This commentary title is an truncated and slightly altered version of the following quote from the brilliant essay by Dr. Michel Accad. "Medicine today is dominated by the collectivist ideology" . See here for the reference to his 2009 contribution.
This is a theme I have thought and fretted about far too much.Many of the thoughts I have mulled over and occasionally expressed in this blog are far better expressed in Dr. Accad's essay. Here is a sample;
"In the broadest sense, medical collectivism is the belief that medicine
cannot be left to voluntary and unrestricted transactions between
individual patients and individual healers but must be improved,
directly or indirectly, by the hand of government."
" Individuals and populations ,patients and society are conveniently conflated as a matter of fact."
And here is the real money quote.
"..hoodwinking physicians into practicing population medicine is of course the essential means to confuse practitioners into thoughtlessly carry out sweeping interventions whose primary benefit is the profit of third parties."
Docs who were trained in my era ( I know that was a long time now-MD-64) learned that the principle ethical precept was do what was right for the patient and there was ,with few exception.s no other obligations. What was definitely not on the table was the notion that physicians had an obligation to conserve the nation's medical resources. Social justice was not on the table.
I believe the metaphor of the Bootlegger and the Baptist captures an important aspect of what is happening in medical practice in the United States.
I do not envision a wide spread plot or conspiracy of third party payers and academic physicians and leaders of major medical professional organizations meeting regularly to further their long term dream of finally taming the physicians and disabusing them of their traditional role as a fiduciary of their patients. However, the third party payers certainty welcome the efforts of the academic medical elite in that regard and some times welcome them into their ranks .
The Baptists in this conception are those physicians who sincerely believe that in the age old conflict between the interests of the individual and those of society as a whole that the trump card would be held by society.The Bootleggers are the third party payers whose bottom line increases in proportion to the acceptance of those views.