Blog | Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Would the Occupy Wall Street movement work for health care?


As Occupy Wall Street spread across the nation, I can't help but wonder if the same movement could occupy health care. After all, the basic tenants of the movement involve protesting against social and economic inequality, corporate greed, and the influence of corporate money and lobbyists on government. In the "Occupy" movement, there is a feeling there's an inside game and the game is rigged.

It would seem, then, that our new health care law, written by corporate interests and heavily influenced by lobbyists, could become a ripe target for the movement. We are beginning to see patients and doctors asking some very powerful questions: Why does the retail price of a pill have to exceed $10? Why does a single IV infusion of a chemotherapeutic agent have to cost $5,000? Why must we keep building hospital facilities that exceed $1 billion commonly, often in areas of extraordinary real estate prices? Why are insurance premiums consistently growing faster than inflation? Why are health care stocks and funds considered one of the best investments right now just as people are worried about affording health care? Why is health care reform making special interests happy while many doctors and patients are increasingly unhappy?

Must doctors accept the pervasiveness and intrusiveness of the inside game in health care? If they didn't, I wonder what doctors' placards might say?

This post by Westby Fisher, MD, appeared at Get Better Health, a network of popular health bloggers brought together by Val Jones, MD. Better Health's mission is to support and promote health care professional bloggers, provide insightful and trustworthy health commentary, and help to inform health policy makers about the provider point of view on health care reform, science, research and patient care.