The United States has a serious problem and it is one that affects the lives of all of us. That problem is our ailing healthcare system. We are going to be doctors in a few years and that means we are soon going to be advocates for our patients. Let’s start now. Why not be advocates for those patients who will suffer because the system does not allow you to give them the best care possible.
Here is the problem with healthcare in the United States: too many people are not getting any. Because of the profit-driven healthcare industry that exists today, many patients will not be able to reach us for the care they need. Something is blocking their access.
Does not everyone have the right to adequate healthcare in our society? Healthcare should not be a privilege as it is now, but rather the right of every citizen. How can we live in a society that only allows certain groups of people to see doctors while others cannot? In my opinion, that is discrimination. Not only is our system discriminatory, it is killing people. 44 million people in America are uninsured and almost 50 million are underinsured. That is almost 100 million people. Our country only holds 270 million people. Where have we gone wrong when every other industrialized nation recognizes the moral mandate for universal healthcare, offers it, and still spends a smaller percentage of their Gross Domestic Product on healthcare than the United States?
Here’s the deal. You need to decide whether you will become your patient’s advocate years from now, joining the frustrating struggle against managed care; or, will you become your patient’s advocate now by helping to change the scope of healthcare in America?
We need a new system. A system that embraces equity, choice, efficiency, quality, and continuity of care. We can only achieve these goals through a nationalized healthcare system – that is, a single-payer system. What does that mean in practical terms? It means easier access for patients. It means that no patient will be denied care. It means a healthier America.
Some people may tell you that this is socialized medicine. But they are misinformed. This would not be a system that controls the extent of the patient’s right to healthcare. On the contrary, it gives them all the right. A single-payer healthcare system provides for all people and leaves the medical decision making in the knowing hands of the physician. That’s going to be you and me in just a short while.
We need a new system, and the only way to achieve our goal is with your help. Instead of expressing shock each time we hear that the number of uninsured has gone up another million people, we can actually do something about it.
Join Physicians for a National Health Program in advocating universal healthcare access through a single-payer system.
Remember, insurance plans do not deliver healthcare, physicians do. Our patient advocacy needs to begin today because we want quality healthcare for all people in the United States.
Albany Medical College, 2002