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Resource ID: #26240
Source:The Washington Post
“The Cost of Healing” examines how Medicare, in setting prices and coverage standards for healthcare, makes billion-dollar mistakes that affect every patient in the nation. While many patients may prefer to think that doctors and hospitals focus solely on their health, the series illustrates how economic incentives comes to bear and how the Medicare program has been tailored to keep money flowing to doctors, hospitals and drug-makers. Based on computer analyses of millions of government health records, documents obtained from sources and other reporting, it shows: that at some hospices, as many as half of patients are released alive, because patients that aren't actually dying are more profitable; that doctors are choosing a $2000-per-dose eye drug when a nearly identical equivalent is available for $50-per-dose, at an annual cost to Medicare of $1 billion; that the spike in spinal fusion surgery is driven in part by profit-seeking and that many of the surgeries were performed on patients who didn't need it; that the prices that Medicare sets for doctor's fees, and which have become the national standard, are based on the recommendations of a secretive AMA committee that used flawed assumptions for how long a procedure takes.