Nov 20

20NOV2008 – 2 Days that Ruined your Health Care, William Waters III, MD ?????

I had started to type up a paper for publication documenting my frustrations with the health care system when I received this book in the mail. After reading it, I realized that Dr. Waters had discussed about half of my contentions with the system. He is a nephrologist that practiced in the Atlanta, Georgia region for a number of years, and remains an academic type at Emory University. The two days are 1) 02OCT1942 when congress voted to allow employers to deduct health care premiums from employee’s taxable income, and 2) 10APRIL1965, when LBJ signed the Medicare law into existence. Owing to those events, Water’s shows how government then had the ability to slowly take over health care. This has led to government control of all aspects of health care, regulated by politicians and beaurocrats who nothing about daily health care delivery determining minute policies that regulate your behavior and practices in the office. The book details how government intervention has lead to increased prices for health care, now making most health care expenses out of the range of the average citizen. He finally discusses the role health savings plans and other solutions to the system. My only disappointment with the book is that he omitted several other important factors that are also of great importance, including 1) the loss of morality in the profession (most doctors would not take the oath of Hippocrates anymore), the loss of purpose in our profession, 2) the crass commercialization of medicine, starting when the AMA caved in to the Feds in the 1970’s to the issue of physician advertising, 3) the litigation scene forcing increased costs, regulation and costly physician behavior, and 4) increasing demands and expectations of many patients resulting in a health care fantasy that progressively forces all the other above problems. Eventually, patients will get what they are willing to pay for… just take a close look at health care in England or Canada. I disagree with Waters in that I do not see health care in the US as being in a state of being able to be fixed. It is time for physicians to quit being sacrificial lambs to the system, let the state have their healthcare, and hope that a better system could possibly rise from the ashes.

 

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