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November 2013
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Medical Bills: Are We Really Better Off With the Mechanic?

Dr. Davis Liu has an interesting blog on the trend towards asking patients to “shop around” for their healthcare, comparing it to a recent visit to his mechanic:

My car dealer service advisor returns. The battery and the fog light are not available until the next day. It will take him at least until tomorrow . . . → Read More: Medical Bills: Are We Really Better Off With the Mechanic?

Study: Cancer Patients Reluctant To Ask About Costs of Treatments

If only. A new study finds that cancer patients are reluctant to ask about the costs of their treatment. Sadly, doctors aren’t really any better:

Although more than half the participants said they wanted to talk about cost with their physicians, only 19 percent had actually done so. Yet 57 percent of those who did . . . → Read More: Study: Cancer Patients Reluctant To Ask About Costs of Treatments

Obamacare: We Pay HOW Much More for Healthcare?

Interesting story in The New York Times this weekend, on how much the U.S. pays for some healthcare services compared to other countries. Warning: it’s not pretty:

Deirdre Yapalater’s recent colonoscopy at a surgical center near her home here on Long Island went smoothly: she was whisked from pre-op to an operating room where a . . . → Read More: Obamacare: We Pay HOW Much More for Healthcare?

Genetic Testing: Dollars and Sense

Great op-ed by Professor David B. Agus of the University of Southern California in the The New York Times:

Unlike routine tests for diabetes or high cholesterol, however, the BRCA gene evaluation — performed by only one company in the United States, Myriad Genetics — is phenomenally expensive, with a “list price” close to . . . → Read More: Genetic Testing: Dollars and Sense

High-Deductible Health Insurance: My Mama Told Me, You Better Shop Around…

And the high-deductible health insurance plan is all part of the new normal:

When Maria and Vadim Brodsky’s then 7-year-old daughter needed an MRI two years ago to examine a tumor in her head, they took her to a hospital in their health plan’s network and were dismayed to receive a $4,500 bill.

The couple . . . → Read More: High-Deductible Health Insurance: My Mama Told Me, You Better Shop Around…

The Oregon Health Experiment: Does It All Boil Down to An Air Conditioner?

When it comes to the healthcare debate, Governor John Kitzhber of Oregon loves to tell a story about an air conditioner:

As it turns out, I have heard the air-conditioner story. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) loves to tell the air-conditioner story. He loves to tell it so much, in fact, that it has become . . . → Read More: The Oregon Health Experiment: Does It All Boil Down to An Air Conditioner?

Cedars-Sinai Tops Lists for Hospital Pricing

Not sure if this is a list that any hospital wants to be at the top of:

When Medicare disclosed average charges from thousands of U.S. hospitals for 100 common procedures last week, only one hospital was near the top in every category: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Be it a cardiac stent, a . . . → Read More: Cedars-Sinai Tops Lists for Hospital Pricing

Angelina Jolie: Before You Rush Out To Get Tested…

We’re still mulling over the implications of Angelina Jolie’s stunning announcement this week, but one note. While we applaud her bravery in bringing so much attention to an important issue in women’s health, we strongly suggest that anyone thinking of undergoing the BRAC1 gene testing to read Dr. H. Gilbert Welch’s opinion piece in CNN:

. . . → Read More: Angelina Jolie: Before You Rush Out To Get Tested…

Double Mastectomies, Numbers Rise and So Do Costs

If Angelina Jolie’s recent announcement about her decision to have a double mastectomy has made you think about the procedure, you’re not alone:

Approximately 100,000 women undergo mastectomies each year, according to Decision Researches, a Burlington, Massachusetts industry analysis group, and the popularity of the procedure has grown. Rates of double mastectomies more than doubled . . . → Read More: Double Mastectomies, Numbers Rise and So Do Costs

The Breast Cancer Gene Breakdown

Bruce Watson has a great breakdown of some of the cost issues involved in making decisions like Angelina Jolie’s to have a preventative double mastectomy:

On Tuesday, Angelina Jolie drew headlines with her announcement that she has undergone a preventative double mastectomy. As she wrote in the pages of The New York Times, . . . → Read More: The Breast Cancer Gene Breakdown