Healthcare

Daschle’s Loss is America’s Loss

It’s a damned shame to see Tom Daschle drop out of the running for HHS secretary.

Yes, he made a mistake, a dumb mistake, by not paying his taxes. But, as President Obama says, who hasn’t made a mistake?

Besides, given the president’s goal of making sure every American has quality, affordable healthcare — and given the fact that nobody is better qualified than Daschle to lead the fight — wouldn’t it have been better to stick with Tom Daschle than let him loose over a mistake on taxes? Absolutely!

I admire Obama for nominating Daschle. I just wish he had stuck with him until the end, or that both Obama and Daschle had chosen to stay and fight, rather than cut and run.
Read More...

Dr. Gupta Accused of Malpractice

At first, he seemed like the perfect candidate. He’s the most popular TV doc ever: CNN’s handsome, articulate, energetic, personable Sanjay Gupta. He’s both a noted neurosurgeon and a media star. Who better to serve the nation as surgeon general?

I admit, when I first heard that he was Obama’s choice for surgeon general, I had a heart flutter. Perfect choice! But then other voices, who knew Sanjay Gupta better than I, started speaking out.
Read More...

Top 10 Requests from Consumers Union/Consumer Reports

The Consumers Union (CU) protects consumers' interests effectively and with exceptional integrity, not just with Consumer Reports, but also as advocates.

Jim Guest, who heads CU, presents his Top 10 wish list regarding consumer matters. Good, affordable healthcare is one we all share. Here are two that are less obvious:
Read More...

Insurance Reimbursement Nightmare

Doctors will have less and less time to see their patients, as the medical crisis continues to dismantle primary care. The problem lies in insurance reimbursements: doctors’ offices get paid by insurance companies, and insurance companies pay for volume of visits, not for time spent with patients. So offices pack as many patients as they can into one day, and doctors are left with an average of six to eight per patient. That’s not nearly enough time to cover all the things that could be wrong with the patient, both obvious and not-so-obvious.

They also don’t get paid for talking to patients, they get paid for ordering things — tests, procedures, etc. But a test is not worth anything if the doctor does not have the time to talk to the patient and figure out what's wrong.
Read More...

Please, Please, Please Let Them Get What They Want

In the days after yet another major defeat for Republicans, there will be a lot of soul-searching within the party's leadership and I, for one, am content in knowing that they will probably take away all the wrong lessons from this momentous occasion. I'm just pleased-as-punch to see social conservatives looking for every chance to get in front of the television cameras to gloat about how their party dropped the ball by ignoring traditional values. I can barely suppress a grin when they trot out the line that we're still a "center-right" country.
Read More...

Sad McCain

Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) rather embarrassing conversation onboard a bus recently, in which he was left speechless when asked whether insurance companies’ coverage of Viagra and not of birth control constituted gender discrimination, revealed a surprisingly timid and indecisive side of the prospective president.

McCain’s inability to stand up for his belief is a disturbing flaw that is hard to reconcile with real leadership. The simple answer to the question should have been “absolutely not.” Insurance companies should be in the business of protecting people’s health, not enabling people’s lifestyle choices.
Read More...

Personal Responsibility and Healthcare

Although clinical preventive health is equally important to personal health, just 14 percent of voters identified physicals and screenings as the most important preventive healthcare practice.  “We know that preventive services such as mammograms, colonoscopies and simple dental exams are vital tools in the fight against serious disease,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) recently stated. “We now have to act on this knowledge; procrastination costs lives and fuels the high cost of healthcare.”

If Congress wants to help on the issue, they need to shift themes in the ongoing debate. Recently, prominent healthcare professionals and senior congressional staff from both sides of the aisle were brought together to discuss current preventive health legislation. The Politics of Prevention forum hosted folks such as renowned chronic disease expert Dr. Ken Thorpe, along with a bipartisan, pioneering group of senators and House members leading the charge on this effort.  Those are the steps Washington should now be taking to build the bridges for action.
Read More...

Personal Responsibility and Healthcare

Although clinical preventive health is equally important to personal health, just 14 percent of voters identified physicals and screenings as the most important preventive healthcare practice. “We know that preventive services such as mammograms, colonoscopies and simple dental exams are vital tools in the fight against serious disease,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) recently stated. “We now have to act on this knowledge; procrastination costs lives and fuels the high cost of healthcare.”

If Congress wants to help the issue, they need to shift themes in the ongoing debate. Recently, prominent healthcare professionals and senior congressional staff from both sides of the aisle were brought together to discuss current preventive health legislation. The Politics of Prevention forum hosted folks such as renowned chronic disease expert Dr. Ken Thorpe, along with a bipartisan, pioneering group of senators and House members leading the charge on this effort. Those are the steps Washington should now be taking to build the bridges for action.
Read More...

Hillarycare Goes Broke?

There’s truth in the adage “Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk.” This week, the Clinton campaign continues to talk the talk, but has somehow tripped (OK, fell on its face) over Hillarycare … I mean, healthcare. Although HRC pronounces it as her passion, news reports out this week indicate she has left $292,000 worth of her own employees’ health insurance premiums unpaid.

What Hillary seems to have forgotten was that “free” healthcare isn’t really free — someone has to pay for it, and in this case, it’s her. If her presidential campaign budget can’t handle the cost of healthcare on this small scale, how does she expect taxpayers to manage that same health program for all Americans? When you stop and look at the litany of domestic programs she’s proposing and the billion-dollar price tags that come with them, I suspect she’s not too worried about paying the bills.
Read More...

Pages