Question for Doctor D:
Why does it cost so much to see a doctor?Great question! There are lots of good explanations, but Doctor D's gonna give you a revisionist history lesson that will open your mind:
Doctor D's gonna take you way back to the US over a hundred years ago: There were lots of doctors and visiting them was cheap. Doctors made a middle class living and medical schools worked like apprenticeships. Doctors did their best, but they didn't have most of the cool lifesaving stuff doctors have now.
But big change was coming...
New biomedical research was going to alter medical practice forever, and "The Man" saw the opportunity to create a cash cow medical-industrial complex that would swallow the US economy whole. But first The Man had to knock the little guys out of the action...
The newly incorporated American Medical Mafia Association made its move, hiring the intellectual hitman Abraham Flexner to execute their takeover.
That shady Mr. Flexner visited every medical school in the country. He knew exactly how to break the legs of the competition: Science.
The Flexner Report: An offer you can't refuse.Medical science was bringing wonderful new knowledge into medicine, but in 1910 Flexner demanded that every doctor should be a scientist too. Every doctor must do years and years of basic science training before ever caring for patients. Flexner also recommended in his report that every medical school that wasn't associated with biomedical university research should be destroyed!
The mafia power play worked. The Flexner Report was hugely influential. The American Medical Mafia Association was given control over every medical school in the country. Don Flexner sent almost half the medical schools to "sleep with the fishes." With the little medical schools out of the way, the mafia now had complete control of who got to be doctors.
New Doctors: Nothing personal. It's just business.The personable old "doc" of the past was replaced with the new scientific physician who knew more about organic chemistry than human interaction. New student doctors were taught to approach their patients with the cold objectivity of a scientist watching an experiment.
With the warmth and kindness of the doctor-patient relationship gone the study-weary doctors had no one to identify with but each other. Doctors became less a part of their communities and more a society unto themselves—making them easier for the medical mafia to control.
With total control the medical mafia cut supply to increase demand. With fewer doctors the price of a visit skyrocketed. Even doctors who might want to work for cheaper couldn't because of the massive debt from their new med-science education.
It's All About ControlThe medical mafia keeps a tight stranglehold on medical schools. This country's population has gone way up in the last 100 years, but the medical mafia has been keeping a tight lid on the number of doctors. You might think with the current doctor shortage they would be begging every smart young person to go into medicine. Nope!
You want to be a doctor? You have to get excellent grades in lots of brutal courses, do a bunch of work on cells in a laboratory, be the president of some student organization, study like mad for the MCAT although it has nothing to do with medical practice, and promise them a decade out of the prime your life. Even still they're likely to say "No!" Every year thousands of bright students are refused entry to medical school even though they would make excellent doctors.
Refusal gives them power. It makes the ones that do get into the club special, powerful, and always in demand. With a stranglehold on the doctoring business the Medical Mafia has its fingers in every clinic and hospital in the country.
Ever wonder why the United States has to import doctors who barely speak English? Now you know. It's the only way to circumvent the Mafia's blockade on doctor supply.
But couldn't we just train more American doctors, shorten the length of medical education and lower its costs, and allow medical visits to be affordable and doctors to return to the middle class? You think The Man would let us get away with that? Forgetaboutit!
So next time you or your insurance shell out $600 for a visit to a specialist remember the Medical Mafia and Abraham Flexner. Don Flexner has been dead fifty years, but trust me he still owns us little guys.
Show some respect! The Medical Mafia is just taking your money for your own protection!
So what do you think? Most of medicine still sees Abraham Flexner as a hero. Doctor D's story may be silly, but most of the facts are true. How do we undo 100 years of history? How do we recreate quality medical care that doesn't bankrupt the country?
Doctor D looks forward to your ideas and observations in the comments.