Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Medicine and the election

It's been a little while since I've posted anything besides bike racing stuff.

I hesitated to post links to the following on facebook, so will therefore post them here and then link to facebook!

Lot's is at stake in this election coming up in November. In terms of healthcare, you should read the following links and think about them no matter where you are on the ideological/political spectrum:
The conservative case fo Obama care

Also, both presidential candidates wrote pieces for the most important journal in medicine.
Replacing Obamacare with real reform- Romney
Securing the future of American Healthcare- Obama

I'm not sure if there's anything more important in my life (besides my family) than being a physician. I have not yet completed my training, but will in the next couple of years. For me there is no higher calling, nothing more meaningful, interesting, exciting, or engaging than the art and science of medicine. I won't go on a rant about what I believe as far as national health care, but suffice to say that having had cancer as a 20-something made it undeniably clear that our healthcare system has been broken. This article by Atul Gawande, a Harvard Suregon essentially summarizes my opinion.

As an aside, in terms of those two articles from each candidate in the New England Journal, I speak essentially 3 languages: English, spanish, and medical. And honestly, even though I read it with an open mind, I have no idea what Mitt Romney is saying in some sections of his piece.

There are a bunch of comments following each piece. My own view is summarized by the following:
"We Need to Go Deeper Than Glossy Rhetoric
We will never have a smart, cost-effective healthcare system in this country until we address the way we pay for health care. Our third party payer system - private as well as government-funded - supports the health industrial complex, not health care. It provides all the wrong incentives for specialist care, overmedicalization and procedures, and shapes the way a doctor practices at least as much as medical science does. To think that an unregulated free market system will put less emphasis on profit and put patients' interests first is to be stuck in a 1950's mentality: as long as clean cut white men in suits are in charge, we are all in good hands.
The Affordable Care Act, as well as its earlier version, Romneycare, moves us towards providing incentives for quality outcomes and cost-effectiveness rather than for productivity. We the people, in the form of a democratic government, need to continue to work towards this critical goal, keeping special interests at arms length. Private business has very different goals, ones that are often directly at odds with patient's best interests."
-RANDY KOZEL, MD | Physician | Disclosure: None


Mark W. French said...

Thanks for posting this Dan.

That last comment draws out a fundamental which, once understood seems obvious, but until you realize it never enters your mind*: Democracy and Capitalism have different goals. We can not pretend that they share a common goal.

*At least for me!

Aaron said...

You're not the only one, Mark, as made apparent by all these politicians citing their records as business people as a resume for public service.