2017-06-07 / Letters

Healthcare is our freedom

Dear Editor:

Have you wondered why medical care is expensive? Besides Obamacare, the medical establishment can effectively write its own payments via medical practice guidelines. As a practical matter, there is no liability for their being negligent and just plain wrong. These guidelines, right or wrong, control the delivery of medical care via peer pressure and government enforcement. Although medical guidelines are claimed to be voluntary the U.S. Supreme Court ruled enforced or potentially enforced guidelines are effectively mandatory. So most doctors simply follow guidelines whether they are right or wrong. Only those who value their medical ethics more than they fear their board of medicine will diagnose and treat patients contrary to unscientific, unethical medical practice guidelines.

Practically, the lack of liability for improper medical guidance was successfully lobbied for decades ago by the American Medical Association by claiming physicians knew medicine best and therefore should control it. Consequently, the state boards of medicine were formed to control practicing, healthcare providers. But they are not there, in spite of legislation, to otherwise improve the delivery of quality healthcare. They are not there to review the guidance of medical practice, only to enforce or threaten to enforce medical guidance by the medical establishment. Boards are not there to protect you from the medical establishment. Hence, the medical establishment has effectively no liability for being wrong.

Pharmaceuticals and insurance companies cultivate compliant physicians to become part of the medical establishment. Once there, they guide healthcare for establishment interests, which may not be beneficial for patient care. Their money flows corruptively in spite of rules against conflicts of interests. As we have seen with patient abusive Obamacare and drug legislation, government is part of the problem.

Two examples demonstrate this problem. First, the endocrinology establishment effectively bans, in spite of the Constitutional supremacy Food and Drug Administration approvals, a hormone replacement for patients suffering from the continuing symptoms of hypothyroidism. Without this approved hormone, they suffer until death. Second, the dominant infectious disease society has given insurance companies grounds for denying payments for the antibiotics for patients suffering from Chronic Lyme Disease. So, they, too, suffer greatly and expensively until death.

Without concerned governments, we, the people, need to become advocates for our own health via elections and legal action.

Eric K. Pritchard

Berkeley Springs

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Interesting letter but it

Interesting letter but it only addresses healthcare insurance and the associated provider network. There is a whole world of medicine and healthcare outside of that system. It now has the unfortunate designation of Complementary & Alternative Medicine (C.A.M.), but prior to the AMA it was just known as medicine. There are medical systems that have been sustaining societies for thousands of years that are now relegated to being looked down upon by the U.S. medical industry, (the AMA, big Pharma, and insurance corporations). Stepping out of the U.S. medical industry and into the traditional medicine world is an act of liberation from a system that is foundering from its own profit-driven weight. Make no mistake, just like the system that is now failing, in Traditional medicine there are good practitioners and there are charlatans who only want your money. But you have total control over picking your practitioner because the insurance corporations are not involved at all. The treatment costs are more like going out to dinner than buying a car or a house, so paying out of pocket is reasonable. Every day, more of us are stepping up to traditional medicine practitioners.

And PS: healthcare providers

And PS: healthcare providers do NOT determine the cost of anything! Medicare, for example, pays all providers within the same region the same amount for procedures. Insurance companies will only pay the fee for those procedures that they've predetermined in their contract with the provider: so if I treat a laceration, I'll get paid the same whether it takes 15 minutes or 90 minutes to treat it. I can charge Carefirst $1000 but they'll only pay $125 or whatever the contracted rate is; I will have to write off the rest.

You should read this: