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August 2011
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October 2011

September 2011

Stories from the health care trenches

Perhaps this will become a frequent category. This time around, I mix in funny with serious, and wouldn't you know it, statins—specifically Lipitor—are at the center of one of the anecdotes.

I think you'll like that particular story, since it's about a guy who somehow qualifies to get free Lipitor, but can afford private health insurance at the same time. Could the broadcast media have blown the details here?

Food for thought. Read the complete article.

The easiest way to cut health care costs

Amazingly, this is pretty much a no-brainer. All you have to do is drastically reform the manner in which the so-called Relative Value Units are used to determine Medicare's fee schedule amount. People don't seem to realize that even though Medicare is mostly limited to people over 65, it has a profound influence on how all health care is practiced—and reimbursed—in this country.

The problem is that procedural medicine is way over-compensated, compared to primary care, or cognitive medicine. This leads to tens of thousands of unneeded expensive procedures being performed every year. The latest scandal involves cardiac stents, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Making matters worse, it is often the most routine procedures that "earn" the most money, while primary care docs struggle to keep afloat trying to actually figure out what's wrong with you in the first place.

This week's HND piece also features some comments from the doctor who is suing AMA and the Medicare people. A modern day hero, for sure.


This pic was remarkably unsatisfying, considering its attention to detail, and its big-name cast. Given the many undeveloped threads in the story, it is clear that major tweaking of the script occurred during production.

The result is akin to a PBS documentary, with some movie stars slipped in.

Read my complete review.

Fixing health care


In this week's HND piece, we hear from Matthew Mintz, MD, who's not afraid to speak his mind on what's wrong with the American "health care" system. Here's one great pull quote:

The system is set up in such a way that there is no incentive for doing the right thing, but all the incentives for doing the wrong thing. Is it any wonder that we have poor quality and high cost?

Mintz agrees with me that until we change to a true health care system, rather than our current disease care model, there is simply no reform that will actually solve the problems, because there is probably not enough money in the entire world to fund such a scheme.

Mintz identifies the three main contributors to out-of-control-costs (overuse of technology, malpractice litigation, and squelching of primary care). Tied in with that is our country's fixation on the perverse notion that cognitive medicine is somehow not as worthwhile as procedural medicine.

Indeed, at long last, some primary care docs are suing the Feds to at least fix that portion of the mess.


Read the complete article.

Is it good for you...or not?

In this week's HND piece, we take a look at revealed wisdom on a few health issues from yesteryear, and see how it's held up. As you might expect...not so well.

The hope is that people might become a bit more skeptical regarding the so-called "experts," and more proactive regarding their own health.

We also get a few words from our friend Christopher Angell, purveyor of the excellent Angell Organic Candy Bars.

Read the complete article.