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The “Free Stuff” Of Healthcare Reform

It happened. Guilty. I confess. Reading about Dr. Berwick’s recess appointment to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) induced me to watch a Fox news clip. Gosh, I feel bad about it. It felt good, though.

Patients — that’s you and me — should know that CMS controls doctors, nurses and especially hospital/practice managers. They are ten times more scary than the radar patrol car on the highway.

Dr. Berwick likes the British system of healthcare delivery. In Europe healthcare is free, and everyone likes free stuff. Free stuff happens all the time, doesn’t it?

In Cambridge, Mass — at Harvard — free stuff for all seems a plausible tenet. There must be a lot of coffee shops and free time in Cambridge. In the real world — on Main street, on the farm, in the factory, or really everywhere other than college — people know getting something for nothing is fantasy.

It hasn’t happened yet, so my Dad’s advice about not worrying too much about future events still holds true, but Dr Berwick’s recess appointment to lead the all-controlling CMS has the potential to make caring for patients even more challenging. Yes, more regulations, longer EMR notes with a really careful review of systems, and less pay to doctors will surely improve patient care. Scary indeed. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

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