Prior to President Obama's address to Congress on health reform, I asked myself, "What would I tell the President?" First and foremost: go for it. All of it. Health care in America is too important, both economically and morally, to be left adrift in its current state. Its focus is wrong. It costs too much. And not everyone who needs it is able to have it. Two rules that have served me ...

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by Charles W. Patterson, MD Health care reform has long been one of my main interests and currently, it seems to be everyone else's. The President said he thought a single-payer system would be best, but submitted a proposal he thought could be passed. The outcome is in doubt. Actually, the single-payer system is the second best possible solution. The government would hold the money but would remain vulnerable to political manipulation, ...

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by Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today In Wednesday's address to Congress and the nation, President Barack Obama made a number of statements about healthcare reform, some involving issues that would directly affect medical practice. MedPage Today examined five of Obama's statements to add context to the sound bytes. medpage-today The Statement: "I don't believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, ...

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by J.E.B. Johnson, MD Dear President Obama: We agree that our health care system can use some improvement, but it is difficult to agree on how to accomplish this. It seems as if your desire for a major overhaul is far from certain. Some pundits have suggested this may emasculate your presidency, but I beg to differ on this point. This is not a failure of policy as much as it is ...

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by Robert Berry, MD In his column, David Brooks of The New York Times effectively compares our rapidly rising health care costs to “a stampede of big ugly rhinos.” What he ignores, however, is the huge elephant in the room that is largely responsible for this rhino stampede – the tax preference for employer-based health insurance. This tax preference – enjoyed primarily by employees of large businesses and government at ...

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by Paula Hartman Cohen My husband and I live in Massachusetts, a state that already has health care reform. On April 12, 2006, our state legislature enacted a law requiring all residents to have health insurance. They could buy it themselves, they could buy it from their employer through a group plan or, if their income was below a certain level, they could buy it from the state at a reduced rate. This ...

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In the discussion of cutting health care costs, it's often pointed out that the doctor's pen is the most expensive piece of technology. Hospitalist Bob Wachter talks about the medical profession's zeal to "do everything" as a major driver of health spending. So, how can we stem this tide? Doctors are programmed to advocate passionately for the patient in front of them, with little regard for the macroeconomic impact of their ...

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by James Matthew Weber Some like to talk about a "free market fix" to health care. However, health care and free markets are a contradiction. A free market is an environment where neither the buyer or the seller is compelled to act. There is also an assumption of some level of transparency within the market. In other words, consumers and sellers know what goods and services cost, and can shop around ...

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As an outside observer of the American health reform debate, I cannot help but notice the disparity of views, the fractured arguments, the protectionism and desperation. My country is in a similar struggle for health care reform, with the main difference being America is a rich nation, and we are poor by comparison. In both debates, however, I have looked for the humanitarian argument, and in many cases found it ...

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A poignant, and non-partisan, take on how patients are excluded from the health reform process. width="430" height="412" data="http://www.youtube.com/v/9dXbafOQmDM&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash">

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