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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/12495/100-years-of-us-medical-fascism/

100 Years of US Medical Fascism

April 16, 2010 by

One hundred years ago today, Henry Pritchett put the finishing touches on the Flexner Report. No other document would have such a profound effect on American medicine, starting it on its path to destruction. FULL ARTICLE by Dale Steinreich


newson April 16, 2010 at 9:26 am

medicine is a warning to other professions hankering after increased collaboration with the government. lie with the devil, and be prepared to get royally

in australia, the ama (analogue to the us version) has a similarly corporativistic heritage. dentistry is also allowing itself to be brought into the fold, admittedly in piecemeal fashion. “care-plans” are spreading to physiotherapy, etc. welcome to the brave new world of agonizing over item numbers in order to receive payment from medicare (aust).

fakename April 16, 2010 at 10:06 am

It’s truly surprising the amount of misdiagnosis I’ve personally received from doctors (about chronic diseases, not about hay-fever or common colds). Would this problem be corrected in a free-market, probably. This is because most patients end up just getting fed-up with their treatments and end up trying to cure themselves. For some reason, this hasn’t created any major competitive set-back to doctors and therefore, there has been no resulting shift in research or application of effort towards this little understood class of disease.

DTY April 16, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I have always been puzzled by how many of the AMA-sponsored licensing requirements are of any benefit to patients. Perhaps the best example is the requirement that surgeons also be physicians. A surgeon is a guy that works with his hands, like a mechanic or a bricklayer (albeit at a higher level of skill). They don’t have to diagnose or treat; just cut!

Also, the use of the term “insurance” applied to prepaid medical care really burns me up. It is obvious that routine medical care is not an insurable risk.

Ace-o-aces September 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Wow, I can only assume you have just arrived from the 18th century via time machine. First of all, welcome to the future, and good job on learning to use a computer so quickly.
However, you seem to have missed the rather major changes in the practice of surgery since your time. A surgeon is no longer just some perfunctorily trained barber who hacks the gangrenous limbs off of half-dead patients without the benefit of anesthesia. Modern surgery is a complicated endeavour requiring knowledge of physiology, pathology and pharmacology. One must understand what you are “cutting”, why you are “cutting” it, and how this will affect other organs. Also, you must manage the patient post-operativly, including the use of antibiotics to control infection (requiring knowledge of microbiology, pharmacology and in many cases renal physiology). In truth, the differance between “physician” and “surgeon” in the 21st century is one of focus and specialization, but they are the same in regards to the knowledge base needed to perform successfully.

Abram T. April 16, 2010 at 6:25 pm

This is a fascinating and eye-opening article; however, I am a bit confused on one point. How were the Blue insurance companies able to make the practice of payment with little-to-no questioning so profitable? How do they do it now? The article states that they receive(d) government advantages, which I have long supposed. How big were/are these advantages? Were/are they subsidized outright?

Insurance to me has long seemed like some kind of arcane magic, but I now realize that someone somewhere has to pay. An organization lacking a constant and massive infusion of outside funds just can’t keep paying the obscenely high prices charged for medical care again and again and stay solvent. Could Mr. Steinreich or someone else please explain in greater detail how this insurance boondoggle works, or suggest some pertinent literature?

Jay April 16, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Blue insurance companies enjoy(ed) monopoly privilege.

HL April 16, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Wonderful to read good ol’ Dale Steinrich. I hope you are doing well. Rothbard would have approved.

Fred Mann April 16, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Good question, Abram T.. I wondered the same thing. This needs to be expanded:

A physicians’ group in Oregon that resented this type of scrutiny created a plan where procedures were reimbursed and fees paid with few questions asked. Plans with similar structures began dominating the market in other locations because of government-provided advantages.

es April 16, 2010 at 11:21 pm

One thing left out is the fact that before Medicare indigent care did exist in the form of ward care in hospitals. The doctor on call was responsible for caring for the ward patients free of charge. He could afford this because he could overcharge the well off. The hospital covered the inpatient costs from endowment and charity. Of course, when the local attorney or investment banker got sick he would pay through the nose. Now the Goldman Sachs executive pays discounted HMO rates and the indigent pay through the government. This libertarian view is all well and good but I have yet to see a libertarian with the balls to say that when a pregnant illegal alien in labor presents at the ER that the doors should be locked. Something has changed in the last 100 years and that is that some medical care has real life improving and extending benefits…..not much but some.

