 250,000 patients every year with our ignored "errors." We purposely keep our patients in pain, or we addict them to ...

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I swiped this editorial cartoon by Steve Sack from the redoubtable Dr. David Gorski’s blog, who goes by the nom-de-web of Orac. Recent epidemiology shows reducing the fraction of vaccinated children in the population rather promptly leads to a resurgence of the diseases vaccines protect against. This is the concept of community or herd immunity. Epidemiologists debate ...

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Recently, there have been many times when you may have gotten a news alert on your phone or checked the latest Twitter hashtag and wanted to scream. Or you were too busy to even check until later that day and did not know what to say other than to lurk and watch a train wreck in progress. You may have thought about saying something, but paused and wondered, “Is this ...

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Reformers have expended considerable effort to change the way Medicare buys health care for millions of Americans, finding a wide range of support across the political spectrum. But Medicare’s current structure may doom these reforms. Some primary care doctors fear that the skewed incentives in Medicare’s pricing system will get built into any new system, whether it is “accountable,” “affordable,” or “value-based.” This fear is well-founded. If special interests buy ...

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I was browsing the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, as I often do, and an article by one Andy Slavitt, MBA, and Gail Wilensky, PhD, titled “Reforming Medicaid,” caught my eye. From 2015 to 2017, Mr. Slavitt served as the Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In that role, he oversaw the government’s awful Meaningful Use EHR program, and helped ...

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Obamacare repeal and replace is going nowhere, despite seven years of promises by Republican members of Congress. For the foreseeable future, it will remain the law of the land, along with rising insurance premiums and deductibles and fewer plans to choose from. It’s worth remembering the next time someone asks you for money to support Republican incumbents. What if the airline industry could light the runway toward fixing one of the ...

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White nationalists and neo-Nazis marched through Charlottesville, President Trump addressed the nation in what should have been a straightforward call for unity against racism and bigotry. Instead, he left us perplexed, wondering if he had just insinuated anti-racist counter-demonstrators were to blame for the violence that ensued. Trump then made explicit his intentions by attempting to spin an argument of moral equivalence between white supremacists and racial justice advocates. He ...

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