Healthcare Policies are Devised by Those Who Are Not Experts in the Field

Dr. Gross Health Guide
  • In a recent column, I spoke of "well trained philosophers" who are the equivalent of certain basic science researchers in the field of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The double entendre was that some of these learned immunologists were riding a "train to nowhere" on the matter of positively influencing MS patient outcomes.


    This is heresy of course. Everyone knows that sequential, tedious, established fact based bench research is the key to any success in medicine. Tell that to William Withering whose bench was in a park somewhere in England in the 1700's where he picked foxglove plants out of dirt and then changed the course of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) therapy by administering such leaves to people who were CHF patients. Unbeknownst to Withering, he was giving them the pharmaceutical known as digitalis.

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    So we return to analogy central with the Presidential candidates. Everyone knows that these learned individuals, most of whom are royal rulers called lawyers, have studied the "Health Care System" for years via cocktail parties with lobbyists, chit chats with economists and experience with their own family members who had actual diseases. They are even more than well-trained philosophers. These are people of action. These are individuals who have plans for health care. Several have even drawn up health care plans or implemented them via the institutions of credentialism known as, "The Government."


    Empiricists such as Dr. Withering, "field workers" in medicine, are in fact allowed to comment on health care. Seasoned scientists, particularly those with clinical trial experience, can comment on health care. However, because the government leaders are in charge of health care, the government leaders are the ones who not only comment but also develop and enact plans for health care. Modern day Witherings, some given grandiose titles like "Cardiologist," some board certified MD with a vast MS practice who's just a provider, some woman who writes chapters in medical text books on Myelitis, some group of patients who have "Dropsy" and know first hand about its human toll, cannot direct the course of health care.


    They don't understand what health care really is. But that's okay. No one does. That's how you get to be an expert on it. You show up at a Presidential debate and pontificate about it. No one knows its meaning so all debate participants can be authorities on it. Eventually, if you become a power broker in the government, you can propose and/or impose plans involving health care. Alternatively, you can be a Free Marketeer about health care. Wearing that hat, you don't propose anything about health care. You let the health care free market dictate its own fate. Now let's be clear. Britney Spears is not a Free Marketeer; she's an Expensive Former Mouseketeer even though she also wore a hat at that time. That was a different hat than the hat you wear when you are a Free Marketeer. I just needed to be clear on that point before taking this to our next article.



Published On: January 22, 2008