Before the pandemic, the healthcare industry often relied on people’s ability to move around and meet face-to-face. Everything was based on patients being able to get to a clinic or a hospital to participate in a clinical trial or speak to their doctor. The pandemic forced us to acknowledge that the industry needs to be able to do much more remotely.
The American health-care system is in need of reform. Does it deserve to be condemned? Laura Landro reviews “An American Sickness” by Elisabeth Rosenthal.
America today faces a grave and imminent danger of becoming an oligarchy ruled by a handful of individuals possessing and wielding vast sums of money to seize control of an interlocking directorate of American politics, American business and American media in ways that have nothing in common with the democratic dream envisioned by Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Adams.
The passage of the Affordable Care Act didn’t create a medical-industrial complex. However, it drew attention to and hastened the growth of a mega-trillion dollar industry that seems more interested in advanced technology, federal regulation and personal data collection, than in the doctor’s care and life-saving treatment of patients.
So what can we do about this bloated, excessive, bureaucratic system with so many players extracting their piece of the 3 trillion dollar megapie?
My concern is the that medical industrial complex will become even more aggressive. The possibilities will be more ads, direct mailings, “free” screenings, discounted surgeries, false claims of testing and treatments, etc.
Since the vaccine for polio was found in the mid-1950s, very few if any diseases have actually been eradicated. Instead, the trend is towards turning diseases such as diabetes, AIDS, some cancers, and multiple sclerosis into treatable chronic illnesses, their patients heavily reliant on fantastically expensive medications and interventions. The reason for this lies largely in the fact that over 70% of our medical research is carried out by pharmaceutical companies, whose primary mandate is to generate financial profit.
The medical-industrial birth complex is under siege. New research says it's too costly and too inhumane. Are we at a tipping point? The future of the birth business may in fact lie in the past: a low-tech birth that focuses on the needs of the mother and the natural physiological process.
The device industry still can - and does--earmark its donations for certain types of orthopedic subspecialties over others, thereby creating external incentives and pressures that influence the field to the detriment of patients.
We need to return to the patient-centered care that Dr. Arnold Relman advocated for throughout his professional life rather than continue with the present disease-centered system if we truly want to reduce the burden of disease.
The new medical-industrial complex, on the other hand, is an unprecedented phenomenon with broad and potentially troubling implications for the future of our medical-care system. It has attracted remarkably little attention so far (except on Wall Street), but in my opinion it is the most important recent development in American health care and it is in urgent need of study.
So why does Obamacare run through the private sector? Raw political necessity: this was the only way that it could get past the insurance industry’s power. OK, that was how it had to be.
Dwight Eisenhower addressed the nation for the last time as president on January 17, 1961. It got me thinking about what he might say if he were leaving office today, at a time when healthcare is one of the greatest concerns rather than the Cold War. What follows is his original speech, mostly verbatim, to which I have made a few additions and changes in order to shift the focus to healthcare.
Dr. Benjamin Rush a Founding Father of America and a signer of the Declaration of Independence was right. America’s Medical Industrial Complex has organized itself into an undercover dictatorship and is now “controlling the shots”, in every sense of that expression.