Tom Rapheal April 19, 2010 at 9:55 am

If the doctor can’t find it in his heart to help the poor lady, and there is no charitable fund at the hospital, then sure the doctor is perfectly justified in locking the door. The social fallout might be bad for him, but if he doesn’t care it doesn’t matter. Why are people that work for people that are under duress (doctors, pawnshop owners) expected to behave different than anyone else?

Bennet Cecil April 17, 2010 at 7:21 am

Most physicians do not belong to the AMA. Medicine is more complicated today than during Flexner’s time. Opening new medical schools and giving more autonomy to physician assistants and nurse practitioners would increase competition. Opening the federal employee health plan to the public would create economy of scale and competition. Make private health insurance premiums deductible to the individual as well as to business would be fair.

Logan April 17, 2010 at 9:47 am

I guess the difference between the allopaths and the quacks was that the government backed the allopaths!

Scott April 19, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Outside the less than fifteen percent that trauma and physical injury emergency care makes up of the total US healthcare dollar, considering the expense, deplorably poor ‘cure’ rates and outcomes of treatment, and the ability to further destroy the health of, including death, of 100′s of thousands of patients a year – it appears to me the government backed the quacks….excuse me,….allopaths. There is NO shortage of quacks within allopathic medicine, particularly in what they term ‘preventative’ and ‘disease’ care. The problem is they are too brainwashed or arrogant (likely both) to even feel guilty about it

Scott April 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm

The last sentence should be…..”they are too brainwashed or arrogant (likely both) to even feel guilty about it.” I would like to give some credit to the caring doctors who realize that don’t know everything…..and in the biochemical world we are barely scratching the surface of what synergistic complexity is going on in the human body.

Franklin April 17, 2010 at 11:35 am

“This libertarian view is all well and good but I have yet to see a libertarian with the balls to say that when a pregnant illegal alien in labor presents at the ER that the doors should be locked.”

Maybe you don’t see it, because it is not at all a libertarian view.
Nor is an “illegal” alien.
If a “patient” arrives at the ER, that is the business of the ER staff and management and the patient.
It is not the business of some busybody (government agent or otherwise) to determine what door SHOULD or SHOULD NOT be locked.

David Hindmarsh April 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm

The law of supply and demand, free-market approach, basic human rights, competition on a level playing field and increased education and training which helps prepare society for wars, terrorism
and natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes. What is the relevance of all of that?
Common sense tells me that if we as a nation have MORE health-care workers, then we also have faster access to health care, and it should be less expensive. Saturate the market with increased
numbers of capable doctors, nurses, technicans and assistants in the health-care careers, and we
should see lower costs, increased competition with higher quality, and less fraud, waste & abuse.
We have our military reserves and state National Guards and county health clinics and federal
Public Health Service hospitals along with the VA clinics and hospitals. I envision a sort of CCC or
Peace Corps of trained health-care workers (doctors, nurses, physician assistants, technicians, etc
along with more facilities). Get the people trained by constructing more schools, hospital and
clinics. Construction and education creates jobs. A huge spike in the number of health-care personnel and clinics would be interesting. Fast food (McDonalds, KFC, etc.) could be our model for fast medical care for the masses. Of course, the wealthy and the politicians could still have
their private, first-class clinics and hospitals so they don’t have to associate with the masses, sort of like going to a fancy steak house or country club restaurant instead of the fast-food joints.
If government can pour trillions of dollars into bailouts, boondoggles, and bombs in foreign wars,
we should be able to fund a process that gives us an enormous spike in the number of heal-care professionals and medical treatment facilities. Flood the market-place with available health care.
Of course, then after we have more available and affordable health care, what happens to the
insurance industry. Health insurance & health care should be two separate issues, apples/oranges.

