Medical mercenaries

Chico Cromartie

Dear Editor:

Another issue that remains controversial and volatile in some respects is the issue of healthcare.  No one seems to know how to address the rising costs of healthcare in America. Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, which is the first and only definitive measure taken by any administration to address the Healthcare issue is now in the process of being repealed by President Trump and the Republican Congress.

The politics surrounding the Affordable Care Act leaves little room for an honest discussion about why healthcare is so expensive. Healthcare or medical providers in what is now termed the healthcare industry have overshadowed what most Americans traditionally viewed as an honorable and noble profession.

In other words, the industry has taken over what traditionally has been hailed as the noblest profession, being a doctor. However, with industry comes the elements and objective of money and profits. With that understanding, these elements can and have led to corruption in the past.

The trust and confidence we place in doctors can be considered almost biblical when you think in terms of how we view the opinions or recommendations of doctors. The Hippocratic Oath (Greek in origin) was traditionally taken by physicians centuries before Christ, according to some scholars.

The innocuous nature of the oath helped define and establish a credence that placed physicians at the pinnacle of honor and respect in the psyche of mankind for centuries.

Today, we see the almost sacred Hippocratic Oath of physicians give way to industry and profits. The objective of the physician is no longer an altruist endeavor as it was centuries ago, suggesting that patients give only what they could afford, if anything at all. Medical care is now a business, with one main objective “money.”

Healthcare in America has become a concern because of the rising cost of medical care. The fact that people have died because they couldn’t afford medical treatment contradicts the very premise of the Hippocratic Oath.

The ethical and moral conduct of physicians has been compromised by the demands of industry and greed. In fact, the ethical behavior of physicians today can be compared to that of gangsters during the 1920s Prohibition Era. The idea that a physician will refuse to provide medical care or watch a patient die for lack of insurance (money) frightens most Americans to the point where we are today, which is the healthcare debate on Capitol Hill.

The medicines used to treat certain illnesses have become more expensive than burying someone who has died. This scenario has presented itself to many Americans more often than not, especially when caring for elderly or chronically ill relatives.

The conversation about healthcare is no longer in the doctors’ office, but is now debated in Washington and in the corridors of Congress. American doctors seem to have ostracized themselves from the conversation altogether.

It is safe to say that doctors in the United States have become the “medical mercenaries” of the healthcare profession. No longer bound by the ethical constraints of the Hippocratic Oath, they are committed to giving Americans the best healthcare possible for the right price.

Chico Cromartie
Chico Cromartie

Further reading:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/hippocratic-oath-today.html

Doctor’s fees for care and research have risen over 100 percent since these two studies have been conducted approximately 20 years apart. http://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/29/us/doctor-fees-found-higher-in-us-than-in-canada.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/us/08docs.html

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