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The Government’s Rising Stake In Healthcare Costs

The federal government may be stalled on health care reform legislation, but the executive branch has been expanding its stake in paying for care.

Yesterday, QD reported that federal and state governments will pay for more than half of the health care purchased in the U.S. by 2012, and likely even sooner. Today, Medicare’s actuaries announced that growth in national health expenditures (NHE) outpaced growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year. The recession, H1N1 programs and federal subsidies for COBRA benefits all contributed to the largest one-year increase in history, from 16.2% of GDP in 2008 to 17.3% of GDP last year.

In 2010, NHE growth will decelerate to 3.9% while GDP is anticipated to rebound to 4% growth. But, and this is a big caveat, much of the projected slowdown in NHE growth is attributed to the 21.3% slashing of Medicare physician payment rates called for under current law’s Sustainable Growth Rate provisions. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

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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