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Why Does A Salad Cost More Than A Big Mac?

A reader pointed me out to this current food pyramid subsidy model showing what the daily recommended servings are for each category of food compared with how the federal farm subsidy programs actually work against the goal of a healthy nation.  You can click on the image to enlarge it and take a close look at how powerful lobby groups have become.

There is no reason why dairy and meat farmers should be getting 50 billion dollars in farm subsidies.  And if we are playing the subsidy game (which I think is a fraud), why are vegetables, one of the most healthy things we can put in our mouth, getting slaughtered at the table of entitlement handouts? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

The Health Plan Lobby’s War For Survival

This past weekend, AHIP – the American Health Insurance Plan trade group – seemed to turn at last against healthcare reform. For nearly a year the AHIP stood silently by, and indeed often made noises in support of the administration’s reform efforts, despite being cast by reformers as the chief villains of American healthcare. Then suddenly, a few days ago AHIP released a study produced for them by Price Waterhouse Cooper which concluded that healthcare reform (at least as advanced by the Baucus Senate Finance Committee) would result in massive increases in insurance premiums for Americans.

Becoming an apostate has always been far worse than being a mere infidel, and the AHIP action (seen as a act of betrayal and not merely an expression of opposition) has invoked the wrath of the powers that be. Democrats and progressives everywhere have quickly responded. Read more »

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

Trial Lawyers Fight For Status Quo In Healthcare

In a surprise, President Obama has signaled a willingness to discuss medical liability as part of the health reform process.

Good for him for standing up to the trial lawyers, a core constituency of the left.

That’s a good sign, as the costs of defensive medicine brought on by the broken malpractice system, should be addressed if there is any hope of reducing health care spending.

Trial lawyers like to say that medical malpractice represents “less than one percent of the cost of health care,” but that fails to account for the substantial sum attributed to defensive medicine doctors practice to avoid the threat of malpractice, estimated to be $210 billion annually.

Furthermore, the argument that malpractice reform will harm patients “by limiting their ability to seek compensation through the courts” doesn’t hold water either.

That’s because the current system does a miserable job of compensating patients for medical errors, where more than 50 cents on every compensated dollar goes to pay lawyers and the courts. Not to mention that a typical malpractice trial may last years before an injured patient receives a single penny.

So, don’t believe the arguments of the trial lawyers, who prefer the financial security of the status quo.

Any alternative system, such as no-fault malpractice, mediation, or health courts, will go a long way both to reduce the cost of medical care, and fairly compensate more patients for medical errors at a significantly more expedient rate.

Lawyers are aware of these facts, and to their credit, are going on a preemptive offensive to head off tort reform. If I were the AMA, I would start pro-actively circulating some of the above talking points, rather than reacting to the trial lawyers.

**This post was originally published at KevinMD**

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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