David Hindmarsh April 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Can the USA become the world leader in universal, available health care? We are not trying to go to the moon or eliminate polio or small pox…just provide health care and/or health insurance to all US citizens. Illegal aliens can go to the Sisters of Mercy or Shriners or ACLU for help.

HP41C April 19, 2010 at 9:46 am

You mean *average* costs will go down, but of course total costs will go up under your plan. You don’t get schools, teachers, hospitals, and clinics for free.

We are already spending huge amounts of money on health care, now approaching 20% of GDP. You can get the public to cut other programs, shifting the money to health care? Fine, I’m okay with that, but the premise that we blew up the deficit by X billions on this, so we can obviously borrow X billions more for that, whenever we feel like it, is not a sane argument.

Using fast-food as your model is rather insane too, seeing as fast-food obesity is a major factor in expensive disease.

Scott April 19, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Of course, David, wishes to re-allocate funds ‘already being wasted’ somewhere else and there in lies the rub. Every couch-chair collectivist, liberal, or conservative has a ‘better’ way how to allocate the public wealth. His plan will only further increase the costs of healthcare at every level, but I guess these are ‘investments’ that the public will bend over for in order to get in return ….’immortality’! Then it may be worth it but don’t bet on it. Let’s go back one step further and look at the delivery and effectiveness of the current healthcare model and the one that both the government and the AMA wishes to continue. The current system is breaking at the seams financially and structurally. Healthcare services (and costs) and doctors have balloned over the last 40 years. Increasing doctors, hospitals, etc. comes with the pressure to treat more. Anybody look at the current ICD-9 bible of treatable diseases? More and more aches, pains, and ailments are getting their own and new classifications so they can be TREATED under insurance. Also, what are we getting in return…..not much….. for more than 80% of the health dollar is being spent on CHRONIC disease, not trauma or life-saving acute care. With the result that the best that allopathic medicine can provide is a long, protracted, expensive MANAGEMENT of the patients condition……..big bucks!!!! And to boot, they will still need the acute life-saving care once their condition has advanced and they have their heart attack, stroke, get cancer, etc., etc., etc.,etc…..Huge Bucks! Modern medicine’s promise for cures has been few and far between if not NIL, nada!!! How many trillions of dollars of been spent by the government and the snow-balled caring public on cancer, diabetes, heart disease, muscular dystophy…..you name the disease,there is a money-hungry foundation ready to collect off the fear and IGNORANCE of the public. And always, they say, we are on the cusp of ‘curing’ the disease. Stop being fools. The only way to cut the costs is to not need the services and then the prices will drop. Government funding and regulation already is too far over the top to allow efficiency and cost-effectiveness plans to ever be given the chance or to even work if allowed. David mentioned one thing interesting, McDonald’s, the biggest fear we should have in America is the acceleration of our deteriorating health not when and how much ‘management we are going to get for our diseases. Biochemistry and science has provided many clues in the past decades that for some reason does not get disseminated to the masses. The question begs….’Why is that’? As if we can’t really figure it out. Lifestyle change, reduced toxicity exposure from various sources including food, and individualistic metabolic and genomic nutrient need assessment will vastly make the largest impact on reducing health care costs. But this will not be easy because of the brainwashing, ignorance, and addictions we have all acquired by the extensively marketed food we eat and the healthcare system we have all prostrated to. We need to REDUCE the number of hospitals, doctors, and myriad of associated health care costs and we need to see the doctor LESS and get the government the hell out of health care irregardless how they are sold as ‘investments’ or other ‘humane’ rhetoric. Personal health responsibility and the ability to pay…personally…for our own costs of health care is what we should be striving for….even if it only goes so far in at least allowing us our own choice and use of our own dollars to purchase our own PERSONAL health insurance and in making cost determinations of the insurance policy of what we personally want it to cover….mangement care, catastrophic care, medications, abortions, etc., etc., etc.

