The American Medical System: Immoral and Broken


"Treat others the way you want to be treated."

(Matt 7:12)

 

Introduction:

Before we address the primary wrong of the American medical system, we first have to make clear that “the system” is made up of people.  This is true of any “system”, whether public or private.  It is easy to lose the proper perspective of accountability when talking about “systems” instead of people.  In other words, it is easy to blame “the system” and thus avoid the truth that “the system” is made up of, and controlled by, people…people who made decisions and make decisions in forming and maintaining the system...people called doctors, nurses, hospital and health care facility administrators, etc.

Here is a simple illustration to reveal the heart of the problem.  You are walking along a path, and you don’t see a bump in the path, or the old jagged metal in the grass.  You trip and fall and your wrist slams into the jagged and sharp metal, and you rip your arm open, including your artery…you are bleeding to death.  Along comes another person on the path and they see you bleeding on the ground.  You call out and say, ‘will you please help me’, and they say, ‘sure, but only if you have money to pay me with’.

That scenario describes how the vast majority of the people operate who make up and participate in the American medical system.  The only word to describe it is “evil”.  It is morally wrong to be able to help another person with a basic need – and there is no more basic need than our bodies being injured or diseased – and not be willing to help the person unless one receives money or some material compensation to do so.  It is the opposite of the most important concept that exists – love.

There will be attempts to say this illustration is not valid because it involves “emergency care” or other such system phrase.  That objection is not valid because the urgency of the need has little to do with whether it is right or not to help without demanding money.  As another example, let us say you develop breast cancer and it is found in the early stages.  The need to try and remedy the breast cancer is not as urgent as blood running out of your artery, but the need for help from others is just as real and necessary, and it is just as immoral to demand money to help.

Oh, there are clever ways to hide and obscure the FACT that unless money is given or expected to be gained, the medical people will not ‘deliver care’ unless compelled by law to do so.  Physicians, who have tremendous influence in the system they helped create, are real ‘professionals’ when it comes to hiding the fact that they will not help you unless they are paid to do so.  They have their ‘office staff’ do all the money collecting so they don’t have to get their ‘hands dirty’…but their hands are dirty, terribly dirty.  In fact, most physicians are not only driven by greed, but many are cowards to boot, having others demand the money from their patients for them.

Just ask this simple question of a physician BEFORE they take your money, ‘will you help me if you will not receive money to do so’?  It is not unexpected that the people in the medical system are not motivated by love or compassion – the world simply does not have that to offer.  But it is always worse when they try and PRETEND that they care, or when their “care” only run’s skin deep.

Here is the key principle that the American medical system is based on:  No money, no ‘care’ unless compelled by law to provide such.

Put simply, the Great Principle of the Light – treat others the way you want to be treated – is not only not practiced by those who make up the medical system…its opposite is practiced i.e. ‘treat others the way I would not like to be treated’.  In other words, if you had some difficult injury or disease, would you want someone who could help you only help you if you paid them?

Those who participate in the American medical system very much like to use the word “care” in regard to the medical services they provide.  This is unfortunate and yet another example of destroying the true meaning of a very important word.  An example of degrading, re-defining or destroying a word’s meaning would be Facebook re-definition of the very important term “friend”.  The truth is that the majority of the people who work in the U.S. medical system are only there because they earn money for it…they are no different than any other worker providing a service.  In other words, the auto mechanic “cares” just as much about their customer (perhaps more) as the physician or nurse about their patient/client/customer.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask the medical providers to please provide the “care” without getting paid for doing so and see how they react.

Many will react to the truth in this article with something like, ‘well, your view is totally unrealistic; people need to get paid for their work’.   A prostitute could well level the same argument.  The truth is that some kinds of work should NOT require payment - for doing so is immoral - and that includes providing needed, medically necessary help to a person’s body.

So, in conclusion, the American medical system and the people who make it up and participate in it, operates on an immoral principle of ‘no money, no ‘care’’.  According to the Light of the world, it is evil to refuse to help other people with basic body needs unless they pay you.  So, if you are part of the American medical system – that is you provide ‘care’ to patients - you share in the guilt of its evil and you will be held accountable someday for your participation.

So, let's turn the corner and see...

How to Fix the American Medical System:

Many can see that the U.S. healthcare system is in big trouble…that it is not functioning well and thus many people are not getting good medical services. 

