Why doctors are reluctant to take responsibility for rising medical costs

The Atlantic, August 15, 2013

Medical costs are skyrocketing and a survey published last month in JAMA has us doctors pointing fingers in every direction but at ourselves. The more than 2500 physicians surveyed rested most of the blame on malpractice lawyers, insurance companies, healthcare conglomerates, and drug/device companies. Patients came next. Trailing the lot were the doctors themselves. Doctors' enthusiasm for cost-containment strategies that affected their compensation—eliminating fee-for-service reimbursement, "bundling" payments for the total care of patients, penalizing physicians when patients were re-admitted to the hospital—was notably lukewarm. However, nearly all were in support of eliminating waste and fraud, promoting continuity of care, minimizing corporate influence in medicine, and having better data about the relative quality of various medical interventions.


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