This is a short story of a psychiatrist named Carol Paris, who is leaving her practice in the US and is relocating to New Zealand. She is fed up with a market-based system that jerks around both physicians and their patients in an effort to extract profits. As I have written before, US health care is compelled to offer a hybrid system of care for those who cannot afford the ghastly fees, especially insurance premiums, combined with those same insurance companies out to maximize profits. It may make sense to a free-market ideologue, but in practice, it is clearly a mess. It creates profits for shareholders by refusing coverage for those who cannot afford the premiums. The federal government pays for those not profitable to the private sector. Health care in America is, after all, a profit center. The Affordable Care Act has changed only some of the most egregious practices. Below is a partial transcript originally from Common Dreams.
Dr. Carol Paris is a psychiatrist. She’s practiced for 13 years in southern Maryland. And she’s fought hard for a single payer system. She’s even been arrested in Congress for speaking out for single payer. But now, she’s had enough. She’s closing her practice. And moving it to New Zealand.
“I’m so tired and weary of trying to practice sane, passionate, good medicine in this insane health care system in the United States,” Paris said last month in an interview at Union Station before walking over to protest in front of the Supreme Court against the Obama health care law and for single payer. “It impairs my ability to practice in a way that is ethical and passionate. I have a few years left in me to practice. And I’ve decided see what it is like in another country. I have a couple of friends who are psychiatrists who have done a sabbatical in New Zealand. And they said they are so sad to be back in the United States practicing because it was so much more sane and caring in New Zealand. I’m going to see what it is like for my own mental health.”
“The insanity here is that we have a system of financing health care in this country that is all about profit for corporate America and not about the health care of the people,” Dr. Paris said. “It is opposed to the health care of the people of America. You can’t be about profit and be about a social service.”
“Every day, I spend more time helping my patients figure out how to game the system, how to maneuver the system of health care insurance,” Dr. Paris said. “Maybe they can afford to see me and maybe afford medicine, but they can’t afford therapy. So, I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
“Any recommendations I make for my new patients is based on the assumption that they will have no health insurance tomorrow...."
For visual learners I have included the video below.
Good luck, Doc. Can't say that I blame you.