A note to fellow pre-meds: Say “ahhh”

| Forum Editor

While frantically searching for answers for my personal statement for medical school, I realized that I am already pegged as fresh meat for the medical meat-grinding machine. I’m sure that the hundreds of pre-med students here at Wash. U. already know what lies ahead in the glorified health field, but taking a closer look at the way modern medicine is run should leave us all questioning whether we get what we seek when entering the medical field.

Frequent Scrubs enthusiasts can relate to the show’s message of completely capitalized health care. It is indeed a terrible thing, for countless massive corporations like insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies consistently meddle in the medical field. After the World War II, small private and home-run medical services were slowly losing out to the massive hospitals where physicians were able to serve a larger clientele with ‘better’ equipment and supporting services. However, once the pharmaceutical companies realized that instead of bribing one doctor at a time to purchase their products, they could focus their funds to infiltrate an entire hospital. My experience in working in hospitals has not shown me otherwise. Physicians are given free trips to Las Vegas or Miami for “conferences” where the pharmaceuticals spend millions of dollars lavishly courting the physicians in order to gain customers. You might ask: What’s the big deal? It’s not like they’re committing any fraud or crimes—they’re just seeking new clientele through innovative methods to beat the competition. But therein lies the problem: Medicine has turned from a sacred and revered field to pure, heartless business. Pharmaceutical companies should use the millions of dollars they use for baiting physicians to prove to the doctors the quality of their product in a professional and scientific manner. In fact, millions of dollars that we pay for pharmaceutical products are used for courting physicians and hospitals, and if that practice was cut down, then the prices of drugs would go down.

Many of you may have heard the insane cost of malpractice insurance, but many do not know of the constant struggle between physicians and insurance companies. When running a private practice, many of the physicians relentlessly haggle with the insurance companies for proper payment. Much of the high-figure salaries look good only on paper, but most of it goes back into trying to run a practice or trying to get paid by the patient or insurance company. Today, there is a significant shortage of primary care physicians because many young doctors realize that in order to make decent money against rising malpractice fees, they must be a specialist. This vicious cycle only harms the patients and the physicians, and leaves the insurance companies with bags of money.

How can all of these problems be solved? How can we make it so that the people who need insurance get it and physicians can practice in which ever field they like instead of having to choose a higher-paying specialty to combat malpractice fees? The answer lies with taking the government out of the business of medicine and having them regulate the insurance industries. Hopefully, Obama will realize that the government should not have to monitor the medical industry, but instead should place regulations on massive pharmaceutical and insurance companies who have ‘respected’ politicians in their deep pockets. The idea of medicine developed thousands of years ago to cure the ailments of fellow human beings. That idea has been bastardized and must be rectified in order to create a healthy and harmonious society.

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