In the original Mission: Impossible series, against all odds, through brilliant strategizing the good guys thwart stealth communist plots to undermine democracies. In trying to provide affordable, quality, personalized medical care, independent physicians face seemingly insurmountable obstacles: digging out from under piles of electronic paperwork, breaking free of third-party red tape, dodging hospital buyouts, and shielding patients from data mining and privacy intrusions.

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s2smodern

The days of trusting your legislators to have your best interests at heart are in the rear view mirror. Apparently, their main interest is parroting the buzzwords of the moment to get elected and then being too busy banking lobbying money to listen to the voters. Our legislators have become spectators who wait for the perfect moment to pounce on their political “enemy” and then go on cable news shows to boast about it.

The “us against them” attitude, punctuated by hyperbolic, apocalyptic rhetoric closes the door to finding solutions. Our interests would be better served by having town hall meetings where voters could state their concerns, air their differences, and learn what legislators are doing about their issues. Caution: meetings at 9 a.m. on Wednesday when paid activists are guaranteed to outflank the working general public are prohibited.

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s2smodern

People used to know who their doctor was. His name and phone number were on the wall or the refrigerator next to the telephone. He was there for you and could manage most of your problems.

When I was about 13, my mom took me to our pediatrician for belly pain. He was on his way out the door, but he stopped to take care of me. He diagnosed appendicitis based on history and physical examination. He called his favorite surgeon (“Billy,” a Tucson legend), who came from the golf course to meet me in the emergency room. Within hours, my red-hot appendix was in a jar. My parents paid the hospital bill ($150—10 days’ pay for a construction laborer) as I was discharged a few days later.

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s2smodern

According to the Oath of Hippocrates, physicians have the duty to advise their patients according to the best of their ability and judgment. In In most cases, most physicians recommend vaccination, believing that for a particular patient, the benefit exceeds the risk. Patients or their parents, however, have the right to decline to follow their doctor’s advice.

But with vaccination, government restricts this right. Every time there is a measles outbreak somewhere there is an outcry to restrict vaccine exemptions, to protect the public—and, just coincidentally, vaccine manufacturers.

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s2smodern

While President Trump called for unity and cooperation in his 2019 State of the Union address, the views of the audience showed a sharp and bitter divide, especially on issues affecting the health and medical care of Americans. Most striking was the solid bloc of Democrat “suffragettes” clad in white like Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

When the President congratulated women for their increased representation in Congress, this bloc rose to its feet to applaud uproariously, as if the home team had scored the winning touchdown in the high-school championship game.

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s2smodern

Stocks of hospital and Medicaid-contracted managed-care companies plunged  on the announcement of Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional. Some advisors consider this a “buying opportunity,” expecting that the ruling will be reversed on appeal. This shows who the important stakeholders are.

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s2smodern

This is the one hundredth anniversary of the great influenza pandemic of 1918. In his book The Great Influenza, John M. Barry described it as the deadliest plague in history. It killed more people in a year than the Black Death of the Middle Ages killed in a century.

The lack of a vaccine did not cause the flu. All epidemics start with an index case—which may or may not be identified. The great influenza may have begun in a patient in Kansas. The significance of the case was reportedly recognized by a country doctor, who was ignored. As the nation mobilized for World War I, and draftees from across the country were thrown together, illness spread and became much more virulent. Transport ships became “floating caskets.” Troop trains were “rolling coffins.” But Woodrow Wilson denied the existence or severity of the epidemic, and effective public health efforts were thwarted.

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s2smodern
Mike Scruggs