The Ironic Flaw in the Conventional Critique of Mainstream Medicine

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While the problems
in our healthcare delivery system are widely discussed these days,
there have long been critics of the way medicine is typically practiced
in the United States today. These folks have done a good job in
educating open-minded Americans and others that there are often
better approaches available to maintaining health and treating diseases
than the standard approaches promoted by the medical establishment.
Some of their common critiques are as follows:

  • Treatment
    approaches generally only address the symptoms of the problems.
    While these treatments can sometimes effectively suppress symptoms,
    they do not address the root cause(s) of the problem.
  • Under such
    an approach, side effects mount. As new symptoms arise, more treatments
    are undertaken, which in turn cause additional problems.
  • True disease
    prevention is sorely neglected.
  • The FDA
    is not doing what it is supposed to be doing. It is allowing dangerous
    drugs to be brought to market.
  • The CDC
    is promoting vaccines which frequently pose a greater risk than
    the diseases they are meant to protect against.
  • Safe and
    natural remedies are frequently neglected, in favor of more expensive
    and dangerous treatments favored by Big Pharma and surgeons.

While there
is much to be said in support of such critiques, there is an ironic
flaw that runs through these observations. While these critics understand
the folly (from the patient’s point of view) of structuring medicine
around the treatment of symptoms, their own critique only addresses
the symptoms of the problems of our health care system, not the
underlying cause: government interference in the health care market.

Why are drug
prices so high and favored in our system? Patent laws and FDA regulation,

Why are allopathic
approaches favored at the expense of natural treatments? Medical
licensing which favors AMA members and schools and FDA regulation,
for the most part.

Why do we have
these difficult vaccine issues? Compulsory vaccination laws and
government immunity provided to Big Pharma, to a great extent.

Why is the
FDA not doing what it is “supposed to be doing”? For the same reasons
that the other myriad agencies and programs are not accomplishing
what they were supposedly set out to do.

True disease
prevention is neglected? Government policies which promote the assignment
of treatment costs to 3rd parties reduce the financial incentives
for individuals to prevent disease.

So to those
who well understand the flaws in the way medicine is practiced these
days, I plead with you to take your own advice to heart and work
on curing the root causes of these problems (i.e. the myriad government
interferences with the free market) and stop simply focusing on
the symptoms of these problems.

    2, 2010

    Saul Weiner [send him mail]
    is an actuary who became a libertarian when he came to understand
    why our health care system was so screwed up.

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