Continuing my reading and discussion of Gregg Easterbrook's book, The Progress Paradox, I run across his comments on page 25 that while currently 14% of Americans have no medical insurance, two generations ago nobody did and only the very wealthy knew any protection against ruinous medical expense because of their wealth.
Physicians, nurses and hospital staff lived humbly often bartering services with locals who traded the goods and services that they had for the health care they received. Of course, the locals often went without and died.
As health care has become more technological it has become more effective, getting better outcomes, but also more expensive, and the practice of medicine has shifted from a vocation, a calling, and a profession, to a business, a way for individuals and organizations to make money. What has been gained in effectiveness and efficiency has also been lost in humanity and caring.
I think many health care providers struggle with the conflicts between being a good business person who needs to generate revenue to stay in business, and being of service to people which is often time consuming, energy depleting, and not as efficient. People want to be attended to, not simply treated as objects, pieces of meat. There, unfortunately, is no billing code to be used with insurance companies for caring about patients.
As much as we may regret the conflicts between ministering, and fixing for money, the health care system has improved tremendously in two generations in terms of its effectiveness, its efficiency, and its coverage for the vast majority of Americans rich and poor alike.
A co-worker told me two days ago that her infant son who required cardiac surgery within a week of his birth or he would die, has been successfully treated now and is doing well at 2 1/2 months. She said the bill has come to over one million dollars. 30 years ago this infant son would have died.Without health insurance this young family would be bankrupted for the rest of their lives.
It's a grand world we are living in. Rejoice and be happy!