The Real Health Care Crisis In America
As we are perched on the edge of the chasm of ultimate peril to our lives, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, I must confess that we are all victims. We are victims of a collectivist mentality that only promises to get worse if we ever take that step off the edge and fall into the chasm of nationalized health care.
It is quite sad that I must also confess the current shamble we call health care in this country is probably the best of any industrialized nation. I am not writing this to diminish in any way the giant steps forward that have been achieved in medical science. Lives are saved every day by dedicated professionals – dedicated to the science of medicine that is. But, as some have argued, medicine is much more an art than a science, and that is what has been lost in the otherwise crowning achievements of the medical profession.
I must make a blanket condemnation of the medical profession here and now, even though I know there are exceptions to my main accusation, because every medical professional is allowing himself or herself to be ruled by the collective. You are not individuals, then, you are the antithesis to individualism. Your devotion to the science and disregard for the art simply means that you do NOT care!
I have been alive long enough to see this happen, because I was born before it happened.
The doctor who delivered me did so in my family’s home. In other words, he made house calls. He had a small office downtown, but I can easily count on one hand, (with fingers left over) the number of times I was ever there. He was in our home many times, mostly attending my mother’s deteriorating health - caring for her. Sometimes my father could afford to pay him right away, and others he “put on the tab” or accepted fresh fruits and vegetables from our garden and orchard, or home canned and baked goods as payment for his services. He cared – first for the people he chose to apply his skills in service to, and next for the overall health of everyone in his community. He was a health care professional worthy of the title.
My brother wrote an excellent article about the man we called “Doc.” I invite you to read it here.
Don’t doubt for a minute that I have extensive experience with the more modern crop of health care professionals, from forty years ago to the present. Experience in several different states, and communities within those states, has taught me that it is the same throughout the country. We have no health care. That is the REAL health care crisis.
I have always found it odd that people needing medical attention are referred to as “patients” when the real patience should come from the caregivers. Individuals, who are sick or in great pain are expected to be patient while mercy and skill are doled out by professionals, who all too often exhibit absolutely no patience. Isn’t that ironic?
Well, this day and time, patience is most definitely a requirement in great abundance for all patients. Patience for incompetence, patience for indifference, patience for categorical denial of individual evaluation most of the time, this is the challenge to each and every patient of the health care system.
The product of health care should have always been of a custom nature – never mass produced, distributed, and paid for, but that has not been the case for a very long time. And now, we are about to make it all worse? How utterly stupid can we be?
Take a look around the next time you are in a doctor’s office or hospital. The majority of people you find working there, “health care professionals” all, care about one thing and one thing only – the bottom line. Actually they care about something else too – regulating the custom product of health care into a tight little package of collectivism so that the bottom line can grow larger.
The first questions asked of a “patient” as he enters each and every event in his health care experience have to do with insurance – how these professionals are going to get paid for the most part. Redundant forms are filled out, proof of insurance and identity are collected repeatedly, and the overwhelming amount of paperwork produced and entered into a patient’s file in the beginning have not even asked the question, “why are you here?” After that question is asked and supposedly written down, the doctor will repeat it within the first few remarks of interviewing the patient – even if the answer has to do with the doctor’s own request for a follow-up.
Many people believe that if health care becomes a mandated “right” via government guaranteed payment for it, the bottom line will no longer be the most important thing on the health care professional’s mind and he will concentrate on the healing art he was trained to do. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The science of health care demands that the individual patient be categorized to fit into a collective diagnostic and treatment scenario. The limited information that a doctor collects from the patient interview is proof positive of this. The doctor may be all but oblivious to the immediate condition of his patient, but the data collected about a patient’s genetic history and personal habits will point the way towards diagnostic and treatment recommendations regardless of patient testimony.
Depending on the patient’s ability to pay, choices are made which may or may not be in the best interest of the patient or the doctor. This will not change with the advent of nationalized health care – indeed it will be punctuated. The few caring physicians that let their own intuitions dictate treatment now will be forced, in that future, to collectivize diagnosis and treatment into ever more concise restrictions.
The art of healing will be fully lost in the collective financial benefit of letting science determine the outcome. This has already happened in an industry that values economic progress over individual benefit.
Few people probably realize that if one purchases his own health care in advance in this country now, the price is considerably discounted from the price presented to second payer entities. In fact, the cost of most any medical service or procedure is only a starting point calculated to include negotiation before a bill is ever compiled. (Most patients do not even realize they have the power to negotiate and pay in advance.) If the single payer plan ever comes to fruition, this discrepancy in the actual “price” of health care will be rewritten to reflect a conceived “burgeoning expense” that must be addressed. Health care providers will find themselves in more of a pickle than they can currently imagine, because government will have greater access to manipulate their product through never ending price “controls.”
There is a general consensus in the convoluted field of medical payment that Medicare reimbursements for medical costs are much less than those of private insurance entities. This would readily suggest that government “negotiators” are more effective at manipulating health care costs than the private sector insurers. It is also no secret that there was a time when many doctors would refuse to treat Medicare patients, citing the obvious loss in revenue and restrictive constraints on physician treatment decisions – not counting patient needs or desires of course.
What was once considered a possible necessary individual expenditure, namely medical care, has now become an all-important necessity for the collective. The management of medical diagnosis, treatment, and payment for every member of society for any imaginable health crisis must now figure into the decisions made by every citizen.
As we relinquish more and more of our personal liberties to assume our own risks, pay our own price, and pursue our own happiness, government stands ready to regulate those choices even more as the art of healing fades into the convoluted attempt to drive the science of medicine to the forefront of political concerns.
The real bottom line is that health care should have never been catapulted to the economic priority that it now enjoys in modern life. Medicine no longer deserves the nomenclature of “health care.”
We have NO health “care” in this country, and that is the crisis and the tragedy!