Sunday, July 26, 2009

Health Reform and Apathy

I am by no means an expert on the business of medicine. However, after twenty five years of practice and management in a hospital system committed to serving the poor (outreach van, mission based medical centers) I have seen the strengths and weaknesses of our health care system.
I have been attempting to read more about the debate in Washington because I have concerns that everything is being done too fast. My experience has been that when things are done "fast", there is a fear that deliberate fact finding and debate might lead to a plan being blocked or changed. In our nation's history this debate has been a good thing.
My concern today is less about the motivation of politicians in power than it is about a continued apathy in our country. People are more concerned about Michael Jackson or "Jon and Kate" than whether they will have the government have one hundred percent control over virtually every aspect of their health care.
Here is what I understand at this point: It is quite conceivable that in a decade we could have the government as a single health care provider with rationing in place. In addition, physicians will become "more or less" hourly employees with little financial or personal incentive to work as a patient advocate in an overwhelming maze.
The key to fixing health care is providing early care and education to people who have limited access. It will take time to put this in place and it is not a short term fix. The system needs work, no doubt, but not a dramatic overhaul pushed through our government for political expediency.
Unfortunately, most people appear to be asleep at the wheel and many physicians are so overworked and beaten down by the present system that they will accept almost anything as another option. We are not having a national discussion and the result may be an option chosen by the few who have a vested interest in it...for good or not so good reasons.

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