Posted by: stephilepsy | April 20, 2011

Here’s Your Fee, Where’s Your Service?

We live in a capitalist society. We’re reminded of this, in my opinion, rather unfortunate fact on a continual basis. Everything is a commodity. Even tap water from various parts of the country is bottled and shipped elsewhere for mass consumption. So surely it is no surprise to you, dear readers, that healthcare, The Best Healthcare in the World, is very much for sale.

One loyal and endearingly naive reader of this blog (“I’m just a simple country boy” is my father’s favorite indignant refrain) claims that doctors are the same as any other small business owner, for the most part doing honest work and acting in good faith, just doing what they have to do to get by.

I disagree.

While there may indeed be many good and honest M.D.s out there, and awful lot of them are keenly aware that there’s more money tobe made from a chronically ill patient than a healthy one. Especially if you have Medicare or a good health insurance plan. And so they’ll send you for test after expensive test, prescribe drug after expensive (and probably dangerous) drug, while you get sicker and sicker.

I stopped taking all my pain meds. Even Tylenol. I’m still in pain, but not at nearly the levels I had been before. Crazy, huh? Lots of people have been calling me crazy these days.

Meanwhile doctors are increasing their fees everywhere. I saw one doctor who wouldn’t even call in prescriptions, so that patients had to come in for an office visit (cha-ching!) which in my case involved an hour drive for Warfarin, a blood thinner without which my life is literally at risk. This same doctor, for his part, neglected to do things like take a history or run any blood work, not even a CBC, even though he had just taken me on as a patient. He wasn’t real interested in the doctorly stuff, just the cash.

Meanwhile, drug companies are not using their vast resources to cure diseases, but instead to make minor chemical changes to their blockbuster drugs. They’re willing to do anything to work around patent laws, and have plenty of lobbyists and elected officials to help them.

I also find it odd that since the early 1980s, when the heart transplant was finally perfected, we’ve come up with a so many radical treatments for formerly fatal diseases such as cancer, A.I.D.S., strokes, etc, and yet not only is the U.S. life expectancy rate not climbing, it doesn’t even appear to be holding steady.

I’m fairly certain it’s dropping.

This is not the Best Healthcare In The World. We can do better. We must do better.

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