Given all of the recent drama about the gutting
of "Obamacare" this 2013 blog is shockingly relevant.
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF.
Given recent "Obamacare"furor,
I find myself dreaming of days
gone by. While not ancient, I
grew up in a kinder, gentler era.
Physicians were members of our
extended family. Trusted advisors
who sat at our bedside whenever
we were sick. Somewhere along
the way we lost our way and now
the patient is in critical condition.
Politics aside, without medical
insurance you might as well be
dead. In my youth I tried to pay
obscene medical bills due to a
lack of insurance. Only to give
up and file for bankruptcy!
If it can happen to me, what of
those in more dire straights? Is
proper health coverage a right
or an earned privilege? Many
argue one must pay as they go
but is that fair? In the old days
doctors adjusted their fees based
on a patient's circumstances.
Today's system is too large and
too strong to allow anomalies.
If you don't fit in, you're out.
Now many are afraid to get sick.
Has it always been that way?
In the late 1960s while spending
the summer in New England, my
mother fell ill. A friend referred
her to a doctor in Tamworth,
New Hampshire. A country doc
more reminiscent of a Rockwell
cover painting than Dr. Kildaire,
Dr. Edwin Crafts Remick was a
seasoned professional who later
became a beloved family friend.
A second generation physician,
Dr. Remick practiced out of his
circa 1808 farmstead. His office
was filled with equipment used
daily by he and his father for
over 100 years. Within minutes
this country doctor diagnosed
Ethel's ills plus a few others
missed by Park Avenue's best.
For years after, my parents
made an annual pilgrimage to
Dr. Remick for their physicals.
Year round "Doc" was just a
phone call away for comfort,
advice, and unofficial diagnosis.
Never retiring, he died at age
89 shortly after seeing a patient.
Until her death Ethel lamented
the loss of Dr. Remick and other
"old fashioned doctors". While
writing this blog I googled him.
To my surprise his home is now
a museum - find out more. My
discovery brought me to tears!
A shot in the arm
In the final years of his practice,
Dr. Remick charged $17.50 for
an office visit or house call. In
today's economy that's $28.32.
Equal to many co-pays, that's
well under the 2011 average of
$104 per fifteen minute visit
(source: American Medical
Association). While I'm not
very optimistic about anything
that comes out of Washington,
there has to be a better way.
Otherwise the patient is at risk.