If you haven’t noticed, our health care system in the U.S. is imploding. I mean - things are bad. I’m a doctor, and yet, because I was diagnosed with high blood pressure in my twenties, and because my husband accidentally cut two fingers off his left hand with a table saw, we’re uninsurable under a traditional family health insurance program. We’re still on COBRA, paying $1200/month until it runs out in two years and we’ll have to scramble to find a way to stay insured.
If we hadn’t been insured, my husband certainly wouldn’t have had those two fingers he cut off all the way to the nubs replanted. And he wouldn’t have had those two follow up surgeries he needed in order to cut out the scar tissue that the first surgery caused. And he’d have a dang hard time typing out his novel right about now without those two fingers.
And we’re not even sick. God forbid one of us gets cancer (knock wood).
We Need Socialized Medicine
Health insurance as a for-profit business needs to be banned, and a nationalized system of health care needs to be implemented, as it has been in nearly every other developed nation, because basic health care should be a right, not a privilege. The US was recently rated 37th in health outcomes by The World Health Organization, roughly on par with Serbia, while what we spend on health care is more than twice what people in other developed countries pay. In his article Why Our Health Matters, Dr. Andrew Weil writes, “If predictions hold, a family of four, in the next seven to nine years, will spend around $64,000 annually on health care.” Holy schmoly.
Bye Bye Big Pharma, Hello Tort Reform
Big Pharma needs to be reined in and direct-to-consumer marketing should be eliminated, since it only serves to drive up the cost of health care. I know we need tort reform to lower the exorbitant cost of medical malpractice insurance, and we need laws in place to prevent frivolous lawsuits. (Yes, the only malpractice lawsuit ever filed against me was by a woman who says I stole her labia. Swear to God. And no – I didn’t take it. But that’s another story for another day.)
The Doctor-Patient Relationship Needs To Be Reformed
As I wrote about here, managed care insurance companies have fractured the doctor-patient relationship, without decreasing health care costs, and the power in the health care system needs to be reinstated back where it belongs, in the hands of health care providers and patients, rather than in the pens and pockets of middle managers who are raking in massive profits, while patients and doctors are being squeezed.
The doctor-patient relationship needs some serious reform, and we must reclaim the heart of medicine. After all, science can cure, but only love heals, and medicine is, after all, a spiritual practice. In my work with patients, I practice love, with a little medicine on the side, and there are others out there practicing Pink Medicine and relating with patients the way I believe every doctor should, as I wrote about here.