Enjoy our most current issue of the most popular medical e-newsletter on the internet.
Blogs and Thoughts for August 10th to August 16th:
Here is what we had this past week
- AAFP and Lice
- Fool Britannia by Pat Conrad MD
- The Uncertainty Tax
- How Pharmacies, Drug Companies and PBMs are Stealing
- Oregon and Medicaid
- Pathology Medical Conference
- Quote of the Week: Golda Meir
1. AAFP and Lice
August 16, 2017
This is the weekly newsletter from the AAFP. It’s nice to see the American Academy of Family Practice embracing homeopathy. Dilution and killing lice seems intuitive. Nothing like selling out for the almighty dollar. That’s not to say I wouldn’t take the money but they are supposed to be a respectable organization. Us on the other hand….
2. Fool Britannia by Pat Conrad MD
August 15th, 2017
Yesssirrreeee, this is the kind of story I love! I love it because it is logical, factual, and yet poetic in serving up exactly what is deserved.
Last year the British National Health Service found out that it had spent a few billion pounds more than had been allocated, leading to new measures to curb expenditures. “In North Yorkshire, England, hospital leaders have decided to cut back by denying hip and knee surgeries to smokers who refuse to quit, and those with Body Mass Indices above 30.” They rightly figure that expensive surgeries are more likely to fail in the obese and smoked, and can either save money by making patients healthier, or at least by denying expensive surgeries. For years esteemed colleagues on this site have pointed out how all reforms are doomed to failure without patient accountability, and Voila!, here it is. It is logical that whoever pays for your health care, be it a big corporation or kindly state, will want to stretch those funds as far as possible. And why stop with smoking and overindulgence? Why should someone be eligible for a heart cath if they aren’t willing to take statins recommended by the payer? Why should someone receive a endoscopy if they can’t prove total abstinence from all alcohol first? There is a very strong argument that motorcycles should be permanently outlawed, given all the money that could be saved by getting retiree Harley packs off the road.
NHS guidelines are used to justify withholding information on new treatments from patients in order to not “distress, upset, or confuse them,” which probably saves on anxiolytic expenditures. The NHS quite reasonably determined that expensive new therapies for senile blindness need not be covered until the hopeful recipient was down to one working eyeball. Honestly, it’s just selfish to want TWO working eyes when your neighbor is trying to kick smokes so that he can get on the hip replacement waiting list (average wait 11 months).
3. The Uncertainty Tax
August 14th, 2017
Insurance rates are going up next year. Why? Uncertainty. It turns out that this is the next excuse for double digit rate increases. Wouldn’t you like to have a double digit raises EVERY YEAR? Just tell your boss you don’t know what your expenses will be and you need this guarantee. The excuses are irrelevant. The NY Times articles cites both Obamacare as the cause well as stating the “insurers are being quite explicit about citing the Trump administration’s hostile policy messages as a substantial reason for the higher prices.” No hedging there. I guess they were uncertain. All of it is bogus. See my past posts. The insurers are raking in profits. You can see their shares on Wall St. continue to climb. Don’t believe any of their BS. That being said, I just thought it would be fun to point out this new buzz term.
4. How Pharmacies, Drug Companies and PBMs are Stealing
August 13th, 2017
Every time I write an Rx for someone I try to keep the cost in mind. I also scan goodrx.com and give the patient a coupon EVEN if they have insurance. Why? Read this article. The system is rigged and the insurance companies don’t help reduce the cost. They, and the PBMs, are double dipping (many times). A recent example that I had was $26 cash for a cortisone cream versus $259 if the insurance was used. The whole system is broken. Physicians need to be advocates for patients versus just mindlessly writing for a drug and rushing out of the room.
5. Oregon and Medicaid
August 12th, 2017
It turns out that Oregon has awarded Medicaid health benefits to more than 37,000 people during the past year who earned too much money or otherwise failed to qualify. And these are just the ones they checked. This means that taxpayers “provided as much as $191 million of benefits to people who should have been disqualified.”
This is concerning. Why?
- Our government can’t run healthcare. Sorry.
- When you use other peoples’ money you don’t care as much.
- This is not an attack on Medicaid. People who truly NEED Medicaid eventually lose out when these screw ups happen.
What do you think?
6.Pathology Medical Conference
August 11th, 2017
Apologies to our pathology colleagues. This was all in good fun from the late, great Placebo Journal.
7. Quote of the Week: Golda Meir
August 10th, 2017
“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”
UNTIL NEXT TIME, KEEP SMILING, KEEP LAUGHING AND KEEP OUT OF THE SAMPLE CLOSET!
Douglas Farrago MDTweet