An excerpt from Balancing The Budget is a Progressive Priority. It is our cultural fear of death and inability to discuss the limits of medicine to forestall death that enables the politics of health reform to be so potent. When I did a post-doctoral fellowship in England in the mid-1990s, a professor I met who had lived in the U.S. explained to me why he thought health policy discussions in that nation ...

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8,000 patients will no longer be able to receive care from UNC Hospitals and their affiliated physician practices because of a dispute between UNC and the insurance company Aetna. The bottom line is that Aetna does not want to pay as much for care provided by UNC as UNC wants to be paid for providing this care. No surprise there, as the interests of the two parties (health care provider and ...

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If we ever slow health care cost inflation to a sustainable pace, it will be because we learn how to ask 3 simple questions when thinking about a medical treatment.

  • Does it improve quality of life for the patient?
  • Does it extend the patient's life?
  • How much does it cost?
Asking the questions are of course much simpler than figuring out the ...

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While the rhetoric around health reform has been incendiary from day one, in policy terms, a compromise between Democrats and Republicans using the outline of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has always been available. The two primary problems with the health care system are costs and lack of coverage. The ACA does pretty well on the second, and is a start on the first, but much more is needed. It ...

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A malpractice lawsuit claims that a doctor treated a patient negligently and that this treatment caused harm, and it seeks monetary compensation. Negligence means that a physician failed to provide the standard of care expected by the prevailing medical custom. Juries decide cases that are tried, but most cases are settled or dropped. Lawyers get paid (typically 35 percent) only when they win or settle a case. A successful malpractice system ...

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