I attended a talk on healthcare at Star of the Sea Catholic Church in San Francisco last week given by my colleague at Pontifex University, Dr Michel Accad last week. Much of the talk was devoted to consideration of the options that Catholics have for affordible healthcare.
Dr Accad spoke in detail about sharing ministries as alternatives to health insurance; and how many general practitioners are structuring their practices in a new way so that they are employed directly by the patient and act as their advocate. This is in contrast to the usual arrangement where the doctor effectively becomes an agent who sells treatments and drugs for the providers to the payer, who is not the patient, but the insurance company.
In his new model, in contrast Dr Accad is motivated to act on behalf of the patient first, and so is an advocate for him, striving for example to bring down the cost of treatments and drugs by negotiating with pharmaceutical companies. He is also able to devote much more time to their care. Furthermore, it enables him to offer treatment that is in accord with Catholic social teaching.
He opened up his talk by asking the question: who here thinks healthcare in this country is going well? No hands went up. He then described how it is possible to have healthcare options that allow for the flourishing of the patient as a human person – body, soul and spirit – and a relationship between doctor and patient that is fruitful for both patient and care provider.
In the Q & A session afterwards, it became apparent from the discussion that this was of interest not only to currently disgruntled patients but also to doctors who are frustrated that they cannot give the sort of treament they would like to give. Several spoke of this frustration under the current system.
Dr Accad is a medical doctor (qualified both as a general practitioner and as a cardiologist) who is able to take a broad view of the crucial issues involved. He is one of those rare people who is simultaneously able to analyse the details and to synthesise it all into the big picture. A committed Catholic he writes about medicine and is published in peer reviewed medical journals; he writes about the philosophy of nature and philosophical anthropology and has been published in The Thomist; and he has delivered papers on the economics (Read More)