Reading some of the articles from the medical community coming out against health care reform recently I was struck by a curious bit of hypocrisy by the medical establishment. In the current issue of U.S. News & World Report the "Heart to Heart" column by Dr. Bernadine Healy is a very clear example.
The fourth point in her story is the standard medical fear-mongering about comparative-effectiveness research and standards. In plain language doctors are afraid that studying what a procedure or drug does would lead to standards being established. The Dartmouth research has already shown that Medicare costs more than double in various cities yet the outcomes don't improve ... or may even be worse at the most expensive locations. In other words doctors just don't like being told what to do (or not do) by anyone else, even other doctors.
Doctors are screaming at the top of their lungs at how dangerous and unfair it could be for some government bureaucrat to determine what drug or procedure a patient could get. After all, you might not get that brand new $50,000 per dose wonder drug because only a few people might benefit.
Isn't it interesting that while doctors are fighting for your right to consume every type of drug or medical procedure, regardless of its effectiveness, they're also fighting hard to take away your right to choose complementary and alternative medicine because it may only benefit a small percentage of people? They used to call this kind of talking out of both sides of your mouth hypocrisy. They fight for the rights of a few when it's in their financial interest but fight hard to deny the freedom for everyone to choose to their patients when it might take away business.
Fortunately consumers are beginning to figure out that medicine in America often isn't about saving lives, it's about money. Lots of money. Anyone who doubts that can read Shannon Brownlee's award-winning book OVERTREATED: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker & Poorer.