by Joseph J Kozma
It started when Robert Stack wearing his usual moribund face, invaded your living room on your television screen and told you to have a second opinion. Why? He did not say. Of course the immediate answer is because the government paid him and the TV station received a good chunk of money. But why? Because the government did not trust doctors. They told you then that obtaining a second opinion was in your best interest. They also told you that money could be saved by avoiding unnecessary medical interventions such as surgery, in particular of the eye. Neither statement had merit then and has merit now.
What research, if any, did the government do to arrive on these conclusions? None, somebody in the government distrusted doctors and was in the position to make his opinion prevail. Not that there was evidence then that meaningful discussion had taken place before employing Robert Stack.
Yet, things usually do not just appear in midair, some reasons, even if weak, can usually be found. Such weak reasons have no statistical significance.
Ultimately the second opinion pitch was a fiasco.
A few years later the government intruded healthcare again. Now the pitch was that there was not enough competition among medical providers. Therefore the Trade Commission opened the flood gate
and “legalized” essentially unrestricted advertisements by doctors, clinics, hospitals and other legitimate and not so legitimate health care providers. I remember the first product of this “regulation” on one major highway in the Chicago area blaring I multicolor neon extolling a major virtue of the sponsoring medical group. It was a shock. OK it was subjective on my part, The objective part was that chaotic picture of medicine was created that benefited nobody.
Then came Managed Care where only the money was managed and all kinds of restrictions of medical care were “managed” by government friendly organizations and by persons with no idea of the significance of person to person relationship so important to medical care.
Managed care eliminated that to a fairly large degree, but not as much as the present effort to introducing, supporting and maintaining by dictatorial force the product of “system medicine.” It is not just chance that the Supreme Court had to get involved. The matter is so grave that healthcare providers have to go to the constitution to get protection against government abuse. The Electronic Health Record is an example where the government designs, approves, sells, enforces tells how to use and penalizes as it pleases. The 2000 page regulations that contain the “blessings” of the EHR can be only implemented if doctors and other healthcare providers keep sitting on their butts and tolerate being herded.
If we keep doing what is going on now we will lose our 37th ranking on the United Nations’ list of effective health care. That is a shameful position to be in.
We don’t have to go to other nations to learn how to minister to the sick and maintain public health. But we must recognize that every patient, as a matter of fact every person under this constitution, deserves to be free of dumbing, such as the now popular and “time and money saving” protocols.
It is recognized that innovations, improvements, social and emotional stability are necessary to achieve meaningful changes but it also necessary to recognize that changes must be supported by the pillars of previous experience. That is not happening today.