Op-eds
The ‘Doc Fix’ and the End of Medicare
The ‘Doc Fix’ and the End of Medicare
By: G. Keith Smith, M.D. http://SurgeryCenterOK.com & http://MarketMedicine.org The “permanent” end to the yearly threatened cuts to doctors’ pay—the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula—may satisfy my curiosity about what the end of a Ponzi scheme will look like. All Ponzi schemes are unstable and doomed to fail. Medicare and Social “Security” will be no different. The yearly postponement of SGR cuts was a bribefest held to tease and extort corporate health cronies and physicians. The “doc fix” was not an exception: just look at all the “stakeholders” acknowledged in its 263 pages. The purpose of the SGR was to delay... read more
Missing From the Debate Over The Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate: Sanity
Missing From the Debate Over The Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate: Sanity
By Richard Amerling, M.D. A popular definition of insanity---doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result---could well be applied to the Sustainable Growth Rate. Understanding the origins of this failed policy is highly instructive as to the effects of government price controls in the Medicare system. Costs within the Medicare system started to rise faster than predicted as soon as the program was instituted. This should have come as no surprise. Millions of seniors were handed an entitlement to medical services, which of course increased the demand for these services. Physicians were allowed to charge their... read more
Medicare Payments Being Decided This Week
Medicare Payments Being Decided This Week
By Jane M. Orient, M.D. This week Congress will, for the 18th time, decide whether to cut doctors’ Medicare fees across the board, according to the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate, “SGR”, formula (the Clinton-Gingrich sustainable growth rate). This was enacted in 1997 as part of the Balanced Budget Act. It has been postponed 17 times because of the threat that seniors would lose access to medical care. And with each delay, the threatened future cut gets bigger. On March 31, the cut will be 21%, if it happens. Since doctors’ expenses consume at least half of what comes in, that... read more
Medical Care in Venezuela Destroyed by Price Controls
Medical Care in Venezuela Destroyed by Price Controls
By Richard Amerling, M.D. Anyone who believes central control of the medical system is a good thing should read the report from Venezuela in the Wall Street Journal. Here’s an excerpt: “His heart failing fast, Pedro Gonzalez checked into one of Venezuela’s leading public hospitals in September, hoping for a new heart valve to save his life. . . . In late November, the director of cardiovascular surgery at the University Hospital sent out letters to the cardiology ward’s patients, telling them they were being discharged. The reason cited: a dearth of operating room supplies — no catheters, no working... read more
Presidential Candidates in the Year of the Sheep
Presidential Candidates in the Year of the Sheep
By Marilyn M. Singleton, M.D., J.D. Gong Hay Fat Choy! [Happy New Year!] The Chinese Year of the Sheep is upon us. Sheep are known for trying to make people happy and being loyal followers. Too many of our elected “leaders” have lived their careers in the Year of the Sheep. This is also the year where potential presidential candidates surface. The candidates range from the anointed one, establishment insiders, and those pretending not to be insiders, to those on the fringe. All we now know is what the potential candidates have told us about themselves or what the media... read more
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