Letters to the Editor

Health care: With TV, who needs doctors?

Is the cost of health care making you sick? Health care cost has exploded into a national dilemma. What once was the privilege of aristocracy and blossomed to become the hope of every American is returning to its former status. It soon may price itself out of reach for common folk. If it does, it will be a disaster for us all and most likely for health providers too. But there may be a solution (or maybe just the problem) glaring at us right from our TV screens.

Pharmaceutical companies are spending billion of dollars to convince us we don't even need doctors. Slowly their message is emerging to subliminally convince us that the letters MD only stand for “mud,” and Ph.d. should be pronounced “phud.” They think we should listen to them, diagnose ourselves and tell our doctors what to prescribe. Are they right? It could be a purple pill that moves mountains or anything from Vioxx to Viagra which of course turns you into a joyful skater waking up to a beautiful morning or a cavorting night owl. Aren't doctors supposed to make these decisions? Isn't access to all these marvelous chemical interdictions their restricted domain? Apparently pharmaceutical companies want this to change. Should it? Since the medical profession can't make up its mind whether eggs or salt are good for us, they may have an argument. Are doctors dummies or are we dopes for being misled by greedy drug company advertising?

Meanwhile, billions of dollars are being added to the cost of prescription medicines for TV ads trying to convince us that we should tell our doctors what to do. We are paying that bill. This thing is going on like election advertising without the relief that election day brings. We better do something soon.

If doctors are as incompetent as drug companies portray, then we don't need them. In that case, let’s quit the whole prescriptionprogram and make them all over-the-counter items. We could do our own doctoring by TV. That would really bring the cost of health care down, especially since we might not live long enough to pay.

On the other hand if doctors can be trusted to make good decisions and do right things (let's hope so), then we don't need the decimating cost for TV advertising that is driving the cost of prescription medicines right out of reach and our pockets into bankruptcy. Stopping that alone would bring the cost of health care back to some kind of normality. What's more it could be as simple as getting our elected officials to refuse the big money drug makers are slipping them out in the lobby and make prescription drug advertising illegal.

Let’s do it. Let's wise up. Let's roll on it. Let's get behind-the-scene Enron ethics out of medicine. It would be great if we could get unethical greed clear out of America. I'm glad for skaters who enjoy beautiful mornings and hope that night time activities go on forever too, but right now we all are footing a bill that is festering into a full blown cancer. Many already can't afford the medical care they need and our national Medicare system is being pilfered almost out of existence. They are making suckers out of us all. The sooner we can get this nonsense over, the sooner we can get the cost of health care back to reasonable and affordable limits. Doctoring needs to be dependable and prescription drug advertising illegal.

Al & Barbara Williams

Oak Harbor

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