Lemon April 17, 2010 at 4:29 pm

The is a huge difference between Health Insurance and Health Care. Health Care is provided by a Licensed Doctor, Nurse, Hospital etc. Health Insurance is the monies paid to these care providers by you or you employer thru the Insurance companies. Insurance companies are a business flat out. They are only as profitable as we allow them to be. In this plan they will have much more control than ever before over your payment. My questions are these. If you are willing to have the lower care provided by this plan then are you willing to not object when your control is removed? If you are willing to give up your privacy then are you also willing to give up the control of your decisions of your medical care? Many of the policies in this bill sound good until you realize the repurcussions of your actions in allowing it. The two main countries this bill is suppose to be drafted after are the U.K. and Canada. I live near a border btw Canada and the U.S. many of their patients are brought over here for care. The reason being they have a set amount of money when that runs out their patients are put in ambulances and sent through.They wait months for operations,which we consider minor and can be scheduled within a week. It seems there are the Give Mes, the I Wants, and the I have to go to work to pay for all the “FREE” Stuff.
Just a thought. The article had some good points but it doesn’t help nor change your life by reading it. The bill, well, it does take away some of your freedoms, then again maybe you didn’t notice when you read it.

LG April 17, 2010 at 10:14 pm

What it’s said in that article is true, (not 100% factual) but true none the less. Abraham Flexner is an evil man.

Travis April 19, 2010 at 6:33 am

This was a very interesting and informing article, but I sure hope you’re not actually supporting homeopathy as a viable medicine. I mean, sure, it was “better” than standard “medicine,” in the sense that drinking water is better than getting your blood taken out, but today, it would be a terrible idea to support it.

HL April 19, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I have used homeopathy and it worked for me. Sure, maybe you can’t replicate this in BigPharma organized doubleblind trials, but what do I care? If it works for me, that is the gold-standard; no amount of “scientific” research can prove otherwise. Period. Popper and his boys were wrong in more ways than one.

Travis April 19, 2010 at 4:30 pm

HL, do you think that the “BigPharma” boogieman conducts every single medical study? I assure you, medical journals have plenty of independent scientists doing research on the effectiveness of drugs, and on the non-effectiveness of the sugar pills that are homeopathic “medicines.”
Congratulations, you just conducted an experiment with a sample size of 1. The placebo effect can work wonders on a person.
Of course, the free market would, in the long run, lower the demand for homeopathic “drugs” as public realization of their ineffectiveness, and the concurrent dismissal by independent quality control companies and scientific journals becomes more and more apparent.

Scott April 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Why not? Homeopathy could probably stand up to the success rate of current cancer treatment and also not destroy the remaining healthy life left of those that do ultimately succumb to the disease. However, let’s be a little more contemporary and scientific. A huge help is for each individual is to know their individual metabolic and genetic weaknesses. Modern science has now been able to provide this inquiry into our personal make-up and the field of functional medicine is a pioneer in utilizing this science. Second, lifestyle has shown to be the single most causative trigger to flipping on our genetic predispositions. Educate, learn, and apply PROPER nutrition (it is much more than you think)and stop eating foods that ultimately destroy your health. Eat what you want but take RESPONSIBILITY for what you can do and not hope some other sucker will pay for your bad choices because you thought you are immortal. Reality hits hard and fast.

Travis April 19, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Scott, I think you’re confusing homeopathy for things like “all natural” supplements, or, like you said, lifestyle changes. What homeopathy actually is is the super-dilution of certain substances, such as certain drugs or plants, to the point where the chance of a single molecule of the original substance being in the solution is beyond Avogadro’s limit, or 10^-23. To put that in a more understandable format, the chance of you finding a single molecule of the actual “medicine” is 0.00000000000000000000001%. I recommend going to this website to learn more about homeopathy: http://www.1023.org.uk/
So far, no legitimate study has shown any positive effect of homeopathic “drugs” beyond that of the placebo effect. Why? Because it’s just water. Or sometimes they’ll feel extra generous, and drip the water onto sugar pills.
I also recommend the blog Respectful Insolence. It is a fantastic source for learning about all sorts of medical quackery.

