Articles of Interest Archives

These articles highlight many of the health care related stories in the news–ranging from single-payer op-eds by PNHP members to reports by newspapers on corporate health care.

  • Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012
    By Glenn Greenwald | The Guardian (U.K.)
    Whatever one's views on Obamacare were and are: the bill's mandate that everyone purchase the products of the private health insurance industry, unaccompanied by any public alternative, was a huge gift to that industry; as Wheeler wrote at the time: "to the extent that Liz Fowler is the author of this document, we might as well consider WellPoint its author as well."

  • Posted on Monday, December 3, 2012
    By George Lavender | New Internationalist blog (U.K.)
    Rolling Jubilee will start by buying up medical debt, a problem that afflicts many Americans. As Steffie Woolhandler, a Professor of Public Health at the City University of New York, and a member of Physicians for a National Health Program explains, ‘More than half of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are due, at least in part, to medical illness or medical debt’.

  • Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2012
    UNM Today (Albuquerque, N.M.)
    James Besante, a second-year student at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, was recently given the Nicholas Skala Student Activist Award by Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) for his health care reform advocacy efforts in New Mexico.

  • Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012
    Up with Chris Hayes | MSNBC
    Dr. Claudia Fegan, past president of Physicians for a National Health Program and chief medical officer at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, appeared on MSNBC's "Up with Chris Hayes" on Nov. 24 as part of a panel that included Dr. Donald Berwick, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Jacob Hacker, professor at Yale University; Joy Reid, an MSNBC regular contributor; and Josh Barro, a journalist at

  • Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012
    By Raymond Rendleman | The Lund Report (Portland, Ore.)
    When you Google “public health and social justice,” the first thing that comes up is Portland Dr. Martin Donohoe’s expansive website.

  • Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012
    By James Besante | Albuquerque Journal
    Winthrop Quigley, “Health Care Landscape Changing” published on Nov. 13, is quite correct that the chaos and disruption being experienced by thousands of New Mexicans who must choose between their medical care provider — doctor or nurse practitioner — and their Lovelace Health Plan insurer is a very strong argument for a single-payer, improved-Medicare-for-all health system.

  • Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2012
    By Chris Adams | Belleville (Ill.) News Democrat
    WASHINGTON — More than quarter of all veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t have health insurance and aren’t part of the Department of Veterans Affairs health system, according to an analysis of VA data.

  • Posted on Friday, November 16, 2012
    By Ann Settgast, M.D., and Elizabeth Frost, M.D. | PNHP Minnesota
    “Above all other issues, Minnesotans have expressed concern about affordability of care, and they believe the best solution to this problem is a single-payer system.”

  • Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2012
    By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
    Mercifully, the election is over. Obamacare is here to stay. A strong role for the federal government in moving toward the goal of health care as a right of everybody in the United States is now firmly and, in my opinion, irreversibly established.

  • Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2012
    By Eric W. Dolan | The Raw Story
    On his show Tuesday night, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart slammed businessmen who laid off employees after President Barack Obama was re-elected, claiming that these “job creators” were merely using Obamacare to “wriggle out of the social contract.”

  • Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012
    By David Lazarus | Los Angeles Times
    It's understandable that car insurance rates can change when you move. One neighborhood might have more accidents or burglaries than another. But health insurance?

  • Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012
    By AFT-Wisconsin | All Unions Committee for Single-Payer Health Care
    On Oct. 27, at its convention in Manitowoc, Wis., the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin endorsed Congressman John Conyers’ bill, H.R. 676, a national single-payer health care program that would implement Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.

  • Posted on Monday, November 12, 2012
    By Brent Schillinger, M.D. | Palm Beach Post
    The airwaves, the Internet and newspapers have been loaded with a lot of seasonal advertising. This is not a reference to the political ads that until Election Day seemed to be bombarding us 24/7. I’m talking about the ads urging senior citizens to sign up for a Medicare Advantage program.

