On The Future Of Medicine
Dr. Bendelstein’s commentary was replete with facts and insights. He laments current problems in medicine which are likely to worsen. As a primary care physician (PCP) and father of a first year medical student, I share Dr. Bendelstein’s concern for the bleak future of medicine.
Obamacare is my greatest concern. Obamacare will decrease choice and increase bureaucratic interference between patients and doctors. If the intent of Obamacare is to provide each citizen affordable healthcare then it is a noble initiative. However, too many of its 2700 pages seem to focus on government control, exacting more taxes on citizens, reducing benefits to the Medicare population and reducing payments to doctors. Repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a bill of 10 pages or so which any citizen could read and understand, would be so much better. It may sound simplistic, but I think it’s possible. Such a bill would enable each citizen without healthcare to buy an affordable policy by measures that reduce or soften the impact of premiums (tax deduction for premiums, purchase of medical insurance across state lines, tort reform, etc). Such a bill would not include new taxes or an unconstitutional mandate.
The alternative is to accept Obamacare or single payer system and put up with waiting lists for tests and procedures, and delay or denial of medical care by bureaucrats.
Even without Obamacare in full force, physicians, especially specialists like Dr. Bendelstein, are experiencing interference in the patient-doctor relationship with managed care in particular HMOs. PCPs and specialists are not paid. Appeals often are useless. Dr. Bendelstein notes that payments to specialists have been drastically reduced despite increasing costs of practicing medicine with bloated bureaucracy.
Dr. Bendelstein calls physicians cowards. It’s hard to disagree with him. Excuses yield poor results. The future of medicine will be brighter only if patients and doctors realize that their future is intertwined. Patients must realize that physician abuse by the system (denying or reducing payment, massive regulations, etc.) will impact patient care negatively. Hopefully, the public will inform itself on healthcare issues and support physicians and government representatives promoting choice and doctor-patient relationships.
Physicians should be more active and courageous in fighting for the future of medicine.
F. PACIFICO, MD