Saturday, January 06, 2007


In the days before Medicare and Medicaid, if you got sick you got well quick or stayed ill until you paid your bill. If you were poor or broke there was Welfare but the care was not so hot, a shot and sympathy's all you got. To pay the doc many hocked or pawned jewels or tools or sponged on relatives and friends.Then you ended up owing them.

If you called the doc he'd arrive in his black Cadilac. He seldom came a second time if your check bounced at the bank. That's the way it was then in the pay as you go medicine plan. There were physicians who had a mission to fulfill even if you couldn't pay your bill. They were dedicated, stayed at your side until you died.

There was aspirin, the drug of choice, and now illegal heroin. Penicillin eased pain and reduced the number slain by the enemy in World War II. In the 50s two vaccines came on the scene that, as we know, knocked out the foe to young called polio. Other miraculous medications. wonder drugs and future cures were sure to come. This led to specialties to treat disease, keep us healthy, make doctors wealthy, provide relief beyond belief. They prevent or cure to some extent illnesses that once sent patients to all sorts of physicians later, than sooner to morticians.

When Medicare was proposed medics opposed it vigorously. They feared government would take sole control of their profession, lead to socialized medicine. Did this lead to a Welfare State? That's a matter of debate. MDs feared, foolishly. it would affect their fee. Their wealth has grown enormously.

M&Ms of medicine---Medicare and Medicaid---don't just keep us well, they swell practices as more patients hope to be cured, reassured they're insured. Everybody benefits. It's a boon for doctors---check waiting rooms---for patients, for the pharmaceutical industry, the economy. We're living longer, getting stronger. We all win with M&M.


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