Results of a study released JAMA Cardiology demonstrated that lower readmission rates among hospitalized heart failure patients, a key focus of recent Medicare value-based payment efforts, were associated with increased patient mortality. In other words, patients admitted to the hospital for heart failure are being re-admitted less frequently, but dying at higher numbers. Value-based pay, as it turns out, where monetary incentives and penalties are tied to ...

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The most common dividing lines in the national discourse on health care reform simply miss the mark. If one looks beyond the partisan posturing, each side has valid points, but also glaring weaknesses. We may need to work together to get health care right. I was recently invited to a political gathering to discuss health care reform. The room quickly divided along traditional lines. From left of the political spectrum, there were ...

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Yet another round of attempted health care reform has come and gone, and once again, failed. And so, the traditional open enrollment season for health insurance is upon us, and as usual, many Americans are facing outlandish increases in premiums, skyrocketing deductible amounts, and shrinking coverage. Americans are increasingly enslaved and endangered by the rising costs and the growing dysfunction. Fixing things is, to put things in the proper perspective, ...

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From the CMS website, October 30, 2017, “Today, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma discussed the agency’s efforts to streamline quality measures, reduce regulatory burden, and promote innovation … We need to move from fee-for-service to a system that pays for value and quality -- but how we define value and quality today is a problem. We all know it: Clinicians and hospitals have to report ...

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If we listen to the president, fixing the American health care system is too complicated.  It is not actually that complicated. The number one issue is cost. Even with many millions of people unable to access care, we already spend close to twenty percent of every dollar in the U.S. on health care. If we hope to include everyone in the health care system, then we need to lower health ...

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We were once a nation noted for its achievements. We are now a nation that gets nothing done, unable to make even the slightest movement forward despite multiple national crises -- a desperately broken health care system, a horrifying opioid epidemic, sickening gun-related mass murders, the threat of nuclear war, and massive storms resulting from man-made climate change. In the face of such monumental challenges, when bold action is needed, ...

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One of the most popular narratives in American public discourse, especially as it pertains to health care, is that government is bad, and the free market, meaning private industry, is good. And the natural extension of this line of reasoning is that the government cannot, and therefore should not be part of any health care reform solution. Further, only the free market is capable of fixing things, and it was ...

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The current conversation regarding health care reform in the U.S. is essentially pointless. It can be boiled down into four statements: Obamacare stinks, so we need to get rid of it; Obamacare doesn’t stink, so we just need to improve upon it; the insurance companies are to blame, so a government single-payer system is the best idea; the government is to blame, and only the free market can fix health ...

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After being out of the news for a few weeks, health care reform came back with a bang this week when Senator Bernie Sanders unleashed his Medicare for all, single-payer reform plan, now backed by sixteen Democratic senators. More than anything, to make progress on reform of our dying health care system, the nation needs to get to a place where it can engage in serious conversations about such proposals. I ...

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The other day, rather than being at the office, I was sitting in the waiting room of our favorite gastroenterologist’s endoscopy suite. I had dutifully accompanied my wife, who was getting her colonoscopy. My cell phone buzzed. It was my nurse calling from the office. I had seen a patient late the previous day who was complaining of right leg pain. I had ordered a D-dimer, hoping the test would be ...

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