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PNHP RESOURCES

Dr. Andy Coates' public radio commentaries

PNHP President Dr. Andrew D. Coates regularly comments on health care matters for WAMC Northeast Public Radio. The NPR-affiliated station is based in Albany, N.Y., and broadcasts to a seven-state region. It also streams its programming via the web. In addition to the items archived below, you can find (and listen to) Dr. Coates' commentaries at the WAMC archive.

A profile of Dr. Coates that appeared in the ACP Internist is available here.

  • Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2014
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D.
    KevinMD — Dr. Kevin Pho — the popular physician blogger, suggests that single-payer advocates reevaluate the single-payer idea in light of the scandal now unfolding within the Veterans Health Administration. He calls the scandal “a red flag for those who want a national single-payer system in the United States.”
  • Posted on Friday, March 7, 2014
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    Facing a loved one’s death is overwhelming. Since the chances are very good that all of us will face death, it seems obvious we should be devoting our resources to building a system based upon caring for patients with the kind of dignity they deserve.
  • Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    The Affordable Care Act is reducing the number of uninsured, yet at the end of the day it is not a program of universal access to care. Because the major failings of the U.S. system still persist — avoidable death and bankruptcy, racial and socioeconomic disparities, the perverse incentives of profiteering, burgeoning costs — the urgency for thoroughgoing health reform has returned.
  • Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    It is not only that Republican intransigence against the Affordable Care Act does nothing to advance the national debate about health care in a direction that would improve quality, increase access or reduce disparities. Nor would Republican proposals offer any means of cost saving, for both out-of-pocket costs and aggregate spending would continue to soar.
  • Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013
    By Andrew Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    December arrives under honking geese. As the last dying leaves find their way to the ground, frost tints the mornings, snow flurries lick the landscape, and Orion rises before bedtime. Holiday gatherings have begun. Time away from work and school might not allow us a whole day for reflection. But we might each find at least a moment of reverie or pause.
  • Posted on Friday, November 22, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    Private health insurance is what got us into this mess. Private health insurance won’t get us out of it.
  • Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    Physicians tend to be a conservative group, in the sense that we’re cautious when it comes to new ideas. For example I find myself very reluctant to prescribe medications that have been on the market for only a few months or a short year or two, no matter what benefit their manufacturer’s claim they offer.
  • Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    Last week we saw a domestic national news cycle dominated by the “glitches” that derailed the launch of the web-based exchanges where uninsured American people and their small business employers can shop for private health insurance. This week, as stories about private health insurance continue to dominate the headlines, the term “single payer” has bobbed up with increasing frequency.
  • Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    The “glitches” in purchasing private health insurance arise from the complexity and bureaucracy of our private insurance system -- with hundreds of insurers, thousands of plans, state-by-state as well as federal regulation and the need to mine new databases in order for the federal government to subsidize premium payments for Americans who have incomes below 400 percent of poverty.
  • Posted on Friday, October 11, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    I’d like to offer some thoughts this week about the discussion over health care in Washington. We’re heading into the second week of the federal government shutdown, in which the right wing of Congress has demanded that President Obama step back from his health reform.
  • Posted on Friday, September 20, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    Influenza rocked our community hospital for weeks last winter just as the first snowstorms came. Our hospital medicine service was swamped with patients. I was working the night shift.
  • Posted on Friday, September 6, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    We physicians earn a place in society that yields great scientific and human insight, the impact of illness upon individual lives. Yet we are encouraged by forces inside and outside our profession to look away from the big picture.
  • Posted on Friday, August 23, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    A long time ago when I was about to apply to medical school and struggling with college courses in organic chemistry and calculus and the like, a friend pointedly mocked my desire to become a physician. He dismissed the idea that the profession of medicine could be “a calling” to serve humanity.
  • Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    A young friend and keen analyst of social change made the observation that it seems that physicians, when it comes to the contemporary state of our profession, seem a bit in shock, as if suffering a grief reaction. She referenced the stages of grief elucidated by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
  • Posted on Friday, July 26, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association at the beginning of July, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Dr. Lawrence Hergott, calls upon his fellow physicians to fight for their profession by fighting for their own souls.
  • Posted on Friday, July 12, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    Our profession has an obligation to change the entire culture and system of caregiving. Our heroic patients and our caregiving colleagues are counting upon us to do it.
  • Posted on Monday, July 8, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    A health system that belonged to all of us would serve every patient’s needs and remove the hassles, the fear and the money from caregiving. This would prove liberating not only for patients and their families, but for their caregivers.
  • Posted on Friday, June 28, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    It is common for people to assume that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act will lead to universal coverage; after all, that was its stated aim.
  • Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    I practice hospital medicine.
  • Posted on Friday, May 31, 2013
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P. | WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    This week the prestigious journal Health Affairs published a new study that shows that "immigrants, particularly noncitizen immigrants, heavily subsidize Medicare." The lead author is Harvard-based Dr. Leah Zallman; her co-authors include co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program, Drs. Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein, among others.