Scott April 19, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Travis, Sorry, I did not mean to seriously suggest that homeopathy would be a wise or a personal choice to combat a ailment, I was just putting it into perspective what the success rate of allopathic medicine is with their protected holy realm of being the only ‘legal’ source and proclaimer of ‘cures’. Cures are hard to come by with the guesswork being made with our minds and typically usually the masses following ‘magic bullet’ treatments. Yes, I know what homeopathy is and I do not feel it is a wise or effective choice but still some will improve and swear by it. I stand by may personal opinion that it is probably as effective as current cancer therapy. And for myself, if I get cancer I personally would not use homeopathy, for example, or the medical establishments snake oil :-) I have chosen to make my health and lifestyle the major priority for myself based on sound science and a functional medicine based approach…..but remember, diet first is numero uno! If I fail, I will try harder and learn more if I still have the chance, but I will never give my body over to the feckless masses of institutionalized medicine.

Travis April 19, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Thank you Scott for continuing to provide a civil and intelligent conversation.
However, there is one point in your response that I find rather odd.
“I stand by may personal opinion that it is probably as effective as current cancer therapy. And for myself, if I get cancer I personally would not use homeopathy, for example, or the medical establishments snake oil.”
Now I agree that the current medical cartel in the form of the AMA and FDA has significantly hindered the expansion of useful treatments for cancers; however, it is quite the thing to say that current methods of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation are equivalent to drinking water. Great strides have been made despite government barriers in those fields in that the number of patients going into remission or successfully beating their cancer has risen significantly, and to equate them with placebos is a rather vicious insult to those who worked hard to fight against an irrational set of central planners to provide us with these amazingly effective treatments.

Scott April 21, 2010 at 11:22 am

Travis, as of all things there is the matter of personal opinion and, should be, personal choice. The reality of modern medicine is that it has its monopoly graced by its involvement intimately with government, not that central planners were trying to hide or prevent these ‘amazingly effective treatments’, you feel they medicine has provided, to the public. It all depends on the source of who is giving you the so-called facts. A sad fact is that modern medicine is not really so modern as we would like it to believe they tell us. Very complex and full of fancy high tech equipment but really has it evolved and advanced for the profession to honestly proclaim increasingly higher rate of successful outcomes? Back to taking cancer therapy as one example, but by no means the only one, the answer is NO! More technical diagnostics have made detection at an earlier stage and with that comes the dubious claim that patients are surviving longer with their cancers. A fact, yes, but a dishonest association with the reason and perpetuation of the belief to the public that it is because of advancement in treatment; which is not the case. The fact is the same percentage of people DYING from cancer is the same as it was in the 1950′s but a more alarming and troublesome fact, that medicine ignores almost completely, is that cancer rates are on the rise in ALL forms and in new and exotic types. Real scientific-based prevention is given very little, if at all, concern by the medical establishment and even less is given to the patient except a fear-based paradigm and alot of information that is incomplete, inappropriate, or just plain false. Cancer therapy’s high-tech treatments are the last evolution of a failed and dead-end path. And really only to be used as a last resort and predominantly on those who have ‘believed’ their doctors ‘expert’ advice and have done nothing adequately to heal their own illness. Toxic drugs, cut, slashing, and burning, which is what these therapies entail, is not ‘modern’ (even though very hi-tech) or even an evolution in the right direction for cures or prevention. All these treatments do serious harm to the patients physiology, immune system, and DNA and by no means result in anything close to what can be deemed a cure. To think one is cured to actually survive the treatment, let alone the cancer, and have their cancer go into remission is very naive and foolish, especially to continue to carry on a lifestyle that got them there to begin with and feel their doctor will step up and perform another ‘miracle’ for them when the time comes. Just as successful, for those who have experienced remission, have been various other treatment and dietary changes that LEGALLY the public is forbidden to even try; done of course in the public’s ‘safety’. Sure there are charlatans and snake-oil salesmen out there but why legalize a particular group of them out of the propaganda, lies, and money which sacrifices 1,000′s and 1,000′s of them each year and destabilizes the health of millions more with these drugs and horrific mutilating treatments? To save your life, you may think, but again that is a matter of personal, hopefully educated and knowledge-based, beliefs and personal choice. The masses will believe the hype distilled to them by the AMA and other allopathic organizations, the cover-up government, and mass media but there are more than a few very respected doctors in their field that has shed the light on their failure in fighting heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and basically in all chronic degenerative disease. Sound hopeless? Totally not because there is so much hopeful and serious science-backed information now that will blow away anything medicine currently offers and will finally led to effective and real competition. This is a big reason the medical and pharmaceutical professions are becoming alarmed and are doing frantic things to limit our choices. Obamacare is just one of the results to limit your choice and have you pay through the nose for services that more and more people are rejecting; and for the right reasons.

