Sunday, March 23, 2014

Free Healthcare and Free Access

SOYMB re-posts some observations on the Common Dreams website of Philip Caper, a doctor in the USA, which we feel is quite illuminating about capitalism and its priorities.

 "Sixty percent of [American]doctors now work for corporations, and that number is growing...He who pays the piper calls the tune. As both for-profit and nonprofit health care corporations have become increasingly focused on the bottom line, doctors working for them have come under increasingly subtle and not-so-subtle pressures to generate revenue for their employers. Some tests and procedures are more profitable than others. Increasingly, doctors’ “productivity” is measured by the amount of profitable revenue we produce rather than by the results we get for our patients. But in health care, profitability is a very unreliable measure of value because doctors’ fees and other health care prices are often set arbitrarily. American physicians spend at least three times as much time, money and effort on administrative work related to payment and insurance coverage as our Canadian brethren.

When we graduate from medical school, most of us take the Hippocratic Oath, swearing our primary allegiance to our patients. Young doctors tend to take their oath very seriously. Most doctors truly want to do what’s best for patients, not their insurance company or our employers’ bottom line. But in today’s corporatized and increasingly monetized health care environment, the demands for generation of profit often directly conflict with our clinical judgment. The belief that doctors and other healers act as stewards for our patients’ welfare has long earned us a special place in society and the trust of our patients. That position and that trust, so critical to healing, is now threatened.

 Practicing a profession that has traditionally been a calling has become a business. Doctors today are caught in a system corrupted by an excessive focus on money that is forcing us to behave in ways that conflict with our professional ethics. We are growing very tired of being told how to practice medicine by insurance company bureaucrats and corporate MBAs.

In an excellent new book called “What Matters In Medicine”, longtime Maine family doctor David Loxterkamp points out that medical care, while often using scientific jargon, methods and tools, is at its core a profession about relationships, not profits. That’s something the bean-counters and policy wonks who have become increasingly influential in determining the nature of our corporatized health care system seem unable to understand.

It’s time to remove corporate profit from the financing of health care, and perverse financial incentives from the direct provision of services..."

Caper concludes his article by calling for Medicare-for-all but SOYMB would suggest that he extends his arguments to all parts of society and not restrict them simply to the health-care sector. It is time for free access to all our world’s abundant wealth.

No comments: