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  • The Disappearing Doctor: How Mega-Mergers Are Changing the Business of Medical Care New York Times by Reed Abelson and Julie Creswell — People are flocking to retail clinics and urgent care centers in strip malls or shopping centers, where simple health needs can usually be tended to by health professionals like nurse practitioners or physician assistants much more cheaply than in a doctor's office. Some 12,000 are already scattered across the country, according to Merchant Medicine, a consulting firm. On the other side, office visits to primary care doctors declined 18 percent from 2012 to 2016, even as visits to specialists increased, insurance data analyzed by the Health Care Cost Institute shows.  There's little doubt that the front line of medicine — the traditional family or primary care doctor — has been under siege for years. Long hours and low pay have transformed pediatric or family practices into unattractive options for many aspiring physicians.

  • Why Does the U.S. Spend So Much More on Healthcare? It's the Prices Modern Healthcare by Harris Meyer — The sharp difference between two doctors' experiences partly explains why the U.S. healthcare system has much higher administrative costs than Canada and other countries. Those costs, plus much higher prices for medical services and pharmaceuticals and much higher pay for physicians and nurses, were the major reasons the U.S. spent a larger share of GDP on healthcare in 2016 than 10 other wealthy nations, according to a recent study in JAMA. The authors said the huge spending gap — 17.8 percent of GDP in the U.S. versus an average of 10.8 percent in the other 10 countries — was not primarily driven by the factors that often get the blame. 

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