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Health Care 2017: A Physician’s Perspective – Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists

By Michael P. Fangman

A doctor’s tools, including an otoscope and a stethoscope, and paperwork. (Connor Tarter / CC 2.0)

As a physician, I’ve participated in a system of medical science that solves problems by first understanding the root causes of symptoms. Only making an accurate diagnosis can eventuate in effective treatment. Politicians regularly exhibit a mindset that does not look at causation of problems. Locked into electoral brinksmanship and unaccustomed to team work, they avoid collaboration and try to ram through their own ideological theory in legislating critically important issues like access to health care.

They fail to address the essential components of America’s system. In the case of health insurance, they assume that the past cannot be questioned and endeavor to fit a “square peg into a round hole.” They argue that nurturing “free market” forces will heal our complex system that consumes around 20% of our GDP — at least twice the fraction of GDP expended on health care by any other “developed” nation on earth. If only we got twice the value and better outcomes as participants in our system. In fact, most doctors will tell you that our health care system is broken. It is a complete mess, dominated by countless insurance companies that pay their executives thousands of dollars per hour to avoid paying claims made for reimbursement on health care delivered. The system is such a mess that only a small minority of Americans have any idea what it’s all about. In truth, doctors are the only health care professionals who experience a broad enough spectrum of the system to gain any real insights into the dysfunctional nature of this broken human endeavor.

Health insurance became all about profit in the 1980s, and has become ever more monetized since then. American medicine went from being generally altruistic before the mid ’80s to insidiously become all about greed in its many diverse…

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