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generic viagraJulia SchopickBarry CarolJohn FembupLynn Recent comment authors
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Smoking increases the risk of miscarriage, small babies and premature babies.

Julia Schopick
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Matthew: I haven’t been able to get this article out of my head since I first read it on September 14th, because it described what I believe to be one of the saddest things to happen to American Medicine. No, I am not referring to the fact that doctors’ Medicare reimbursements have been going down. What I am referring to is that over the years, as a profession, doctors seem to have lost their love for (and commitment to) their patients, and have gained an ever-increasing love for money. If you told a “real doctor” – and by this I… Read more »

Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

Lynn and Scott, Actually, in 1950 or thereabouts, Walter Reuther, then President of the UAW, wanted a multi-employer health insurance plan that would cover not only Big Three workers but parts company employees as well. Charlie Wilson, then CEO of General Motors, was dead set against this idea and wanted each company to provide insurance for its own workers instead. That is the system that ultimately prevailed. The essence of compact between the company and union for the next several decades was as follows: the company will provide generous wages and benefits. In return, the union will provide labor peace,… Read more »

John Fembup
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John Fembup

“the insurance industry will go out of business OVERNIGHT if socialized medicine passes congress.” Highly doubtful. In fact the same companies that administer Medicare and Medicaid today under contract to the government would take on a proportionally greater role in any national single payer plan. Their private business would decline, their public-sector business would expand enormously. The composition of their business might even continue to include a mix of risk-based contracting (as in Medicare B, C, and D) or administration only (as in Medicare A). Even individual health insurance would not disappear, because there will likely continue to be demand… Read more »

Scott Robertson
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I agree Lynn, the UAW has done more for private insurance benefits than any other special interest group (other than the insurers themselves).

Lynn
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Lynn

Matthew: You forgot the critical role unions played in fighting to prevent universal health coverage. (Look where collective bargaining is getting 75,000 UAW members at Ford, now.) The AMA couldn’t do it alone. Don’t forget to give credit to Southern politicians who fought against Medicare because God forbid hospitals would have to integrate! I see BIG PHARMA and BIG BLUE and the lobby managing the doctors these days the way hospital administrator have always done it–keeping them fighting among themselves then sending them off to fight malpractice reform. It must be successful because public decision makers have been able to… Read more »

Gregory D. Pawelski
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Gregory D. Pawelski

It’s ironic that during the same 20 years of seeing the rate of health care costs increase dramatically, and the government and private payers have looked for ways to slow their health care costs, was when the shift from the institution-based, inpatient setting to community-based, ambulatory sites for treating the majority of the nation’s cancer patients happened. The Chemotherapy Concession gave oncologists the financial incentive to select certain forms of chemotherapy over others because they receive higher reimbursement, and this has prompted in large part, additional costs to the government and Medicare beneficiaries.

Matthew Holt
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Matthew Holt

Hmm… anonymity on the Internet? Must be me! err. Jason D. I give my full name and web site to everything I write about health care. My phone number is a google away. Even my nickname on non-health sites is well known (boltyboy). Which is more than you appear to do! Why would I be harrassing Kevin? Finally the passing of Medicare was a great irony–yes they opposed it, but it also ushered in a great era of increase in incomes. And if you think the AMA had no power in 1994 you were simply not paying attention. Their power… Read more »

jason d
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jason d

BTW, AMA fought tooth and nail against Medicare in the 60s, which Holt claims resulted in doctors hoarding money and receiving huge income increases from teh federal treasury. Ironic that the AMA would oppose something that would eventually result in doctors getting paid MORE not less.
Yet despite the AMA’s vocal objections, Medicare passed anyways. But yet you didnt mention that.
The AMA is not nearly as powerful as you are making them out to be.

jason d
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jason d

Holt you seem to have a delusion on how powerful the AMA is. Pharma and insurance industry lobbying is literally 10 times more powerful than the AMA. Count hte number of lobbyists on capitol hill if you dont believe me. AMA reps are outnumbered 10 to 1. In a socialized medical system, doctors will still be employed, although they might make less money. However, the insurance industry will go out of business OVERNIGHT if socialized medicine passes congress. The people blocking universal med is the insurance industry. The AMA doesnt support it, but their objections are vastly overshadowed by the… Read more »

CT
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Good luck with AMA fading away.

Scott Robertson
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Good article Matt. I’m glad you pointed out that less than a third of docs belong to the AMA. I am not a member, although I am in the small group/independent category of physicians. One thing to watch out for: don’t assume that because physicians haven’t left Medicare in the past that they won’t in the future. Eventually there is a breaking point and in San Luis Obispo County we are very close to it. Nearly half of the primary care docs and some specialists are either not accepting new Medicare patients or have switched to “non-participating” status. Access to… Read more »