It’s no doubt that the health care conundrum our nation is facing is fraught with high-risk hypotheses and their unpalatable consequences. Complicating this further is the business-minded nature of many lobbyists and policy-makers influencing our government’s decisions, including the President Trump's. This is particularly timely given the recent executive orders Mr. Trump has unilaterally implemented that both sides of the aisle are concerned about. As a physician with a top ...

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The tide is finally rising under the idea of health care for all in America. It is no longer possible to tar this simple and ubiquitously implemented idea as a bid to “take away our freedom” or “destroy the free market.” Hearteningly, the debate is shifting towards the harder questions of when, and how. One popular idea is to expand Medicare to cover all Americans — essentially turning the government into ...

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In 1729, a prescient Jonathan Swift wrote an essay that has a place in the health care debates of 2017. “A modest proposal for preventing the children of poor people from being a burthen to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick” reads almost like the title of a modern academic manuscript. Then, as now, it was important to look past the title before re-tweeting, ...

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Prescription opioid abuse is one of the United States’ greatest public health challenges. Approximately 97.5 million Americans consume opioids annually, and around 90 people die every day from opioid overuse. The last time in recent history a health care crisis garnered this much public attention was following the release of the 1964 “Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health” correlating smoking to heart disease ...

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The Office of the Surgeon General existed since 1871 when Dr. John Woodworth was appointed the first supervising surgeon of the national hospital system. In the previous year, the Marine Hospital was reorganized into the national hospital system. On January 4, 1889, Congress formally recognized the new personnel system as the Commissioned Corps. The Corps was established along military lines and initially consisted of only ...

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From the CMS website, October 30, 2017, “Today, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma discussed the agency’s efforts to streamline quality measures, reduce regulatory burden, and promote innovation … We need to move from fee-for-service to a system that pays for value and quality -- but how we define value and quality today is a problem. We all know it: Clinicians and hospitals have to report ...

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It has become trendy in health policy circles to believe that behavioral economic interventions are the key to health system improvement. After all, traditional economic interventions like pay per performance have generated underwhelming results, with little or no change in physician behavior. Why not try a non-financial, psychological intervention: like performance feedback! Well, a study conducted in the last couple years in Switzerland raises questions about the effectiveness of ...

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A friend recently asked me, “Where do we go from here?” The friend was referring to our impasse with health care in America. The Democrats have failed to repair the Affordable Care Act, and the Republicans have failed to repeal or replace it. With the status quo, I can understand our health care system providing lower quality care compared to its counterpart industrialized nations. I can even tolerate lack of access to ...

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The Sunshine Act is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.  This act went into effect in August of 2013 and requires the full disclosure of any payments (or transfers of value, i.e., lunches and dinners) made to physicians from pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. The spirit of the act is to have more transparency with regards to potential conflicts of interest created when physicians receive ...

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Years ago, our government had a problem with health care. Medicare and other health care costs were spiraling out of control. It was clear that the problem was rapidly advancing technology and pressure to provide that technology to everyone who was demanding it. But the government, as usual, choose a politically motivated solution. They went after the one group involved who was the most disorganized, least clear on its desires and ...

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