If there is anything about economics that has been proven over and over, it is that price controls do not work. The unintended consequences are usually worse than the problem that led to the solution in the first place. Massachusetts legislators, feeling the frustration of higher insurance premiums, are now considering a bill to limit doctor and hospital reimbursement payments to 110% of Medicare rates, or perhaps some other percentage ...

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If you are a physician, therapist or any other helping professional whose business model relies on third party manged care reimbursement you are engaged in the world's worst business model. Let me start with a story to set the stage. Imagine you are a bright, idealistic college student. You’re good at academics, want to make a difference in the world and have hundreds of career options in front of you. After lots of ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Liz O'Brien My grandmother and her hospital roommate -- aged, tiny, frail, and sporting matching bright pink hairnets. They looked like twins -- two thin shrubs in winter that had each sprouted an improbable, big pink rose. Although sick and scared, my grandmother had admired the pink hairnet on the lady in the next bed, so my mother ...

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A 21% cut for Medicare physician fees is set to go into place soon. This year, fixing physician payment has been overshadowed by all the talk about health insurance reform. In fact, I remember being invited to talk about healthcare reform on a panel for medical students this past fall. As part of my remarks, I mentioned the 21% pending cut in physician payment and recall the questions and ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Chris Emery, MedPage Today Contributing Writer Nearly a third of children with special healthcare needs are underinsured, and where a child lives strongly influences whether he or she will have adequate healthcare coverage, a new study found. The unadjusted proportion of underinsured special-needs children varied strongly by state, ranging from 24% in Hawaii (standard error=1.75) to 38% ...

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The following is part of a series of original guest columns by the American Medical Association. by J. James Rohack, MD Physicians in nearly every area of the country face a David and Goliath scenario when negotiating with entrenched health insurance companies. This is clearly illustrated by a new AMA study showing that competition in the health ...

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There are certain actions we take even though we know that ultimately we will not be successful. Sometimes we do this out of hope for a better tomorrow (like playing the lottery) or because we are taking a moral stand (like supporting a candidate that has no chance of winning). Supporting health care reform is probably a little of both. Even if any of the currently proposed health care reform plans pass, ...

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As the health reform debate rages on, the central issue of how to improve care while reducing costs remains unaddressed. Fee-for-service has reduced doctors to assembly line pieceworkers, paid by the office visit and procedure rather than by effectiveness of treatment. The result is an inefficient, costly and dangerous system. It is not unusual for a five minute office visit, which excludes clinical examination or note taking. Many patients/consumers can be ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Michael Smith OK, don't take this the wrong way, but .... Chill. Relax. Give the other guy the benefit of the doubt. Don't jump to conclusions. And most of all, think before you speak, blog, natter, comment, or otherwise pontificate on issues of the day. And when I say 'think,' I don't mean trying to find the ...

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What we're learning from the 21% Medicare pay cut to physicians that occurred today: * There really must be a cost-control crisis with Medicare and the only politically-acceptable way to implement those cost controls are by cutting working physicians' payments. * There’s was widespread political support for blocking the scheduled pay cuts to doctors, but central government control moves very slowly. That's because doing so is expensive. For now, doctors have been ...

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