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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 29, 2012/ 15 Kislev, 5773

What Medicare needs is a consumer-driven market

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Neurologists are about to feel the sting of the Affordable Care Act. Beginning Jan. 1, Medicare will be paying them less for electrodiagnostic procedures used in identifying and treating a wide range of nerve and muscle disorders. Reimbursement rates for some tests will be slashed by more than 50 percent, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that payments to neurologists overall will shrink by 7 percent next year.

Medicare's cuts will be implemented by changing the way fees for the diagnostic procedures are calculated. Instead of reimbursing neurologists for each nerve analyzed, the new billing codes will henceforth bundle multiple nerve-conduction tests into a single fee. The Obama administration claims that under the current system Medicare has been paying too much for neurologists' overhead costs. But the American Academy of Neurology, in an advisory to its members, warns that the cuts will devastate "neurology practices large and small, many of which rely on these services to meet their bottom line." Patients will be hurt as well: As Medicare squeezes neurologists, seniors' access to neurological care will dwindle.

Might as well get used to this. With a long-term unfunded liability of $38 trillion, Medicare will go broke if it isn't fixed, and compelling providers to accept lower fees is how ObamaCare proposes to fix it. Yet if government technocrats could keep health-care affordable by paying doctors and hospitals predetermined fees for each service they provide, Medicare wouldn't be going broke in the first place. When it turns out once again that Medicare's budget can't be tamed through stringent price controls, regulators will inevitably look for other ways to ration health care.

In 2009 President Obama suggested that maybe his sick grandmother's hip replacement wasn't something "society" should have had to pay for. Americans, he said, needed "some independent group" to make those "very difficult" decisions.

ObamaCare creates that independent group. But the Independent Payment Advisory Board can't alter reality. Medicare is dysfunctional not because it lacks wise overseers, but because it is severed from normal market forces. Patients don't spend their own money. Providers are paid by the government. Doctors and hospitals have little incentive to compete on price, or to ensure that patients get the most value for their money. So health-care inflation goes through the roof, regulators try to impose stronger controls, and Medicare patients have trouble finding doctors willing to treat them.

What Medicare really needs is the flexibility and competition of a consumer-driven free market. What works for food, shelter, energy, clothing, and other essential needs could work for health care too — if only the government would relax its grip. But suggest such a thing and the rejoinder is immediate: When it comes to health care, markets don't work.

The argument, forcefully made by liberals such as Paul Krugman, is that health care simply "can't be marketed like bread or TVs." Medical emergencies are too unpredictable, and health care too complicated, for consumers to rely on comparison shopping. Because patients rarely know as much about medicine as doctors, trust is critical to their relationship. Someone who needs an operation can't just find a surgeon through Craigslist.

It's true that markets for medical care can't be perfectly free. If you have a heart attack and collapse, you can't shop around for an ambulance or an emergency room. We can agree that crisis situations may require special regulation. It doesn't follow that market forces should be suppressed for all health-care decisions.

Complexity and asymmetries of information are not unique to medicine. Most of us have no idea how to fly an airplane or judge a pilot's credentials, but that doesn't prevent vigorous competition in air travel. Trust is critical to the attorney-client relationship — how many laymen know enough to devise a litigation strategy or draft an effective contract? — yet no one thinks a free market in legal services would be unworkable.

Is it really so obvious that health care "can't be marketed like bread or TVs"? In the niches of the health-care industry that have escaped government domination, providers avidly seek out ways to provide better care at lower cost. A classic illustration is Lasik corrective eye surgery. "Technology is constantly advancing, price competition is fierce, and the consumer is king," writes Sally C. Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute. "In the past decade, more than three million Lasik procedures have been performed. During that time, the average price of Lasik eye surgery has dropped nearly 40 percent, from $2,200 to $1,350 per eye."

If markets work for eye surgery, they can work for neurological services — and for most other forms of medical care. Overregulation is no substitute for choice and competition. Not even when it comes to health.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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