The failure of the system and those who run it and profit from it can come in several forms.  One failure is already manifesting itself in as much as many average Americans cannot afford to pay the high rates of medical providers.  There are millions of people who both legitimately need medical services or whose health would significantly improve if medical services were affordable, who don’t seek out medical services due to the absurdly high costs of both the medical service providers OR the insurance companies.

Contrary to the politicians and mass media pushed perspective, the main problems with the system are NOT money allocation or distribution systems e.g. how insurance is run or how the money flows from one party to another.  The root problems are much more fundamental than which channels money flow through or how it flows.

Let’s review some basic facts before we clearly identify the specific problems and solutions.

What is insurance?  It is supposed to be when a group of people agree to pay something into a pool which is managed by a person(s) who collects and manages the money and when an individual has a need that the insurance is supposed to cover, that individual is given money from the money-pool manager to pay for their need.  The concept of insurance is popular in societies that have some level of capitalistic beliefs or policies, or, stated another way, who compartmentalize society into “public” and “private”.

In the U.S.’s case the private domains of the society – the medical services industry as well as the insurance industry, and the individuals who direct and operate those industries – are the ones who have control over the medical system and how people pay for medical services.  There are exceptions, like the federally run Medicaid and Medicare programs, which are publically managed health insurance programs.  However, by and large, the private sector serves as the ‘marketplace’ where people must seek and pay for medical services.

Many people are making a bid deal about a relatively newly implemented health care payment system that many call “Obamacare” or which is rightly called the Affordable Care Act, or ACA.  This publically assisted insurance program attempts to make all citizens pay something into the ‘insurance pool’ so that medical services can be paid by the private insurance companies who are allocated money from the federal managers of the ACA.  Everyone who benefits from medical services covered by this insurance pool ought to contribute something to the pool - this is a fair concept.  How much one pays ought to be based on income, assets and one’s ability to work.

Please note, that the ACA is a law that provides rules, methods and systems for paying for the cost of people’s health care expenses.  At is simplest level, the ACA insists that everyone who benefits from the insurance pool contributes to it AND it seeks to provide affordable medical services insurance to all Americans.  The only people who would not like those two fundamental principles are the wealthy who would want better medical services than the average American could afford to buy.

In the ACA’s case, it is publically run in a supposed partnership with private insurance profit centers.  I call private insurance companies “ profit centers”, for that is what any business is in a capitalistic system…so let’s call them what they are and not buy their marketing campaigns trying to paint themselves as something else or more.

Furthermore, the U.S. has a two political party system currently, the Democrats and the Republicans.  The Republicans currently have majority ‘ control’ of the executive branch and the legislative branch.  The Republicans don’t like the ACA because it has non-capitalistic elements to it, and Republicans are, in general, philosophically married to capitalism.

Both political parties have failed to address the root problems with the U.S. medical system.

The lowest salary a member of the U.S. Congress draws is $175,000.  One might want to review what the phrase "civil servant" used to mean.  In the ACA marketplace for insurance, they would not be eligible for subsidies due to their high salary.  So, the politicians of both parties made a loophole that they as individuals could be considered "small businesses" and thus be eligible for subsidies.  The result - members of Congress do receive subsidies for their health insurance premium and on average only pay 28% of the cost of their health insurance premiums.  This, of course, is unfair.  People making over $175,000 should pay their fair share of the burden of health care expenses in the U.S., NOT the U.S. taxpayers with lower salaries/income!  However, if you are a politician, you can make a rule that will allow you to have your cake and eat it too!  So, no matter how they want to slice and dice it, the politicians make sure that they are treated better than the average U.S. citizen...'the rules we make only apply to you, lowly citizen, not to we lofty members of Congress...we deserve better'.

This fact alone should make people STOP listening to the politicians on this issue with all their self-serving lies and not trust them to fix anything in that domain.  In fact, it is behavior like that that causes great unrest in nations...it is called injustice and unfairness, and it does NOT lead to stable or lawful nations.

So, what we have just reviewed are the bare bones framework describing the failing medical services system in the U.S.  Let’s now take a look at the ACTUAL root problems behind the failure of the system (we already identified the fundamental ethical failure of the system at the beginning of the article).

Problem 1:  The Greed of Medical Providers

This is the root problem of the failing medical system in the U.S.   Many physicians in the U.S. have long ago left the pretense of practicing medicine in order to help people.  In other words, while compassion was a primary motivator in times past, today the primary motivator is money.

Physicians believe they are worthy of compensation several times higher than other American citizens.  The average U.S. citizen wage is approximately $30 per hour.  The average physician in the U.S. earns a wage of about $100 per hour (surgeons earn a good bit more, in the range of several hundred dollars per hour) but that average is way understated, because what they actually bill people also reflects the overhead costs of the medical facilities they partner with and utilize.  It is normal for an average physician to bill at a rate of several thousand dollars per hour. 

So, the reality is that the average U.S. worker accepts about $30 per hour from their employers, while the average physician and their medical support ‘ partners’ can demand several thousand dollars per hour from their customers.  Those kinds of costs are about as sustainable as the trillions of dollars of debt the U.S. currently owns its debtors…in other words, a complete system failure is just around the corner.  Don't forget why when the failure occurs - it is primarily those who want to make large profits from helping people with basic bodily needs.

So, remember all those talks from various people as you were growing up about ‘how we all are important…we all are valuable members of the team…we all need each other...no one is more important than the next person'?  Sorry to inform the reader, but that was all a lie intended to keep the common person content in a system where some people are valued much higher than others and are treated accordingly.  Clearly, the people in the medical services industry believe they are worth a good bit more than the rest of us.

Problem 2:  The Greed of Pharmaceutical Companies

It was recently on the news that an executive changed the price of a drug his company was manufacturing from $13.50 to $750 because it was ‘not profitable enough’.  This is just one example of many.  The cost of drugs in the U.S. is outrageously high especially as compared with the cost of the same drugs in other nations.  The pharmaceutical manufacturing companies do spend a good bit on research and development, but the money they make on the other side of that investment (after they have recouped their R&D costs) can only be described by the phrase ‘outrageous greed’ and is responsible for contributing to why the system is broken.

Problem 3:  Fear Filled People and Cowardly Physicians

Problem three is a ‘patient’ problem.  Far too many people seek out medical services that are unnecessary, thus overloading the system and driving up costs.  There are several things that contribute to that problem.

First, far too many people do not eat right and exercise and thus do not practice preventative health measures.  If people took responsibility for their own health, and relied primarily on their own efforts and behavior to remain physically healthy, far fewer would be seeking physicians.  If people had the discipline to eat right and exercise regularly, they would have a much less frequent need of medical providers.

Second, people have turned away from existential beliefs (absolute ethical principles) that support self-sufficiently, selflessness, personal diligence and a realistic view of what medical service providers can and cannot do.  This leaves many people in a state of fear about every little physical problem they encounter, and it causes them to run to ‘their doctor’ to ‘save them’.  Simply stated, faith in God is hard to find these days.  Thus, people run to 'their doctor' and will pay anything the doctor asks because they are afraid of dying.

Add to this mix the fact that physicians are only too eager to take people’s money for frequent visits, and you have what you have – people with legitimate medical needs not able to get appointments with physicians in a timely manner.  Physicians are generally rewarded financially for the number of patients they see per day or week, etc.  So, what is the incentive for a physician to tell the abuser that enough is enough?  After all, they get paid to see those people and the people who profit from the customers of the medical system are all glad about getting all that money.

Finally, many physicians are simply afraid to tell an abuser, ‘I cannot or will not try and help you anymore on this issue’; or, ‘Until you do this, I will not see you again for that issue’.  This makes those physicians cowards, unwilling to do what is right due to fear of losing money (a lawsuit) or ‘their career’, or some other thing they selfishly value more than the well being of their patients.

Problem 4:  Lawyers and Judges who Don't Do what is Right

Lawyers know there is a lot of money in ‘practicing medicine’ so they are very eager to get cases in that domain.  Medical malpractice insurance is a problem, for it is a high cost that helps physicians justify their high pay rates.  One of the main reasons malpractice insurance is so costly is because the law allows for huge sums of money to be paid out for “pain and suffering”.  This problem is closely tied with the fact that people have turned away from existential beliefs that and see human existence as merely a physical one.  So, ‘if my existence is merely physical, then physical pain and the suffering it brings IS MY LIFE, and thus priceless, so give me a bazillion dollars…’  I am not saying pain is insignificant.  I am saying that money often cannot reduce the pain and a little pain does not justify millions of dollars of payout.

