Doctors No Longer “Do No Harm”


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Another attempt at health care reform, this time the GOP’s effort to dismantle Obamacare, seems to be failing in Congress. Our guest this week, Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, the editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News and a Harvard-trained physician, says that maybe it’s time to look beyond Washington for a solution.

In order to do that, Rosenthal tells WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman, patients and the public need to look at how we got here. Why do prices keep rising? Why does 20 to 30% of some household incomes go toward health care? And how come the modern US healthcare system was designed by the same people who made chicken packing plants more efficient?

Rosenthal explains how many of the values of business, which healthcare has become, are incompatible with the values of medicine. She shows how the four-legged stool that is doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and Big Pharma works, and why patients are not a part of the framework — and why they must be. Rosenthal, the author of An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back (Penguin Press, April 2017), says that both personal empowerment and an appreciation of humanity is a far more practical way to address healthcare today.

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Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from man with stool (Fredrik Alpstedt / Flickr – CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

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