A Doctor's Rant- We Hate It Too
This hub was written in answer to a question (Doc, why does everything indicate that doctors are nothing more than fultime drug company employees?) about what do we do about the control big pharma has over our health care distribution and policies in the United States. It is just based on my thoughts and opinions as they flowed between my first cup of coffee and getting my kid ready for ski school. As it was going to be an answer, it is not as coherent as it might have been if I had planned an article, so take it for what it is.
It's really such a hard question. I wish I had ANY idea what the answer should be. Unfortunately, those same big evil drug companies (and they do have lots of slimy elements) are the ones that spend billions researching and developing life-saving treatments. They have the billions because they charge ridiculous amount of money for their product. Sigh. I don't like their practices but I don't know how to untie them from the process, if we want to have the development of new treatments. The government sure can't afford to provide care for everyone AND develop new drugs. Not without a near 100% tax rate anyway.
The insurance companies are a thorn in everyone's side. They are a business. They could care less if the patients get taken care of or if the doctors get paid a dime. They care about their profit, first and foremost and that's a problem.
As far as universal health care, there are some countries where people seem somewhat satisfied with it. However, that's all the people have ever known. Waiting a few weeks/months for an MRI is acceptable to them. I used to work at a prominent medical center and I can tell you that the
wealthy of those other countries wouldn't wait for their care in some
cases. They came to the US for tests and treatments where they felt the
care was easily obtainable and viewed as superior anyway.
Here, if you can't walk in to the emergency room and demand one, people are outraged and threaten to sue if there is anything abnormal found and they had to wait. My husband is an ER doctor and he gets these threats to sue at least twice a week. Unfortunately, if there is ANY indication to do the test, it has to be done. People have the impression that lawsuits are just people getting money from the insurance companies. NO. The doctors rates soar with even a notice of intent to sue. If you are a new doc, this rate- and the emotional distress of it all- may force you out of practice and I know two people who have had this happen. It will certainly make you 'play the game' to avoid another, especially since the rates of your whole provider group can be raised and your partners will be quite unhappy. **An interesting experiment will be to see what percentage of the ads that pop up on this hub are for malpractice attorneys looking for clients**
I don't know anything about the whole 'death panel' thing. I think it's probably some twisting of something that opponents grabbed onto and sensationalized.
The whole health care system is a mess and I really don't know how to untwist the elements from each other. Doctors hate it too, by the way. It's part of the reason that I only work part-time and write and consult and other stuff. Most docs I know would NOT do it again - just not worth it. And most are unhappy about all of this mess (and the ridiculous work hours). They want to do a good job and are restricted at every turn sometimes and the patients blame the docs. It's very disheartening to give up your youth, your time with your family, your health in some cases...just to have the people you are trying to help hate you. This makes me terribly sad. And I would do my job for less money under a universal system, but the whole thing has to change. My student loans and malpractice premium cost $5000 per month and I pay 50% taxes. I am not wealthy although the public perceives me (docs in general) to be and resents my salary.
DISCLAIMER (because docs always have to give one)
WARNING: This is an answer to a question about health care in America. It's a stream of consciousness series of thoughts. It is not a complete treatise on the subject as I am NOT qualified to present such information. It is MY OPINION. It is based on personal experience. I am not educated in the business of health care and don't make any pretense about knowing all the ins-and-outs of our or other health care systems. I answered a question to the best of my ability.
Having said that, I avoid the "I hate doctor" forums (that are everywhere, by the way in one form or another) because it seriously makes me depressed, so if you have the feeling that you'd like to rant on docs, I respectfully ask that you start a new forum or hub about it. It just makes me too sad and I'd prefer, if possible, not to see it here. All I can do is ask as I am not trying to limit anyone's freedom of expression.
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