Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Have gout, will travel

In the ongoing argument over health delivery in this country, whether it's going to be called FedMed or GuvLuv or Nationalized Healthcare or Mandated Medical Management or Dictatorial Doctoring or Motherland Medicinal Monopoly or the benign-sounding Obamian euphemism Public Insurance Plan, the forgotten people in this dysfunctional delusion are the actual bringers of wellness.

No, that does not refer to the professional administrators aptly known as Medicrats, those management power-wielders found in the academies, associations, boards, colleges, organizations, and societies like the American Medical Association and the American Nursing Association and the National Gonad Gangliographery Society and the Institute of Erectile Massage Therapy and about a thousand or so other such self-serving wellcare groups.

These are essentially medicine unions. Like all such bureaucracies, they exist primarily to benefit the politically connected cronies who run them. Their primary functions are to control entry into these cozy, closed clubs, thereby creating personnel shortages and guaranteeing greater profits.

No, the forgotten people in the Grand Government Care Con, the doctors and surgeons and nurses and anesthesiologists and bone & joint specialists and hip replacement practitioners and eye, ear, nose, sinus & empty brain socket pathologists and all the other real people who do the real healing.

Who will be our future caregivers once everyone figures out that medicine is a closed government monopoly and its healers are slaves of the state? Answer: only two kinds, the altruists and the incompetents. Each, in his or her own way, is dangerous – the do-gooder who thinks emoting is a valid substitute for reason, and the screw-up who can't make it on merit. And what will become of all the competent and experienced people-menders who refuse the authoritarian's leash? Expect experts to become expats.

You've already heard of Medical tourism. Today when people stuck in public health plans need real medical attention they chuck their nationalized health hoaxes and flee in search of real treatment. Need dental work or an orthopedic tune-up at an internationally accredited hospital? Cruise off to Costa Rica. Aiming for abdominplasty? Buzz off to Brazil. Need something trifling like open-heart surgery? India is in.

But once Obamacare kills off private practice America's caregivers, or at least the ones with any inkling of self-respect, will hang out their shingles to treat your shingles in Mexico. And Thailand and Singapore. And South Korea and Taiwan and Malaysia. Some of these countries may be small or poor or both but they're not stupid like the United Socialist States of America. Good doctors bring needy patients. Needy patients bring money and family members who become tourists and spend more money. And bad service means a bad rep that means not getting the word-of-mouth advertising that keeps new patients and their money rolling in.

As America destroys its free markets the developing world is developing them. And the only ones left in the scary GovCare clinics back home will be the poor and downtrodden, both as practitioners and as the practiced upon.

Rank and file progressives don't get it. Their hard left political leaders do but don't care. That's because, like all other juggernaut government mega-missions, healthcare isn't about health. Think about it. Drug control is about control, gun control is about control, war on poverty is about control, war against terror is about control. What do you think war against private healthcare is really about? Health?

So while your pancreas crashes and your kidneys curdle and your rectum rots off while you're whiling away your last days on the three-year government-care waiting list don't shed a tear for the ruling classes. They and their loved ones will be well cared for. Don't wonder how. Don't ponder the loopholes and exceptions and rulings and policies and special clauses hidden in the depth of the thousands of unreadable and unread pages of legislation that put you where you are but allows them the benefit of world-class medical care at taxpayer expense.

The ruling class always looks out for itself. Except, that is, when rank-and-file pie-in-the-sky starry-eyed liberal no-nothings take to the streets and demand a system that does the looking out for them for them. That leaves everyone in between, meaning whatever is left of the middleclass, with the option of selling their cars, mortgaging their homes, siphoning their savings, and piling up credit card debt just to get real healthcare abroad.

As for you poor misguided conservatives, don't think the Republicans are going to save you. They don't believe in freedom and individualism like they pretend to. They believe in power, and they'll play along with the healthcare killers to gain and keep that power.

But there is good news for all you card-carrying collectivists who fought for the idealized politicalized bureaucratized bastardized healthcare. You may end up prematurely dead but by God you'll all be equally dead!


Europe's 48-hour working week will be 'catastrophic' for patients, says UK's top surgeon

Patients’ lives will be put at risk and hospitals forced to close because of new European rules which limit doctors’ working hours, according to the country’s top surgeon. John Black, president of The Royal College of Surgeons, has warned of an impending ‘catastrophe’ in the NHS if all doctors are forced to comply with a directive which limits them to working a 48-hour week.

Most doctors – and particularly those still in training – work considerably longer than 48 hours and Mr Black says restricting their working week will lead to a ‘shortage of surgeons’, with not enough staff to keep hospitals open. He said it is ‘not an exaggeration’ to say that the new rules, which come into force on August 1, will lead to operations being cancelled and wards closed down. He said patients’ lives are already being endangered as doctors’ hours are driven down in advance of the legislation taking effect.

He believes that there is a ‘scandalous lack of political will’ to address the problems. Writing in The Mail on Sunday tomorrow Mr Black says: ‘Unless the Government comes to its senses, the result will be catastrophic for the NHS with patient safety on a knife edge, surgeons not being properly trained, waiting lists going up again and even hospitals closing. ‘We have already reached the point where patients’ health has been endangered.

'There is a serious risk of units in hospitals having to close to emergencies, with resulting chaos, not to mention the danger and inconvenience brought about by patients going long distances to a hospital that has enough staff to stay open. 'This is truly a nightmare, and I despair that the Government will not take action.’

Hospitals have been told they face steep financial penalties for failing to comply with the new regulations. The European Working Time Directive, drawn up by Brussels, is designed to limit the working hours of all employees in the EU to an average of 48 hours a week. It has applied to most employees since 1988 with the exception of doctors in training. In August 2007 junior doctors’ hours were limited to 56, which will be reduced to 48 on August 1 this year. Many EU countries are ignoring the directive, while the UK has been working towards implementing it for ten years.

Mr Black said junior doctors will be ‘worse off’ because they will work shorter but busier hours and have less time to train. Trainees will have to spend more time dealing with emergencies, rather than spending time with senior surgeons. Some fear it could lead to a shortage of newly qualified specialists including cardiologists, neurologists, plastic surgeons and obstetricians.

Mr Black adds: ‘Having one doctor where there should be three makes an already difficult job much more difficult. It is chaotic and frankly dangerous.’ He is calling for the Government to agree to junior doctors voluntarily working a 65-hour week but Health Secretary Alan Johnson has described that plan as ‘mission impossible’.

He said the NHS is prepared to comply with the directive by the August deadline. However, he said that Government has notified the European Commission that it plans to operate a ‘derogation’ of the rules in places where there is a shortage of trainee doctors. This will allow them to work a 56-hour week.

A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘Everyone’s overriding objectives is the quality and safety of patient care. Where there are problems we will work together with the professions and staff on the ground to implement sustainable solutions.’


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