American Healthcare’s Two-Headed Monster
They’re more about medical ethics and honesty than anything else. Both these essential virtues are in steep decline in America’s corrupted and deceptive medical system.
They’re essential because we rely in our healthcare on an honest medical profession committed first to its patients’ true medical needs – even before their own financial self-interests. Medical codes of ethics demand it and most patients still assume it’s the norm in American medical practice.
But the evidence tells another story.
Each a Healthcare Crisis in its Own Right
There are two distinct – but inter-related – healthcare threats facing all Americans, rich or poor. And each is a crisis – an honest-to-goodness REAL crisis – in its own right.
The first is fiscal, the other physical.
One is obvious and much-discussed, while the other is largely invisible – making it an even more insidious threat.
One threatens to bankrupt you and your family, the other may shorten your life.
Got your attention?
Good, because you desperately need to start paying much greater attention to your and your family’s medical decisions.
And for at least two very compelling reasons: your family’s financial security and very safety depend on it.
The financial threat is obvious and endlessly debated. Everyone knows our current spending trajectory for our healthcare in America is “unsustainable”. But it’s likely to grow even more so as tens of millions of baby boomers become senior boomers and further propel our medical spending.
But few of us appreciate the magnitude of this threat to our family and business budgets.
Our underlying healthcare spending in America is expected to roughly double over the next ten years or so.
That’s huge. No other business or personal expense is expected to double in that time frame – or even come close.
It’s just not…sustainable.
Their “Unsustainable” Will Be Your Family’s Burden
No one’s got any real answers for this.
Government health “reformers” are only able to muster muted attempts to curtail select medical failings.
But they barely even address the prevalent abuses of patient trust by many doctors and hospitals. These abuses violate not just their own code of ethics, but the Hippocratic Oath’s mandate to “do no harm”.
The best answer the private sector has is more “cost-shifting” of this unsustainable spending to employees and self-insured consumers. The theory is we’ll become better medical consumers with more “skin in the game”.
The fact is, however, that the response of most employees and other consumers to higher-deductible health insurance has been to defer medical care they actually need.
That’s not smarter medical consumerism. That’s bad decision-making that will only result in costlier treatments later.
That’s “kicking the can down the road” thinking that everyone decries these days, isn’t it?
What it will also do is kick the tar out of your family budget.
While our underlying medical spending will roughly double over the next decade, your personal and family healthcare costs are more likely to TRIPLE.
Because so-called cost-shifting to you and your family will only intensify as medical spending escalates even faster when the senior boomer impact is felt and the costly “ripple effects” of health reform take root.
This is why your own healthcare costs will increase so much faster than they will for the general economy. You’ll simply be paying for much more of it out of your own pocket.
Count on it.
Any business facing a tripling of a major expense like this would take drastic action to stay in business.
Because a tripling of such a major expense is a fiscal crisis.
WAIT! It Gets WORSE…
There’s a SECOND crisis posed by our medical status quo in America that’s even worse.
It’s more urgent because it’s more deadly.
It’s an even bigger threat than the fiscal crisis because it’s so much under the radar.
It’s the physical crisis that causes more Americans to die prematurely every week than died on 9/11 (see “Healthcare Mistakes: Another 9/11 Every Week“). Literally, every week.
How’s that for a crisis?
Yet most of us are totally unaware of it. That’s because we’re never told about it. It’s no secret that doctors and hospitals seldom report their mistakes to patients and their families, especially the most harmful ones.
Why would they?
They’d be inviting lawsuits – at least as they see it. Studies show the opposite, however.
Malpractice claims are actually lower among patients and families given an honest disclosure and apology for medical mistakes. But withholding such information is deeply ingrained in our medical culture and unlikely to change any time soon.
This is just one of the many financial conflicts of interest discussed in Our Healthcare Sucks.
In this context of undisclosed medical errors, when a loved one dies the family generally assumes it was from their medical condition. All too often, however, it’s from their medical treatment. But since we’re seldom told this, the full extent of this medical malfeasance remains unrecognized – and you and your family remain unprotected.
Today a loved one may be victimized. Tomorrow, maybe you.
The kicker in all this is how much of it is due to corrupt and deceptive medical practices by doctors and hospitals across America.
Our Healthcare Sucks points out that legal settlements with healthcare companies in 2010 accounted for four times as many settlements as all other industries combined.
Think about that. It’s staggering.
This alone is a crisis of corruption.
And it’s not just our corporate healthcare.
The evidence strongly suggests a drastic decline in our medical ethics generally. These range from the corporate takeover of medical research to the increasing prevalence of deceptive medical practices like…
Bogus surgeries – spinal fusions, hip and knee replacements, arthroscopic surgeries of arthritic knees, even unneeded open heart surgeries and stent implants;
Medical profiteering by doctors who own their own CT scanners, radiation therapy centers, or other medical services to which they refer patients strictly for financial profit; and
Defensive medical practices like hospitalizing vulnerable patients better treated as outpatients to protect doctors from potential lawsuits.
These two-faced practices aren’t just unethical in deceiving patients into accepting medical interventions they don’t need. They can be dangerous and even deadly.
A Crisis of Casualties
That turns this crisis of corruption into a crisis of casualties – a cynical charade in which you or a loved one may receive “medical care” only to fatten the wallets of unscrupulous doctors.
And their ranks are growing, fed by a self-serving medical culture of victimhood in which they – not you and your loved ones – are the victims.
When their standard of living is threatened by changes in healthcare payments, you pay the price for their counter-measures to preserve and enhance their incomes.
It’s really as simple – and shameful – as that.
And if you don’t think this is a crisis, then you’re just not thinking.
And start RE-thinking both your health insurance – and your healthcare.
Because passive acceptance of whatever our doctors recommend is now a sure path to the poorhouse…or the morgue.
This article is provided for educational and informational purposes only.
It does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied upon as such.
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