Since the basic purpose of medicine is different than the commercialization of medicine, the U.S. needs to revamp our model. Market forces are now at the center of the debate. Just like JFK had to deal with a military industrial complex that was undermining his efforts at peace, BO is confronted in having to deal with a healthcare industrial complex (HIC) looking to undermine his efforts to salvage healthcare. The composition of the "HIC" includes, private investors, for profit insurance and hospitals, non-profit entities, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and physicians. Market forces have shaped the current healthcare system.
Income maximization is the only incentive for those of us that collaborate on a day-to-day basis. The question must be asked, "how long will we all hide behind a mantra that opposes government involvement? Just look at the scrutiny that exists in our industry. Ten years ago we never heard of the DOJ investigating our industry practices. Somewhere our industry became like the old Black Sabbath lyrics, "I'm going off the rails like a crazy train."
The 90's gave us HMO's, then the PPO's, so where will the great debate lead us next? With the advent and power of the internet, and the commercialization of medical and pharmaceutical products on television, companies have created a consumer driver healthcare industry. This insanity has physicians becoming slaves to infomercials that fail to educate a patient about the efficacy of a product. If Congress would put aside its ideological differences, and stop placing special interests aside, and explain the nuances of this public healthcare plan, maybe the American public would stop acting irrationally. Isn't it embarrassing when a senior citizen gets up in the South and exhorts that government should stay out of their Medicare?
As one of my foreign readers asked, "why do you spend time politicking about healthcare?" I had to laugh. The answer was simple: "Just like Wall Street almost bankrupted the U.S., the American Healthcare System will bankrupt America!" Look at our industry. How many millions of dollars have been invested into products that investors don't have an inkling as to whether this product is truly an emerging technology, or, is this a product looking for an indication. Isn't it entertaining when you read an investors take on why they just infused millions of dollars into a company, just look at what happened at IST, Vertebron or Inion. These "Captains of Industry" use the right buzz words, yet, if any of us asked a clinical question as to the potential outcomes they wouldn't have a clue as to how to answer it.
So as we wind down to the end of a great summer, the SpineBlogger wants to know what you blokes and blokettes think is going to happen? And remember, don't Glenn Beck me!