In the United States, the health of African-Americans lags behind most other racial minority groups.  Compared to whites, black men and women face higher risks of chronic illness, infection, and injuries.  Taken altogether, the average life span for African Americans is six years less compared to whites.  If we can begin to acknowledge that health outcomes are often dependent on factors outside of the control of individual patients, their physicians, or their health ...

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Sometimes an image captures the heart of a nation by putting a face on a human crisis.  The one of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 2-year-old daughter Valeria lying face down in the Rio Grande after drowning was powerful.  Their family had been turned away from crossing the border and decided to take their chances and swim across the river.  They were not successful. Why did this picture seize our attention?  Is it because ...

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Recent polls show a majority of Americans support Medicare for all, but few seem to realize that no other system in the world operates like the current single-payer proposals in Congress.  I addressed the concept of single-payer health care, with Cuba’s system as an example.  Today I’m writing more about the ideas being discussed now in our country and how those compare to other nations that provide some ...

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The World Health Organization describes universal health coverage -- a system coupling health care access with financial protection for all residents -- as the “single most powerful concept that public health has to offer.” The goal of universal care is to give all people the equal opportunity to enjoy the best health possible. I wholeheartedly endorse universal health care, though not a single-payer system like "Medicare for all" because there is ...

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This is a brief explanation of Medicare from a physician's perspective, as well as my thoughts on how Congress could make adjustments that would bring us closer to universal care and provide the private market the freedom to improve health care outcomes. Medicare is a national health insurance program that provides health insurance for Americans ages 65 and older, and those who are disabled or have specific chronic conditions. Medicare covers ...

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Washington state Sen. Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Walla) became a national headline for alleging that "[nurses] probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day” during debate on legislation mandating break periods. Many nurses have mailed decks of cards to Walsh and posted pictures of blood-spattered emergency department walls in order to call attention to “last night’s card game,” driving home the point that they aren’t “playing” anything ...

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Recent polls show a majority of Americans support Medicare for all, but few seem to realize that no other system in the world operates like the current single payer proposals in Congress. Recently, I addressed the concept of single-payer health care, with Cuba's system as an example. Today I'm writing more about the ideas being discussed now in our country and how those compare to other nations ...

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It’s no secret that in today’s health care market, insurance companies are calling the shots. As a pediatrician in private practice for almost two decades, I’ve seen insurance companies transform into perhaps the single most powerful player in today’s health care landscape -- final arbiters whose decisions about which procedures or medications to authorize effectively end up determining the course of patient care. Decisions made by insurers, such as MassHealth, have ...

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Recently, a child was on a waitlist for five months to get into my practice. For this article, I will call him Tiny Tim. Tiny Tim, now five years old, has a skin condition known as eczema or atopic dermatitis. When we first met, virtuously every area of his body was covered with wounds from constant scratching. Skin that breaks easily and heals poorly can give bacteria access to other parts ...

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The New York University School of Medicine stunned the nation by announcing tuition for all current and future medical students will be free, irrespective of merit or financial need. Dr. Robert Grossman, dean at NYU, commented: “This decision recognizes a moral imperative that must be addressed, as institutions place an increasing debt burden on young people who aspire to become physicians.” NYU says their scholarship -- which begins in the ...

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