  • Posted on Monday, November 12, 2012
    By Nomi Prins |
    Election rhetoric shuns the big picture in favor of the bigger platitude. Now that The Show is over, we are left with the equivalent of a Sunday morning hangover following a binge of promises and lies. We leave the theatre of political spectacle on steroids for the real world of unstable economy, a globally and publicly subsidized financial sector, and increased costs of living on everything from food to education to health-care; outpacing declining median incomes. The average cost for health insurance for a family is $15,745 per year vs. a median income of $50,502, or about half post-tax take-home pay.

  • Posted on Monday, November 12, 2012
    By Samuel Metz, M.D. | Health Affairs
    Sara Rosenbaum and coauthors describe one hospital’s unhappy experience with “patient dumping” (Aug 2012). The primary motivation behind hospitals’ aggressively transferring emergency patients to other facilities is to rid themselves of nonpaying or low-paying patients. The authors conclude with suggested steps to enhance provisions of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), intended to prevent such practices.

  • Posted on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
    By Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., and David Himmelstein, M.D. | PNHP
    PNHP note: The two articles below describe the founding of Physicians for a National Health Program. The articles span a quarter-century – one was written shortly after the organization’s founding, the other was written in October of this year. We reproduce them here, the most recent one first, as part of the observance of PNHP’s 25th anniversary and as a contribution to understanding its continuing mission.

  • Posted on Tuesday, November 6, 2012
    By Carl Finamore | BeyondChron (San Francisco)
    Some might be surprised that the for-profit healthcare system Dr. Coates criticizes so sharply is mostly paid for with our tax dollars. Through tax subsidies for private health insurance and for public employee health benefits, through direct government Medicare and Medicaid subsidies and through numerous other ways, our taxes pay around 60 percent of our current health spending, or as PNHP leaders Drs. Steffie Woolhandler and David U. Himmelstein say, we are “paying for national health insurance and not getting it.”

  • Posted on Monday, November 5, 2012
    By Ed Weisbart, M.D. | Virtual Mentor: the AMA Journal of Ethics
    In the 6 years since Massachusetts adopted legislation very similar to the ACA, the cost of health care has continued to drive patients into financial ruin. The state has achieved nearly universal coverage, but, like the ACA, its legislation has yet to effectively address cost and sustainability. Its newly enacted cost-containment law relies heavily on unproven measures such as capitated payments and wellness programs, offering little promise of success.

  • Posted on Monday, November 5, 2012
    By Josh Freeman, M.D. | Medicine and Social Justice
    “Health and health care,” Dr. Benos says, “are not commodities that exist to drive the economy. They are among the social goals which we have an economy to achieve.”

  • Posted on Friday, November 2, 2012
    By James C. Mitchiner, M.D. | ACEP News
    So it’s clear we need to do the right thing: the creation of a national, universal, publicly funded health care system, free of the corrupting power of profit-oriented health insurance, and at the same time capable of passing constitutional muster. In short, the right thing is an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program, otherwise known as single-payer.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
    By Steven Reinberg | U.S. News and World Report
    Since 1980, health care costs in the United States could have been about $2.15 trillion less if Canadian cost-saving measures had been used, according to a new study.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
    By Sarah Kliff | The Washington Post
    There are a lot of big differences between health care in the United States and Canada. But when you look at how the two countries provide care for the elderly, it’s actually pretty similar. Both countries run an insurance plan for those over 64 that covers a defined set of benefits.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
    By Mike Mitka | news@JAMA
    While Medicare costs continue to rise and Democrats and Republicans promote various plans to curb such spending, 2 researchers suggest politicians look north to Canada for solutions.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
    By Aaron Carroll, M.D. | The Incidental Economist
    Here’s the kicker. If the US Medicare program had grown at the same rate as Canada’s did over this period, we would have saved more than $2.9 trillion. In 2009, the trust fund would still have been running a surplus, instead of a deficit.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
    By David Pittman | MedPage Today
    Medicare spending in the U.S. has grown nearly three times faster since 1980 than spending on a similar population group in Canada, a study has found.

  • Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012
    By Charles V. Allen, M.D. | The Modesto (Calif.) Bee
    A handful of other countries — all first world, industrial, democratic and yes, capitalistic — nations have achieved four things we have not: coverage of all citizens, costs half to two-thirds our cost, equal or better medical outcomes and a level of public support higher than ours.

  • Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2012
    By The Associated Press | USA Today
    The theme of the rally was "Don't mess with Medicare," and many of the activists, including PNHP members who were there, advocated for an improved Medicare for all. Among the featured speakers in the AP video, which was carried by many news outlets across the country, is Dr. Elizabeth Rosenthal of the NY Metro chapter of PNHP. Other news stories featured PNHP members Dr. Matt Anderson, Dr. Steve Auerbach, and medical students Andy Simmons and Lusha Liang, among others.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 23, 2012
    By Michael Rachlis, M.D. | The Toronto Star
    So let’s start the grown-up conversation with a real question about access. Best practices across Canada demonstrate that we could see our family doctors within one day, see specialists within one week, and get elective surgery within three months. And we could get this much better care for little or no additional cost. How can we make this happen within the next two years everywhere in this country?

  • Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012
    By Kirsten Stewart | The Salt Lake Tribune
    Medical debt is a common burden in America, shouldered not just by the poor and uninsured, but scores of fully insured, middle-class families. It’s a leading cause of bankruptcy and well-documented drag on the economy, which industry experts say is getting worse. And it’s uncertain whether federal health reform will bring relief.

  • Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012
    By Diane Lund-Muzikant | The Lund Report (Portland, Ore.)
    Despite the emphasis on health care transformation, evident by the $1.9 billion in federal funds that Governor John Kitzhaber garnered to implement coordinated care organizations, the single-payer movement isn’t dead in Oregon. Its champion, Rep. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) plans to re-introduce the same legislation again next February. In 2011, it received a hearing in the House but stalled there (House Bill 3510).

  • Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012
    By Josh Freeman, M.D. | Medicine and Social Justice blog
    The New York Times editorial on September 9, 2012, “Simple treatments ignored”, is a commentary on a report in the September 7 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) that many Americans with hypertension (high blood pressure) were not being adequately treated. The Times notes that the study “found that 67 million Americans had high blood pressure and that 31 million of them were being treated with medicines that reduced their blood pressure to a safe level. The remaining 36 million fell into three groups: people who were not aware of their hypertension, people who were aware but were not taking medication, and those who were aware and were treated with medication but still had hypertension.”

  • Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012
    By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor (Maine) Daily News
    Last month, the National Academy of Sciences reported that in the U.S. we waste $750 billion on health care, or about one in every three dollars we spend. Apologists for our dysfunctional health care system blame fraud and inadequate prevention — “blame the patient” — for most of that. But those two factors accounted for only 17 percent of the waste, according to the NAS.

  • Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012
    By Sarah Kliff | Washington Post
    Doctors, like the rest of us, aren’t always logical creatures. Steffie Woolhander, Daniel Ariely and David Himmelstein sound a note of caution in Health Affairs, looking at how previous efforts at pay for performance efforts, in other sectors, have backfired:

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2012
    By Evan Godt | Health Imaging
    The second article, also published Oct. 11 on the Health Affairs blog, attempted to explain the relative lack of success of P4P by looking through the lens of behavioral economics, which challenges “the traditional economic view that monetary reward is either the only motivator or is simply additive to intrinsic motivators such as purpose or altruism,” wrote Steffie Woolhandler, MD, of the City University of New York School of Public Health, and colleagues. “Studies have shown that monetary rewards can undermine motivation and worsen performance on cognitively complex and intrinsically rewarding work, suggesting that P4P may backfire.”

  • Posted on Monday, October 15, 2012
    By David Wallechinsky |
    Supplemental Medicare plans provided by private insurance companies are wasting billions of tax dollars annually in overpayments. The Medicare supplements, designed to cover gaps in government coverage, have consumed more than $282 billion since 1985. Much of this waste has come about in the last nine years, following the Bush administration’s decision to boost Medicare Advantage (MA) payments to insurers.

  • Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2012
    By Howard Waitzkin, M.D. | Robert Wood Johnson Human Capital Blog
    For better or worse, we treat health care in the United States as a commodity. We buy and sell it, and would-be patients who don’t have enough money to buy it must either rely on limited public assistance or go without care. In very real terms, it’s not just health care that we have turned into a commodity, it’s health itself, so it should come as no surprise that poor Americans die sooner than affluent ones, by an average of close to five years.

  • Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2012
    By Bob Herman | Becker's Hospital Review
    Three physicians and health policy directors with Physicians for a National Health Program conducted a study on how Medicare pays private insurers, also known as Medicare Advantage plans, and they identified overpayments totaling $282.6 billion since 1985.

  • Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2012
    By Rachael Zimmerman | CommonHealth blog, WBUR (Boston NPR)
    The doctors over at Physicians for a National Health Program, advocates of a single-payer system, sure are prolific researchers, and here’s the headline from their latest report: Private insurers have cost Medicare $282.6 billion in excess payments since 1985.

  • Posted on Monday, October 8, 2012
    By George Lundberg, M.D. | MedPage Today
    Transcript: GEORGE LUNDBERG, M.D.: Hello, and welcome. I’m Dr. George Lundberg, editor-at-large for MedPage Today, and we are in Chicago taking an opportunity to have a conversation with a famous name: Dr. Quentin Young. Dr. Young, thank you so much for being with us.

  • Posted on Monday, October 8, 2012
    By Kay Tillow |
    After the November election, there will be a major effort in Congress to pass a budget deal that will make cuts in Social Security, raise the Medicare and Social Security eligibility age, and perhaps more – unless we act to stop it with a solution that is close at hand.

  • Posted on Saturday, October 6, 2012
    By Stephen B. Kemble, M.D.
    PNHP note: The following is the inaugural address that Dr. Kemble, president of the Hawaii Medical Association and single-payer advocate, delivered to the HMA at its annual Ola Pono Ike (“Health is Knowledge”) assembly on Oct. 6, 2012.

  • Posted on Wednesday, October 3, 2012
    By Johnathon Ross, M.D. |
    A recently released Census Bureau report reveals that 48.6 million Americans lack health insurance.We know that being uninsured is dangerous to your physical and fiscal health. Research has shown that for every million uninsured, 1,000 preventable deaths occur due to untreated or undiagnosed illness.This means 48,000 Americans will die needless deaths this year. To put this in perspective, that’s about the same number of U.S. combat deaths in Vietnam War over a decade.

  • Posted on Friday, September 28, 2012
    By Ahmed Kutty, M.D. | Kearney (Neb.) Hub, Letters
    On Aug. 15 at the dedication of the new west wing and the Cope Heart Center at Good Samaritan Hospital, Bishop William Dendinger of Grand Island paid tribute to the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who held a strong belief that the sacred dimension of the healing professions was just as vital as its scientific foundations.

  • Posted on Thursday, September 27, 2012
    By Peggy Anna Carey, M.D. |
    Fletcher Allen Health Care and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center have formed their new accountable care organization (ACO) called OneCare Vermont. The stated vision is “a statewide network with a coordinated clinical model and toolset … to enhance the quality of the care provided to Vermont’s Medicare beneficiaries while remaining good stewards of health care expenditures …”

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2012
    By Richard A. Damon, M.D. | Bozeman Chronicle, Letters
    The nation should be ashamed that we allowed 48,000 people to die of preventable deaths in 2011. The persistence of 48.6 million uninsured people (2011 Census Bureau) and their related deaths reveals the urgency of enacting an improved Medicare-for-All type system. An untreated preventable death occurred every 11 minutes in 2011.

  • Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2012
    By Anne Scheetz, M.D. | Chicago Tribune, Letters
    If we get rid of health insurance companies with their bloated bureaucracies for marketing, underwriting and claims denial, as well as their profits and outrageous executive compensation, and instead enroll every person in the country in expanded and improved Medicare for all (also called single payer), we can cut our health care administrative costs in half. The $400 billion in savings generated is enough to pay for all necessary health care for everyone. We can have music and health care.

  • Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012
    By Robin Williams Adams | The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.)
    Sticking with the status quo won't solve the woes of the United States health care system, Adil Khan said Friday, but he's not convinced the changes now being implemented will either.

  • Posted on Friday, September 21, 2012
    By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
    For the past 30 years or so, a debate about the proper place for competition vs. regulation in our health care system has raged. That debate has now become a central theme in the 2012 presidential race. Democrats favor a regulated system while Republicans favor a more market-driven system, nationally and in Maine.

