Whether it was one symbolic
child, or all the children inhabiting the earth, it was very instructive to
watch what a congressional hearing allowed as acceptable. The requirement of
presenting written presentation in a timely fashion to permit studied
preparation was waived. The only opening statement represented opinion as
scientific fact. Throughout the session, attempts to present documented
scientific viewpoints of qualified experts that had opposing opinions were
trivialized, demeaned or denied. However, most news reports told the public
what the media thought should have happened, rather than reporting what the
live on-the-site cameras recorded. If one did not watch the event as it was
seen live, there was little chance of receiving fact.
The importance of observing
how events are spun by those in charge are vital in understanding how the
issues of health care in the US are presented to the public. Evidence is
distorted by spin, and facts are trivialized, demeaned and denied. Since there
is usually a kernel of truth, mythology is presented as if it was undeniable.
Accurate presentations that reveal comprehensive information which does not
agree with one’s political opinions are considered obsolete. Contradictory
evidence is unwelcome, and only the desired political opinion is considered an
When I was in Washington this
month, I heard presentations of programs that were designed to make health care
more affordable and available. I heard how US health care needed to be
improved, so that Americans could enjoy the quality of care available in other
nations. I somehow missed the discussions of how US medical facilities are
sought for the quality and services not available in other nations. I did not
understand how more physician time would be created by adding more
administrative detail. I had a hard time understanding how the quality of
medical care would be improved by having more patients seen with less time
devoted to each patient (but of course, physicians can not alter time in the
same way as government changes the clocks).
purports that by shifting ever more costs to the doctor, the costs will no
longer exist as problems (to the government). The current alarming decrease in
the physician supply would be corrected by the enticing prospect of
overwhelming responsibilities, impossible workloads, and unfavorable economic
return. If reports in medical publications that 60% of US physicians want to
leave the practice of medicine are accurate, then doctors will be encouraged by
realizing what else they could endure. All sorts of fixes “to repair” the
“broken system” of medical care, that is almost universally envied.
One could get the impression
that many members of Congress did not consider the Thirteenth constitutional
abolished slavery, should
apply to the medical profession. Physicians have reminded their legislators
about the significant decline of applicants to medical schools. And college
students, with thoughts of pursuing the medical profession, see the decline in
respect for physicians.. With the lack of tort reform, TV airspace is evermore
crowded with solicitations to file lawsuits. Medications in current use with
FDA approval are constantly described as poisons unfit for human consumption.
Thoughtless doctors should be forced to compensate their unfortunate patients
to whom they prescribe FDA approved medications for approved indications.
If an allergic reaction
should occur with the use of a medication, it should have been anticipated even
if there was no indication of increased risk. The legal profession assists all
in obtaining settlements. Why not take a chance at “free money.” We are
encouraged not to think about who really benefits, or, out of whose pockets the
money is eventually taken.
It is very distressing to
repeatedly hear legislators discuss the US “health care delivery system.”
Medical care is rendered by people, not by machines. Computers cannot replace
physicians or nurses.
Medical decisions are not
best made by non-medical administrators, and especially not by “cost is the
only factor” guidelines. Lowering the standard of care from physicians to
nurse practitioners may be encouraged to save money, but at what cost to the
In the real world,
experienced physicians resent the pressures to rush patients. Doctors
frequently complain about the inability to really know their patients, and/or
be able to carefully monitor families.
The numbers of doctors in general practice has fallen dramatically as they are
pressured out of practice by insurance carriers. Current terminology does not
even recognize dedication or skill. Insurance administrators only recognize
“providers.” Providers are interchangeable to insurance carriers. Physician
decisions are only acceptable if they do not conflict with rules enacted and
administered by non-physicians.
There is no dispute that US
citizens without health insurance should have affordable coverage made
available to them.
There is dispute about
whether the medical care available in the US should be destroyed in an attempt
to fund such coverage. The current proposals for “universal health care” would
replace personal care. If voters do not want quality care available in the
future, they can support legislative attempts to abolish their ability to
obtain it. After all, legislators will still have resources for their medical
care, not available to the rest of us.