Today's Spokesman Review presents an opinion piece by Dr Robert Golden concerning Medicare and what a contrast to Dr Condron's piece last week.
I am a urologist, providing medical and surgical care to my patients with diseases of the urinary tract. Over 75 percent of my patients are on Medicare.
Medicare allows me the freedom to provide quality health care with the interests of my patients as first priority. Medicare is a single-payer, government-sponsored health insurance plan and yet imposes no restrictions or arbitrary rules between my patients and me. The health care decisions are only between my patients, their loved ones and me. Yes, there are guidelines for best practice, which I honor and embrace.
But he does take a poke at the insurance industry.
That nearly 50 million citizens in our country are uninsured is a travesty and, frankly, embarrassing. Every year, more than $400 billion of private health insurance money (paid for by subscribers of the insurance company like you and me) go to profits, marketing, executives, buildings, etc. The president of United Health Care makes $102,000 an hour. Of the money flowing into for-profit private insurance, only 65 percent is used for actual health care services. This is in contrast to Medicare, where more than 95 percent is directly used to provide health services to our seniors.
And while he comes across as a bit altruistic, I don't think that's a bad thing.
These issues are complex – financially and ethically. Standing by and listening to the verbiage by the profit-seeking, fear-mongering insurance and pharmaceutical industries is no longer an option for me. What makes this country great is our willingness to sacrifice our excesses for the general greatness of the whole.
Personally, I became a medical doctor to serve with compassion and love – to relieve pain and suffering. At the end of the day, I do not ruminate about money. Rather, I hope I’ve contributed to my patients’ journey toward a greater understanding of the wonder and blessings of life.