Sunday, September 12, 2010

What profit a man who gains the world if he loses his soul?

Some things are not suited to capitalism and the profit incentive. Health care is one of these things. The profit motive causes many expensive, unnecessary, and often dangerous treatments to be chosen over care that might be simpler and more effective. This New York Times editorial explains part of the reason that health care costs are driving this country into bankruptcy.  What is really needed is extensive science-based research into the most effective treatments. Patient education - such as the type of end-of-life counseling that was shot down by the "death panel' demagogues- is also very important.
The current health care industry is set up to make patients feel intimidated and terrified enough to submit humbly to all the painful and expensive procedures that pay physicians and hospitals most handsomely. Granted, many of those procedures are prescribed to avert potential lawsuits. The malpractice industry is another industry that profits from the current system that pits patient well-being against making money.
It's too darn bad that President Obama did not defend single-payer as the best option for health care reform. I am convinced that health care falls clearly under the constitutional mandate to "provide for the general welfare."

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