It seems appropriate that in the same month President Obama signed a $787 billion economic stimulus package, the preferred topic of choice in the blogosphere would focus on money—or, more specifically, lack of it.
On his blog “Dr. Wes,” Westby G. Fisher, MD, an internist, cardiologist, and cardiac electrophysiologist, warns about the looming Medicare physician fee cuts that Congress might not prevent this year as pressure increases to trim healthcare costs. Physicians should plan to work with the American Medical Association (AMA) to prevent the cuts, he writes.
“Do we honestly think that our individual subspecialty societies for cardiologists, internists, surgeons, hospitalists, or even newer, heavily promoted doctors’ Internet sites will hold a policy-making candle to the AMA’s lobbying stature on the Hill? No way.”
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Speaking of healthcare spending, The Wall Street Journal Health Blog writer Jacob Goldstein reports startling figures recently published in Health Affairs: a 5.5% projected rise in U.S. healthcare spending this year and healthcare projecting to make up 17.6% of total GDP, compared with 16.6% last year.
Commenting on Goldstein’s post, urologist James G. Knight, MD, CEO of Consumer Directed Health Care Inc., had the following to say: “While everyone should have major medical insurance that protects them from financial ruin, each person should be financially responsible for their day-to-day care. This gives people who smoke, are overweight, or who have other behavior-related illnesses a financial incentive to manage their personal health.”
FridaWrites of Hospitalist With a View offers another option to lower health spending: “Jumbo serving sizes are the enemy—in our house, half a bagel is enough and we split restaurant orders and enjoy leftovers; this also makes eating out on occasion more affordable. In some coffee shops, we’ve seen that one muffin or cookie in the display is large enough to serve a whole family. Teaching people to measure portions and count calories seems to be important—and this goes for hospital meals, too, where I’ve also seen surprisingly large portion sizes for people who don’t need to gain weight.”