Tag: health care economics

Hormuz Nicolwala Hormuz Nicolwala (5 Posts)

Editor Emeritus: Former Medical Student Editor (2013-2015)

Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine


I am currently a first-year pediatric resident at the Children's Hospital of West Virginia. I received my MD degree from Texas A&M Health Science Center in 2014. I love medical writing!




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 …

The SGR: What Happens in Washington, D.C. Now Could Affect the Rest of Your Career

If you’ve happened across any political news outlets in the past month or two you may have seen some headlines about something called “SGR.” Perhaps more likely, you may remember in years past hearing political pundits or reporters talking about a “doc fix.” In fact, both of these are the same thing, and if you’ve heard those terms thrown about more than once it might be because the issue has come up at least once a year …

A Bias Towards Present: Why Investing in Personal Health is So Difficult, and Why Behavioral Economics Has the Answer

We have now entered a world where most the obviously good ideas are already taken. Someone has already invented the chair. Someone has already invented the desk. The spaces where innovation will occur now are in the crevices of where academic disciplines come together. By using paradigms from behavioral economics, I believe physicians and public health officials can utilize this interdisciplinary terrain to solve the U.S.’s current obesity problem. In the late 1970s, famous behavioral …

Why Health Care Costs Matter

It is no secret the US health care model is unsustainable. Costs continue to skyrocket, emergency rooms have become the primary care source for many of the uninsured, and physicians spend 22% of their time on nonclinical paperwork. Amidst the numerous problems and proposed causes, the unpredictable and high cost of health care is an undeniable symptom of a sick health care system. The price of procedures, visits, medications, and hospital stays has become a …

Michael Aaron Vrolijk (1 Posts)

Post-Bacc Guest Writer

University of Vermont


Michael Aaron Vrolijk is in the post-baccalaureate premed program at the University of Vermont and will be applying to medical school in June. Prior to attending UVM, Aaron was a research assistant at the University of California, San Francisco as well as a contract researcher for Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation.