Friday, April 18, 2014
The plot thickens... *cue the scary music*
I read a news story online this morning that began with the headline, "Treatment Cost Could Influence Doctors Advice To Patients". It seems that "influential medical groups....are recommending that doctors weigh the costs, not just the effectiveness of treatments, as they make decisions about patient care."
It's a slippery slope, to say the least.
This is the ammunition the "single payer" medical care advocates have been waiting for. They have been pointing out with limited success that the best medical care is reserved for the wealthy, or at least the more well-to-do, while the rest of us have to make-do with something less.
It's a practice that has apparently been quietly acknowledged within the medical community for some time, but it hasn't become well known to the general population....yet. I think it just stepped into the spotlight.
"Single payer" health care is a system in which the government, rather than private insurers, pay for all health care costs. It's what they have in the UK, Canada, Australia, and many other, mainly European countries with a hefty "social safety net", supported by high taxes.
Proponents say it is the fairest way to see to it that everyone, regardless of their economic status, can get good quality health care. Health care is a "right" we should all have equal access to, they say. Detractors call it "socialized medicine", the key word being "socialized"....think "socialist". *circle the wagons!*
On the one hand, the thought of our government administering anything sends cold shivers up my spine. I can't imagine a more worthless work force than that mob of "civil servants" in Washington today pulling in bloated government paychecks.
But on the other hand, I have friends in the UK and Canada and Australia and elsewhere who report that, all-in-all, the single payer model works well. Wait times for elective procedures are often very long, but when they finally happen they won't send the patient straight to bankruptcy.
Not surprisingly my doctor, with whom I've had long talks with about this, and I would imagine my SIL "Doc" Chris, the insurers, etc. are scared to death of it. But to an economically stagnant middle class it probably looks pretty good.
I think in the future, probably sooner rather than later, this will become a top burner political issue. And it's gonna be a nasty one.