Monday, March 8, 2010

Safer Ways to Care for Patients

As we begin our unit on the human body, I ran across this article in the NY Times interviewing a physician about patient care. With the health care debate being pushed forward by President Obama, what are your thoughts on health care - how can we lower health care costs and improve care, who should get it, what should it cost, why should you care?

1 comment:

Nate Donato said...

As written in one of Kornbluth's short fiction pieces, it is entirely possible that some day medicine, doctoring, and health care in general may someday become unskilled labor. Though currently nobody would argue it is unskilled labor, American doctors are paid a large amount more than doctors abroad. As an example, French doctors make "an average of 1/4 the annual salary" of American doctors (according to the new york times). One reason for this is that in France and Great Britain and other European countries, students go straight from high school to med school, both of which are free to attend and government sponsored, whereas American students must first obtain a bachelors degree and then attend a pricey med school before getting licensed. In countries with socialized health care, using the single payer system allows the government to bargain down the costs of specific treatments. In europe, doctors and offices compete for patients, lowering costs to attract potential customers.. In America, patients compete for the best doctors, paying more for 'premium' health care.
Doctors fees admittedly make up only about 1/10th of the total cost of health care for Americans. However, if American doctors were paid the same amount as French doctors, healthcare costs as a whole would go down about 7.5%, saving money and making it easier for the government to insure the general public.