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A Few Thoughts on Health Care Reform

Friday, October 29, 2010 // Uncategorized

9/14/2009 10:47:28 PM

As the debate on health care reform continues, here are a few observations of my own.

I have a patient from England.  He lives in San Antonio a few months of the year and travels extensively.  Though he is 67 he has never been offered a colonoscopy for colon cancer screening from his doctor in England.  He also was not offered a treatment for his elevated cholesterol even though it was 260.

I have another patient who is from Canada  and who injured his knee in an exercise class.  It didn’t respond to rest, ice, elevation and anti-inflamatory medication.  He had an MRI, was found to have a cyst which was apirated and injected.  He was told that in Vancouver he would have to wait a year for an MRI.

The population of the United States is about 300 million.  Last year, about 50 million CAT scans were performed.  Not only is more medicine not better medicine, the cumulative effect of all these CAT scans will be felt in the years to come as cancer rates may increase due to the radiation exposure.  Some people would say that the number of CAT scans done is related to concerns by physicians about liability.   Texas has enacted some of the most dramatic tort reforms in the country.  This has resulted in an influx of new physicians into the state, lower malpractice insurance rates, but I’ve been unable to locate information that documents any  cost savings to consumers.

There must be a middle ground.

Anyone who has ever had dealings with Medicare is not in favor of a “public option”.

There can be no reform of the health care system without increasing the number of primary care physicians.  At present, doctors in the United States are paid to do, not to think.

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