“Cured yesterday of my disease, I died last night of my physician.”
–Matthew Prior, The Remedy Worse than the Disease (1714)
Before I write another word, I want to say that I believe in the efficacy of modern medicine. And I am positively excited by everything from genomes to hormones to mHealth. As any of you who have read my columns in the past few years knows, I am thoroughly convinced that the breakthroughs in quantum physics explain and enrich what many of us have seen, experienced, and understood about healing. I would like to think I am a thoroughly modern nurse.
That being said, I am distressed almost beyond words by the prevalence of greed among healthcare providers, evidenced by the appalling amount of overcharging and downright fraud in billing – and the unnecessary and even detrimental “care” that seems to be rampant in the healthcare system. According to the U.S. General Accounting Office and health insurance industry sources, between 3% and 10% of any state’s Medicaid budget is lost due to fraud and abuse. The federal Office of the Inspector General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit convicted 1,226 individuals in fiscal year 2006 and recovered more than $1.1 billion in court-ordered restitution, fines, civil settlements, and penalties. Additionally, due to health insurance fraud, 3,425 practitioners were excluded from participating in Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal healthcare programs. And that is in the State of California alone.
If this were all, it would be bad enough, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. It is this inevitable incorporation of greed into the collective unconscious that not only will undermine healthcare reform but will continue to increase healthcare costs until it is no longer a question of reform but survival.
What has this to do with you and me? Everything. Even if you don’t believe in the quantum dictum that “the act of observation participates in creating the reality,” almost everyone agrees that the only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. So what this means is that you and I help create this situation merely by observing it—and doing nothing about it. We will be caught up in a vortex of greed. We will become like them: greedy vultures feeding off the sick and dying.
Brill S. Bitter pill: Why medical bills are killing us. Time Magazine. March 4, 2013. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2136864,00.html. Accessed January 31, 2014
Health Policy Brief: Reducing Waste in Health Care. Health Affairs. December 13, 2012. www.healthaffairs.org/healthpolicybriefs/brief.php?brief_id=82. Accessed January 31, 2014.
Schwartz M. Quantum Relationships. http://melschwartz.com/articles/Quantum%20Relationship.pdf. Accessed January 31, 2014.
Sweet L. Preventive Medicine and the Seven Deadly Sins: Avoiding Discipline Against your Medical License. Medical Board of California. www.mbc.ca.gov/Licensees/Seven_Deadly_Sins/Greed.aspx. Accessed January 31, 2014.