Seven Myths of Health Care Financing

When we wrote Modern Medicine 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

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. Some version of most of these myths are appearing in the discussion of President Obama’s health care plans.

It’s been a long time coming.

Each chapter of Modern Medicine: What You’re Dying to Know 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.

Some young HR person once looked at my CV and asked me, quite seriously, if I had really done everything I had listed there. Well, yes. Because I am someone who can't sit in a Morris Miller cubicle every day, much less for any great stretch of time. Once the problem is solved, I get bored and I'm ready to move on to the next challenge. This hasn't afforded me any great stability in my work life. I simply arrive in places about ten years ahead of time. So far, at least, that penchant for early arrival hasn't been accompanied with a pocketbook full of door knobs.

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