Medical Sensationalism For Profit

In this serious but somewhat satirical video Senator Claire McCaskill’s questions Dr. Oz about medical sensationalism, reminding me of what’s wrong with our health care system and prompting these thoughts…

Follow the Money — From their first days in medical school doctors were trained mostly to diagnose and treat disease, not how to avoid it, because that’s how they get paid in our fee-for-service care delivery model. They learned how to profit from illness and injury and were taught little about the three pillars of health – nutrition, exercise and sleep. But that’s starting to change with the growing acceptance of alternative & complementary Functional Medicine approaches that Dr. Stephen Schimpff describes as Integrative Medicine. The catalyst for this shift in my view is (1) the recognition that we have a problem and (2) implementing health reforms to address it.

Big Money in Politics — Powerful forces in the medical industrial complex, however, have been resisting reforms that could cut our health care expenses in half and save our nation over $1.5 trillion/year. That’s primarily because they’d lose a lot of profit and wealth, and so they’ve been spending twice as much on political lobbying as the Military industrial complex. Steven Brill, in his TIME Magazine special report, Bitter Pill, describes the sources of our system’s high costs. Those health care costs are twice that of other nations, yet we still live sicker and die younger as a nation.Motivation

Incentives — As I’ve written before, I think the key is in getting the incentives right, and I’m encouraged by the course correction we have taken with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

The Third Metric — I’m also encouraged by the growing number of influential people who seem to “get it” and choose to live their lives with purpose. One of them is Arianna Huffington. In her new book, THRIVE, she describes a third metric of success that goes beyond money and power (both featured in the video above) and includes the four pillars of well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. I highly recommend it.

Purpose Over Profit — I do believe that most doctors get into medicine with the purpose of helping people, but they sometimes forget that it’s far better and cheaper to keep people healthy and well to avoid the need for medical interventions in the first place. That’s why I’ve posted so many articles on exercise, nutrition and sleep as the three-legged pillars of health. And it’s why I’ve also been working with Dr. Bruce Wayne Meleski to open Intelligent Sleep Centers as a new approach to sleep wellness.Dr Oz

My Hope for Dr. Oz — His TV personality and programs have brought him fame, fortune and power, but that power is best served with a purpose of serving society, and that means educating rather than sensationalizing medicine and selling snake oil. I hope he has learned that important lesson from his grilling in this Congressional hearing.

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