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Latest Posts

Patient Bill Of Rights: What Ever Happened To It?

One of the more surprising twists and turns in the continuing debate over healthcare reform is that many physicians who now object to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were just a few years back advocates for more federal regulation. In fact, in the early 2000s, more than 200 “provider” and consumer groups — including many state medical and national medical specialty societies that now oppose the ACA because of concerns about “excessive regulation” — were among the fiercest champions of federal legislation to mandate that health insurers comply with a Patient Bill of Rights.

A bipartisan bill introduced by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) would have ensured that patients have the “right” to appeal insurance company denials to independent reviewers, to choose a specialist of their choice, and to access emergency room services when needed. This effort to enact a federal Patient Bill of Rights failed, because of opposition from the insurance industry and President George W. Bush.

I bring up this history lesson because most of the key provisions in the McCain-Kennedy bill are now the law of the land, thanks to the ACA. Yet instead of applauding the new protections, many of the same physician organizations who called for a federal patient bill of rights now want to “repeal” the same consumer protections established by the ACA. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty*

DrRich Initiates A Medical Ethics Smack Down With The ACP

Yesterday, DrRich noted (with his usual affecting humility, modesty, self-deprecation, &c.) that the Covert Rationing Blog has been named a Finalist in the 2009 Medical Weblog Award Competition, in the category of Best Health Policy/Ethics Blog. He now calls to his readers’ attention the fact that, among the other two finalists – both of which are of very high quality and undoubtedly are more deserving of this award than DrRich – is none other than the ACP Advocate Blog.

The ACP Advocate Blog, written by Bob Doherty, is a publication of the American College of Physicians, and its purpose is to explain, elaborate on and advocate for the ACP’s positions on important matters related to health policy and medical ethics that affect its members, namely, internal medicine specialists.  Doherty – who DrRich does not know, but of whom he has heard many very complimentary things – is an insightful analyst of matters related to healthcare policy, and to boot he is an excellent writer. DrRich is a loyal reader of the ACP Advocate Blog, which in fact has habitually led off DrRich’s blogroll.

Here’s why this is interesting. While both the ACP Advocate Blog and DrRich’s blog are finalists in the medical ethics category, it so happens that DrRich and the ACP are far apart on that very issue. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Covert Rationing Blog*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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