HP41C April 19, 2010 at 10:06 am

Those darn militant Italian Nationalists, they got their greasy hooks into everything didn’t they?

Cybertarian April 19, 2010 at 2:17 pm

How about artificial intelligence and conversational medical encyclopedias to enable patients to educate themselves and consult 24/7 at little to no expenses ?

I envision some sort of virtual doctor which can take blood tests, blood pressure, some other tests and then arrive to some sort of diagnostic and health management with the patient, in the comfort of his home, all for the price of the electricity it took to run his computer.

How about medical applications on the I-Phone, etc ?

Let’s render obsolete the physician profession, the FDA and the AMA !!!

They will lose tons of money, we will save tons of money and have more power and more say on our own health.

Scott April 19, 2010 at 2:51 pm

So what are these virtual tests supposed to tell you? You have a treatable disease? How are you going to treat it? With medications, diet and lifestyle? These simple tests tell you very little and are not much use to determine complex underlying physiological changes. They are only disease markers and come from allopathic standard of mis-care. Differential diagnosis is doctor thought up along with the isolated diseases they have named in order to treat and charge. Physiologically, everything is much more complex and thus more difficult to determine what is really going on when, for example, a person finds himself diagnosed with high blood pressure. You must take charge now, read and learn respected sources and make lifestyle changes now. Testing is not prevention and the majority of the people will need respected science-based nutritional, functional medicine, and six-planar movement exercise advice. Live well!

Toxicosis May 3, 2010 at 1:19 am

Scott’s assessment is accurate and reality based. It is vital to understand and comprehend that any form of pharmacological therapy which includes synthesized laboratory adducts and/or herbal drug products, even though useful to mitigate complaints and address acute and/or chronic symptomatic sufferings are always and have always been suppressive, chemically manipulative, and potentially pose a great risk of toxicity both in the short and long term. This of course will be both dose and patient dependent. However, since virtually every herbal or pharmacologic product is foreign to human biochemistry, with rare exceptions, chemical control has been the adopted ‘meme’ over the last century. It is a fallacy based on presumptous theory that any foreign toxicological agent has the capacity via direct chemical manipulation, influence, or forcible chemical change to correct states of illness or disease at either the level of susceptibility or that of chronic/acute nutritional deficiencies. No one is deficient in prozac, lipitor, ritalin, norvasc, echinacea, yellow dock, or licorice root. Foreign toxicological interventions are at times necessary to save life, impart detoxification, or even act as short term stimulants or suppressive agents if a body’s innate chemical mechanisms are either acutely deficient (common cold, influenza, mononucleosis) or profoundly overzealous( as in anaphylactic shock ). However, as is especially noted in conventional medicine the massive overuse, over prescribed, and over medicated public is an iatrogenic atrocity. Physicians and scientists of this bent possess the belief, not scientific assessment that symptoms are all there is to disease. It begs the question, how many symptoms are required to finally name a disease, and since when is a symptom ever a disease? Heat, redness, itching, burning, eruptions, and similar pathological changes are always the result of either all or a few of the innate adaptive physiological, biochemical, immunological, and a multitude of other compensatory mechanisms of the human body. Even the “evidence based medicine” meme that has inculcated itself into conventional therapy is another farcical attempt to abrogate patient care into group think subunits, devoid of individualized patient needs, complexities, and meaningful patient-practitioner interactions. There is nothing taught or verified in the natural sciences at any time that humans are ever biochemically, genetically, or epigenetically identical. Even identical twins can suffer from genomic changes, certainly possess differing epigenetic challenges and due to independent lifestyle choices can suffer states of degeneration markedly different from each other. Due to inherent epigenetic and biochemical variability it is an absurd theoretical construct which has damaged, destroyed, and unethically subjected much of the human race to a scientifically and factually flawed form of medical ‘care’. Allopathic therapy has a place, and it can prove both excellent and efficacious especially in emergency or acute traumatic care and when surgical interventions are of a neccessity. Acute care allopathic therapeutics such as the judicious use of antibiotics to save life or any number of other chemically interventionist methods cannot be disputed in some cases. However, their constant use especially once conditions turn chronic need to be dealt with more patient not infectious disease approaches as has been the abysmal case the last 80 years.
And if Travis is still reading this blog I have a question for him. Tell me Travis if the ‘Placebo Effect’ is truly a phenomenom( an effect or result that actually occurs) could you please point me to the “objective” fixed physical constant, measurable variable, or standardized parameter which supports such an effect in all cases of illness or disease. As a scientist I have yet to discover this ‘constant’ or parameter which would signify the existence of faith healing as well as a plausible measurement of the will or belief of the patient. Perhaps you can enlighten me.

