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Profiting from Health Care

I admire the White House’s strategy to press forward on substantive health care reform now and I hope Washington is able to resist the temptation to water down the public option in such a way that the medical-industrial complex can manipulate it for its own obsession with profits.  

I share Robert Reich’s opinion that the public option must be national in scale and able to combine with Medicare so as to be able to force the Pharma, Insurance and medical practitioners to bring costs down.

In his recent New Yorker article, Atul Gawande shows the degree to which the practices of physicians and other medical professionals in certain areas drive the costs of healthcare up by prescribing unnecessary procedures and otherwise over treating patients in order to maximize profits.  This report shows the extent to which the medical profession, to say nothing of the insurance and pharmaceutical companies, “took profit growth to be a legitimate ethic in the practice of medicine.”
It has become increasingly clear that whatever fears people have about a government run healthcare option, it will at least have the benefit of not being at its very core driven by the ethic of profit maximization.  Joe Conason has nicely shown the benefits of a strong publicly funded option, emphasizing the fact that a government program would cut costs right off the top by eliminating price increases associated with maximizing profits for shareholders.
Patients should profit from the healthcare system by receiving better care, not the medical-industrial complex by generating more money.  Aside from a strong belief that everyone has the right to basic health care, the main reason I support a strong public option is to undermine the ethic of profit maximization that has perverted the healthcare system in the United States for too long. 

One Comment

  • Janet Filing says:

    As I age, I see friends and relatives stuck in the mire of a healthcare system reflecting big pharm bottom lines. I fear, however, that we are all so complicit in this at this time, that OUR bottom lines fuel the “keep it as it is” ideas of many.
    The changes we seek will demand sacrifices from us all. Most Americans are not prepared for such sacrifices. Doctors, hospitals, and the whole MIC are intertwined and must unwrap vigorously, so that we as a nation can serve those without resources to survive healthcare mistakes and poor nutrition. Then we can take on the food industry and the sickening of America, which some have said is largely a part of the Medical Industrial Complex. In the end, however, it is a question of making good choices for ourselves, our families and the next generation.

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