Healthcare in America – Drain the Swamp
Some prominent political voices of the medical community representing, perhaps, a minority of American physicians have sent letters to politicians in Washington suggesting that there will be a crisis created in the provision of healthcare in America, if the, so called, Affordable Care Act is repealed without a suitable replacement in place. More accurately, the only crisis resides in the payment for the provision of healthcare in America. Prior to the politicization of healthcare resulting in government programs and interference in the healthcare system, healthcare in America was the best in the world, and accessible to all to varying and limited degrees. Moving forward to the brokenness of the current money driven, politicized system, the foundational resources found in healthcare providers – the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, technicians, etc.; the technology; pharmaceuticals; and all that constitute actual healthcare are still at the ready and have advanced magnitudes beyond what they were even just in a prior year. Allocation or provision of those resources to provide cost effective, quality, accessible healthcare to all regardless of the ability to pay is what is in question and needs correction. Whatever the course, simple charity and caring can stand in the gap.
Many years ago, I wrote an article published by the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society entitled “Justice For All“. Its premise was that healthcare was not a right, but rather a responsibility. It is not a right any more than health itself is a right. How that responsibility is assumed and distributed has taken on its political character. This was a time that the provision of healthcare began to change. In attempting to constructively address the inevitable change brought by the politicization of healthcare, I also tried to organize doctors to provide guidance and insight to the politicians and bureaucracies with each; in the words of Madison, other Framers, and Founders, as warned of in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers; having and advancing their own “special interests”. Failing to give voice to the real providers of healthcare, the injustice, greed, avarice, and quest for political power and control emanating from those “special interests”, unchecked by righteous legislative oversight and authority, has resulted in the crisis of paying for healthcare in America.
Insidiously and persistently, healthcare systems and enterprises comprised of most “non-profit” and for profit hospital organizations, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, medical technology companies, insurance companies, and even academic institutions housing the medical schools have promoted and brought about the current broken healthcare system enabled by legislative failure in failing to protect and defend the original intention of the Constitution. The Preamble‘s words “promote the general welfare” have been politically corrupted and perverted to give license to the political agendas offering to provide healthcare.
Solutions to the failed provision of healthcare can be found in adhering to the Framers’ intention to “promote the general welfare”. Prior to Medicare, hospitals, medical schools, doctors, and other healthcare providers made the best medical care in the world available to all in need with the exceptions and failures again brought by greed and lack of true caring and compassion. I can never forget the tragedies of coat hanger abortions; the inexcusable delays in critical care encountered as “non-profit” hospitals dumped patients to public and/or truly charitable hospitals; or affluent doctors refusing to treat even a few indigent or working poor patients. Rather than accepting timed payment of what could be afforded; scheduling at the end of regular patients in private offices; or serving as adjunct faculty staffing and teaching in medical school clinics; the past failures distributed across the healthcare system prior to government involvement only displayed what needed to be corrected and addressed. True caring cannot by legislated. Greed and human failure and inadequacy cannot be remedied by laws. According to the Framers’ undisturbed intention; those rich and famous, the Hollywood elite, the liberal progressive millionaires and billionaires, not forgetting the “non-profit” executives with undeserved and unwarranted compensations; could contribute up to 50% of their income to provide healthcare to the unfortunate. Income that should be taxed can be given to the working poor and the deserving avoiding taxation funding the undeserving. Where the Framers’ intention failed, government inadequately stepped in.
Looking to constructive solutions to repeal past injustices in healthcare, proven positive successful efforts must not be abandoned or ignored. Preventing exclusion for preexisting conditions, portability, privacy, etc. need to be retained and incorporated. Several years ago, I wrote a paper entitled “The Politicization of Healthcare“ published by this Committee for the Constitution. With approximately 70% of the healthcare dollar costs generated by those covered by Medicare, the Federal government could promote cost-effective quality healthcare by mandating the healthcare database advocated in that article.
There are many other just and unburdening alternatives already in place to make the patient responsible for healthcare. Before Medicare, medical schools and various teaching hospital free clinics were statistically shown to to provide the best state of science medical care. The actual provider of that optimal care was the senior resident in the relevant specialty. Now medical schools and faculties divert those residents’ time to higher income generating activities. Governments could mandate that all medical schools and teaching institutions or entities receiving Federal funds in any form be required by law to make free clinic services and all hospital services and facilities available to all those requesting them. Most certainly, profits and administrators’ and maybe even some doctors’ salaries would have to decline. Patients of every economic condition and circumstance would have access to the best quality cost-effective healthcare.
I remember, as a medical student on my obstetrics rotation, going with a senior resident and nurses to deliver a baby to a principal of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in their Gold Coast home on Lake Shore Drive. By choice, this man and his wife simply wanted a natural childbirth in their home. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
In addition to unbridled capitalism uncontrollably raising the costs of healthcare while at the same time deceasing the quality and access to healthcare, government bears a significant responsibility for the economic disaster encountered in the provision of healthcare. As one example, I have developed a proven, 100% successful in human volunteers, device to regrow the anterior cruciate ligament. Reported and published in peer reviewed forums, the synthetic scaffold allows a person’s own adult mesenchymal stem cells to grow and differentiate replacing the damaged tissue. It has never achieved commercial development because of the financial constraints imposed by the FDA. Another example is seen in a 100% safe material able to aid in the healing of skin wounds such as seen in diabetes and trauma. Without a two million dollar waiver by the FDA and FDA approval, it will never be available to those in dire need. More egregious is the fact that it is so safe and efficacious that it should have been available over the counter at a mere fraction of the cost of anything currently available or in the research pipeline. Perhaps, it should also be mentioned that a doctor can use any FDA approved material, which this material is, with an over forty year clinical history, off-label. But, because it is not paid for or reimbursed, it is denied to patients even in medical school and free clinics. Money and greed have contaminated and infected American healthcare.
“Draining the swamp” could alter the provision of healthcare in America.
Editors note: This article by the author of The Attack On America and Beyond Reason calls to an experience and expertise held by many members of The Committee for the Constitution. Many of them are academics with doctorates in all areas of science, history, law, political science, etc. Some have chosen to remain anonymous because of the discrimination experienced in their professional activities when addressing the truths confirmed and validated by science and history but rejected in the guise of political correctness and the religion of humanism. Best described in Ben Stein’s film Expelled, they have authored seminal works on such topics as global warming, political science, law, etc.