Medicare

"Bedfellows of the insurers"

A thoughtful response to my piece on good business vs good medicine. The commenter argues that the fundamental problem is our dependence on the insurance system. Consequently, our health-care system is slanted against good medicine. It is the insurance companies that forces good business on our medical practice, and the physicians are unwitting pawns. Take a read:

The assumption is that somehow good business and good …

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What discounts?

It seems the effect of the Medicare drug discounts was simply higher drug prices. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Should doctors charge patients more for increasing malpractice premiums?

Seems like practices who have a liability surcharge may become increasingly common:

Physicians gathered at the AMA Annual Meeting last month explored a variety of options for immediate relief for a profession besieged by increasingly unaffordable medical liability insurance premiums.

The hottest topic of discussion: liability surcharges. The idea is that physicians would tack a charge onto patients’ bills to help offset their insurance payment. Low Medicare …

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Canadian vs US health care

Following-up on Galen’s entry on Canadian vs US health care, comes an article from the Globe and Mail that discusses a study comparing satisfaction with both systems:

Americans are more enthusiastic about their free-market health-care system than Canadians are about their publicly funded medicare system, but Canadians’ care needs are actually better met than those of their U.S. counterparts.

The main beef with the system in the U.S. …

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Slow start for medicare cards

As a follow-up to what I wrote last week, it seems like the new Medicare cards are slow to take off. And why not? On one hand, you have a dizzying, confusing array of Medicare cards – on the other, you have Canada, which gives you better savings. The choice seems pretty clear. It confounds me how the government can so poorly implement a simple …

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A slice on rising health costs

We all know that one reason for rising health costs is that newer technologies are more expensive. For one small example, consider the evolution from sigmoidoscopies to colonoscopies. The medical director Patient Care writes that sigmoidoscopies have virtually ceased once colonoscopies became a covered benefit under both Medicare and private insurance. Consider the charge for a sigmoidoscopy is several hundred dollars compared to over $3000 for a …

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Medicare drug discount cards – still not enough

AMNews compared two Medicare discount cards with Drugstore.com and a Canadian mail-order pharmacy. As you can see, the discounts still aren’t enough. There is also pretty wide variability between the two Medicare cards:

Medication / Card 1 / Card 2 / Drugstore.com / Canada

Celebrex $105.64 / $162.87 / $76.99 / $38.69

Lipitor $60.85 / $66.82 / $62.99 / $49.85

Nexium $109.39 / …

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