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The Stethoscope Is Not Just a Prop

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by: Jane M. Orient, M.D.

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Stock photos of “healthcare workers” who attend patients—physicians are no longer distinguishable—usually feature a stethoscope draped around the neck.

But some, such as cardiologist Eric Topol, consider the stethoscope obsolete, nothing more than a pair of “rubber tubes.”

The most important part of the stethoscope is the part between the ears. But some think that will be replaced by artificial intelligence, and the rubber tubes by sophisticated electronic gizmos costing at least ten times as much as the humble stethoscope.

High tech is wonderful and increasingly capable, but if the stethoscope is dying, so is the art of clinical medicine.

The proper use of the stethoscope requires the doctor to touch, listen to the patient, and spend some time with a living person, not a computer. Patient and physician must cooperate: “Stop breathing,” “Take a big deep breath,” “Lean forward,” and so on. More

SCOTUS, the Constitution, Freedom and Your Health

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by Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.

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We stand at the crossroads of liberty or despotism. Each day the news brings examples of assaults on life and liberty. These include:

The multifaceted assault on individual freedom is by design, as outlined in the teachings of Karl Marx, Saul Alinsky, and other radical leftists whose goal is to tear down the principles and institutions that made America the quantum leap in the history of humankind, based on the exceptional idea that Life and Liberty are natural rights that come from our Creator, not from government. More

Medicare Pay for Performance—Fighting a War That’s Already Over

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new-logo25Gerard Gianoli, M.D., F.A.C.S.

“In 1814, we took a little trip, along with Colonel Jackson, down the mighty Mississip….”

Like any good student growing up in New Orleans, I learned about the magnificent victory of the U.S. forces over the British in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. Of course, the Treaty of Ghent ended the War of 1812 before the Battle of New Orleans was even fought. Many have argued that the battle was useless since the war was already over. However, this is not the first or last time that governments have pursued “useless” enterprises.

Government central planning fosters this type of ineptitude. By its design, government is a slow-moving entity that often makes changes only long after that change has become obsolete. This is the nature of government, and it does not matter whether the occupants of the Oval Office or Congress have an “R” or a “D” after their names.

Recently, legislation passed as part of the “Doc Fix” (repealing the “SGR” physician pay cuts) institutionalized a physician Pay-for-Performance (P4P Medicare program called Merit-Based Payment Incentive System (MIPS).) The idea is to pay bonuses to physicians providing higher quality care.

Let’s make the highly dubious assumptions that government can measure quality in medical care and that such a system won’t just lead to “cherry picking” of patients. MIPS still won’t work to identify and reward “quality” physicians with bonuses. Why? Like in 1814, the government is fighting a war that is already over. More

We Need Doctors Who Are Out of Control

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new-logo25  By Alieta Eck, M.D.

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We constantly are told that “while ObamaCare might not be perfect, the right has not come up with a better plan.” Is it possible that we do not need a “plan” at all?

Think about it. Has the federal government set up a food plan for all? A housing plan? Is the Secretary of Whatever empowered to decide what and when we eat? What kind of house each of us lives in? Of course not. We work, we plan and we buy what we need, saving up for the big-ticket items. Government does not control us, nor should it.

So why is health care different?

“Health care” begins in the home– when moms and dads teach and model good health habits and good nutrition. In grade school the health teachers show children the basic food groups and explain why eating right and exercising is the road to a healthy life. Avoiding the use of toxic substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs is part of early training. Early learning of the proper role of kindness and generosity is the best way to teach good behavior and the structure of a healthy family and community.

So while staying healthy is the first step, next we need to learn how to detect illness early. A fever, a localized pain, a cough, or simply knowing that something is just not right ought to prompt one to seek medical attention. That is where it would be good to have a relationship with a physician who knows us, or at least knows the right questions to ask. His education is geared to picking up the signs, symptoms, and physical indications of disease. He is also prepared to handle 92% of what ails us and can get us back on our feet. We ought not need health insurance for routine care, as running these visits through an insurance company will make them more expensive.

Of course, despite our best behavior with inevitable slip-ups, 8% of us will come down with a serious injury or illness. This is where we will need the expertise of those who have made this country the go-to place for the best care in the world. A tumor, blood disorder, cancer, diabetic complications, or a broken bone—these are instances where purchasing health insurance—affordable, high-deductible health insurance is a wise decision. More

What Will the [Un]Affordable Care Act Look Like in a Year?

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new-logo25Author/Contributor: G. Keith Smith, M.D.

 

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Many are speculating about  the outcome of what I call UCA for the [Un]Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. I think there are two basic scenarios.

 

 

First is that UCA will do  precisely what it was intended to do: inject economic chaos into the medical  marketplace, driving prices for insurance and healthcare through the roof, so  that people will beg for the sequel—single payer. That means everybody is forced  into one big government plan. There is no doubt in my mind that this was the  intention of the authors of this bill, several of whom were the corporate  players who would benefit from this. While it is worthwhile to understand  various provisions of UCA, detailing its shortcomings without assigning  malevolent intent to its authors is naive, I think. This legislation was meant  to “crash” the system. That is its purpose. Unaffordable care and insurance are  its goals. This is a medical economic false flag from which only Uncle Sam can  rescue us. More

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