Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More on Health Care Spending

Long-time personal friend and periodic blog contributor Bill Busby has the below to say about our high level of spending for health care (Virginia is his deceased wife):

May I add my two cents worth concerning the relatively high cost of medical care in the USA as opposed to other countries? (These are in addition to those suggested by others.)

1. We have a very efficient medical bureaucracy and the primary function of any bureaucracy is to protect itself and to grow. Instead of an individual doctor with a nurse and, maybe, an office girl, we have a group of doctors with technicians, nursing assistants, assistant nurses, insurance specialists, etc., etc. Every one of these people expects to be paid and the only way to pay them is to get more patients. Thus, we pay much more (in 1950 dollars) for a 15 minute, every 3 month appointment with a doctor than we used to for an occasional visit when something was wrong.

Of course, I have to admit that many of these new "professions" have come into being with the mad rush of 20th and 21st century technology.

2. Doctors have wrapped themselves in the robes of deity: to, heaven forbid, question a DOCTOR is on the same plane as denying the divinity of Christ. (A few months ago, I met a former family physician in a store. When he asked about Virginia, I told him she'd died five years ago of a disease he told us didn't exist--post polio syndrome. The look on his face was priceless. Finally he had to agree that, sometimes, even THE DOCTOR can be wrong.)

3 Mark Twain in his book "Letters from the Earth" had it right. Despite the promises of a better life to follow, most of us, even the most ardent Christians, want to hang on to this one as long as possible. We'll take any advice and pay any price to avoid "going on to the great beyond." In other words, we push the health care system to find a cure for all of our afflictions, even old age. The Islamics seem to be the only religionists who truly believe in a better world beyond this one. They're willing to blow themselves up for the promise of 70 virgins in heaven.

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