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Boehner’s Announcement Means An Extension Of Current Medicare Payment Rates

Last week, Speaker Boehner announced that the House and Senate have agreed on a two month extension of current Medicare payment rates, the payroll tax cut, and unemployment benefits.

My understanding is that the agreement has the House accepting the Senate’s proposal to extend the payroll tax break, unemployment insurance benefits, and current Medicare payment rates through the end of February, along with an agreement with the Senate to appoint a House-Senate conference committee to begin negotiations on a longer-term extension. It remains unclear exactly when the votes in the House and Senate will take place, and at least in the Senate, it will require unanimous consent by all Senators. If it passes both the House and Senate, Read more »

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

The Pros And Cons Of IPAB And Why It Shouldn’t Be Repealed

ipab21 IPAB: Fix It, Dont Repeal It

In recent weeks, several Democrats and some health reform advocates including the AMA have joined Republicans in calling for a repeal of provisions in the new health law that create the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). For these people, IPAB represents the worst aspects of the new law–an unelected, centralized planning authority empowered by government to make decisions about the peoples’ health care. Arbitrary cuts to providers, short-sighted decisions that stifle innovation and rationing of care are sure to follow, they claim.

While it’s true that the rules governing IPAB are flawed and should be fixed, eliminating IPAB altogether would be a mistake. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Pizaazz*

Why Is Obama Flogging A Dead Healthcare Reform Horse?

Seeing President Obama traveling the land this week, delivering yet more speeches on the critical importance of passing THIS healthcare reform legislation NOW, makes DrRich shake his head in wonderment.

For one thing, the President’s rhetoric on healthcare reform is already stale. As he himself has said, the arguing has gone on long enough; minds are made up. And the President seems to have nothing new to say.

We proles, in fact, know that the status quo is unacceptable, and that the health insurance companies are evil and are assiduously pricing people out of the market just as fast as they can; and we have concluded that something needs to be done. The fact that the majority of us have not made the connection between “something needs to be done” and “this is the only solution that we may consider” is not, as the President has claimed, due to the fact that he hasn’t explained it to us often enough. We just don’t like the solution he and his party have settled upon. Read more »

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

Filibustering And The Senate’s Dysfunction

The Senate, which was supposed to pass an omnibus bill including an extension of uninsurance benefits, an extension of COBRA benefits, and (not incidentally) yet another temporary patch on the 21% cuts in Medicare physician reimbursement, failed to do so on Friday before it adjourned early for the weekend. At least that’s the top-line headline, and most people never read further than that when it comes to wonky policy/process articles like this.

The real reason that the bill is stalled (and that the cuts which are deadlined at 2/28 will go into effect) is, as they say, the Gentlman from Kentucky, Senator Jim Bunning. Read more »

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

Is Healthcare Too Big to Fix?

Now that the health care bill has been soundly defeated by the election of a single individual to the Senate, the Democratic party is fleeing the House and Senate health care overhaul bills like rats from a burning ship. Sadly Republicans, too, are staying silent with (so far) few rushing forth with their alternative solution to counteract the impasse:

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said Democrats were assessing their options on health care. “It’s a timeout,” she said. “The leadership is re-evaluating. They asked us to keep our powder dry.”

Mrs. Feinstein said Congressional leaders should simplify the gigantic health care bill and try to pass parts of it that would be understandable to the public. But she also acknowledged that the odds were long for a far-reaching measure. “I think big, comprehensive bills are very difficult to do in this environment,” she said. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

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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