The Affordable Care Act is Good for Colorado (and Repeal is Not)

The effects of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 in each state depend on various factors, such as the number of uninsured individuals in the state and the governor’s receptiveness to the law’s provisions. In this post, I focus on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Colorado, primarily from the perspective of my job as anContinue reading “The Affordable Care Act is Good for Colorado (and Repeal is Not)”

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Retail Urgent Care Clinics Do Not Decrease Emergency Department Visits

A study published online today in Annals of Emergency Medicine (“Association Between the Opening of Retail Clinics and Low-Acuity Emergency Department Visits”) demonstrated that, contrary to expectations, retail clinics had little effect on rates of low-acuity visits to nearby emergency departments (EDs). This contradicts the popular theory that retail clinics would reduce ED visits.  A 2015 report “Building aContinue reading “Retail Urgent Care Clinics Do Not Decrease Emergency Department Visits”

Paid Sick Leave Lowers Costs

An Upshot column “The High Costs of Not Offering Paid Sick Leave” argues that employees and their co-workers may be better off with an incentive to take time off when sick. About 45 percent of the American work force does not have paid sick leave; that’s about 50 million workers. Families with less ability to afford unpaid time off are moreContinue reading “Paid Sick Leave Lowers Costs”

Obamacare Succeeds in Expanding Insurance Coverage

Amidst news of the increasing premiums and decreasing choice of plans in some healthcare markets, the New York Times‘ Upshot column brings us this visual display of the impressive and varied impact of Obamacare on insurance coverage rates from 2013-2016. States that decided to expand their Medicaid programs saw much larger declines in their uninsured ratesContinue reading “Obamacare Succeeds in Expanding Insurance Coverage”

A Medical Degree in Paperwork

A recent study in Annals of Internal Medicine found that physicians in four office-based specialties spent the majority of their time on documentation and paperwork: Overall, physicians spent 27.0% of their total time on direct clinical face time with patients and 49.2% of their time on documentation (paper and electronic). While in the examination roomContinue reading “A Medical Degree in Paperwork”

Waiting for perfect science on antimicrobial resistance is a dangerous excuse for policy inaction

A discussion paper newly released by the National Academy of Medicine–Antibiotic Resistance in Humans and Animals–marks the 40 year anniversary of the first definitive evidence  that antibiotic usage in livestock results in the direct spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to humans. In releasing the report, the authors pull no punches: Thus, we have known definitively for more thanContinue reading “Waiting for perfect science on antimicrobial resistance is a dangerous excuse for policy inaction”

Medical ecology: tending the microbiome

Today, the Obama administration announces the new National Microbiome Initiative, intended to create scientific tools, discoveries and training techniques related to the human microbiome, the 100 trillion microbes that live in the human body. Tending the human microbiome may help in the treatment of infections, as well as disorders that would seem unrelated to microbes, including obesity andContinue reading “Medical ecology: tending the microbiome”

The Minimum Wage and the Social Determinants of Mental Health

A new study in Health Economics shows a temporal association between Britain’s minimum wage law and substantially improved mental health of the low wage workers benefitting from the policy. Source: The Minimum Wage and the Social Determinants of Mental Health

Should Doctors Undergo Opioid Prescribing Risk Training?

Earlier this week, an advisory panel recommended that the Food and Drug Administration require doctors who prescribe painkillers s to undergo training aimed at reducing misuse and abuse of the medications. The New York Times notes: It is the second time since 2010 that an F.D.A. panel has recommended expanding safety measures for painkillers. But the trainingContinue reading “Should Doctors Undergo Opioid Prescribing Risk Training?”

Fall in life expectancy for white Americans

Newly released 2014 data from the National Center for Health Statistics on life expectancy showed a worrisome decline in life expectancy for whites in the US, to 78.8 years in 2014 from 78.9 in 2013. The good news is that, in contrast, life expectancy increased by 0.2 years for the Hispanic population (from 81.6 toContinue reading “Fall in life expectancy for white Americans”