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">

The following is part of a series of original guest columns by the American College of Physicians. by Steven Weinberger, MD, FACP The unfettered debate about ideas that characterizes the democratic process in the United States operates best when there is a truthful presentation of the issues, and when the process is civil and respectful. Unfortunately, the debate about health care reform has evolved to the point that it ...

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by Susan H It seems that health insurers are serving as exchange and clearing firm for "health futures" traders. Traders of "health futures" are potential patients, and health care providers. Patients are synthetic buyers of futures on health care provision, doctors and providers of medical goods and services are short sellers of those futures. The exchange and clearing firm (health insurer) represents that it serves to stand as guarantor in the ...

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