Retake the High Ground

July 1, 2000

Publisher's Note

Retake the High Ground

We arrived at the turn of the century with a great paradox. A paradox created by our
own disjointed approach to healthcare delivery. On one hand, we have created tremendous
new medical technologies and knowledge that has far advanced the quality of medicine and
healthcare. The great university and medical school system that has evolved in the past
100 years has minted the best and brightest caregivers. Science has created innumerable
advances. The creation of antibiotics has forever improved our welfare, health, and
longevity. Our wealth as a nation and a society has created ways for us to afford these
advancements. People everywhere have truly benefited.

On the other hand, during the past 25 years, we have gradually turned over the
healthcare system to insurance companies. How we have forfeited the delivery of medicine
to the financial businessmen and insurance companies has been documented at length but is
still unclear. When was the last time you thought about going to see a nurse or physician
for financial advice? This makes little sense to most of us. Yet, we virtually go to
financial analysts at the insurance companies to determine whether we will undergo a
needed medical treatment.

Forfeiting the control of healthcare delivery has created many financial and medical
dilemmas. During the process of the forfeiture, we have pushed much of the financial
burden of healthcare costs to employers and let the government at all levels fill in the
blanks. Isn't it clear that while we took our eye off the ball, someone else in a
three-piece suit saw the windfall of opportunity and seized it for themselves? Well, maybe
we weren't looking when the forfeiture took place but now the situation has our attention,
and the lines are being drawn.

Perhaps you have already given up and surrendered control. Perhaps you are thinking
about fighting for the right result. It seems to me that this year's presidential politics
could create the right climate for turning the tide. At the core of the notorious soft
money debate are insurance companies and the healthcare industry players.

Our best insurance policy for guaranteeing quality healthcare for everyone is to be
sure that doctors and nurses--caregivers of all kinds are placed back in control of
medical treatment. The best insurance policy is one we write for ourselves. Let's choose
to place medical professionals back in charge. As a society, let's choose to provide
quality healthcare to those of us who truly can't afford it or are not covered properly.
Let's choose to retake control of healthcare. We have the national wealth to give proper
healthcare to everyone. Tell the presidential candidate of your choice about your choice
to be back in charge of healthcare. In the end, we can't afford to do anything less.

Craig Burr

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