What Britons think of US health care system

Boosters of the US health care system often claim that the British system, in which the government’s National Health System actually employs doctors and owns and runs an extensive system of hospitals that provide most of the care though there is a private system overlaid on top of it, is inferior to what we have here. They are aided in the claim by the fact that successive Conservative governments in the UK are underfunding the system causing some problems.
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The collapsing health care system

The journalist Steven Brill appeared on the program Fresh Air to talk about why the US health system. He said it is unsustainable and heading for a crash because there is no price control mechanism. He lays the blame squarely on the hospitals, drug companies who are allowed to price-gouge, and medical device manufacturers, all of whom rake in huge profits that enable them to pay their top executives high profits.
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Absurd costs of health care system

Reporter Elisabeth Sullivan looks at how echocardiogram testing has become a lucrative source of money for medical practices in the US and is done even when there is no reason to do it but just because the machine is there. As Dr. Eric J. Topol, a cardiologist at Scripps Health in San Diego who studies echocardiography says, “At many hospitals, the threshold for ordering an echocardiogram is the presence of a heart.”
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Paul Farmer on The Colbert Report

I have long been a contributor to Partners in Health, the group founded by Paul Farmer that takes high quality health care to areas of great need around the world. It began when I read the book Mountains Beyond Mountains: The quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a man who would cure the world by Tracy Kidder that I wrote about here back in 2005, and listened to a talk by Farmer around the same time when he visited my university.
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Obamacare’s successes create problems for Republicans

The Republican party’s determination to repeal, or at least undermine, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) by throwing roadblocks in its path was obviously predicated on their fear, not that it would fail, but that it would succeed. They rightly guessed that despite its clunky structure and its pro-health care industry tilt, if it succeeded in providing health care access to large numbers of people at a reasonable cost, then it would become harder to get rid of the program. So it had to be stopped early.
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Legal setback for Obamacare opponents

As was expected, the full panel of judges in the DC District Court of Appeals has decided to re-hear the Halbig v. Burwell case where a panel of three judges voted 2-1 that the tax credits provided by the federal government was not allowed under the Affordable Care Act, saying that the language of the act only allowed exchanges set up the states to do so.
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Two major conflicting rulings on Obamacare

In April, I wrote about a legal challenge to Obamacare in which opponents had argued that the text of the ACA law only allowed state health exchanges to provide subsidies for the health insurance premiums and that the federal government should not have been allowed to provide subsidies through its own exchanges in those states that decided against setting up their own exchanges.
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The Streisand Effect and Obamacare

Despite the debacle of the Obamacare website at its unveiling and the earnest efforts of the Republican party to derail it (anti-Obamacare groups outspent those in favor by a ratio of 15 to 1), the New England Journal of Medicine reports that 20 million people have enrolled in the plan. (The full report can be seen here.) This graphic from the NEJM report shows the different ways that people can sign up.
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