Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sermo, the Open Letter and the root of all health care problems

We physicians need to talk to each other more, we need to use the Internet as a the new and exceedingly useful platform to communicate with each other. With the development of the "Open Letter", has proven that it can be be just that, a platform to stay in touch, and to exchange ideas. And it allows us physicians to talk to each other across speciality lines and across any geographical boundaries, something that is sorely needed.

We physicians need to unite. We are medicine. All the others are outsiders without our knowledge, our expertise and our skils. It is completely unacceptable that health care planning and reform is happening around tables without phsyicians. We have to stop accepting what business people and politicians cook up for health care and then expect us to swallow. We are medicine, we are it. "They" are the mere monkeys on our backs. Without us, they are nothing.

While I agree with most others in terms of the criticism of what is wrong today in health care, I am not in favor of any kind of single payer third party payer system or any other kind of overbearing, strangulating government control. Instituting a socialistic single payer system would competely and sadly miss the root problem in health care: the fact that "we are shopping with someone else's credit card".

That is the true root problem of health care systems in Europe and in the US.

I have the advantage that I grew up in Germany and Spain and now live here in the US. I have trained and practiced in Germany and in the US. I have worked in Europe and I have seen the exact, but absolutely exact same problems and developements in Germany that we see here in the US. Amazing , isn't it? The exact same problems, Now let that sink in. "Socialistic" or "capitalistic" structure of the health care system does not matter. The third party payer system is the problem.
As long as a third party pays the bills, we will encourage waste, as long as a third party pays the bills, we will overspend, as long as a third party pays the bills, costs will continue to rise "unstoppable", as long as a third party pays the bills, it will go downhill.

Stop salivating about universal health care and about the Canadian or Bristish system, stop denying the problems each of them has. Work on replacing the third party payer system with a direct patient - physician relationship. Nothing else, no outside intrusion. Then health care will be free of third party interests, free of abuse by commerce and government and the patient and physician will be in charge again, as it should always have been and as it will be again in a few years

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