Green Room

Informed patients need not apply

posted at 7:34 am on July 24, 2009 by

Blogger Snaggletoothie has articulated something important here: Obama is clueless when it comes to the kinds of decisions made by patients and doctors every day. As I said earlier, it’s as though he’s never taken his kids to the doctor or filled a prescription. He doesn’t seem to have any personal experience (in spite of his grandmother) with the medical system — doctors, tests, referrals, this drug versus that one. Let me quote Snaggletoothie who says it better:

By now many Americans know that they might need to take some personal responsibility to see that test results move with them from doctor to doctor. They know that doesn’t have to be the “big problem” that Obama tries to paint it as. I would imagine that millions of Americans are sitting there thinking, “I know how to keep that from happening. I have actually done it for my son. This guy wants to oversee a total overhaul of the system and he doesn’t even as much about seeing doctors as I do. No thanks.”

People who have researched medications for themselves or loved ones know that the difference is often much more complicated than the president’s example of two pills that are equally effective and differ only in price. People do not lose time or sleep over such questions. The real difficulty comes when an insurance company has decreed that there is only one medication that is acceptable in a situation when the doctor and the informed patient know there is a more expensive medication that is well known to be more effective. Obama either doesn’t know that such circumstances arise or he wants to act like they do not exist. There are a lot of people out here that know better. And Obama’s blatant parading of his ignorance for all to see cannot be increasing the level of trust.

Exactly. Kind of like Obama and foreign policy. Or Obama and the economy. He’s out of his depth.

And yes, please cut this out:

And does he have to keep reminding me how much better his insurance is than mine? That’s just going to remind me that he has lacked motivation to become a more informed health care consumer.

I’m tempted to go on and on about the need for people to take responsibility for what happens to them when they find themselves or their loved ones caught up in the medical system. Passively accepting what’s offered is not the way to go. ObamaCare would require that in spades.

People need to take more interest and have more control of health decisions, not less. An informed and questioning patient is good for the practice of medicine, keeping everyone on their toes and accountable.

Lots of bad things happen to people who are too timid to speak up or ask that awkward question: “You know we’re removing the left leg, don’t you?” Or “You do remember, doc, that I’m allergic to penicillin, right?” Or “What exactly are you injecting into my IV?” And no one, outside of kindergarten, should identify the meds they’re taking only by the color of the pills.

Medicine has long valued and encouraged the passive, deferential patient. They make for shorter appointments and massage the ego. Passivity will be demanded by the ObamaCare bureaucrats if the government takes over medicine. Long waits for appointments and test results will call for that beaten-down bread-line-style resignation. And fewer choices of doctors and treatments will help us all learn to take what we can get, no questions asked.

In effect, government-run healthcare would decrease incentive for the patient responsibility that Obama lamely advocated in his press conference the other night.

On the subject of health insurance, this exchange between John Stossel, Penn Jillette, and Glenn Beck is interesting. One excerpt:

JILLETTE: And one of the problems is that people are pretty happy with Medicaid and Medicare, and I’m not. I think that morally, philosophically, individuals having more choice and more control over what they do is a really good thing. So I’m afraid that I’m in the really nut position, I would like to get insurance away from the employers. I don’t know why your boss has to be in charge of your insurance. It should be the individuals who travel with them. And that was only put in, as I understand it, during World War II. It was a work around on wage freezes to be able to give people more stuff. Stop the employer from being in charge of that and make it individuals. Your employer is not in charge of what you eat, and eating is as important as medical care.

I can’t believe I just quoted Penn Jillette. Read the rest.

Cross-posted here.

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Thoughtful and well written. Of course, that excludes you from the Obamacare debate. The liberals don’t want anyone to fret over these details. Just give them control and they’ll figure it out. It will always be an expensive, progressive experiment to them….and we will be the lab rats.

genso on July 24, 2009 at 7:53 AM