Tag: health care economics

Birju Rao Birju Rao (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine

Birju is currently a Class of 2017 medical student at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. With a background in economics, he is particularly interested in the impact of internal organization in improving clinical outcomes and community health.


Ontario’s Health Care Cutbacks are Affecting Medical Students

The Ontario government is cutting physician services. Two rounds of unilateral fee cuts, with the most recent on October 1, saw physician fees cut by 1.3 percent. Different from other public sector employees, physicians have a commitment to patient care, limiting their legal and ethical ability to take job action. As a medical student not currently earning a salary — but rather paying $24,000 a year in tuition — and junior member of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), I can only passively observe the reaction of many doctors in Ontario to these cuts, and the accompanying provincial government’s almost apathetic response.


Safeguarding Your Professional Freedom in a Treacherous Environment, by Michel Accad, MD

I am honored by this opportunity to offer you some advice on how to prepare for your professional career in what has become a treacherous health care system. I will not elaborate on why I think the health care system is “treacherous.” I will assume — and even hope — that you have at least some inkling that things are not rosy in the world of medicine.


A Call to Physicians for Environmental Awareness

We have made it to an era when even fast food restaurants stock biodegradable straws. Corn-derived utensils have been released from the confines of the Whole Foods salad bar and have made their way into a wider range of restaurants and delis. There are pockets in this nation where composting is a city-maintained public service, where green bins enlist each and every home in the neighborhood to move one step closer to a greener lifestyle and to leave a lighter footprint on this earth. But the medical community — perhaps the one institution that has the most potential for enacting change — is lagging in the area of environmental consciousness.

The Messy Business of Health Care

No one can deny the heavy price tag of health care in the United States — in fact, we have the priciest health care in the world. Some might jump to the conclusion that this would mean we also have the best health care, since increased spending means increased capacity to provide a higher quality of care, right? But according to the World Health Organization (WHO), we consistently fall short when compared to other nations in areas like life expectancy or speed of health services.

The Hoops Hospitals Must Jump Through to Get Paid

As health care reform begins to take hold in America, we are beginning to see some significant departures from our “ways of old.” The new forms of payment that are taking hold seem so foreign to us because they are in direct opposition to our past system. Our previous method, primarily fee-for-service, was one where there was an incredible amount of wiggle room for what payments should be. Individual hospitals or practitioners would negotiate with an insurance company as to what their reimbursement should be for a given service or procedure. This has led to enormous disparities in what individual hospitals may receive for the same procedure and the same outcome.


For-Profit and Non-Profit Hospitals: What are the Differences?

By recognizing the important distinction between for-profit hospitals and non-profits, a medical student can better define his/her own beliefs on how care should be administered and made available to patients. My investigation into the difference between these types of hospitals has surprised me in many ways. It also helped me address my own concerns about whether a profit should be made on providing health care. The conversations I had with Michael Halter, a CEO at …

Germany: A Model for What Health Care Should Be?

It’s fairly safe to say that the debate surrounding health care in the United States is long from over. During President Barack Obama’s first term, he fought to implement a new health care system that is projected to shave hundreds of billions off medical costs over the first decade. Once President Obama’s second term comes to an end, many Republican candidates have sworn to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if elected into office. Why …

A Health Care System Alternative in the United States

“Drain commissioner! What the heck is a drain commissioner? And why do the drains need a commissioner?” I had recently moved to a rural county in the United States to work as a physical therapist, and as I read through the advertisements in the local paper for electoral offices, this one particularly intrigued me. As a young boy growing up in India, I remember electoral politics being an ever-present topic of discussion at home. So, …

Medicare SGR Repeal and What It Means for Our Future

Here’s the problem: Medicare’s physician payment formula has not been working. Since 1992, Medicare has reimbursed physicians on a fee-for-service basis. In 1997, Congress implemented the sustainable growth rate (SGR) to control Medicare spending and make sure that growth in physician reimbursement does not exceed growth in the gross domestic product (GDP). This is problematic because the cost of medical care in the United States has increased faster than its GDP. In fact, health care …

Ryan Denu Ryan Denu (7 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Ryan is a Class of 2019 MD/PhD student at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He graduated in May 2012 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BS in molecular biology. He enjoys thinking and writing about health care policy and bioethics, and is also an avid tennis player, instructor, coach, umpire, and fan.