Nearly one fifth of our GDP is spent on health care — 50 percent more than any other developed country. Yet by many measures we are not getting value for money. Even nearby Cuba, which spends less than one-tenth as much as the U. Health care in the U. This crisis has been blamed on greedy malpractice lawyers, drug companies, health care insurance companies and doctors who over treat patients by practicing defensive or wasteful medicine — unnecessary tests are ordered and unneeded operations are performed. And there is something to all of these.
Doctors have failed to address this health care crisis, so other groups offer solutions — notably economists and political commentators. Medical students since ancient Greek times have sworn to uphold the Hippocratic Oath. Yet nowhere in the Hippocratic Oath is money, financing or making a profit mentioned. Even more than the teacher or the religious leader, the physician bears a responsibility that transcends financial gain.
That responsibility to uphold the Hippocratic Oath has been lost in present-day American medicine. Runaway costs and deteriorating patient outcomes are symptoms, not causes, of the present health care crisis. In essence, we have transformed health care in the U.
Imagine if such a transformation from a societal good into a profit-making industry occurred in public safety police and fire , clean air and water or basic education? True, many incoming medical students have humanitarian motivations an M. Academic medical centers are as challenged as community hospitals in making financial ends meet: the faculty member who does not maintain the revenue stream is likely to be let go.
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The same is true for a physician in private practice — remaining economically viable is a full-time job leaving less and less time for actual patient care as for-profit insurance companies work ever harder to reduce their expenses. Hospitalized patients may see three or more different hospitalists in a hour period — and still others if they remain hospitalized over a weekend.
Too Big to Succeed: Profiteering in American Medicine
Many examples exist of millions of dollars wasted in the development of drugs or devices that in the long run were doomed to fail. Competition in medical drug and device research is not like competition in the cellphone or automobile industries. Consumers quickly determine which cellphones are best for them. Health care consumers i. Fortunately, there are signs of health care reform that put patient before profit. The PCMH patient-centered medical home places the physician-patient relationship at the forefront of a team providing full-service medical and social service care.
The EPMA European Association of Predictive, Preventive and Personalized Medicine brings together medical societies, medical research institutes and university hospitals and medical corporations from around the world to address, comprehensively, medical challenges such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. Unlike the U.
Yet ultimately, the only way true health care reform will happen here is if the voting public in the U. We must lobby our elected representatives in Congress and locally, demanding change. The public must exercise their democratic duty to make their views known — through emails, letters and the ballot box. The whole Medical System is a scam people.
Books: Winter | Harvard Graduate School of Education
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