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2012
    By Donald W. Light | Harvard Business Review
    Business executives may not know it, but they are wasting billions of their gross profits on ineffective, even harmful drugs in their health plans. That's one implication of the study Joel Lexchin and I just published in the BMJ.

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2012
    By Aaron E. Carroll, M.D. | The Wall Street Journal
    Whenever a debate begins on how to cut Medicare spending, someone "sensibly" suggests raising the eligibility age to 67 from 65. The reasons for this are always presented as obvious "facts."

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2012
    By John Raffensperger, M.D. | The News-Press (Fort Myers, Fla.)
    During 40 years of pediatric surgical practice, I became angry when the insurance companies and HMOs refused to pay for a child’s admission to the hospital the day before an operation. They also insisted on children being discharged while they were still in pain and in danger of complications such as bleeding. A child with a corrected birth defect would later be considered to have a “pre-existing condition” and could not get health insurance.

  • Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012
    By Mario Tama | Getty Images
    Laurie Wen, with Physicians for a National Health Program (L) and Dr. Magni Hamso, M.D., both affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, are arrested in the Financial District while protesting Wall Street influence in health care on September 17, 2012, in New York City. Today is the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and various actions and events are taking place throughout the day.

  • Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012
    By Bernard Harcourt | The Guardian (U.K.)
    The Republican VP nominee claims Hayek as hero. Did he miss the libertarian economist’s advocacy of universal health care?

  • Posted on Friday, September 14, 2012
    By Jack Bernard | Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, Ga.)
    Rep. Paul Ryan (and, by extension, Mitt Romney) wants to start the process of getting the government out of our health care by going to a voucher program for Medicare. The problem is that the American people are clearly not with him or the GOP — my party — in this crusade.

  • Posted on Friday, September 14, 2012
    By Robert Reich | Wall Street Pit
    Our healthcare system wastes 30 cents of every dollar spent on health care, according to new calculations by the well-respected Institute of Medicine. Much of it is wasted on repeated tests, and a huge portion wasted on paperwork – between doctors and hospitals and specialists and insurers, to justify expenditures by one group to be paid by another.

  • Posted on Thursday, September 13, 2012
    By Maggie Fox | NBC New
    Physicians for a National Health Program, a group that advocates for universal health insurance, says the Census numbers show 48,000 Americans died needlessly in 2011. "The estimated death toll is based on a peer-reviewed Harvard study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2009, widely cited during the health reform debate, which found that for every 1 million persons who were uninsured there were about 1,000 related, preventable deaths," the group said in a statement.

  • Posted on Monday, September 10, 2012
    By Chelsea Conaboy | The Boston Globe
    Architects of the pioneering 2006 Massachusetts health law, which required most residents to have insurance, expected it would reduce families’ medical debt. But the most recent data suggest the scope of medical debt has remained largely unchanged.

  • Posted on Thursday, September 6, 2012
    By Philip Caper, M.D. | The Portland Press Herald
    The recent news about the possibility that nonprofit Mercy Hospital will be acquired by a for-profit chain owned by Cerberus Capital should raise red flags all over Maine.

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 5, 2012
    The Nation The following exchange among PNHP co-founders Dr. Steffie Woolhandler and Dr. David Himmelstein, attorney Oliver Hall, and former health-insurance-executive-turned whistleblower Wendell Potter was prompted by an article by Potter titled “Healthcare advocates: Time to bury the hatchet” in the July 11 online edition of The Nation. A link to Potter’s original article appears at the end.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012
    By Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein | Monthly Review
    For the past three decades Howard Waitzkin has been (along with Vicente Navarro) the leading social medicine theorist in the United States. “Medicine and Public Health at the End of Empire” provides a superb sampling of Waitzkin’s wide-ranging work, and a readily accessible introduction to the searching insights offered by a Marxist view of medicine.

  • Posted on Tuesday, August 28, 2012
    Leonard Rodberg and Elaine Fox, M.D. | The New York Times, Letters
    Only in the United States would a young patient be burdened with tens of thousands of dollars of medical bills and a mother who should “be able to spend less time with my bills and more time with me” — while insurance companies bet billions on the increased profits they’re going to reap once the so-called Affordable Care Act brings them millions of new customers.

  • Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012
    By Philip Caper, M.D. | The New York Review of Books
    In Marcia Angell’s critique of Ronald Dworkin’s article about the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to buy health insurance, she advocates for replacing the ACA with a single-payer system. In his rebuttal to her letter, Dworkin states that “even Senator Edward Kennedy, who was among the most powerful advocates of a single-payer system, long ago abandoned all hope of achieving it.” That is not quite correct.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 23, 2012
    By Donna Smith |
    It’s a business. It’s big business, and it’s all about the money. When plans for Aetna to purchase Coventry Health for $5.7 billion surfaced this week, all I could think about is where people like me – Aetna’s insured – figure in the business models. I’m not a patient in their calculations; I’m a medical loss. And it just happens to be a deadly serious business.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 23, 2012
    By Sara Stalman, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
    To write about health care and politics is to write about the sacred and the profane. Our word “health” has the same etymological root as our words “whole” and “holy.” It reflects ancient awareness that we are designed and guided by forces — sacred forces — that, although beyond human comprehension, we know to be greater than ourselves and to be good. “Health” has “the Sacred” at its very root.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 22, 2012
    By Helen Redmond | Socialist Worker
    In the last 20 years, as the health care crisis has accelerated and the number of uninsured has soared to over 50 million, publicly funded, not-for-profit hospitals have been transformed into ruthless, investor-owned, profit-generating businesses. Corporations have bought up not only hospitals, but dialysis clinics, outpatient surgical centers, home care agencies and physician practices with the singular goal of making money.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 22, 2012
    By Aaron Carroll, M.D. | The Incidental Economist
    For people over the age of 65, the VA outperformed private insurance (Medicare Advantage) on nearly all the measures of quality. The care it delivered was also more consistent across geography and socioeconomic status.

  • Posted on Monday, August 20, 2012
    By Teryl Zarnow | The Orange County Register
    Dr. Don McCanne describes an alternative that sounds stunning in its simplicity: Everyone would be automatically enrolled in a national health plan at birth. There would be no deductible, no out-of-pocket, no coinsurance, and no networks. It's similar to Canada's national insurance. "It returns choice to the patient and removes monetary barriers to care," he says.

  • Posted on Monday, August 20, 2012
    By Chelsea Conaboy | The Boston Globe
    In an editorial published Tuesday in BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal, two public health professors and a best-selling author in the field of behavior economics explain why they think paying doctors more based on quality metrics is inherently problematic. Hospitals and doctors can easily change their reporting practices to improve their quality scores, they wrote. And financial incentives can undermine doctors’ intrinsic desire to help their patients.

  • Posted on Monday, August 20, 2012
    By Bill Toland | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    With insurers and Medicare hoping that they can cajole doctors and hospitals into providing better care by paying them for good performance, a pair of articles in a top medical journal is now arguing the opposite -- that so-called "pay for performance" programs can have a detrimental effect, prompting some physicians to game the system in order to bring about desired results.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2012
    By Sharon Johnson |
    Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential choice of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, an arch enemy of the Affordable Care Act, may push President Barack Obama‘s health care reform into the center of the 2012 political ring.

  • Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012
    By Ida Hellander, M.D. | PNHP
    “Premium support” or voucher proposals for Medicare are a mainstay of conservative health policy. They have been defeated for over three decades, starting with President Reagan’s FY 1981 budget proposal. They are a key feature of “managed competition” -- type reform proposals. Although President Clinton embraced managed competition in his ill-fated health reform bill, he vetoed the 1995 Balanced Budget Act which would have turned Medicare into a voucher program. Premium support proposals were defeated again in 1997 and 2003.

  • Posted on Friday, August 10, 2012
    Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP | JAMA
    In preparation for today, I asked your dean of students what she thinks is on your mind. So, she asked you. The word you used—many of you—was this one: Worried. You're worried about the constant change around you, uncertain about the future of medicine and dentistry. Worried about whether you can make a decent living. You’ve boarded a boat, and you don't know where it's going.

