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At DocSpot, our mission is to connect people with the right health care by helping them navigate publicly available information. We believe the first step of that mission is to help connect people with an appropriate medical provider, and we look forward to helping people navigate other aspects of their care as the opportunities arise. We are just at the start of that mission, so we hope you will come back often to see how things are developing.

An underlying philosophy of our work is that right care means different things to different people. We also recognize that doctors are multidimensional people. So, instead of trying to determine which doctors are "better" than others, we offer a variety of filter options that individuals can apply to more quickly discover providers that fit their needs.

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Senate Republicans' health bill encounters another obstacle

The Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act encountered yet another obstacle. The effort was already widely unpopular, with Democrats firmly opposing it. Two Senate Republicans also publicly declared their opposition to the Republican proposal, leaving a tenuous path to passing the bill by relying on a tie-breaking vote. Adding to all of that, Kaiser Health News reports that the Senate Parliamentarian has advised that several clauses require more than a simple majority to become law. Current Senate rules are that a super-majority of 60 votes are required for legislation to not be filibustered.

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Controversy over California's cardiac reports

Along with a few other states, California publicly reports the performance of individual cardiac surgeons. Los Angeles Times reported on the contrasting reactions of two surgeons rated as worse than average. The first surgeon raised a long standing argument of critics of these transparency efforts: that surgeons will be discouraged from taking on patients who have more complicated conditions. The other surgeon welcomed the public reporting, but noted the short duration covered.

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Single-payer health care seems to gain traction

In the current milieu of Republicans trying to replace the Affordable Care Act with a variety of options that will lead to more uninsured, The Washington Post reports that Democrats are increasingly supportive of a single-payer option. We recently saw news of the California Senate approving of single-payer health care, but this article reports that the current White House spokesperson claimed that a majority of House Democrats support single-payer health care. If true, this represents a significant shift from attitudes when the Affordable Care Act passed.

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California begins ban on balance billing

Last year, there was some press around the practice known as balance billing, where patients who are treated by out-of-network providers may be billed for services if the patients' insurers refuse to pay. In theory, patients who choose to visit out-of-network providers should pay according to their insurance policies; however, in practice, patients are often stuck with bills even when they are careful to select in-network facilities. Kaiser Health News reported on such a story and on how new regulations are coming into effect to combat such practices. While the regulation does not seem to address exactly how the bill will resolve between the providers and the insurers, it protects the patients from balance billing if they visit an in-network facility.

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Senate releases its version of the healthcare bill

The U.S. Senate released its proposed healthcare bill as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, and it differs from the House version. The Kaiser Family Foundation has nicely summarized the differences between the Affordable Care Act and the two proposed replacements. Of note, the Senate's version of the bill removed the unpopular individual mandate, a tax designed to keep healthy people buying insurance. Vox reported that the Senate plans on announcing a six-month waiting period for individuals who wish to be insured, but have not had continuous insurance coverage.

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