It may sound counterintuitive, but a panel of experts from the Institute of Medicine has concluded that the best way to slow the nation's breakneck spending on medical care is to impose a tax on every health care transaction.
This is a story about what can happen when no one is looking. For the patients at Universal Pain Management, a medical clinic in northern Los Angeles County, Dr. Francis Riegler is always looking.
Riegler huddles with the clinic's nurse practitioner over a computer printout. The one-page report from the state's drug-tracking system shows that a patient was on the hunt for more Vicodin, a powerful pain reliever that he was already getting from Riegler's clinic.