As American citizens, we are routinely disgusted by the intervention of government in private enterprise. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, there is nothing more frightening than the government offering its “help.” However, when we read about the price of prescription drug Acthar abruptly jumping from $50 to $28,000, we have to wonder whether the government shouldn’t do the unthinkable and try to intervene.
Interfering in business is anathema on many levels. Protests break out in the streets when we hear about regulations on gun sales; lawyers fight limitations on the right of corporations to profit. Sometimes, we consider such intrusions akin to communism, (an old word that doesn’t mean much anymore). However, how would you feel if your child’s medication cost $100,000 when you remember it costing $80? Continue reading
With Americans keeping their belts tight as we fight out of the Great Recession, you have to question whether the entire nation is indeed sacrificing together. Debt and deficit negotiations in Washington are stumbling over tax hikes on the wealthiest 1%, while small-practice doctors are finding it less affordable keep their own businesses. As a result, health care patients stand to lose, along with the 99% held hostage by a faction of unreasonable lawmakers.
What Does the Phrase “the American People” Mean?
Have we lost our power as a people? If the entire country needs more doctors in family practices (whose costs are far lower than hospitals’), why are we seeing costs rise and the corporations running hospitals getting richer? When cuts to Medicare for seniors and higher payroll taxes for the lowest earners are “bargaining chips” for politicians, we stand to lose not only our middle class but our identity as a people. Continue reading
Few institutions inspire confidence and trust like the renowned university hospitals. We connect the reputation of the school with the quality of the surgeons and everything else about the medical facilities. However, with news of the Duke Health hydraulic fluid scandal, it is difficult to see why we hold them above family practices or smaller hospitals.
Tainted surgical instruments were used on dozens of patients in Duke medical centers, prompting court cases on several fronts. Hydraulic fluid removed from university elevators ended up getting taken by sterilization companies and mistakenly returned to the medical centers as fluid to clean surgical equipment. As a result, numerous patients fell ill and were forced to battle infections from the tainted equipment. The sterilization companies working for Duke settled with many of the victims. But it gets worse. Continue reading
If you’ve ever thought your doctor was running just one too many tests…if it seemed like your doctor was hesitant about making a referral…if you ever wondered about hospital quotas…you’ve probably been right on all counts. We brought the issue up in a a recent TPR post, but according to this New York Times article, it was not an isolated event. In fact, the situation is completely slipping out of control.
The America Medical Association felt the need to tell doctors that — never mind the Hippocratic Oath — they owe their undivided loyalty to patients. It turns out that firing doctors for not cooperating (not making 100% of referrals to hospital clinics) is just the tip of the iceberg. Doctors can also find themselves with lower salaries if they aren’t meeting their hospital’s quotas. Where does that leave the patient? Continue reading
For many families struggling to make it in modern-day America, there are things we consider major victories. Paying off a mortgage (“owning” a home), financing a car and maintaining health insurance policies are the Big-Ticket items for most people. Regarding the first two, you get clear benefits, whether or not you own the property or vehicle outright. Every day, you wake up in the house you finance and it is a symbol of your family’s safety and togetherness. Likewise, the car you finance brings you to work, your children to school and every other activity that involves driving.
The third element – health insurance – is a bit trickier. Do you know what you get when you start paying for health insurance policies? In many cases, you’re simply purchasing a roundabout way of paying 100% of your health care costs. Continue reading