Whether by design or by necessity, it appears that single payer is inevitable. Economic reality demands it. Some external force needs to be applied to counter the cost of rapidly expanding medical technology coupled with the political and legal pressure to make that technology available to as many people as possible, regardless of their ability to pay. The problem is certainly not new, but we are at the point of having ...

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Years ago, our government had a problem with health care. Medicare and other health care costs were spiraling out of control. It was clear that the problem was rapidly advancing technology and pressure to provide that technology to everyone who was demanding it. But the government, as usual, choose a politically motivated solution. They went after the one group involved who was the most disorganized, least clear on its desires and ...

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A friend of mine recently underwent a total knee replacement. Although he did well and was pain-free, he did say that he felt he was on an assembly line. I asked him what he meant. As he was talking, I flashed back 30 years, back to a time when by today's standards I would be considered a “good old country orthopedist.” Thirty years ago, I moved to a small community to ...

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The main justification for single payer seems to be that access to affordable quality health care is a right. Nowhere in our constitution does it say that anyone has a "right" to individual services or property. Housing, food, health care, even cell phones have become "rights." What our constitution does say is that each citizen does have the right to equal protection under the law, equal access to the courts ...

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Although I am now working part time, I still get my academy's monthly newsletter. I pretty much ignore the ads and any clinical studies that do not directly affect the work I am doing now, but I still find myself drawn to stories with a political bent. Namely, those stories that reflect the latest health reform controversy. The vast majority of these stories do not mention anything really new, just ...

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To listen to all those desperate to reform health care, you get the impression that physicians are pretty horrible people. We are all sexist, greedy, money grubbing tyrants who will perform unnecessary tests and procedures just to make money. We don't care about quality or cost. We are killing off 250,000 patients every year with our ignored "errors." We purposely keep our patients in pain, or we addict them to ...

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During my salad days, I — like a lot of physicians — thought I could take on the world. Despite working in a smaller, community hospital, our ER saw a lot of the same type of orthopedic trauma I saw during residency. And my young partners and I took virtually every case that came in except spinal trauma. We did this whether we were on unassigned ER call or not ...

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Sometime during my medical training in the early 1980s, a wise, old attending orthopedist taught me this about pain management:

"Pain is a message that something is wrong, a red flag that corrective action is needed. Narcotics should only be used when the cause of the pain is determined and corrected (Post-op or post injury), all other pain management tools have been tried and failed, and it is determined that nothing ...

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While I was in full-time practice, as far as I can tell, I received one bad anonymously written online patient review. It was on one of the numerous sites that exist but allows written reviews. The star rating is not much better since here you have no idea what the complaint is. However, the weight these reviews carry will increase, so we better take heed. Plus, given the fact that ...

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I started my career in the late 1980s and retired just recently. I am very grateful that I caught at least a few years of the "golden age" of medicine because those years made all the difference. Over my career, I witnessed many different efforts at health care reform proposed, attempted and failed. DRGs, Hillarycare, private insurance capitation, "To Err is Human,” Medicare fraud crackdowns, Global and Bundled payments, general reimbursement ...

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