Saturday, August 18, 2007

Lyme Disease versus Creeping Socialism

A somewhat grim but entertainingly written article over at Sippican Cottage. The author had trouble getting treatment for Lyme Disease because he wanted to pay out-of-pocket for his medical care down in Wareham, MA.

I thought his relating the whole mess to the proto-socialism of Massachusetts a bit of a stretch at first. Incompetence and jerkness seemed to be a better explanation. Those played their part, but upon reflection, I think the attribution is correct. He was trying to pay out-of-pocket for his medical care, which made him seem such an untrustworthy person within the system that he found he had lost most leverage against incompetence. Later it occurred to him that almost no one has leverage against incompetence now.

That may be the most troubling argument against the increasing legislative control of health care: individuals lose leverage against incompetence. Most proposed systems (whether increasing free-market or increasing regulation) of delivering health care have the same arguments against them: money will be wasted, unnecessary care will be given, incompetent care will occur, necessary care will be shirked. The discussion about those various solutions revolves around which minimizes those problems, as none will eliminate them. But the inability to fight back against incompetence, except for the right to sue after the damage has been done, seems to me a very great problem.

As another friend, who comments here as "michael" also had problems with a too-slow diagnosis of Lyme Disease within the last month, this gets my attention.

(HT: Maggie's Farm)


Anonymous said...

AVI, I never - directly - thought about the leverage issue re: health care. Maybe viewing ourselves rather like our cars..i.e. if my car isn't fixed on time, with the right parts, and a good job isn't done (I don't know about others, but) I am all over the Service Manager. If he doesn't "understand" the customer service linkage with continued customer loyalty to a particular maintenance/repair facilty (insert: family practice/specialist-hospital), then one (the customer/patient) can take it up with the next higher person on the food chain of that organization.

I absolutely concur, socialized medicine will take away power from patients.

Note: Those who say the our military have socialized medicine are not quite right. Please to recall if a service member gets lousy treatment for himself or family...he can go to his own commander. Good commanders visit their troops in hospital or send other officers...routinuely. Further, they encourage their troops to come to them with any problems. Civilians have NO one to really champion their cause in a timely manner.

Anonymous said...

The kicker with the Lyme disease is that my "Lyme titer" finally came back. It was negative. I'm still being treated for Lyme because the titer is "unreliable". We have come so far in some areas and not so far in other.

bs king said...

Part of my issue with the socialization of medicine is you start breeding drastically different cultures between providers and patients. Therefore patients get frustrated by "incompetence"...which may or may not actually be incompetence, it may actually be the best way of dealing with a bizarre and/or complicated system, it's just nothing that a patient is familiar with or thinks about on a regular basis. Anyway, so doctors wind up living in a particular world filled with rules and regulations and patients get mad when they can't "just get" x, y or z done in a timely fashion. Doctors are so wrapped up in their world that some of them forget that patients actually have legitimate my boss in the ER used to say "just because we deal with it ever day, doesn't make it normal".