Several of my children have specialized medical needs, so I’ve been to my share of neurologists, psychologists, orthodontists, and pulmonologists. One thing I’ve noticed is that it’s so hard to get on their schedule… the doctors are usually booked out at least a month in advance. With all the recent talk about health care reform, I wonder why no one wants to talk about the most obvious problem: there are simply not enough providers to meet everyone’s needs. No amount of shuffling money or insurance policies around will make more time on the doctor’s schedules. It’s no wonder the cost keeps going up; we’re now in a bidding war to see who is lucky enough to get treated. When the problem is stated so simply, one solution seems clear: encourage more people to go through medical school. Invest in higher education and ensure that those who want to serve in that profession have generous scholarships.
But going deeper, I wonder if we are even getting the best use out of the medicine we already have. Why are we forcing companies to subsidize abortifacient drugs, while epileptics have to pay full-price to stop their seizures? Why are doctors more likely to recommend the latest patented chemical formula than time-tested homeopathic remedies? Why can someone legally get drugs to commit suicide, yet that same person is not allowed to try cannabis to ease their pain?
Something tells me that it’s money, not medical science that’s setting these priorities. We need to open our eyes to the needs of ordinary families rather than the corporate and social lobbyists with their global agendas. In time, after we remove the barriers to educating doctors and bring our regulations back in line with natural law, we may even be able to set up a system where the average person worries no more about the cost of medical care than they do about the cost of the interstate highways or public television. Until then, may the example of saints like Mother Teresa replace greed for profit with the Christian charity that inspired the very first hospitals many centuries ago.