One of the discussion lists I participate in had a lively exchange about the AMA’s new Executive Vice President, Dr. James Madara. Some people thought he was a good choice, others thought he is too much a creature of academic medicine and too much of an Obama liberal. I really have no idea, I said, but over the past few years the AMA has betrayed America’s patients and I have no use for the organization. Then I added another post:
I really have no business commenting on the AMA, so I won’t (any further.) I love — quite literally — every poster on this list. You are all great physicians, dedicated citizens, and decent people in every way that counts. I do not want to discourage any of you in doing what you see as the right and moral thing.
I want to throw in a different thought that really has little bearing on what the AMA does. I hope you will indulge me, because I think it may provide context.
I no longer think this health care system — or this economy, or this government — is capable of being reformed. It is too late. I have asked every economist I know about how we get out of the mess we have created, including schools that don’t teach, growing numbers of people dependent on government handouts, a regulatory system that destroys entrepreneurship, and the impossible debt we have accumulated.
Not one has offered anything approaching an answer. Not just a practical answer, but even any theoretical, dreamland answer. There is no way out. That means the entire house of cards will collapse. Maybe not for another 20 years, maybe just 10. By collapse I mean something close to an early Mel Gibson movie in which survival is the primary motive.
A very large portion of our population has no practical skills. They may have advanced degrees in comparative literature or they may be great systems consultants and six sigma experts. But they don’t have a clue how to feed themselves, make clothes, build shelters, or fix a broken bone. After the collapse, the people who will prosper are those who can actually do something of value.
Feel free to dismiss all this as irrelevant to anything currently on the table. And perhaps I have become a kook in my old age. Certainly there have been nonsensical doomsday predictors forever, and maybe I have joined the crowd. But I have looked for any ray of sunshine and have not been able to find it. Sorry.
So my interest in health care now is to find a way that one patient and one doctor can find each other and work out a mutually beneficial relationship. Anything else is just noise.
Very much to my surprise most of the people on the list agreed with me. I will publish a couple of the more extended comments in a moment. I would love to hear what you think.