Society currently is distracted by many controversies that create sound and fury and little else while vital issues remain unspoken in the social media/YouTube/podcast/cable-news/regular media universe.
The most critical such crisis may be medicine.
In the U.S., medical care — often devoid of human care — has all but collapsed.
Six months ago, I went to my new general physician for an annual physical. When he came in, he wondered what my ailment might be and when I told him it was a wellness, he was taken aback: he wasn’t prepared for that, he said. Apparently, there had been a misunderstanding. He looked at his watch, said he only had fifteen minutes for my visit, listened to my heart, and dashed off. I was left to reschedule the physical.
This I did, setting it for six months later (doctors are very booked). When I went for that one, the same doctor once again rushed in, barely sitting (with even more of a hurried way), and said, “What’s the problem?”
I told him I had no current issue.
I was there for that physical.
Once more, that wasn’t what was on his schedule. He dashed something off on a piece of paper and once more was out the door as quickly as he had entered.
When I went to check out, the nurse gave me something I thought was just a receipt. Before tossing it out, I happened to glance at it and noticed it was actually a prescription, this one to have blood work done (apparently in lew of the physical, or for whenever I finally get open).
I scheduled an appointment to have blood drawn, and when I got there two weeks later, after failing to book anything sooner, they didn’t have my name; the online sign-up apparently glitched. I had to try again *finally succeeding. At the clinic was only a computer to check you in. The space behind the reception glass was empty.
And so it goes in modern medicine.
My sister in Connecticut told me her sister-in-law was scheduled for an x-ray around that same time and when she got to the hospital they didn’t have her name, either.
She was lucky. My sister said a friend told her about someone who recently went to the major hospital in their city to have a leg amputated due to diabetes and they amputated the wrong leg.
That’s what you call a problem.
That’s what you call a crisis.
I heard similar horror stories from a brother in Upstate New York. His daughter-in-law had severe abdominal pains on a Sunday, yet the local hospital wouldn’t admit her until the following Tuesday, and discovered her appendix was just about ready to burst. She ended up hospitalized for nearly a week. A niece got covid and had to spend several days on a metal chair with twenty others waiting for a hospital bed. Meanwhile, IV bags were empty and there was a shortage of food and water.
This is twentieth-first century America? This is health care?
Yet, we all pay through the nose — or (through Medicare and Medicaid) the debt-ridden bankruptcy-bound government does. And the situation is not tenable. While insurance companies, medical groups, and doctors mint money, the system is in a state of collapse. You can’t blame it all on hospitals: According to a report by Definitive Healthcare, the median operating margin for U.S. hospitals was -5.4% in 2020 . This means that the average hospital is not making a profit.
Meanwhile, many doctors and their assistant are dedicated and burnt out. And nurses? They are the martyrs of our time.
I went the other day to get an inhaler for someone and they wanted two hundred and thirty dollars (which the person declined).
Gouging is one thing — bad enough. Gouging off the health of fellow humans is a magnitude high: not something you want to take to the pearly gates.
Average annual cost of health insurance per person now in the U.S.?
The average annual premium for employer-sponsored coverage was $7,911 for an individual policy in 2022 and $22,463 for a family plan. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, premiums for family coverage increased 20% over the past five years, and 43% over the past 10 years.
According to nonprofit data-analysis firm USA Facts, cardiologists have the highest average annual wage, at $421,330, followed by non-pediatric orthopedic surgeons ($371,400) and pediatric surgeons ($362,970).
There is some variance in salaries between different states. In four states physician and surgeon salaries top $500,000 a year. The highest-paid specialists are non-pediatric orthopedic surgeons in Hawaii, with an average yearly wage of $554,520. Specialties in three other states also cleared $500,000: general surgeons in Louisiana ($534,920), cardiologists in Idaho ($521,690) and dermatologists in Minnesota ($514,330).
Cataract surgeries are done in settings that need a revolving door — like an assembly line, with full waiting rooms, each putting thousands in the hands of the facility or medical group or surgeon. When surgeons come to do a