Efficiency Rewarded, Quality Punished continued...
Although I personally feel that a single-payer national health plan should be our goal, in the short term we need to take our health care out of the hands of profit-driven corporations and put HMOs under public oversight. Essential utilities such as power and water have long been publicly regulated, and I can't imagine health care to be any less critical.
For now, the public should be concerned about how our current HMO payment system is corrupting the doctor-patient relationship. Doctors are only human; can you really trust the judgment of a professional who, because of the "system," is going to lose money every time he or she sees you? Correct this perverse arrangement, and your doctor may once again be happy to see you -- even if you happen to be sick.
Ron Adler, MD, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, recently left his Berkeley, Calif., practice in Berkeley at the age of 57 to pursue other interests, including teaching, consulting, and research.