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Where’s My Government-Provided Healthcare?

Freshman Republican Congressman Andy Harris, who was elected on a promise to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), is outraged that he’s going to go a whole month before his government-provided health insurance kicks in. From Politico:

A conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in.

Republican Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist who defeated freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, reacted incredulously when informed that federal law mandated that his government-subsidized health care policy would take effect on Feb. 1st –- 28 days after his Jan. 3rd swearing-in.

“He stood up and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care,” said a congressional staffer who saw the exchange. The benefits session, held behind closed doors, drew about 250 freshman members, staffers and family members to the Capitol Visitors Center auditorium late Monday morning.”

All the more embarassing because he’s a doctor, for Pete’s sake. You’d think he’d have a better idea of how insurance works. Guess the dude’s never heard of COBRA. Also, it’s pretty standard that this is how enrollment happens. And it’s idiots like this that want to repeal the PPACA. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*

A Transparent Healthcare System: What’s More Clear?

Congressional democrats want more transparency in healthcare, believing it would further drive down the cost of care, reports Politico.

Hoping to drive competition, some lawmakers are grumbling to force doctors to reveal business negotiations between them and drug and device makers. Opponents worry that manipulating economics would backfire. If everyone knows their competitor’s business, why bother negotiating lower prices?

But transparency worked for Wisconsin’s hospitals, not in business dealings but in reporting outcomes, reports The Fiscal Times. By voluntarily revealing clinical outcomes on the Web, the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality was able to spur low-performing hospitals to improve, high-performing facilities to eliminate tests that didn’t improve outcomes, and create an informed healthcare consumer with choices where to receive care.

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Hospitalist*

Is Healthcare Reform Dead?

One of my favorite movie scenes is from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” when an unfortunate soul pleads with the designated collector of corpses (this being after the plague, mind you) that “I’m not dead … yet.” The collector responds by whacking him on the head … until he is, in fact, quite dead.

This scene comes to mind as I blog about yesterday’s stunning GOP upset of the seat-that-used-to-be-held-by Ted Kennedy. If the election of Republican Scott Brown didn’t quite kill off health care reform, some Democrats are quite willing to complete the task. Read more »

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

DC Snowstorm Photos

balconysnowHow deep is the snow? Judging by my balcony, at least a foot and a half. I asked Mr. DrVal to demonstrate for you with a tape measure – of course, our mischevious kitty, Ona (full name is Ona Riss Kitty) wanted to be in the photo as well.

I caught these guys (second photo) digging out a Politico newspaper vending machine. Seemed like a very DC thing to do.

Of course, having grown up in Canada, the snow storm didn’t faze me much. I ventured out to get a salad, some frozen yogurt, and to see the movie Avatar. That was well worth the walk to the theater (saw it in all its 3-D wonder)!

Mr. DrVal summed it up with his usual dry wit, “It’s The Lion King meets An Inconvenient Truth.”

Please go see it though – the effects are really amazing.

All in a winter’s day…

dc-scenes

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Latest Book Reviews

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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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