Health Care

What Feds' Push To Share Health Data Means For Patients

May 9, 2016

Two years ago, when the federal government first released data on how much Medicare paid physicians, the media coverage was widespread. Doctors who earned significant sums were dubbed "Medicare millionaires" and journalists highlighted unusual patterns in how some doctors bill for services.

You've probably heard of the credentials M.D. and R.N., and maybe N.P. The people using those letters are doctors, registered nurses and nurse practitioners. But what about PSC.D or D.PSc? Those letters refer to someone who practices pastoral medicine — or "Bible-based" health care.

Cody Pedersen and his wife, Inyan, know that in an emergency they will have to wait for help to arrive.

Cody, 29, and his family live in Cherry Creek, a Native American settlement within the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in north central South Dakota.

The reservation is bigger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. But Cherry Creek has no general store, no gas station and few jobs.

People in Texas are significantly more likely than adults nationwide to report that it has gotten harder to see a doctor in the past two years.

The finding comes from polling done by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Vera Brown has been stuck aboard the doctor merry-go-round for years now, trying to find an orthopedic surgeon who accepts her insurance. She doesn't find the seemingly endless calls, questions or repetition amusing.

When Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders stumps for health care for everyone, it always gets huge applause.

"I believe that the U.S. should do what every other major country on Earth is doing," he told a crowd at Eastern Michigan University on Feb. 15. "And that is, guarantee health care to all people as a right."

The Democratic presidential hopeful basically wants to nationalize the U.S. health insurance industry, and have Uncle Sam foot the bill for medical bills, office visits and prescriptions.

Get rid of copays. Get rid of deductibles. Get rid of lots of forms.

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