Our healthcare system is sick and dysfunctional. A vicious cycle of blame is happening between Washington, health insurance companies, and the patients. And it is quickly demoralizing this nation and simply increasing costs with more administrative regulations. It is raising questions regarding the future of healthcare in the United States.
And we need answers.
Surprisingly, in all of this, doctors are rarely mentioned. As if doctors do not know the intricacies of how the health care system works. As if doctors are not there for their patients 24 hours per day, ordering tests or doing procedures that can benefit a patient’s well-being. As if doctors are not dealing with denials from the insurance companies on a daily basis, losing valuable hours to menial paperwork that could be spent caring for our country’s sick.
Doctors have a duty to care for their patients and are the engines that put health care into motion. They yearn to maintain that physician-patient relationship that is important to the care of our patients.
Unfortunately, doctors are not being directly involved in the health care reform debate despite being on the front lines of care. They have an opportunity to provide valuable insight into the day-to-day operations of this health care machine.
Would you want to fly in a plane with no input from a pilot? Or design a curriculum without a teacher’s input? These “insider” insights are essential to health care in order to exact true change and improve health care for everyone to enjoy.
Unless we embrace the idea and look to doctors to help solve these dilemmas, we will be doomed with increasing prices, more talking heads on TV blaming others, and dysfunctional insurance companies, all who have never spent a minute shadowing a doctor, yet claiming to know all the answers.
-Matthew Moeller is a practicing Gastroenterologist. He can be reached on twitter (@DrMMoeller).