Therapy for a Desperately Sick Healthcare System

The American public remains too much in the dark and confused about the way our $3.6 trillion-plus healthcare economy works. Meanwhile, the costs continue to rise — premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, taxes, employer contributions, weak wages, and salary increases because of employer contributions — and the public pays more and more while receiving less and less.

Gaining access to quality care is becoming harder. Polls show that patient frustration is steadily rising, along with dissatisfaction over the severely limited time with a physician when one finally reaches the examination room.

How did we get here?

Typically, blame is placed on parts of the system that the consumer of medical care can see — physicians, insurers, and the drug manufacturers (aka Big Pharma).

Consumers have a sense of being gouged by a system that can’t continue without some form of intervention.

But the reality of our $3.6 trillion-plus healthcare economy is vastly more complicated than what the consumer sees. It’s largely in the shadows where the general public never glances and doesn’t have the time to penetrate and peel back the layers; but that’s where the special interests, the lobbyists, the politicians, and the regulators play.

Do you think that fully repealing “Obamacare” will lead us to paradise?

How about “Medicare for All,” something along the lines of the nationalized healthcare systems seen in other countries? Is that the path to Healthcare Heaven?

If that’s the way you think, be forewarned. The slogans on the bumper sticker are poor tools for understanding how the American healthcare system has become so desperately sick. And they won’t help in crafting a treatment that shows a serious understanding of what’s wrong. An underinformed public can easily be conned.

In a series of articles, I will explain “the drivers” of cost in our healthcare system, how certain entities you may not ever have heard of have risen to positions of control and self-enrichment. We will “follow the money,” pointing you to sources you can follow up yourself, and suggesting what you can do to advocate for a better path forward.

Originally published on The Bucks County Courier Times and featured here with Author permission.


Marion Mass, M.D.
Marion Mass, M.D.
In 2016, I was privileged to be a co-founder of Practicing Physicians of America (PPA), a true grassroots organization. We have a diverse board, including Brian J. Dixon, M.D., pediatric psychiatrist; Niran S. Al-Agba, M.D., pediatrician; Westby G. Fisher, M.D., cardiologist; and Judith L. Thompson, M.D., general and breast surgeon. With the publication of the position paper, Reducing Cost and Waste in American Medicine: A Physician-Led Roadmap to Patient-Centered Medical Care, for the first Free2Care Physician Symposium in April 2019, groups similar to PPA networked to form the FREE2CARE Coalition, which has since become an umbrella for 30 groups, 8 million citizens, and 70,000 physicians. Many in the coalition now speak, write, and advocate at the state and national levels to advance the agenda articulated in the original position paper. I have no conflicts of interest, have never taken a speaking fee, and serve as a volunteer on my county newspaper’s editorial board and with my county’s health society. Friends and family know my foibles and faux pas best. Sometimes, I’ve been so focused on the task at hand that I’ve run errands in public in my bathrobe—my attire of choice when writing at home.

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  1. Great questions, Marion. You are obviously in the trenches. I was headed there early on, entering a Pre-Med program in college which (after a NDE) got switched to Philosophy with a Comparative Religion minor. I didn’t finish, unfortunately, though I did maintain a desire to heal and make whole. Western medicine is thousands of years behind Eastern. Western (American) doesn’t consider a holistic approach, the health and well-being of the mind/body/spirit of patients and American citizenry in general; only addressing the allopathic side and puts Big Pharma in charge of treating symptoms instead of providing solutions for the whole being. We’re seeing a medical apartheid developing around the world right now as a result.

    Science across the world is validating the interconnectedness of consciousness with health; emotional, intellectual, mental, physical and spiritual. We’ll continue the spiral of dis-ease and disease as long as we allow our healthcare decisions to be dictated by corporations who are in the ‘Profit over People and Planet’ agenda rollout still. We call it Mental Health when it isn’t about health at all. Book-driven and limited thinking diagnosis and prognosis completely ignores the Emotional Health of patients and/or their natural state of being – even the highly sensitive who can sometimes present as completely erroneous DSM versions that ignore the science of mind, or consciousness and how our feelings and thoughts affect our health.

    In a stress-filled workplace, now in the home with the sequestration, and the knowledge that something about the rollout of the solutions for the pandemic just doesn’t FEEL right there are obviously needs and solutions that aren’t even being considered, let alone applied. How we restore the ‘natural order’ of our in-tune instruments as our bodies are instruments we just don’t know how to play, let alone tune to any scale except the obfuscated ideals of healthcare for all. As a country who supposedly leads the world in developing solutions, our legislators have reneged on responsibility, it seems, once they enter the fray.

    I so honor and respect the work you do, Marion, and how it can impact our present and future development.