  • Posted on Friday, August 10, 2012
    By Ethan Parke | Vtdigger (Montpelier, Vt.)
    Single payer critics warn that Vermont should not go forward with Green Mountain Care because there are too many unknowns. But one thing is certain — if we do nothing, health care expenditures in Vermont (from all sources) are expected to reach $10 billion a year by the year 2020. That’s a back-breaking $16,000 per person, which could very well doom our economy.

  • Posted on Friday, August 10, 2012
    By Bill Mann | MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal
    It’s a relief to see hard facts finally emerging on this side of the border about Canada’s single-payer health-care system.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 9, 2012
    By Susan Perry |
    For the past decade or so, we’ve been hearing repeatedly about an “innovation” crisis in pharmaceuticals. Big Pharma and its friends in government and elsewhere have claimed that research into new drugs is slowing down, primarily, they say, because of onerous regulatory demands.

  • Posted on Tuesday, August 7, 2012
    By Ann Settgast, M.D. | Southside Pride (Minneapolis) The day the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was upheld by the Supreme Court was ironic for me as a physician. Two of my patients asked me to prescribe medication for uninsured family members: A mother asked me for an inhaler for her adult son with uncontrolled asthma, and another asked me if I could refill her husband’s blood pressure medications for a month or two until he is able to find another job following his lay off. He cannot see his doctor due to his uninsurance.

  • Posted on Tuesday, August 7, 2012
    By Dr. James Mitchiner | American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) News
    "You can always trust the Americans to do the right thing, once they’ve tried everything else."

  • Posted on Monday, August 6, 2012
    By Julie Pease, M.D., et al. | Bangor Daily News
    On the occasion of Medicare’s 47th birthday, we urge the immediate expansion of Medicare to everyone in the United States. We need a health care system that provides access to every one of us, no matter how sick, poor, old or unemployed we may be. We need reduced costs. We need improved health outcomes.

  • Posted on Monday, August 6, 2012
    By Bill Moyers
    I read a news story this week that sent me on a nostalgic trip down memory lane. This past Monday, July 30th was the 47th anniversary of Medicare, and to celebrate it, the "Raging Grannies," as they’re known, gathered outside the county office building in Rochester, New York to protest rumored cuts to their Medicare coverage.

  • Posted on Monday, August 6, 2012
    By Tom Eblen | Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader
    Medicare turned 47 years old last Monday. Bill Mahan celebrated by setting up a booth on Main Street to try to convince passersby that America's health insurance crisis could be eased considerably if everyone had Medicare.

  • Posted on Monday, August 6, 2012
    By Bennett Hall | Gazette-Times (Corvallis, Ore.)
    On a recent Wednesday night in Corvallis, a dozen people sit around Nadine Grzeskowiak’s living room sipping organic lemonade and munching gluten-free pie while video images flickered on a screen.

  • Posted on Monday, August 6, 2012
    By Dr. Marvin Malek | The Rutland Herald
    Three hospitals in Colorado have announced that they will forgive the medical bills of the victims of the Aurora, Colo., mass shooting. A kind gesture. These individuals suffered serious gunshot wounds, and many will be left with lifelong disabilities. It seemed like this was enough suffering for these individuals and their families to endure.

  • Posted on Monday, August 6, 2012
    By UWE E. REINHARDT | Economix Blog, The New York Times
    Last Friday’s exuberant celebration of Britain’s National Health Service during the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics, directed by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Danny Boyle, got me thinking about American attitudes about socialized medicine.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012
    By ANNA WILDE MATHEWS | The Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2012
    Under pressure to squeeze out costs, some of the U.S.'s biggest health insurers are quietly erecting more hurdles for patients seeking medical care. The companies are in many cases reaching back to the 1990s and boosting the use of techniques that antagonized patients and doctors alike.

  • Posted on Tuesday, July 31, 2012
    By Paul Jay | The Real News Network
    The following is an unofficial transcript of a video interview with Gerald Friedman, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Friedman recently prepared an economic impact study of how a single-payer system would affect the state of Maryland

  • Posted on Tuesday, July 31, 2012
    By National Nurses Movement | Daily Kos
    It’s been one month, almost exactly, since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. But almost every day provides a fresh reminder of the need to go much farther to permanently fix our broken health care system.

