On Vox, the vivacious new topical news site, staffed in part by former writers at the Washington Post Wonk Blog, Sarah Kliff writes how Donald Berwick, MD, the recent former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Founder of the prestigious Institute for Healthcare Improvement, has concluded that a single payer health system would answer many of the US’ health care woes. Dr. Berwick is running for Governor of Massachusetts and this is an important plank of his platform. Of course, it is easy to show that single payer systems in other developed nations provide comparable or better quality care at about half the cost that we do in the US.
All else being equal, I might be inclined to agree with Dr. Berwick’s assessment. But the US is special in two ways that make a single payer system unlikely to produce anything but even higher health care costs than we already have.
Continue reading “Would A Single Payer System Be Good For America?”
Published 2/27/12 in The Fiscal Times
Cynics say Washington is the city where good ideas go to die. A promising strategy for holding down health care costs in the Obama administration’s reform bill – providing patients and doctors with authoritative information on what works best in health care – should provide a classic test of that proposition, assuming the law survives the next election.
Experts estimate anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of the health care that Americans receive is wasted. It is either ineffective or does more harm than good. To put that in perspective, waste costs anywhere from $250 billion and $750 billion a year, or as much as three-fourths of the annual federal deficit.
Continue reading “Inflating the Deficit with Futile Health Therapies”
First published 2/16/11 on Gooz News
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission couldn’t have been clearer in its 2009 report to Congress. “Although physician ownership of facilities may improve access and convenience for patients, evidence suggests that physician-owned hospitals are associated with a higher volume of services within a market.” A recent study from Georgetown University that looked at states like Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota and Arizona, where the number of such facilities has surged, found sharp jumps in back surgeries in Medicare patients after orthopedic surgeons opened their own hospitals compared to similar patient populations in the northeast, where such facilities are prohibited.
Continue reading “Pimping for Physician-Owned Hospitals”