A Patient’s Diagnosis of Contemporary Healthcare

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It doesn’t look like the Affordable Healthcare Act will be repealed. I am not participating in that debate in this post. It’s really just an argument of will proper access to healthcare be horrible or will it just be awful. No question: the way for which healthcare is paid causes major price inflation. But even more fundamentally, it’s inadequate supply straining to meet overwhelming demand.

Supply:

Not enough doctors (or techs, or nurses).

Visit my liberal arts posts in my Student Loan Crisis Category for this one. Stop guaranteeing federal Stafford loans for communications degrees and invest  in biology and health sciences. More than a quarter of our MDs are foreign born (it seems like more than that, doesn’t it?). That’s a stability risk. What happens as the economies in Pakistan, India, China, South Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere continue to soar and all of these great doctors have more and more options over practicing in the United States? We can’t afford to lose a single percent of our doctors much less ten or twenty.

Demand:

Too many patients. 

The largest generation of our population is turning 65 at a rate of 1,000 per day for the next 18 years. We are already at max capacity and the spit hasn’t yet hit the fan.

Avoid the plague like the plague.

Healthy people need to stay healthy. Anyone without chronic health problems has a civic responsibility (as well as a number of higher personal priorities) to keep it that way. We must all be tenacious about diet and exercise so that our doctors, nurses, and techs are using their time and talent treating adults and children with unpreventable diseases.

Avoid visiting the doctor or the hospital if at all possible.

I had the flu last year. I thought, maybe I should go to the doctor. Then I thought, “no, there are people there who need to see the doctor that don’t have enough of his divided time already. I need to quarantine myself, eat all the kiwis and oranges I can, take some zinc, and sleep as much as I can in between Netflix selections. What did you notice the last time you were in the hospital?

And for God’s sake, quit smoking already.

 

http://www.migrationinformation.org/USfocus/display.cfm?id=898#6

 

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4 thoughts on “A Patient’s Diagnosis of Contemporary Healthcare

  1. managed care is the worst form of healthcare…and for the record as someone who has practiced in a social democracy abroad as a primary healthcare provider I can tell you firsthand that healthcare will get worse and more mechanistic….i.e. less human. (it’ll be about the numbers and staying in the black)

  2. managed care is the worst form of healthcare…and for the record as someone who has practiced in a social democracy abroad as a primary healthcare provider I can tell you firsthand that healthcare will get worse and more mechanistic….i.e. less human. (it’ll be about the numbers and staying in the black)

  3. There are enough doctors, there are not enough primary care doctors – this doesn’t really have to do with a lack of interest from US born residents. In fact there are more graduates of US medical schools than there are places for residency, leaving some newly minted graduates with nowhere to complete their degree. Doctors with expensive degrees, loans and bright eyes do not want to work in primary care which pays the least and requires all the long hours and none of the glory. The vast majority of new physicians choose a specialty, not primary care. This is why hospital ERs are filled with non-emergency patients who come in for a sniffle instead of calling their own doctor and getting the script or the sick note they need. And there is currently no plan in Affordable Care that accounts for the lack of primary care physicians, which is an even worse problem in rural and low income areas. The days of the kindly country doctor who treats your fever and sets your broken finger are over – no one wants that job anymore whether you’re from Pakistan or Pittsburgh.

    1. Thank you so much for the perspective Emilie. As a patient/visitor I still feel they’re aren’t enough specialists, but that’s a great point about primary care physicians. Any solutions?

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