We have been subjected to exposure of all the horrible things that happen in countries that have governmental or socialized medical care. Canada, England as well as most European countries are held up as examples of what type of care governments provide. I believe that medical care in this country not only causes bankruptcy and severe monetary strain on a considerable number of people but is often of less than desirable quality. The horror stories that one hears about from other countries are often not really as bad as some would like you to believe. The waiting times portrayed are quite often matched by the waiting times many of our patients experience. Getting in to see a primary care physician is quite long in many parts of the United States and the subsequent wait for the specialist and any scheduling of needed surgery can be protracted. The quality which we were so proud of has also suffered in the wake of managed care, HMO’s and the shortened office visits which have become the norm. The requirements of Health Insurance companies, Medicare, HMO’s and so on have made paperwork more important than patient care, especially if the physician wants to earn a living. The physician has to provide enough paperwork to justify his management of the patient but this is also important if he wishes to get paid. Satisfying the patient is of secondary importance.
There are many things in our medical system that are less than optimal. Health care needs improvement in more ways than one and one of these days it would be ideal if physicians could work to satisfy the patient instead of their insurance company.