Questions, no answers


John P. Geyman, Professor Emeritus of Family Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in an article that was not about health care reform, nevertheless asked a few excellent questions about health care reform. I quote him here, from the journal Family Medicine:


The political debate over health care is focused more on peripheral issues than more fundamental, still unanswered questions. These include:

• Who is our health care system for? (ie, patients versus corporate stakeholders on the supply side)

• Should our health care delivery system be driven by a for-profit business model based on ability to pay or by a not-for-profit service model based on medical need?

• What is the role of government in setting health policy and providing checks and balances to the health care market?

All excellent questions, but the first one is especially trenchant; on its answer depends what one believes about health care reform. Who is our health care system for? And that question depends on an even more fundamental, ethical question: Who should our heath care system be for?



(Family Medicine, Vol 45 #1, Jan 2013, p 41)

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Steve Phillips
7 years ago

The first question connects very directly to the issue of whether medicine is a profession or a business. If it is a profession that is a sacred covenant between the physician and patient before God, then it is for the patient. If it is the business of providing healthcare to consumers then it is for the corporate stakeholders. in actuality it is some of both, but the business side has become so dominant that the perspective of the profession and others who provide care as a service to others before God seems to get lost.