Most medical schools do a reasonably good job clinically preparing medical students to be future physicians. But they can do better, especially in our fragmented health system where millions of Americans have to contend with costs as much as they have to with their medical conditions. In her recent New York Times column, Pauline Chen cites a study showing that students exposed to more non-clinical topics, like medical economics, health policy, ...

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When doctors complain about reimbursement and their salaries, there is often very little public sympathy. So when progressives envision health reform, downward pressure on provider salaries is often their preference to control costs. It's politically safe, and unlikely to encounter significant public opposition. But, as I've written before, this antagonizes the medical profession. And when they hold so much influence over patients' perceptions of health reform, wouldn't it be ...

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by Ernesto Gutierrez, MD There is a lot of discussion about what Obama did right and wrong in managing the politics of passing health insurance reform. What strikes me as the most obvious is the failure to engage physicians. Sure there was support from the AMA, ACP, and AAFP, but the support was lukewarm at best. The position letters sent out to society members outlining their support seemed forced ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Charles Bankhead Recently, I learned that members of Congress have their very own medical clinic. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. Being a member of Congress is a tough job, filled with stress and posturing and righteous indignation. I know that if I had to decide whether to spend tax money on a Bridge to Nowhere or a pet airport that has flights to ...

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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 Prominently displayed at the top of the AMA’s Web site this week is a “countdown clock” to this year’s 21 percent Medicare physician payment cut, which will hurt physicians ability to care for all Medicare and ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Todd Neale, MedPage Today Staff Writer Raising seniors' copayments for ambulatory care to offset increasing healthcare costs may backfire on insurers, researchers asserted. Seniors enrolled in Medicare plans that increased copayments had significantly fewer outpatient visits but spent more time in the hospital than patients in plans that left copayments untouched, according to Amal Trivedi, MD, ...

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by Deborah Maggart It’s a very exciting time to be a part of the health care world. The U.S. Senate and House were in deep negotiations attempting to reform health care in America by reconciling their separate visions into a single bill and – just as reform was deemed imminent – a special election in Massachusetts complicated matters by ending the Democrats’ filibuster-proof “supermajority” and with it the possibility of strictly partisan ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent It is rare that a simple matter of patient choice causes an international flap. But that's what happened when 60-year-old Danny Williams of St. John's, Newfoundland, decided to go to the U.S. for heart surgery. That's because Williams isn't just any old Newfoundlander -- he's the premier of Canada's easternmost ...

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No other industry would tolerate the bureaucratic inefficiencies that are allowed to persist in our health care system. width="430" height="295">

Originally published in HCPLive.com by Jeff Brown, MD A quick look at a newspaper will tell any doc just how important physician leadership has become, and increasingly so, in having a say in our economic futures. But our titular leaders are in a historically weak system complicated by being only one group of voices struggling to be heard in the rush to deal with national health care reform. There are many docs ...

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