I became a “Registered Pharmacist” upon graduation from pharmacy school in 1959. I took a job in a “retail pharmacy” learning what constituted health care, although the term “health care” did not exist at that time anywhere in the medical field. In fact, the term did not even exist in Webster’s Dictionary until sometime in the 1970’s.
During my lifetime I have seen two distinct methods of delivering medical assistance to the “patient.” I will describe the first type of medical assistance I experienced as a “doctor/patient” relationship. The main problem with this type of medical assistance was that the doctor was vulnerable to being sued by “opportunity” seeking lawyers. The solution for fixing this type of health delivery was for Congress to enact “loser pay” tort reform, but that was not going to happen as long as Congress was stocked with lawyers who couldn’t make a living in the court rooms.
The practice of medicine transitioned during the late 1960’s with the advent of “so called health insurance.” This form of “medical assistance delivery” continues today, and I experienced it’s first hand when I suffered two strokes in 2012, while in the care of physicians at the local hospital. I have struggled to come up with a name for this type of health coverage, and the closest I can come to an appropriate title should be CYA coverage. For those who need some imaginative help, here goes, “Cover You’re a__.” The point I want to make is that your main doctor will not make a determination of your medical needs without sending you to a “specialist,” and the specialist will probably send you to another “specialist.” Finally, you may get to the last specialist in line who will tell your main doctor what he/she thinks is wrong with you. During the time you’ve spent going to doctors, there are so many opinions about your medical condition, no lawyer can get clean testimony to bring a malpractice case against any of the doctors. The lawyer problem is kept at bay, but at what cost?
Those doctors you visited in the above scenario also received co-pays from you which add to the costs of medical services. Then there are the costs of “health insurance premiums.” The health insurance companies must approve all procedures you may need which may explain the delays while at the doctor’s office. Another problem, the medical conditions you experience are supposed to be private between you and your doctor. If the insurance companies are responsible for approving your medical procedures, you have to ask, who approved their medical license? “Practicing medicine without a license is against the law!” There are many more things wrong with the current health care system, but I will leave with one more atrocity I experienced with my stroke.
It’s called “funny math.” I will explain it to you, not with the actual numbers which are in my book, but with numbers that are close. When I checked into the hospital, I paid a $1,100 co-pay. Five days later I checked out and received a copy of the bill for my hospital stay. The total was $125,000, but the hospital settled with the insurance company for $16,000. I do not understand who was satisfied with what, but I call this “funny math.” The details of the bill, and other problems with Health Care, and solutions for fixing Health Care are in my upcoming book “Health Care in Crisis” which I hope you take the time to read and enjoy.