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, largely.
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.
January 2, 2010