physician

On February 25, 1994 Dr. Baruch Goldstein, a physician in the Israel Defense Forces living in the historically contested ancient city of Hebron, walked into the Ibrahimi Mosque, located in the Cave of the Patriarchs, and with his machine gun murdered 29 Muslim men at prayer. The tremor that ran through Israelis and Jews around the world was two-fold. The first tremor was that here was a massacre of innocents attributable to a madman. But this attribution could not stand by itself for long.

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I hope readers take the time to read David Leonhardt’s terrific Sunday New York Times Magazine piece on Intermountain Healthcare. It is a great introduction to the changes that organized medicine must adopt to deliver team- and evidence-based care. (I wish we used the term evidence informed treatment, which brings fewer connotations of cookie-cutter care.) This transition requires changes in the way doctors and hospitals are paid. It also requires changing medical professional culture to embrace a team approach.

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Earlier today, two key groups--the American Cancer Society and the American Association of Retired Persons--endorsed the House health care reform bill. On a conference call that's just wrapping up now, the American Medical Association (AMA) pledged its support, as well. But it did so with some crucial qualifications. The AMA made clear that it was endorsing not one but two bills: H.R. 3962, the bill that would expand insurance coverage, reorient the delivery system, etc.; and H.R.

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Congress is about to write a very big check to America's doctors, apparently without blinking. It may or may not be the right thing to do--more on that in a second. But it does make you wonder why they find it so hard to write a very big check to make sure everybody can get affordable health insurance. The issue here is what's known as the Sustainable Growth Rate, or SGR. Under the terms of a law passed in 1998, Medicare is supposed to keep its payments in doctors in line with the SGR.

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Irving Kristol, who died on the eve of Rosh Hashana, will have many pages in every future intellectual history of the United States. Actually, also, in every intellectual history of the West. He was not actually a philosopher, certainly not in the strictest sense of the word or even merely in a strict sense. But he was a scholar in the meaning laid out by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his famous Harvard Phi Beta Kappa oration, "The America Scholar," of 1837. This is not an academic model.

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On the advice of my physician, I do not watch or listen to Glenn Beck, preferring to follow his exploits via the serial bouts of hysteria he inspires in his fans. So it was news to me to learn that he spends a lot of time hawking the works of the late W.

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Listen To Your Doctors

Today the New England Journal of Medicine released two articles exploring physicians' beliefs about health reform. The first, by Salomeh Keyhani and Alex Federman, explored physician preferences about the broad policy options for expanding insurance coverage and Medicare. This April, a nationally representative sample of more than 5,000 physicians was asked which of three options they would most strongly support: 1. Public and Private Options: Provide people under age 65 the choice of enrolling in a new public health insurance plan (like Medicare) or in private plans. 2.

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Hell on Wheels

At around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, a few supporters and television cameras gathered near the Capitol to watch as two burly men unloaded 1.3 million signatures on 61,000 pages of paper from an ambulance onto a stretcher. The stretcher was wheeled over to a small stage stuffed with Republican congressmen and conservative talk radio hosts.

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Want a hint about what the president will say tonight? Check out the guest list for the First Lady's box, which the White House just published.

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Dead Wrong

Sarah Palin, meet Hippocrates.

As if you hadn’t heard, a gaggle of American conservatives is stridently charging that pending health care reform legislation will institute a mechanism for euthanizing selected members of the handicapped and elderly populations--that it would, in Sarah Palin’s formulation, establish “death panels.” It’s true that H.R. 3200, the bill that will eventually come before the House of Representatives, is still a work in progress.

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