Commentary: Quality of U.S. health care drops as the cost of it rises


I thoroughly agree with the Cal Thomas’ opinion piece on U.S. health care printed in the Aug. 28 edition of the Statesman.

This is a huge multifactorial problem affecting the entire country. There are a few points that should be emphasized on this matter.

The down fall of this country’s health care began in 1973, when the first malpractice crisis took place. The insurance companies, without valid reason, increased the malpractice premiums by 1,000 percent. There was no increase in mortality, nor medical complications to justify the dramatic and sudden increase. Consequently, the capricious malpractice lawsuits escalated proportionally. In that same year, the U.S. experienced its first fuel crisis, which inexplicably increased the gasoline price almost 400 percent. Our country had more petroleum in reserve than ever before.

ALSO READ: Texas providers say managed care is hurting Medicaid patients, businesses.

Gradually, the doctors began to lose control of the quality and care for their patients. Now, health insurance companies determine patient care. Whenever a doctor prescribes a medication or orders a procedure to improve the patient’s health, the insurance companies must approve it before the patient’s well-being is addressed. Frequently, the delay or denial of treatment negatively affects the outcome. Needless to say, it is frustrating for both the doctor and the patient.

By losing control of medical decisions, the role of the doctor becomes subordinate to that of the insurance industry. This has been a major deterrent for brilliant young people to pursue the medical profession.

The reimbursement to the doctors for their services has decreased more than 40 percent in the last 20 years. Yet, their overhead expenses keep increasing, to the extent that —not infrequently— the physicians, especially those in primary care, must borrow money to keep their offices open. Or, alternatively, they become employees of hospital corporations — a burgeoning corporate world in which the upper echelons frolic in millions of reimbursements and bonuses.

COURTS: Texas wins $300 million Obamacare ruling.

Simply look at the different sectors and performances of the stock market, and one will notice how the medical sector financially outperforms technology, finances, retail and commodities.

These figures represent the value and profits of pharmaceutical, insurance, medical equipment and any other industry connected to health care that is publicly traded.

We spend twice as much in health care than any other industrial nation in the world — and the medical care is not any better. The money is going into the wrong pockets, and certainly not towards patient care.

Unprecedented numbers of Americans, especially seniors, are filing bankruptcy due to exorbitant medical bills.

We have gone through seven administrations — and the problem has worsened.

Evidently, rich corporations have driving power at the congressional level, while the organized medical communities, such as American Medical Association, continue to lose membership.

The voices of physicians are being silenced.

Morales is a general and vascular surgeon in Austin.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Click this link to submit your opinion.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Letters to the editor: Sept. 25, 2018
Letters to the editor: Sept. 25, 2018

Query: What are the Republican senators and Chuck Grassley afraid of? What is President Donald Trump afraid of? They all do not want an FBI investigation into the events leading to the accusation of sexual assault, attempted rape of Dr. Ford, by then-high school student Brett Kavanaugh. Why? Many years ago, during another Supreme Court Justice Senate...
Commentary: Fathers need to remember that their sons are watching

CHICAGO — What’s it like to be a boy these days? It’s a frequent thought for me as I navigate my son’s 17th year of life in a world where the scourge of toxic masculinity shares the public consciousness with admiration of spectacularly muscled sports stars and big-screen superheroes whose worth is predicated on their physical...
Facebook comments: Sept. 25, 2018

Recently the American-Statesman’s Lori Hawkins and Shonda Novak gave an update on development on South Congress Avenue, where a number of construction projects are under way. Some of the projects include The Magdalena, a Liz Lambert hotel under construction at Music Lane and Academy Drive with a projected fall 2019 opening; Saint Vincent, a three-story...
Opinion: The burden of proof for Kavanaugh

Last week, I wrote a column taking the view that conservatives supporting Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court because they hope he will overturn Roe v. Wade should be willing to encourage his withdrawal if his accuser testifies credibly against him and the cloud over his nomination can’t be expeditiously cleared up. Even if...
Opinion: Is Senate committee equipped to grasp Kavanaugh allegations?

For all their well-learned politesse, the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have scarcely been able to conceal their determination to get Christine Blasey Ford out of their hair. Ford is the last obstacle to confirming conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. And she’s a formidable one. She has alleged...
More Stories