Health Care … Win – Win Ideas and Solutions for Individual Patients and the Economy
Originally this article started out as a response the a recent article in the ECONOMIST dated May 19th, 2011. It then “morphed” into a more comprehensive set of ideas and solutions that could benefit U.S. Health Care for patients and the U.S. Economy as a whole. The article in question from the Economist is, “There is no alternative … Virtually all alternative medicine is bunk; but the placebo effect is rather interesting.”
I very much respect the Economist’s journalistic integrity, having been a loyal reader for many years. That being said, the entire premise of this article is simply off-base. If the Food and Drug Administration was given any authority over some types of alternative medicine, we would not have to worry as much about the placebo effect. Take a wild guess at who the special interest groups are that are opposed to this ? The Economist article lumps all alternative medicine as a whole into one group. It also makes the implicit assumption that allopathic / western medicine has no ‘hocus pocus’ element to it. Those are the first and second mistakes. I have personally know many physicians, in many fields for many years. Most of them are very upstanding professionals, while a small number have questionable professional morals. This is likely so in most if not all industries; some more so than others. What about the current U.S. health care / insurance incentives for physicians and hospitals to be able to promote certain tests and procedures, diagnostic and otherwise, that is economically in their best interest, while still being in the “general interest” of the patient as well ? Talk about ” hocus pocus ! The great magician, Harry Houdini, would be humbled by this ‘slight of hand’ trick. I am not saying that this is very common. I honestly don’t know. But, it sure as heck, is a multi-billion dollar loophole in the U.S. health care system; and this is very likely an extreme understatement. I understand that many medical institutions and physicians need to cover their rear ends from a legal malpractice standpoint. This is why medical liability reform is desperately needed as well.
In any industry where a large sum of money and profit is at stake; whether it be health care, finance, economics or pretty much any industry, there will always be an element of ‘hocus pocus’. FOLLOW THE MONEY and do not be naive that when large sums of money are at stake. Like-minded groups will protect their ideology and turf. It’s human nature, which is not likely to change much. Instead of blaming different groups, I have a novel suggestion …
Patients need to be EMPOWERED by as many stakeholders in the health care industry as possible to take more ownership over every aspect of their health care. However, along with more ownership must come more responsibility. THESE ARE VERY KEY POINTS HERE. This will not only better serve the patients’ needs, but will also help drive down the unsustainable rise in health care costs, especially in the U.S. I hope the Food and Drug Administration is listening. In my humble opinion, they definitely need a broader scope to operate as well as more resources at their disposal.
THE NEAR FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE MUST CONSIST OF A COMBINATION WESTERN MEDICINE AT THE FOREFRONT, WITH ALTERNATIVE AND PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE AS INTEGRATED SUPPLEMENTS from an economic and patient standpoint. The western medicine model has very good ( benefit relative to cost ) results and even greater future potential for acute care as well as some chronic medical conditions. On the flip side, certain types of alternative medicine and preventive care have been scientifically proven to be effective and helpful when used in conjunction with western medicine, and even more effective and beneficial to help prevent and/or mitigate chronic health care conditions ( also under the leadership of allopathic / western medicine as necessary. ) I hope those of you at the F.D.A. are reading this. Throw in the element of preventive care with certain types of alternative medicine, and not only does the overall AVERAGE cost of health care moderate and even decline some, but the patient benefits more. Who’da thunk it ?!!? Common sense can prevail if our policy makers do the right thing and lay the proper ground work and architecture for a viable health care system. Please remember that when discussing health care, it is important not only to understand the issues and the stakeholders, but to also ‘follow the money’ so to speak. Health care is a business as is economics and finance.
We will see what happens.
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