Doctors are suffocating under a fume of regulation.
Our relationships with patients poked at incessantly.
Our autonomy, and ability to use nuance hang by a thread.
Our patients consume more care, but get sicker still. The health of the citizenry grows so woeful that it endangers our economy, and even our Armed Forces.
But there is hope.
Physicians have a voice. We are smart people—or at least we got good grades in school. Most of us work on the front lines of where patients meet healthcare. We know the real story.
We should speak up; it’s in the national interest.
An organization that represents doctors is called the American Medical Association (AMA). They are getting together in Chicago this week for work on “policy-making.”
You might think they are working on big topics. In public health, for instance, the AMA might be looking into our rising epidemic of sedantary-ism, and how not moving, eating too much and taking no personal responsibility in one’s health undermines the value of fancy new drugs, stents, and robotic surgery.
In healthcare policy, you might guess they are looking into ways to inject some common sense into the debate in Washington. Are they emphasizing real-world notions like how it is impossible to provide more health care, to more people, at less cost? Or, that it’s okay to mention the words, “you get what you pay for,” when speaking of free medical care. Or this one: in the end, won’t the common denominator of what our nation accepts for care depend on how much people are willing to set aside each month for their health care costs?
Yesterday, AMA delegates released statements on airport scanners, cement kilns, bisphenol A in plastic bottles, and bath salts. No, there was nothing about chocolate milk in schools.
A very wise lawyer friend of mine often reminds me that most doctors aren’t much good at anything other than doctoring.
I hope he is wrong, because we could really use a few well-spoken, cool-headed, masters of the obvious to talk with our lawmakers about something more pressing than airport scanners.
Real-world doctors might be able to help.