Things I am passionate about. Injustice, stupidity, intolerance, bigotry and small-mindedness. Oh and there might just be some humor to offset the whole thing.

Is our Health Care System actually wanting to keeping us ill?

Posted by morganwrites on February 19, 2008

I published a post entiteld “22,000 die amid a delayed Bayer drug recall“, and here’s a comment (though it was filed under “about me”) that I think deserves your attention.

On February 18, 2008 at 7:04 pm Dave Moskowitz MD FACP Said:

There’s another medical horror story that dwarfs aprotinin (Trasylol). A little over five years ago, I published a paper in a peer-reviewed medical journal showing it was possible to prevent 90% of kidney failure in the US. Nobody picked up the story–reporters asked for confirmation from someone in the professional kidney community. Nobody would go on record supporting the paper–not private nephrologists, who earn $10-15,000 for every hemodialysis patient; not academic nephrologists; not academic transplant surgeons who are constantly complaining that there aren’t enough organs available; not non-profit professional groups like the National Kidney Foundation, the AMA or the American Heart Association, who all collect tax-deductible donations to cure kidney disease; not the American or the International Society of Nephrology. Even more impressive, when I spoke with Sean Tunis and his assistant Sandy Foote at Medicare in 2004 (Sean was the Medical Director for CMS then), they had absolutely no interest, despite Medicare spending $25 billion a year on dialysis and transplantation.

Here’s my conclusion: nobody in the medical system–and I mean NOBODY, except the patient, who has no power, as we all know–nobody wants to eliminate diseases. Sure, they want more money to research it, but God forbid anybody should actually come up with a cure and eliminate their paycheck.

This is a far cry from medicine’s victories over rheumatic fever, TB and polio. Medicine doesn’t want no stinking victories anymore.

Here’s a rough estimate: if the National Kidney Disease Education Program, paid for by taxpayer dollars as a program within the NIH’s Kidney Institute (the NIDDK), had done its job in 2002, most of the 400,000 people currently on dialysis would not have had to go on the machine.

That dwarfs the number hurt by aprotinin by a factor of 20-fold.

What makes the story worse is that people of color have 3-5 times more kidney failure than whites. We’re essentially talking about medical slavery: keeping a $25 billion a year industry alive on the backs of blacks and Hispanics.

Think about this anytime somebody tells you what a great healthcare system we have! And don’t think a single-payer system is any better. The bureaucrats in Canada and the British National Health Service value their jobs just as much as our Medicare bureaucrats. Every other country was as resistant to my pestering them as the US.

What we clearly need is a vigorous competition on patient outcomes between two payers: one public and one private. A single payer, like any monopoly, is unaccountable.

Right now, we have two sectors, but neither one even reports patient outcomes, let alone tries to improve them.

I find this absolutely insane.  I am ashamed of our health system and those who continue to deny health care to our citizens.  No wonder there’s thousands of people who are going to Mexico, Tailand, Malaysia and other countries to have their health issues resolved.  Shame on our government, pharma and the rest of you who should be taking care of us.  How can you pricks sleep at night?


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