What does someone having a heart attack look like? I think the New York Times captured what many of us probably have in mind, when they published this picture as part of a recent series on advances in cardiovascular care:
Mark Makela for The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/21/health/saving-heart-attack-victims-stat.html
Here is the iconic middle-aged guy, in extremis, pointing to his chest, with a team of health care professionals at the bedside. There are also signs of initial management – he has ECG electrodes on his chest, an IV in his left arm, what looks like monitor/defibrillator pads on his right chest and below his left arm and, of course, an oxygen mask.
What is wrong with this picture?
Continue reading Rethinking a No-Brainer
If you were the right age to have been watching television in the mid-1970s, you probably remember “The 6 Million Dollar Man.” The show was about an astronaut who is critically injured in a test-mission gone bad, and is “rebuilt” with bionic (nuclear powered!) limbs and sensors to be “better than he was.” The campy intro, complete with scenes from the operating room, is, of course available on YouTube. Continue reading Better than new
Last week, with little fanfare, the federal government made public all of the “Part B” Medicare expenditures from 2012. For the first time, it became possible to view – by physician – the types of services being billed, the number of each type, the charges, and the actual payment from Medicare. Continue reading Medicare Physician Payments
The irony continues. The federal government is “shut down” but health insurance exchanges at the center of the law that provoked Republicans to hold the country hostage have been up and running, and attracting a lot of interest. Although there have been some well-publicized (and expected) technical glitches, millions of people have visited State and Federal websites to learn more about their options for purchasing health insurance.
At the same time, the New York Times reported this week that millions of other citizens, who have incomes too low to qualify for subsidized private insurance on the exchanges, will continue to be uninsured. Remember that the Affordable Care Act was designed to expand health insurance coverage in two ways: for those with the lowest incomes, states were offered new funds from the federal government to expand Medicaid, which would have covered nearly all of the new expense at the outset, and about 90% thereafter. For those with higher incomes, the exchanges were created to provide new access to private insurance and subsidies based on income. Continue reading Week Two
I have previously written about the cost of health care in the United States. As a society, we spend a lot more than any other “Western” countries with developed economies, regardless of whether one measures health care expenditures as a percentage of GDP or as a per capita figure.
Obviously, the amount of money spent on health care (or anything else, for that matter) depends on both the volume of services – how much stuff is done – and the unit price – how much each activity costs. A lot of attention has been paid (no pun intended) to the former, and with good reason. Continue reading It’s (at Least Partly) the Prices