What physicians know
By Joel S. Hirschhorn
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Nov 4, 2009, 00:19
I had a long conversation with my favorite physician, who
has operated on me twice successfully. He is an incredibly kind person without
an ounce of greed or pretense. Like other physicians I have spoken to, he spoke
eloquently about the terrible times he consistently has with private health
While he praises Medicare for its simplicity and certainty,
he has absolutely nothing positive to say about private insurers. They take up
huge amounts of time of him and his staff, trying in every possible way to deny
services to their customers (his patients) and also to pay as little as
possible to him. His endless struggles with the insurance companies make his
life miserable. Meanwhile all he cares about is giving his patients the very
best care and not making them suffer because of their insurance carriers.
Like so many of us, he sees the need for major reforms of
our health care system, but remains pessimistic about what Congress and
President Obama will eventually deliver. He is incredulous at how executives of
private insurers make vast amounts of money while making physicians and their
patients suffer endless annoyances and negative impacts on health care. And
they get away with making people pay more and more money for worse and worse
He also has many stories about patients that do not take
medications for long-term chronic conditions because they cannot afford
prescriptions. He gives out as many samples that he can get, is angry that
people in other nations pay much less for brand name drugs, and feels terrible
for his patients because the US health care system has let them down.
What would be the ideal solution to the current health care
mess? My doctor believes that opening up Medicare to everyone would be
wonderful, and the system could be opened up immediately. I totally agree. There
is no sound reason for Congress to protect the private health insurance
industry. But, of course, they always have and always will because it is the
source of huge amounts of money for political campaigns.
While no one should be forced into Medicare, just making it
available to all who want it would be fair. If private colleges compete with
public ones, and private for profit hospitals compete with nonprofit ones, why
shouldn�t health insurance companies be put in a similar position?
Corruption blocks true and necessary health care reform. Remember
that the next time you vote.
Joel S. Hirschhorn can be contacted through www.delusionaldemocracy.com.
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