We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
My siblings and I were born at home in my parents bed with the family doctor in attendence. I had my tonsils taken out on the kitchen table when I was 6 by the same family doctor. When I got a high fever one night and convulsed and collapsed my mother called the family doctor who after hearing the symptoms drove straight to our home without even hanging up his home phone he was in such a hurry. Our family doctor was a kindly old man whose passing gave us all deep sorrow. Maybe today's doctors don't get the same chance to know their patients or to be so involved with them as doctors were in the past. But I do have the greatest respect and pride in our country's doctors, nurses, other health care providers our firemen and our police.
"Things are seldom what they seem;
Skim milk masquerades as cream."
When I first saw the headline, I assumed that Dr. Boyd was saddened by the replacement of the doctor patient relationship by the new model where the doctor answers to a hospital employer and does what's in the hospital's best interest due to the various government rules, incentives and subsidies that have been implemented over the last half century or so. Then, I read Dr. Boyd's misleading drivel and investigated his background.
Dr. Boyd would have us believe that this shift in medicine - in particular the doctor patient relationship - is due to greedy, unethical doctors in private practice. Of course, doctors in academia, like Boyd, are noble and beyond reproach. What a hypocrite!
The federal government has a record since WWII of repeatedly causing problems and then inventing "solutions" to these problems which then became problems that it claimed it had yet more solutions for only to see these new solutions become the newer and bigger problems. All of this has led to increased costs. Because of these government fixes, we are now seeing more and more physicians switch from the private practice model where they had a direct relationship with and responsibility to their patients to one where most physicians are employed by a hospital with their prime relationship and responsibility being with and to the hospital.
Dr, Boyd and his academic colleagues have long been proponents of this system. After all, they have always operated under this type of relationship. In exchange for better hours and less interruptions of their nights and weekends - that have interns and residents to take care of patients during these "inconvenient" hours - they generally accept less pay. But they ignore the benefits of academia and envy the financial rewards that their private practice colleagues enjoy in exchange for personally taking calls and caring for patients at all hours of the night.
The fact is that Dr. Boyd is a member of the lunatic fringe. He is an oncologist, but his interest is in treating patients with dubious nutritional therapies rather than with proven drugs. I suspect that he's very envious of his colleagues who attract patients because of their reputation for actually helping people while he remains frustrated because most people don't clamor for his snake oil.
It's laughable that Dr. Boyd decries some of the "alternative" healers while he himself is considered by many to be an alternative healer.
Here's the real problem - government subsidizes medical care (i.e. government takes money from Peter to pay for Paul's care leaving Paul little incentive to seek only that care that he really, really needs and vote for politicians who promise to have someone else pay for more and more things, i.e. condoms, drug rehab, etc.) and many of these alternative healers have lobbyists to help them get some of this government money. All of this raises the price of medical care. Government should get out of medicine and medical insurance - no subsidies at all.
Boyd seems particularly bothered by concierge doctors and free markets. The concierge system developed because there was a demand for doctors who would deal with patients the way they were dealt with in the old days, i.e. have a direct doctor patient relationship, and there were doctors willing to supply this service and - here's what Boyd and his ilk really hate - they were able to mutually agree on an acceptable price for this exchange.
Medicine has changed just like all else. Your physician no longer treats injuries or emergencies. That is done at hospitals. Nor does your normally physician deal with major events such as child birth.
And government steadily perfects and increases surveillance of every caregiver and every facility. The health insurance company has become an unoffical agent of government. Typically the insurer has no reason to please either you or your caregivers.
The good news? Science. Medical care is far better now; its skills and knowledge permit longer and healthier lives. Just don't be confused about who is Boss in medicine, it sure isn't you or your physician.