Now more than ever, health insurance is a staple story in the 24-hour news cycle. Opinions vary widely on the issue, as do politician’s thoughts on the matter. Debates rage, tensions grow, and deeper divides are formed as our government wrestles with this colossal dispute. Nestled at the heart of it all though is a basic question: Is health insurance a right or a privilege in the United States? I’m alive today ...

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When Lorie Duff was pregnant with her third child, she did what all good moms are supposed to do. She went to the OB/GYN clinic for prenatal care. But she fell behind on the clinic payments. She only made about $25,000 a year managing an auto parts store while her husband stayed home with their kids. The out-of-pocket expenses were outpacing her ability to pay. That’s when she ...

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Pacing refers to spacing out your activities during the day so that you’re able to stay within the limits of what your body can handle without exacerbating your symptoms. Another way to think of it is that pacing is a way to keep you inside your “energy envelope” -- the envelope that contains your energy stores for any given day. First, an admission: Even though pacing may be the single best ...

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I’m convinced this will be a year of reflection for our family  --  as we’ve witnessed so many transitions in the past year I find myself deep in thought. As I reflect, I’m full of appreciation for the journey we’re on. I’m full of gratitude for so many of the people who have helped us along the way  --  especially the amazing doctors who have become like family.  This past ...

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Most of us have grown accustomed to Google and Facebook. When I had an Android phone, I quickly got over the initial creepiness factor of going into a restaurant, bar, or store and having a message from Google popping up with reviews, menus, or coupons. I liked that Google could recommend times to leave or asked if I went to a certain spot often. But Facebook and Google are basically ...

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One of the first things they teach in medical school is that if you haven’t pretty much figured out the diagnosis by the time the patient finishes sharing their history, your doctor hasn’t done his or her job well.  Certainly, this is a bit of an exaggeration, as many diseases cause similar symptoms. As you share your background, your doctor is creating a list of possibilities of the most likely conditions ...

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An article from the Wall Street Journal caught my attention, and for all the wrong reasons. It was a review of two recent studies showing that medical trainees have difficulty diagnosing patients with complicated histories or confounding psychosocial features. At least, that’s the way I would describe those studies. The WSJ, however, used much more pejorative language, referring to them as “difficult patients,” “a nuisance,” and “an annoyance.” The ...

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Patients with extended illness or chronic conditions often acquire a communicative competence with far more complex medical terminology than their doctors realize. This is important, given that patients are too often seen as passive recipients of medical information, or worse, incapable of understanding their own health data. Recent studies show that one of the most effective prescriptions for increasing health outcomes and reducing medical malpractice rates is improving how doctors communicate ...

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I recently consulted a specialist at a major medical center in New York, and a few days later, here came a questionnaire in the mail. "How much time did I spend in the waiting area?" it asked. How long was I kept waiting in the examining room? How close to my appointment time did the doctor see me? The one thing it didn't ask was whether I cared. There's no mystery about ...

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american society of anesthesiologistsA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. As a lifelong resident of southeast Louisiana and a veteran of numerous weather and flood-related events that have required me to use my homeowners and flood insurance, I am very familiar with gaps in insurance coverage.  Insurance policies are very detailed agreements that many ...

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