Two days ago, author Steven Brill was interviewed on 60 Minutes about his recently published book, America’s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Back-Room Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System.
Brill came to the nation’s attention two years ago when he wrote a lengthy article for Time magazine titled “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us.” He introduced us to the term “chargemaster”—the hospital pricing list that is kept hidden, perhaps because the prices are outrageous and irrational.
But his book reads like a season of House of Cards; Brill even says in the 60 Minutes… Continue reading
News stories like this make me crazy: Disneyland measles outbreak grows, sparks concern. Or this from my local newspaper: Measles makes it to Seattle from Disneyland.
At least 17 people have been infected in the outbreak, which occurred among people who visited Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in Orange County, Calif….It’s likely that a person who was contagious visited the theme park during that period and spread it to others.
A 20-something young woman from Washington state was one of those infected with measles while at Disneyland. Judging by her age, she is most likely one of … Continue reading
US News & World Report published another one of their ubiquitous “Best of” lists this week. This one focused on diets. January, after all, is the month of diet resolutions 😉
For the fifth year in a row the winner was the DASH diet.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (or High blood pressure). It was a study implemented in the early 1990s and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
It’s really more dietary guideline than diet, and emphasizes whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables (especially those high in minerals such as calcium, potassium … Continue reading
Here’s another great video from Healthcare Triage by Aaron Carroll, MD, on the overuse of antibiotics.
I’ve posted on this topic a few times. Whether it’s physicians prescribing unnecessary antibiotics because they think it’s what the patient wants, or patients demanding antibiotics because it’s what they think they need, too many antibiotics are still being prescribed.
Antibiotic prescriptions are particularly abundant during the cold and flu season, even though the vast majority of colds, coughs and sinus infections are viral and don’t need antibiotics.
Save … Continue reading
I read a disturbing article in MedPage Today—Metformin: A Great Lakes Disaster?
Metformin is one of the most common drugs used to treat Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, which is mostly a lifestyle disease (obesity), is epidemic in the United States. Seventy million prescriptions for metformin were dispensed in 2013. That year the cost of treating type 2 diabetes, just for the drugs, was $23 billion.
But the environment is paying, too.
Researchers have found high levels of metformin in Lake Michigan—and this is water after it has been treated in the sewage plants.
More importantly, according
… Continue reading
Last week USA Today published an excellent article about the problems with the new trend of really high-deductible health care plans:
It explains how the overarching goal of Obamacare to provide coverage for the sick and low income demographic has had a rather unfortunate (although not unforeseen) unintended consequence.
Physician Praveen Arla is witnessing a reversal of health care fortunes: Poor, long-uninsured patients are getting Medicaid through Obamacare and finally coming to his office for care. But middle-class workers are increasingly staying away.
“It’s flip-flopped,” says Arla, who helps his father run a
… Continue reading
It’s a funny video about a serious topic.
I love the health care parody videos that occasionally show up on YouTube.
This one—to the tune of Taylor Swift’s “We are never getting back together”— is from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and sends a message to those people seeking narcotics from emergency rooms.
I know there are people with legitimate pain issues that need narcotic medications. Most times, health care providers can easily determine if a patient is legit or just a drug seeker.
… Continue reading
I’ve posted before about my deep disappointment in Dr. Oz. Once a brilliant heart surgeon, he has, in my humble opinion, thrown his career and integrity away to hustle sketchy weight-loss supplements to an eager and sometimes desperate audience.
Related post: Dr. Oz – Pitchman for profit
And I’ve never been comfortable watching the medical tips proffered by the photogenic docs on The Doctors. I especially distrust the smooth and stylish plastic surgeon’s weight loss and anti-aging advice. He’s mostly drumming up business for his colleagues (I wonder if they pay him?).
So I was pleased to learn … Continue reading
An article last week in the MIT Technology Review issued a warning that our health care information, including medical, insurance and financial records, might not be secure.
Along with vast troves of credit card information and celebrity snapshots, hackers stole a record number of medical records from U.S. health-care facilities this year. In 2015, attacks targeting health data will become even more common, according to security researchers.
Carl Leonard, principal security analyst for Websense, says hackers are breaking into the computer networks of health-care facilities with increasing frequency and taking valuable personal information that is often secured improperly. In August,
… Continue reading
I very much agreed with the author of the recent article in The Atlantic titled The Cold-Medicine Racket.
There are now hundreds of flashy “cold and flu” products, but still only a handful of simple, cheap ingredients.
Yes! Every time I’m at the grocery or drug store I see displays and shelves full of the latest and greatest cold products, and I’m always stunned by how much they cost.
I’ve posted many times about these pricey over-the-counter drugs: what works, what doesn’t, and which products are the best value.
Related post: Save money on cold medications
First, I would … Continue reading