Patients on Medicare and Medicaid tend to utilize the health care system more frequently.

Combined with the fact that an increasing number of physicians are closing their doors to such patients, the so-called "safety net" clinics and hospitals are finding themselves with much more work than they can handle.

In this case in California, one such clinic was seriously considering shutting its doors to Medicare. ...

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I was invited by The New York Times' Room for Debate Blog to give my reaction to President Obama's health care remarks during his speech to Congress last night.

My piece, More coverage requires more doctors, warns the President that we should heed the lessons from Massachusetts' health reform experiment.

Universal coverage must go hand in hand with providing better health care access, or else ...

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The following op-ed was published on February 25th, 2009 in The New York Times' Room for Debate blog. With the number of the uninsured having risen to 48 million Americans, clearly the need for reform is dire. But President Obama made no mention of who exactly will take care of these patients, even if they get insurance under a successful health reform initiative. As a primary care physician in southern New ...

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Perhaps it was satire.

But the right-leaning Washington Times (via Matthew Holt) sounds the alarm about the proposed National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, a post that has gained significant publicity since the economic stimulus bill was signed.

Bluntly put, yes, health care needs to be rationed in order to have any hope in controlling health care spending. Ideally, an entity free of political and industry ...

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PNHP can threaten health reform

PNHP is a fringe physician group that advocates for a single-payer health system. The Massachusetts branch came out recently and railed against the state's health reform plan, which incidentally, is similar to what President Obama is likely to propose. According to its leadership, "nothing less than single-payer national health reform will work." I've always thought they should compromise their stance on a single-payer system, which has next to zero chance of being passed. ...

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I usually disagree with pretty much everything that liberal rock star Paul Krugman writes from his pedestal at the New York Times.

However, when it comes to comparative effectiveness research, I'm with him 100 percent. Physicians need an authoritative source of unbiased data, untainted by the influence of drug companies and device manufacturers.

With treatments and medications announced daily, having an entity definitively compare these newer, ...

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With many investments declining up to 40 percent in the past year, Canadian doctors are not immune to the financial pain.

Many physicians who are close to retiring are changing their career plans, and opting to continue working. Luckily, medicine, especially in Canada's single-payer system, is pretty much recession-proof, meaning that there is always work to be found.

Indeed, in the midst of the current economic downturn, ...

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Medicare recently expanded their coverage for off-label use of cancer drugs.

These medications are among the most expensive, and especially in cases of end-stage treatment, there may not be a lot of evidence supporting their use.

For the most part, oncologists and patients (via the WSJ Health Blog) have hailed the decision, but others say that the increased ability to give off-label drugs "let physicians avoid ...

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Op-ed: Medicare’s mistake

The following op-ed was published on January 14th, 2009 in the USA Today. Every patient's worst nightmare is going to the hospital for a procedure only to have a surgical instrument left in his body, the wrong limb or organ operated on or, worse, dying from a medical mistake. These types of mistakes should never happen. So when Medicare recently instituted a plan to deny hospital payments for ...

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My latest USA Today op-ed was published this morning: Medicare's mistake

I discuss Medicare's recent "never event" initiative, the program where hospitals are denied payment for catastrophic medical errors.

However, the rapid expansion into not paying for "reasonably preventable" events, like hospital acquired infections and patient falls, can paradoxically have a detrimental effect on patient care.

Enjoy.

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