It’s no doubt that the health care conundrum our nation is facing is fraught with high-risk hypotheses and their unpalatable consequences. Complicating this further is the business-minded nature of many lobbyists and policy-makers influencing our government’s decisions, including the President Trump's. This is particularly timely given the recent executive orders Mr. Trump has unilaterally implemented that both sides of the aisle are concerned about. As a physician with a top ...

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Flu season is upon us, and with it a chance to test out my persuasion skills on a deeply skeptical public. Consider this recent patient of mine, a young man in college who came in for an ankle sprain. “While you’re here, why not get a flu shot?” I asked. He looked at me as if I were a car mechanic offering a few more add-ons to his maintenance exam. “Oh, I don’t ...

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The tide is finally rising under the idea of health care for all in America. It is no longer possible to tar this simple and ubiquitously implemented idea as a bid to “take away our freedom” or “destroy the free market.” Hearteningly, the debate is shifting towards the harder questions of when, and how. One popular idea is to expand Medicare to cover all Americans — essentially turning the government into ...

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In 1729, a prescient Jonathan Swift wrote an essay that has a place in the health care debates of 2017. “A modest proposal for preventing the children of poor people from being a burthen to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick” reads almost like the title of a modern academic manuscript. Then, as now, it was important to look past the title before re-tweeting, ...

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Prescription opioid abuse is one of the United States’ greatest public health challenges. Approximately 97.5 million Americans consume opioids annually, and around 90 people die every day from opioid overuse. The last time in recent history a health care crisis garnered this much public attention was following the release of the 1964 “Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health” correlating smoking to heart disease ...

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I have no business background: zero, zilch, nada. Growing up, I was the kid who bought the lemonade, not the one who set up shop on the busy street corner. My parents bought the cookie dough, coupon book and every other school fundraiser from the kid next door instead of their own child. Job interviews? Never had them. All the jobs I've ever had I got because I knew the ...

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The Office of the Surgeon General existed since 1871 when Dr. John Woodworth was appointed the first supervising surgeon of the national hospital system. In the previous year, the Marine Hospital was reorganized into the national hospital system. On January 4, 1889, Congress formally recognized the new personnel system as the Commissioned Corps. The Corps was established along military lines and initially consisted of only ...

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As a male medical student, I have developed a growing interest in and enthusiasm for recent efforts to raise awareness about workforce gender disparities in medicine. Though women comprise over 45 percent of resident physicians and 50 percent of medical students in the United States, research reveals deficits in key surrogate measures of successful integration. There are pay and promotion gaps, and women are much ...

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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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It has become trendy in health policy circles to believe that behavioral economic interventions are the key to health system improvement. After all, traditional economic interventions like pay per performance have generated underwhelming results, with little or no change in physician behavior. Why not try a non-financial, psychological intervention: like performance feedback! Well, a study conducted in the last couple years in Switzerland raises questions about the effectiveness of ...

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