Ned Netterville May 18, 2010 at 8:04 am

So, how are the Brits doing with their “superior” single-payer system? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1253438/Mid-Staffordshire-NHS-hospital-routinely-neglected-patients.html

Ace-o-aces September 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Despite the authors claims, alternative “medicine” is not banned. Go to any pharmacy and you will find all kinds of herbal and homeopathic “medications” for purchase. You are quite free to spend your money on a vial of overpriced homeopathic “medication” (a.k.a. water) which will do nothing to treat your illness. You can also see any number of alternative practitioners (from naturopaths to acupuncturists to faith healers). Heck, some states actually license these professions. However, when your appendix bursts, I’m betting you’ll race to the nearest ER to see the allopath (MD) or osteopath (DO) on duty.
And all that “bloodletting and high-dose injections of metal and metalloid compounds containing mercury or antimony” that mainstream MDs were doing? Most of that BS was perpetuated by your beloved “privately owned” medical schools. In reality, these were usally just diploma mills owned by quacks to produce more quacks. Once science based medicine was established as the norm, these quickly fell from favor.

nate-m September 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Homeopathic medicine is grandfathered in. It existed before the FDA regime and thus is still legal. If it was not for this fact there is no way any of these companies would be allowed to sell that junk.

Homeopathic stuff is a rip-off, but it does have the lovely feature that taking Homeopathic drugs never actually killed anybody. Unlike modern medicine, which is essentially based around the concept of taking controlled portions of poison. ‘What does not kill you makes you stronger’ theory to stuff. Except sometimes it does actually kill you.

But your still full of shit about the legality of this. Ripping off people is ok… like homeopathic or ‘faith healing’, but creating products that actually affect people and have the possibility of actually helping is not.

Which is why any sort of herbal medicine or other form of potentially beneficial drug is squashed as soon as it is determined it actually has some effect, unless it was developed by some major corporation and patented first.

Ace-o-aces September 17, 2011 at 6:58 pm

First of all, modern medicine is not “based around the concept of taking controlled portions of poison”, but rather the application of scientifically based evidence to assess the effectiveness of treatments. Medical doctors have no problem using “natural” or “herbal” remedies if they have been proven effective (i.e. St. John’s Wort for depression or Saw Palmeto for prostate enlargment). What is opposed is grinding up a bunch of random plants, putting them in a capsule, muttering some nonsense about “enegry flows” and “auras” and calling it medicine.
Yes, medical treatment can have downsides and potential side effects. Any treatment that is actually effective does. Once must always weight risk vs benefit when using pharmaceutical or any other therapy. This is true for “herbal” medications as well (turns out all those antioxident pills people were going gaga for actually increased overall mortality).
As for herbal medications being squashed…please. My local grocery is stocked full of “alternative” and “herbal” medications, most of which will only make your wallet lighter.

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