Alexa Karsdan’s medical bill for a sore throat reached over $28,000. NPR told her story recently, but I want you to know why I am actually glad this happened. Why is it good news that her charges were so exorbitant, and that her insurance paid over twenty-five thousand dollars for one laboratory test? This story is a brilliant illustration of fundamental flaws in our health care ...

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Americans are not fans of socialized medicine. Sure, some people want socialized health care payment, including many people who are fans of Medicare for all. But even most Bernie Sanders supporters probably aren't in favor of socializing the entire U.S. health care system, thereby making hospitals and medical clinics into government property. Americans are proud of the high quality of care offered by non-government providers, from their local community ...

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In an earlier post, I pointed out that there is no better chance of passing a Medicare for all health care plan through Congress in the coming years than there was in 1977, or 1993, or 2009. Then Elizabeth Warren showed us just how politically unrealistic single-payer health care is when she released her funding plan and then quickly backtracked to the public option ...

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“Listen to your patient; he is telling you the diagnosis.” This quote from famous physician William Osler is as true today as it was 100 years ago. And yet the latest version of President Trump’s executive order on Medicare threatens what patients overwhelmingly want: a physician involved in their care. Section 5-C of the President’s order focuses on payment parity and supervision of mid-level providers. Changes to either issue would create unintended ...

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The practice of medicine is limited by what we can control. As students, we are taught to believe in the power of science, the importance of hard work, and the momentum of technological advancement as prime determinants in our patients’ outcomes. However, as we get further along in our careers, we come to realize that many of the factors that contribute to poor health are beyond our control at ...

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The Republicans don't yet have a health care plan less than a year before the 2020 elections. But based upon their 2017 Obamacare repeal and replace efforts, as well as a major document recently issued by the House Republican Study Committee, what might a Republican plan look like? First, let's review the plan House Republicans passed in 2017 during their failed repeal and replace efforts. House Republicans would have repealed the Medicaid expansion ...

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As the year winds down and must-pass year-end spending bills are completed -- and with that, any chance of attaching and approving health care legislation -- the special interests have won big, and consumers have lost big. Employers, unions, and insurance companies won big with the repeal of the "Cadillac" tax on high cost-benefit plans at a cost of $200 billion over ten years as well as the repeal of the ...

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Next in a series. The Healthcare Incentives Framework helps show how to fix incentives in health care systems. It starts by enumerating the five jobs we expect a health care system to do for us and then identifies which parties in the health care system (providers or insurers) have a natural incentive to fulfill each of those jobs. Those incentives arise naturally, but the big challenge is shaping ...

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Fixing Obamacare and adding a public option is the health care policy territory first staked out by Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden. Writing about Biden's plan recently on my blog, I said:

If the Democrats capture the White House, keep the House, and take over the Senate, no matter who they elect as President, this Biden health care outline, not Medicare for all, will likely be the plan Democrats ...

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As presidential hopefuls debate health care reform, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish statements rooted in fact from fiction. According to PolitiFact, only 27% of politicians’ media statements regarding health care — whether from Democrats or Republicans — are true or mostly true. Discerning the truth in a growing state of convolution is becoming increasingly difficult. In such a medical and political quagmire, it behooves health ...

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There are few things in our health care system that are more unfair than surprise medical bills. Consumers think they have good coverage and are getting treatment in their health plan network only to get a huge unexpected bill in the mail because it turned out that something like the anesthesiologist at their recent surgery wasn't covered. How were they to know that? As you're sitting on the gurney about to ...

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Next in a series. The Healthcare Incentives Framework helps show how to fix incentives in health care systems. It starts by enumerating the five jobs we expect a health care system to do for us and then identifies which parties in the health care system (providers or insurers) have a natural incentive to fulfill each of those jobs. Those incentives arise naturally, but the big challenge ...

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Dear Congress: For the vast majority of you, I am not your constituent.  But you should listen to me anyway.  I am writing to show you that health care in America is not a political issue; it is a human one.  The same can be said for immigration or education or any other issue that you work on. Let my patients explain this for me. I walk into clinic to a full ...

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An excerpt from Curing the Cancer in U. S. Healthcare: StatesCare and Market-Based Medicine. Clinical doctors can readily understand the continuing failure of the U.S. health care system. The attending physicians for Patient Healthcare–Washington, both legislative and executive branches–keep ...

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I'm a healthy 48-year old, ASA physical class I anesthesiologist. At least I was healthy until an unintentional 20-pound weight loss over the summer, accompanied by an unquenchable thirst, insatiable appetite, blurry vision, and the bathroom frequency of an elderly prostatic. My lab workup would reveal a fasting blood sugar of 310 mg/dL, an A1C >14, positive urine ketones, low C-peptide, and glutamic acid decarboxylase antibody (GAD-65) level that was off ...

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The health challenge recently faced by Sen. Bernie Sanders has brought two issues to the forefront of the 2020 presidential election. Should there be a disqualifying upper age limit to become president, and should an existing health issue preclude a candidate from running for president? As scientists in the field of aging, we cannot tell the voting public how to answer these questions. What we can do is inform you about ...

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If the Democrats capture the White House, keep the House and take over the Senate, no matter who they elect as president, this Biden health care outline, not Medicare for all, will likely be the plan Democrats embrace in 2021. The Biden health care proposal directly takes on the big things that haven't worked in Obamacare. Here are the things that are most broken in Obamacare:

  • The individual health insurance premiums and ...

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Health care remains the nation’s top voting issue ahead of the 2020 elections, just as it was during the 2018 midterms. Surveys show voters remain frustrated with high drug prices, growing out-of-pocket expenses, and skimpy health-insurance benefits.

The leading candidates have publicly promised to fix these problems, but all are omitting certain details about their health care plans. To help voters ...

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898. This is the number of cases of mumps that occurred in migrant detention camps in a 12-month period between September 2018 and August 2019. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 84% of the migrants who contracted the illness did so while they were in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or another U.S. agency. Only 5% had been infected before they were apprehended. ...

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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 ...

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