Problem 5:  Greedy Insurance Companies

Remember the example of what insurance is supposed to be?  Well, think of that third party who is taking the money of the people and managing it.  What would you think if that third party started using some of that money to buy filet mignon lunches and used some of the pool money to buy expensive cars and houses?  Well, I just described the insurance companies.  Huge salaries to the executives and upper management; very fancy buildings to do business in; lots of cushy expenses that are indulged, like hosting golf tournaments.  Get the picture?  The insurance companies whining about losing money is not much different than a billionaire whining about losing a few million dollars in the stock market.  Before whining about losing money, the insurance companies must first stop their ludicrously high expenses.  But that is not how people who love money more than people think.  Reducing expenses is like cutting off their hand, so the only solution in their mind is to take more money from the pool contributors.

Problem 6:  Arrogant and Controlling Physicians

The physicians control the drugs in the U.S. through the prescription laws, and they very much like this control and they like being in bed with the pharmaceutical companies.  Since many physicians are arrogant, they are offended at the notion that, for example, a ‘patient’ can judge when a certain antibiotic would be appropriate for certain illnesses.  It is common practice in many nations around the world for any citizen to be able to buy certain antibiotics at any drug store for a low cost and without a prescription.  The physicians in the U.S. don’t want this because they would lose some perks they very much like.

Perks like the following.  It is common practice for drug companies to have their sale’s people pay for the lunches of the physicians – and oftentimes their staff – who they are trying to get to try their drugs.  My wife worked at a physician’s office for years and the drug companies would pay for lunch for the two physicians and their other five or six employees, five days a week, fifty two weeks a year!  Those poor physicians really need those free lunches every workday of the year, don’t they?  Guess those drug companies have a good bit of cash lying around to pay tens of thousands of dollars for physician lunches for just one small physician practice!  But hey, those drug companies don't make enough profit!  And hey, just because the average citizen doesn't get free lunch every day doesn't mean we special physicians don't deserve it!

Solutions:

Problem 1: Greedy Physicians and Medical Partners

  • The taxpayers pay for the big, expensive infrastructure costs of the medical system like buildings, facilities and equipment like MRIs...no 'for profit' organizations controlling those assets.
  • Operations of those facilities are not based on profit, but based on cost coverage only.
  • Physician’s training shifts from University type system – with very high costs – to a mentor/apprentice system.  Remaining education costs are subsidized by the taxpayers so large debt is not accumulated by prospective physicians.
  • The physicians have salary caps.  Physicians needing less skill or training get lower salaries than those needing higher skill or more training.  Younger physicians get lower salaries than experienced physicians.  Physician’s get patient reviews as well as peer reviews to determine their compensation.  Physicians who invent new methods or procedures that are truly innovative and helpful get additional compensation.
    • For example, base salary caps could range from $100K to $250K depending upon the specialty, skill needed and training.
    • New physicians who are in the $100K specialty cap would start at $60K.
  • It would take 10-15 years to reach a base salary cap based on performance reviews.  Once the base salary cap was reached, the only way to earn more money is based on patient and peer reviews.  Those who excel and get excellent patient and peer reviews could earn upwards of 50 percent greater than their specialty’s salary cap.  Inventing new and innovative methods or procedures or devices would warrant additional rewards.

Here are a few solutions for day to day operations:

  • If a physician sees a patient and cannot identify or properly fix or address the problem, they only get paid a small fee like $20.
  • Physicians must ask their patients for money, not front office staff.

With major infrastructure costs and facility operations taken away from profiteers; and with the vast majority of physicians earning less than $200K per year, a huge cost burden would be realized and the primary cost problem would go away.

Problem 2:  Greedy Pharmaceutical Companies

Profit margins are regulated.  After research and development costs are recouped, only X profit margin is allowed on the drug.  If a company produces a break-through drug, they are rewarded with higher profit margins for that drug even while the government subsidizes it to make it affordable.  Drug monopolies for drugs that treat life threatening conditions are ended by government manufacture or government assisted competitors.

Problem 3:  Fear Filled People and Cowardly Physicians

Make a law that patients cannot sue physicians for refusing to see them due to patient visit abuse.  The physician front office staff would need to document the patient visit abuse.  Physicians would be required to make patient visit abuse information available to all other physicians in their local area.  This ‘visit abuse’ would cover:

  • Unneeded frequency;
  • Refusal to follow the physicians orders;
  • Patient caused poor health or self-inflicted conditions such as morbid obesity.

If a physician is found to be facilitating patient visit abuse, that physician gets two warnings before losing their license to practice.

