When we wrote Modern Medicine: What You’re Dying to Know all those years ago, we concentrated on explaining how we thought health care costs had been forced into a never-ending spiral upward. Even then, our perspective was that the physician-patient relationship had been destroyed by the intervention of third-party interests.
Much of the perceived crisis in health care financing is based upon myths spun and marketed by the entities which profit most from the present health care delivery system.
Today, our presentation of these myths may seem a bit simplistic, but you will recognize some of these arguments. Most of these myths are appearing in the discussions about how to fix our dysfunctional health care system, attempts by the controlling business interests driving up the cost of health care to prevent change.
Each chapter of Modern Medicine addressed one of the myths listed below. We were naive enough then to label the discussions about these myths with subsections called truth, discussion, and solution.
So much for youth.
What are those seven longstanding myths of health care financing we talked about back then?
- Health insurance is expensive because consumers overuse health care services.
- The cost of technology drives up the cost of medical care.
- There is a nursing shortage.
- Doctors control the cost of health care.
- Malpractice suits are increasing because doctors today are more negligent than before.
- Peer review is effective in protecting patients from negligence.
- Efforts to control health care costs by reducing hospital stays are effective.
It’s time to dispel these myths.
When we wrote about these myths in Modern Medicine, we figured the group most likely to be offended were lawyers. We were wrong. It came as a complete surprise to us that the most vigorous opposition to our discussion came from nurses.
In retrospect, and considering the media attention devoted to what is constantly billed as a nursing shortage, we shouldn’t have been surprised.