“Here is a comment that was posted by a military physician who entered private practice. You won’t believe it – but I do. I spent several years of my life training new doctor’s office staff in computerized medical office management. Of course, electronic insurance billing was a big part of that process. Then electronic billing for medicare and medicaid became mandatory – my colleagues and I got a first-hand glimpse, let me tell you. This doctor is absolutely correct. Of course, not all doctors in private practice are this way – but so many are that it represents a serious failure of our healthcare system. Namely, for profit insurance companies and for-profit hospitals don’t give a rat’s rear end about the poor.”
(source: Shalom Bayit.)
After her introductory comment, Ahavah Gayle shares the complete text of a ‘comment reply’, written and posted by Timothy Shaw, M.D. F.A.C.S., to a Health Care Now website discussion.
Dr. Shaw’s ‘comment’ is a full letter – one of the best I’ve read on American health care conditions and concerns, (these concerns are not ‘repaired’ by what has passed as ‘reform’!)
Dr. Shaw begins:
“Twenty years ago, upon entering private medical practice for the first time it took me about a month to realize that the United States needed “Health Care Reform.” After serving the previous fifteen years in the US Army Medical Corps, I started my first civilian medical job….”
Dr. Shaw continues. He describes a scolding he received from a head doctor at a hospital outside his area, where he had gone, when asked by another physician, to assist in a child’s quite serious surgical need:
“(the head doctor) “pointed to the child’s insurance (Medicaid (Welfare)) and shamelessly told me, “if all you are going to do, is to bring this “****” in here, then we don’t need you to come here.” The poor little guy sitting in the corner with his Mom, was smiling at us with his cute partially toothless grin, and coke-bottle glasses. He didn’t realize what one of his doctors called him because of his health insurance coverage.”
Dr. Shaw offers more detail of this kind. He moves on to compare the American attitude of for-profit industry professionals with his military experience:
“What had happened to our Health Care System? What had changed? Where was the honor that we had in the Army Medical Corps? We treated everyone from Generals to Privates and their families with the same respect. In accordance with Geneva Conventions, we even treated enemy soldiers during the Iraq War in our Combat Support Hospitals with the same care that we treated our own.”
Dr. Shaw turns his attention to a thoughtful and comprehensive evaluation of the American medical delivery system as he found it in his post-military practice. He compares American statistics on costs and on citizen wellness with that of other nations. (For those not yet aware, the statistics are not good. Americans are poorly served as a nation by the American system.)
He doesn’t toss ideas out for reader quick-glance, he takes time; he explores and explains. His discussion of why the American system is unjust is careful and clear.
One paragraph of Dr. Shaw’s is particularly close to a view that I have of America’s potential to create a praise-worthy and highly functional universal health care delivery system:
“Some say that we don’t want a Canadian or British style healthcare system. I say let’s make America’s healthcare system look like the United States space program compared to Britain’s or Canada’s! If we put our nation’s collective will together — Americans can do anything. Let us create a publicly funded national health insurance plan to restore to every American their dutiful respect and “unalienable rights.”
Today I heard President Obama say we Americans will contribute to food and health care costs in Libya. I, and all others without coverage in the United States – join with American underinsured, and all humanitarian-minded Americans in support of this declaration of aid. We are in 100% agreement with the President in this commitment to the people of Libya.
But it also must be said: This is a peculiar statement, coming from a President who helped shove the single-payer voice out of American reform discussions, and who followed this with a clear renege on support for a public option.
Strong action on behalf of humanity is required by logic, (if not by heart), to be inclusive.