On Monday, Mike the Mad Biologist posted about the sheer idiocy of “choice-based health care,” which seems to be so en vogue today in the Republican party and elsewhere. He writes:
One of the most ridiculous ideas to come down the pike is the notion that most people, who are woefully ignorant of medicine and biology (e.g., the massive misunderstandings about antibiotics and infectious disease), will actually make intelligent decisions regarding their own healthcare. In fact, I bet most people would do worse than flipping a coin in many situations. That’s before you get to the roughly twenty percent who are functionally illiterate.
The nice thing about the world we live in today is that we have professionals who have slaved away for years… willingly… just to be able to make these decisions for us… so that we don’t have to! They’re called physicians. Division of labor is a beautiful thing.
I’m a biomedical scientist, and I certainly don’t consider myself qualified to determine the proper course of my own medical care. (Despite this, even members of my own family occasionally approach me with medical questions. Fortunately for me, the vast majority of this is deflected by my uncle, who is a real medical doctor–but unfortunately for him, I suppose). I don’t think I’m alone on this front, though, as even physicians themselves apparently have difficulty determining the proper course of their own medical care.
As a scientist (and as someone who once considered becoming a physician), I can’t help performing at least a little bit of basic research on the science behind medical issues facing me and my family. Of course, that’s the interesting part. But, now, apparently, I’m supposed to… no, sorry, I get to spend my rare but hard-earned free time feverishly studying a variety of variables to determine exactly what medical care I need and where I should seek it the next time I get sick (and, knowing me, I’m probably already deathly ill by the point I’m doing this anyway), all because the US stubbornly and solely resists transitioning to a modern universal health care system?
Count me out… if I have a choice.