Should Doctors Take Back Control of Health Care?

For those us of old enough to remember Marcus Welby, MD and Dr. Kildare, the beloved TV docs we grew up with, we also remember a time when the physicians ran health care. They set policy, budgets, insurance coverage guidelines and pretty much, back then, “everything health care”.

The insurance carriers, growing tired of paying for questionable procedures and surgery, warned physician groups running the show that if they did not clean up the medical abuses taking place, the insurance industry would take away their decision making by enforced second opinions and limited pay outs for procedures that were being unnecessarily performed. Back in the 1970’s, there were millions of hysterectomies, 66% of all those performed were after the fact deemed “unnecessary” by what has become today’s Medical Review Boards.

Now in the U.K., to quote an article in latest “The new British coalition government revealed on Friday that it planned to put doctors in charge of funding for front line services in England’s National Health Service (NHS), in a change hailed as the biggest in 60 years.”

This is big! If this were to be enacted in the U.S., we could see a return of physician driven health care that is provided, determined and distributed by the same type of physician groups that were unable to police themselves just 30 years after the establishment of the American Medical Association and the mainstreaming of the pharmaceutical industry.

Granted, we currently have in place excellent peer review boards and medical review requirements, but this works because of the lack of conflict of interest with the way these structures function.

The health care reform bill has yet to flex its muscles and most of us feel pretty much in the dark about what we can expect. No surprise since an overwhelming majority of politicos who voted on the bill had little to no idea what the bill contained!

The issues we see with today’s health care delivery simply reinforce the Whole Health vision of taking control of our bodies, preventing disease with common sense health hygiene and limiting the use of acute care medicine that we as Americans are blessed to have available to us when a health crisis occurs.

Every day the news contains articles identifying the long term use of even over the counter medications and cautions us to realize we cannot repeatedly put these chemicals into our bodies (and there are many other chemicals in our environment, food and air) and not experience consequences.

Chronic disease, which is the bulk of what is treated in health care today, is preventable and cost effective. Let’s create our own health care reform with self-directed health-care. This means taking care of our whole health, living well and living long.

With all good wishes,

© by NIWH 2010 all rights reserved