a Seussian inspired rhyme by Dr Marion Mass, M.D.
Medicine is and will forever be in evolution. Corporates and the government tell us they have a solution. Remember when: In the past, larger than life were physicians? 7 to 15 years of training put us in charge of patients life and death decisions. Once upon a time there were groups that spoke for the docs. Sadly, many are polluted and speak for money, the corporates and MOC. In 1962 on the eve of Medicare launch, Dr. Edward Annis tried to staunch. He stood bravely in Madison Square Garden in front of empty seats. (1) The press covered the politicians… docs and patients got tricked… The government and corporations got the treats. Dr. Annis told us: Medicare real insurance it ain’t. He was correct, Medicare became a path for greedy corporate middlemen to taint. What happened to the quality medical picture? In came slick middlemen saying "coverage is care" Over time… patients were sent packing to… Who knows where? And the physicians who thought with our training would always have a say. Many stopped speaking or caring, just took the check: We too went away. The patients remain and tell us they are in pain and distress. United, Optum PBMs, big hospital systems, private equity have made medicine a mess. Not just physicians but PTs OTs, RTs, and those who bedside nurse, have fallen and suffered at the hands of the corporate power of the purse. The relentless corporates don’t give a fig. All they care to do is become ever more big. Does your Congressman or Senator care about all this pain? Or is it easier to listen to those with BIG money for a campaign? You and loved ones will suffer and some will die. While CVS, Centene, Blue Cross and Practice Fusion gobble more of the juicy healthcare pie. What happens when the last doc, the last good nurse Falls? Are corporate middlemen going to care for you all? There will be blood on their hands and splattered on the wall. It’s been over 50 years of our government sanctioning medicines poison: The corporate pill. When will you stand up against this vile swill? You took the Hippocratic oath, you can’t take it back. We gotta do more or risk being called a quack. Stand speak and deliver to make healthcare attainable, with choice, transparency and competition to make it sustainable. Patients, help us become free to care for you once more. Help be a part of the new healthcare ecosystem to even the score. Patients, tell the government to earn your trust. Make the FTC get in there and bust bust bust! Tell your lawmakers stop listening to corporate drivel; that’s a must! Put patient’s needs first; leave PBM, GPO, insurers and big hospital systems in the dust! Stop listening to wealthy rent seeking corporate parasites for the wrong solution. Unwind these parasites perverse incentives for real evolution: Direct pay, innovation, small companies are the new revolution. Thanks to Dr. Seuss, a non-medical doctor for inspiration. His quote from The Lorax could lead to a new medical landscape for our nation."Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
- Dr Edward Annis is the former president of the AMA, and was a Florida surgeon.
After President Kennedy had a full house at Madison Square Garden to explain the pitfalls of the King Anderson Bill which later passed under President Johsnson and became Medicare, Dr Annis was refused equal time to counter the President’s arguments. The President explained “we do not affect the freedom of choice, you can go to any doctor you want.”
Dr Annis told America that the intended Medicare would cover “millions who do not need it, heartlessly ignores millions who do need coverage. It is not true insurance. It will create an enormous and unpredictable burden on every working taxpayer. It offers sharply limited benefits. It will lower the quality and availability of hospital services throughout our country.” ” IT WILL STAND BETWEEN THE PATIENT AND HIS DOCTOR.”
He warned that cost-plus financing of Medicare would doom it to bankruptcy and trigger destruction of the doctor-patient relationship. “This bill would put the government smack into your hospital, defining services, setting standards, establishing committees, calling for reports, deciding who gets in and who gets out, what they get and what they do not get, even getting into the teaching of medicine.”
I am not advocating the destruction of Medicare. It’s been here since the 1960’s. We have to start where we are. I am pointing out that having a middleman, a third party paying for care in ALL cases, even when that middleman is the government… this model… the model of COVERAGE will lead to unnecessary costs and profiteering at the great expense of all Americans.
Meanwhile, the model of COVERAGE will cause the continued destruction of the quality of CARE, and the destruction of the practice of medicine
This poem was first read at the 2021 Mitigate Partners “Demystifying Healthcare Costs” Conference
You can register online or in person for this years conference here: https://mitigatepartners.com/event/demystifying-healthcare-costs-2022/