  • Posted on Tuesday, July 31, 2012
    By Carey Goldberg | CommonHealth, WBUR
    It’s not enough to get everybody insured. You have to get everybody insured well enough so that they get the care they need. And in the case of very poor people, even a $1 or a $3 co-pay can be a barrier to care.

  • Posted on Tuesday, July 31, 2012
    By Sarah Kliff | The Washington Post, Ezra Klein's Wonkblog
    It’s well known that the Massachusetts health law increased health insurance coverage. The picture on how it changed access to health care is a little bit less clear. Some research has suggested that access has increased – a 2011 study found a 6.6 percent increase in residents with primary care doctors. At the same time, other research has shown access gains eroding.

  • Posted on Monday, July 30, 2012
    By Donna Smith |
    Has your insurance company called you recently to ask you to sign up for a wellness or disease management program? Has that same company told you it’s a free service to policyholders and promised you that they do not share the information with the departments and people who administer your benefits and claims? You – like me and millions of other Americans – are being scammed.

  • Posted on Monday, July 30, 2012
    By Margaret A. Nosek | Houston Chronicle
    With all the commotion surrounding the Supreme Court and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it would be easy to overlook an important birthday: Today is the 47th anniversary of Medicare, the public health insurance program that covers our nation's seniors and people with severe disabilities.

  • Posted on Monday, July 30, 2012
    By Raymond Feierabend, M.D. | Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier
    Isn’t it time that we stop putting our collective heads in the sand? We need to look seriously at improving our current Medicare system and making it available to all Americans as the way to address our failed health care system.

  • Posted on Monday, July 30, 2012
    This Open Letter was published to honor Medicare’s 47th birthday. It comes on the heels of the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act and increasing threats to Medicaid and Medicare. The letter argues for the expansion of Medicare to all people in the United States and sees Medicare as the solution, not the problem.

  • Posted on Friday, July 27, 2012
    By Katie Robbins | Healthcare not Wealthcare
    In the midst of a fierce debate on the national level around the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, the Divestment Campaign for Health Care made its official debut. Its stated mission: “to expose how the health insurance industry puts the need for profit above the needs of patients and to escalate public support for total removal of the private health insurance companies from our nation’s health care.”

  • Posted on Friday, July 27, 2012
    By Jack Bernard | The Charleston Gazette "Repeal and replace!" That is a very catchy slogan indeed. Of course, any objective observer knows that it has very little chance of happening, but it still makes for a great sound bite.

  • Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012
    By Dr. Aaron Carroll | The Incidental Economist
    I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told this week that it’s just a “fact” that single payer systems lead to increased wait times. It appears that pointing out that this is not true is “rude”. So be it.

  • Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012
    By Dave Dvorak, M.D. | Minnesota Medicine
    "How much will this cost?” he asks. It’s the question at the heart of any business transaction: Is this new car, this plane ticket, this iPad worth the asking price? But the man sitting before me is not a customer in an automobile showroom or an electronics store. He is my patient in the emergency department, and he is weighing whether to undergo the chest CT scan I have just recommended.

  • Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012
    The following article was written by Melissa @PermissionToLive, who has chosen to use her first name only | RH Reality Check
    When I moved to Canada in 2008, I was a die-hard conservative Republican. So when I found out that we were going to be covered by Canada's Universal Health Care, I was somewhat disgusted. This meant we couldn't choose our own health coverage, or even opt out if we wanted too. It also meant that abortion was covered by our taxes, something I had always believed was horrible. I believed based on my politics that government mandated health care was a violation of my freedom.

  • Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012
    By Philip Caper, M.D.
    The affirmation of the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, on June 28 by the U.S. Supreme Court was a big step forward for our country. But parts of the act itself are a step in the wrong direction.

  • Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012
    By David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler | Common Dreams
    It’s good the Supreme Court decided to follow the Constitution rather than play politics. But, from a medical point of view, there’s little to celebrate in its upholding of the Affordable Care Act.

  • Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012
    By Michele Munz | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    In a meeting room at a St. Louis County public library, Dr. Ed Weisbart started his health insurance reform presentation with pictures of sick people.