Thursday, September 17, 2009

Will Doctors Help in Reforming Healthcare?

Are doctors willing to sacrifice to enact basic reform to the healthcare system, or, are they only interested in incremental change? The medical system in the U.S. is a medical industrial complex based on commercialization more so than a professional service to take care of the sick. This commercialization of medicine does not serve the needs of the patient ( and I am not talking about device companies). It can be argued that medical care is not a commodity market.

The reason most doctors went into medicine was not for the financial rewards. Let's face it, if the only reason they went into medicine was to make money, there are many other professions where they do not have to work half as hard and can make more money. Examples would be Hedge Fund Managers, Stock Brokers, Investment Bankers, Bond Traders, etc., etc., and so on! Unfortunately when medicine became a market commodity, income took precedent over sound medical judgement, witnessed by many of the questionable back surgeries that are performed in this country.

It was recommended in a recent article that Medicare be offered to people at the age of 55. The proposal to extend Medicare coverage to people at age 55 is not a new idea. This has been discussed for a few years. Yet, that is only one solution to the problem. Government is not the only party that wants to bring down the cost of healthcare, it is also big business. Everyone has the right to disagree, but, just look at your reimbursements. They haven't gone up in the last five years, they have decreased, and you work twice as hard to earn a living. In addition, many of you do not even want to take care of certain patients. So who is the culprit? It has always been the private insurance industry's objective to increase profits, and the only way to do this is to offset the cost of healthcare to the patient and the provider. As market forces continue to dominate the system and your decision making process, you will end up employees of some corporation that will determine your lives, direct your activities, and determine your income. The assault on your profession has not been led by the government, it has been led by big business.

If Medicare is extend to those age 55 and over, will this not constitute a "single-payer" system? A single-payer system by itself will not solve the problem of rising cost in healthcare. By directly confronting forces driving medical inflation you can take control of your own destiny. Those forces include excessive use of new technology and drugs, the commercialization of medical care and equitable reimbursements. I remember what some once said to me, "the best way to predict the future is to help shape it." The ball is in your court, the Spine Blogger wants to know what you think?

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