People who try and get around the physician’s refusal to see them and go to an emergency room without having a real emergency will be fined.  Repeat offenders will no longer receive medical assistance from licensed, professional providers.

Problem 4:  Lawyers and Judges who won't do what is right

A lawyer found to be “ambulance chasing” (actively looking for and targeting people who were injured in an accident or who had a medical procedure that did not turn out well) loses their license to practice.  Judged who are found to tolerate ambulance chasing attorneys are put in jail.

Put limits on the amount of compensation for “pain and suffering”.

Put physicians who are multiple offenders of genuine malpractice in jail, and make them pay all they have except for basic shelter, for part of the awards given to the patients they harmed.

Problem 5: Greedy Insurance Companies

Take insurance pool management away from private companies and make it either a government agency or a very transparent, not-for-profit organization like a charity with limits on administrative expenses.  No more multi-millionaire executive or managers.  No more hundreds of millions of dollars for fancy buildings.  No more lavish perks and expenses like throwing millions of dollars at supporting golf tournaments.  After a certain pool size is reached, any money not used by the pool in any given year goes BACK to those paying into the pool.

Problem 6:  Arrogant and Controlling Physicians

Well, there is no forced solution for arrogance.  The only thing that can solve the arrogance problem is the physicians coming to understand that they are going to have to stand before the King and give an account of their selfish, love-less lives, and that there will be consequences.

Regarding the controlling problem.  Drugs that are non-narcotic and non-addicting do not need a prescription, but are available ‘over the counter’.  It is up to the patient whether to inform the physician of their taking the medication.  If there is an ADR, then the physician is not held accountable for what he/she did not know.

Conclusions:

Due to the problems reviewed above, the health care system in the U.S. is currently acting as a wealth redistribution system that attacks older and poorer people, takes their money and gives it to the health care services people.  Whatever a middle class person has managed to save up for their later years is OFTEN taken by the grossly high costs of the medical service providers.  Nursing home costs of five thousand dollars per month and more is now common, and if a person does not have insurance or is not covered by Medicaid or Medicare, whatever they have saved is taken by the medical people who care nothing for the elderly people they are STEALING from.  This is evil and like all things in life, will have consequences whether you can see them or not.  Of course placing an elderly person in a nursing home because blood relatives refuse to love and respect them and thus CARE FOR THEM is a BIG part of the problem that laws cannot solve.  Only the Source of Love can solve that problem.

The primary complaints to the solutions given above will be from a capitalistic perspective.  Those who strongly favor capitalism or who have gained much money from the capitalistic system will be offended that any controls are put on a person’s ability to ‘earn’ whatever they can.  Stated another way, capitalists generally want to be able to take as much money to themselves as is possible without limits, thus confirming that capitalism is a fundamentally selfish belief that uses greed as a motivator.

Capitalism can be a good economic philosophy IF the people who live by it or under it are generous and giving and compassionate people.  Capitalism’s strength is motivating the individual to work hard on the basis that they believe they will be rewarded for their hard work.  It is just and good to ‘get what one deserves’.  However, as soon as people’s character declines and thus generosity, kindness and compassion go away, the capitalistic system fails.  This is what is happening in the United States, and it is irrational to defend the very system and its associated beliefs that is failing!  Of course, laws or economic systems cannot solve the fundamental problem of people moving away from compassion, generosity and selflessness to cold-hearted greed.  See the rest of the web site for the Solution to that problem!

Federal laws like the ACA or the newly proposed alternative by the Republicans cannot fix the basic problems with the medical system.  Rules and laws as described above can improve the system and make it more ethical in its operation.  The ACA is a fundamentally fair and good intentioned law that ought to be fixed, not thrown away in favor of a capitalistic-based law where only the wealthy can afford good medical services.

In conclusion, demanding that an ill, sick or injured person pay you money in order for you to help them is fundamentally an evil belief and behavior.  It grossly violates the great ethical tenant of “treat others the way you want to be treated”.  Sadly, this is the base nature of most of the people making up the ‘health care’ system in the U.S. at this time.  While the solutions stated above could make some major improvements in the system, ‘the system’, which is actually made up of individual people, will not be truly fixed until the character of the individuals running the system changes from greed to generosity, and THAT is not something that laws or policies or economic beliefs or systems can fix.  Read the rest of this web site to understand The Fix.

Please, enter into his Life and come, join the Peaceful Revolution!

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