Archive for November, 2009
Where is this train wreck headed?¬† Wending its way through the various Senate and House subcommittees, the health care reform debate of 2009 is approaching a crescendo.¬†¬†¬† What do we have to show?¬†¬† The question I posed in a previous post still has yet to be answered – just what is the problem?¬† Is the problem greater access?¬† Is the problem escalating insurance premiums?¬† Is the problem stratospheric and ruinous hospitalization bills?¬† Is the problem rapidly declining quality of care?¬† Or is this simply become a matter of whose team wins?¬† The bill fails — the president sinks.
Andrew Weil concludes:
But what’s missing, tragically, is a diagnosis of the real, far more fundamental problem, which is that what’s even worse than its stratospheric cost is the fact that American health care doesn’t fulfill its prime directive — it does not help people become or stay healthy.
We have seen the emergence of ‚Äúevidence-based medicine‚ÄĚ in the last 10 years.¬† This has been an effort to further legitimize and give scientific basis to common medical therapies.¬† A medical version of ‚Äúshow me the money.‚ÄĚ ¬†I have always thought this was rather inane, since it presumed that all medicine for the last 2000 years has been unscientific and irrational.¬† Although the reality is medicine is not nearly as scientific as asserted.¬† Only 10-20% of medical practice is based on sound scientific principles.¬†¬† This rankles most physicians who believe that conventional medicine is scientifically-based.¬† The highest form of medicine is the practiced art using scientific principles and technology.
A series of US Task Force recommendations are being rolled out by the Department of Health and Human Services.¬† These are well-intentioned and rational.¬† Examining the literature and epidemiology of medical practices in an effort to determine what is safe, sane, practical and effective.¬† ¬†The trap is ‚Äúeffective‚ÄĚ as you will see.
After countless months the debate marches on.¬†¬† Congressional House and Senate bills proliferate.¬† I have lost track.¬† It is beyond our comprehension trying to read through each of these bills.
There have been many lost opportunities.¬† This has never been about health care reform.¬† This is about health insurance regulation.¬† If you carefully sift through all the heartache stories and testimonials, you will see the real drama – unexpected hospitalizations.¬†¬† So the real crisis is coverage of catastrophic loss – astronomical hospital bills.¬† Routine appendectomy — $50,000.¬† Complicated heart attack — $250,000+.¬†¬† Catastrophe loss should have been the starting point.
Insurance is not the answer.¬†¬† It is the problem.¬†¬† Insurance subsidizes high costs.