Friday, August 21, 2009

Dr. Charles Krauthammer: Fuck My Patients, Give Me The Money

Dr. Charles Quackhammer calls for an honest debate on health care reform. That would be a first for him, but damned if he doesn't admit the truth.

That truth: As a doctor, Krauthammer was only in it for the money, and never considered what was best for his patients if it conflicted with making a profit.

Krauthammer starts out his column with a paragraph calling Sharia Plain a liar. There's one truth. And in the next two paragraphs, an even bigger truth is revealed:

We also have to tell the defenders of the notorious Section 1233 of H.R. 3200 that it is not quite as benign as they pretend. To offer government reimbursement to any doctor who gives end-of-life counseling -- whether or not the patient asked for it -- is to create an incentive for such a chat.

What do you think such a chat would be like? Do you think the doctor will go on and on about the fantastic new million-dollar high-tech gizmo that can prolong the patient's otherwise hopeless condition for another six months? Or do you think he's going to talk about -- as the bill specifically spells out -- hospice care and palliative care and other ways of letting go of life?

Quackhammer posits a doctor who acts against his patient's interests solely for his own economic benefit. There's a flaw in his logic, as he assumes that the doctor has more economic incentive to have the patient off herself immediately (and/or more cheaply) than to have the patient live longer and incur additional doctor's fees. Greed apparently makes physicians stupid.

(And I must have missed the quack's column denouncing HMOs which cover similar informational counselling, or which pay a flat fee per patient per year, creating an incentive for providers to provide the cheapest care possible.)

Nevertheless, Quackhammer reveals a hidden truth about himself in assuming ill of his fellow healers. He effectively admits that, as a doctor, he would have urged his patients to make a quick exit if it was better for his balance sheet.

Well, who knows Quackhammer's mind and motives better than himself?

Fortunately, Krauthammer has left the medical profession, and, despite his fervent desires, can only kill trees in his current job.

No comments: