policy

ACA Repeal – Good or Bad for Doctors?

As Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the Republican-led Congress is making strategic moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. “Obamacare.” Despite their promises to immediately replace the ACA with a new plan, no solid details have been given out by Trump or Republicans.   The effects of the ACA on the lives and practice of doctors has been complex, and opinions as to whether the law has been good or bad for doctors are clearly divided along party lines. There is high anxiety surrounding the proposed repeal from patients and doctors alike. Without a clear plan in place, it’s hard to know how a repeal would affect doctors and the future careers of current med school students.   Image: Source   Here are some concerns when considering the repeal:   Fewer patients in a smaller insurance pool – The ACA has enabled roughly 22 million previously-uninsured Americans to purchase health insurance or obtain it through expanded Medicaid programs. The ACA also has rules in place that end pre-existing condition exclusions for children, allow young adults under the age of 26 to be covered under their parents’ insurance and prohibit arbitrary withdrawals of insurance coverage. If repealed with no immediate replacement, millions of people could be dropped from their plans and left unable to purchase new plans. Fewer people with insurance equals...

What Can Angelina Jolie Teach Us About Gene Patents?

Angelina Jolie’s op-ed in The New York Times about her preventive double mastectomy sent shockwaves through the media. She represents a new generation of patients who are able to use genetic testing to make empowered, evidence-based decisions. While experts agree that her description of the procedure resulting in a breast cancer risk reduction from an 87% to a 5% chance might be an oversimplification, her courage in the face of such a difficult choice is laudable. Jolie now joins a class of “previvors,” unencumbered by the social stigma of these types of preventive procedures.   None of this could be possible without the BRCA1 and BRCA2 test, which helped to identify the mutated genes linked to cancer. But as Jolie so adeptly points out in her piece, “The cost of testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, at more than $3,000 in the United States, remains an obstacle for many women.”   The simple truth to take away is that while Jolie’s example will inspire many individuals to jump over the social stigma of preventative procedures, there is still one large hurdle to cross: gene patents.    Last November, the Supreme Court heard the case Association of Molecular Pathology v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, concerning gene patents for BRCA1 and BRCA2 held by Myriad Genetics. An article in The New York Times explains the company holds patents for “two human genes, which, when mutated, give a woman a high risk of getting breast or ovarian cancer. The patents give Myriad...

History Of Healthcare In America #10: The Last Century

Since this is the last article in the series, here’s a quite interesting video depicting the history of American healthcare in the forms of political cartoons. As shown, the growing importance of this topic in the first few decades of the 20th century gave rise to a host of complexities, interactions, inconsistencies, and issues. Given our history, what can we look forward to for the future? Will we be able to strike the right balance between affordable costs and effective care?     Healthcare is one of the hottest topics in discussion today. But how exactly did the American healthcare system come to be? What were some of the dynamic modifications and transformations it went through in order to embody its present form?   Rather than looking at it from a purely chronological and historical perspective, let’s analyze the progression of healthcare from a political viewpoint. The politics and policymaking around this topic has been marked by constant debate and controversy. Our presidents have been some of the most vocal advocates on this matter, shaping the course of healthcare over the past several decades.   Thus, in the course of the next several articles, we will be looking at short clips from presidents, both recent and past (yet undoubtedly notable). My hope is to gain a better understanding of the past, present, and hopefully the future of healthcare. Who...

History Of Healthcare In America #9: Truman

As it turns out, the idea of universal healthcare goes back all the way to the presidency of Truman. As shown in this video here (with useful content primarily after timestamp 3:20), Truman emphasized the necessity of assuring access to healthcare for all Americans. The dynamic changes that medicine has undergone over the years along with evidence of sustainable nationalized healthcare systems around the world attest to the validity of this idea, leading up to the current enactment of the Affordable Care Act.     Healthcare is one of the hottest topics in discussion today. But how exactly did the American healthcare system come to be? What were some of the dynamic modifications and transformations it went through in order to embody its present form?   Rather than looking at it from a purely chronological and historical perspective, let’s analyze the progression of healthcare from a political viewpoint. The politics and policymaking around this topic has been marked by constant debate and controversy. Our presidents have been some of the most vocal advocates on this matter, shaping the course of healthcare over the past several decades.   Thus, in the course of the next several articles, we will be looking at short clips from presidents, both recent and past (yet undoubtedly notable). My hope is to gain a better understanding of the past, present, and hopefully the future of...

History Of Healthcare In America #8: Eisenhower

In contrast to the prevailing opinion of the Republican Party as it stands today (and might likely have been along the same lines at the time), Eisenhower presents a plan here in this video that embraces greater involvement of the federal government in the health and welfare of individuals. While the avoidance of socialism remained to be a crucial issue at this time, Eisenhower nevertheless emphasized the need for better healthcare for all Americans, with concrete steps towards improvement.     Healthcare is one of the hottest topics in discussion today. But how exactly did the American healthcare system come to be? What were some of the dynamic modifications and transformations it went through in order to embody its present form?   Rather than looking at it from a purely chronological and historical perspective, let’s analyze the progression of healthcare from a political viewpoint. The politics and policymaking around this topic has been marked by constant debate and controversy. Our presidents have been some of the most vocal advocates on this matter, shaping the course of healthcare over the past several decades.   Thus, in the course of the next several articles, we will be looking at short clips from presidents, both recent and past (yet undoubtedly notable). My hope is to gain a better understanding of the past, present, and hopefully the future of healthcare. Who knows, we...

History Of Healthcare In America #7: Kennedy

During his short presidency prior to his tragic assassination, Kennedy laid out a vision for universal healthcare in American that would influence the ideas and strategies of several presidents that came after him. As shown in this video, Kennedy laid out a relatively radical idea at the time, proposing collaboration between the government and the people to ensure access to healthcare as did almost every other developed nation in the world. In another sense, he laid down the groundwork for the Affordable Care Act that was enacted under Obama.     Healthcare is one of the hottest topics in discussion today. But how exactly did the American healthcare system come to be? What were some of the dynamic modifications and transformations it went through in order to embody its present form?   Rather than looking at it from a purely chronological and historical perspective, let’s analyze the progression of healthcare from a political viewpoint. The politics and policymaking around this topic has been marked by constant debate and controversy. Our presidents have been some of the most vocal advocates on this matter, shaping the course of healthcare over the past several decades.   Thus, in the course of the next several articles, we will be looking at short clips from presidents, both recent and past (yet undoubtedly notable). My hope is to gain a better understanding of the past, present,...

History Of Healthcare In America #6: Nixon

One of the most notable features of the Nixon presidency in terms of healthcare was the development of healthcare maintenance organizations, or HMOs. As shown in this video on the inside conversations in Nixon’s administration that gave rise of HMOs, the end product was minimal care feeding a greater profit for providers, selling the same to the public with the promise superior care.     Healthcare is one of the hottest topics in discussion today. But how exactly did the American healthcare system come to be? What were some of the dynamic modifications and transformations it went through in order to embody its present form?   Rather than looking at it from a purely chronological and historical perspective, let’s analyze the progression of healthcare from a political viewpoint. The politics and policymaking around this topic has been marked by constant debate and controversy. Our presidents have been some of the most vocal advocates on this matter, shaping the course of healthcare over the past several decades.   Thus, in the course of the next several articles, we will be looking at short clips from presidents, both recent and past (yet undoubtedly notable). My hope is to gain a better understanding of the past, present, and hopefully the future of healthcare. Who knows, we might just find the solution that everyone’s been looking for?   6. Nixon   Video: Source...