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.

Medicare for all is much easier said than done.

Maggie Mahar (via Ezra Klein) points to some real reasons why expanding Medicare will be difficult, and filled with unknowns. As Ezra puts it, "when you take a program with 44 million beneficiaries, all of whom are in the same age range, and scale it to 300 million beneficiaries across all age demographics, a lot of uncertainty is ...

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By the way it's currently designed and implemented, it certainly seems that way.

Medicare seems intent on burying the P4P concept. Bob Doherty notes that "successful quality improvement programs provide regular feedback to clinicians on how they are doing. Rewards for reporting should be greater than the costs and hassles of reporting. The rewards should be predictable (if I do x, I will receive y). And the ...

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Medicare to cover handguns?

The FDA quickly put an end to that thought.

Apparently a company tried to get FDA approval for their handgun, which was "ideal for seniors, disabled, or others who may have dexterity limitations or difficulty sighting and controlling a traditional revolver or semi-automatic pistol."

It was a long-shot (so to speak) for the company, as it was reported that the specially-designed gun would be approved as a ...

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It's never a problem, until it affects you.

Baby Boomers are going to be Medicare beneficiaries within the next few years, and some are finding out how difficult it is to find a primary care doctor.

Nationwide, about 30 percent of Medicare patients had difficulty finding a primary care physician during the past year.

As one patient puts it, "I must have made 12 calls before ...

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The news on bed sores is not good.

Hospital admissions increased by 15 percent between 1993 and 2006. The incidence of bed sores however, disproportionally jumped 79 percent.

Of course, Medicare wasted no time in making advanced bed sores a so-called "never" event, despite the fact there are no studies that guarantee total prevention.

In 2006 alone, over half a million patients developed bed sores ...

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Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP) is a group of radical left-leaning doctors in favor of single-payer health care. As progressive blogger Ezra Klein writes, they are opposed to any measure that isn't single-payer:

Their take on Obama's health plan is that it's not single payer, so they don't support it. And their take on Health Care for America Now coalition is that it's not pushing single payer, ...

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