So many people have asked my opinion on this tricky subject. This is what I think about it as an Emergency Medicine physician.
Who can really say if healthcare is an intrinsic right? I don't know or really care, but I do know that by law I cannot turn anyone away from the ER without receiving medical care (EMTALA). I also would have an ethical dilemma turning away someone in need of help because they cannot pay. My oath obligates me to service of all.
I deliver about $150k of uncompensated care a year. This is not the subsidised Medicare, caid, cal underpayments that don't even cover my malpractice insurance. Despite that, I make a decent living. Not a killing. I owe about $200k for my training, and my twenties and all my previous hobbies mostly evaporated (except for climbing) with my decision to endure the rigors of meodern medical training.
Tort reform is a must. I order WAY too many tests because I am scared of losing my license and missing a diagnosis on someone and getting sued. It sucks to have that affect your clinical decision making. This drives up healthcare costs.
I think we have a duty to help our fellow human who is suffering with illness.
We need a huge redirection of focus to preventative medicine. Cigarrettes should cost $40 a pack and the cost should go towards paying for healthcare reform. Specialists should not be so highly incentivised, the highest compensation right now goes to specialists, so of course more medical students want to go into specialties. Duh. We need our best and brightest delivering exceptional primary care medicine.
This all seems like common sense, something sorely missing in modern day politicoeconomics. This is a brief synopsis of my thoughts on heathcare reform in this country.
Noah T. Kaufman, MD
Seek perfection of character. Respect others. Try Hard.
11-6-17: Lower Yosemite Falls
1 year ago