Posts Tagged ‘health’

What’s right and what’s wrong with the U.S. health care system? Does it need a major overhaul or a few tweaks?

In a two part episode, I discuss the cost of the U.S. health care system with Dr. Robert Berenson, a health care policy expert who has served as a practicing physician, the manager of a large health plan and in senior government positions, including being in charge of Medicare payment policy and private health plan contracting in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Dr. Berenson describes how incentives need to change to get control of our medical costs.  You can hear both of these episodes and others on my online podcast radio program, Getting Better Health Care.

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Screening for illness is promoted as a way to help identify disease at a curable stage and to keep us healthy. But is it worth the cost and risks?

I discuss the very real downside of health screening and preventive care with Dr. Gilbert Welch, author of Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health, from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.  Dr. Welch points out that a big problem with screening is that it’s hard to make well people better, but it’s not hard to make them worse.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.  You can hear the interview on Getting Better Health Care.

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I received an e-mail from the Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types, a patient organization devoted to helping people with ichthyosis, a condition in which the skin is dry and scaly (sometimes to an extraordinarily severe degree). The e-mail described how FIRST member Denver Hollingsworth (a 17-year-old high school senior) would be premiering his full length comedy movie “Dog Gone” on July 24 at East Duplin High School in Beulaville, N.C.

(Previews of his movie are on YouTube, and you can find them by searching “d3doggone”). Denver is using this premier as a fundraiser for FIRST, asking for a $2 entry donation, and his family is helping by selling baked goods provided by local churches.

Patient organizations like FIRST are a huge benefit to patients, providing social support, helping educate people about diseases, supporting research, advocating with government and insurers, and above all, empowering people like Denver and his family to make a difference. If you have a chronic condition, see if there’s a patient support group to help. You can find a list of reputable patient organizations at the DrScore.com Web site: http://www.drscore.com/advocacy/list.cfm). You may find that joining is one of the best things you’ve ever done for your health.

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