January 2009

The word “profit” comes from the Latin, to make progress. 

Profit is the difference between the price something sells for and the cost of bringing to market whatever is sold, be it a product or service. 

Within the healthcare debate, we’re told profit is bad, it is a dirty word, it must be eliminated from our healthcare system so that we can deliver quality healthcare to all Americans.

The problem is one of semantics; any business endeavor, whether it is classifed as “for-profit” or “non-profit,” must generate enough revenue to meet its financial obligations like operating expenses and salaries. 

In the for-profit business model, revenues that exceed the cost of doing business are “profits”, whereas the same excess in the non-profit sector is termed “surplus”. 

No matter what you call it, it’s the same thing, more money in than money going out. 

The damning of profit however is an extremely effective way to terminate any discussion of alternatives or options to the current system we have because no one from within the healthcare system is going to step up and say “but profits are good” or anything related to money.

It’s manipulation pure and simple – carefully crafted and designed, then repeatedly executed well, by those who wish to keep the focus on establishing a single-payer universal healthcare system in the United States.

How can anyone have a meaningful discussion of the state of our healthcare system if you don’t talk money?

There is indeed much discussion on the demand side of the equation, that is the cost to those who need healthcare and virtually no discussion about the supply side of the equation, the costs to those delivering healthcare.

We absolutely must open the discussion up, take it beyond its cost to patients, and look at all sides if we are going to fix the areas in our healthcare system that need fixing and address the issues that are important to us all – the quality of our healthcare, how and where to better manage costs, and how to reach out to and provide affordable coverage to those uninsured among us.

Share your thoughts on this matter in the comments!


In the United States, many feel our healthcare system is in “critical condition” – in need to drastic changes if we are to contain the costs, deliver quality healthcare and provide affordable health insurance to Americans.

As an insider looking-out, it’s interesting to see the issue take shape, how the arguements are frames and what outcomes various special interests want in our future. 

I’m not looking-out from the  inside because I’m a doctor, but because I’m his wife.  I have a unique perspective, understanding and stake in the final outcome that may radically change healthcare as we know it, but also the lives of those who practice medicine each day.

Doctors today find themselves in a tenuous position – if they oppose universal healthcare, or radical changes to how healthcare is delivered, they’re branded “greedy,” or worse, driven by profit-motives.

Those supporting reforms that take our system toward a single-payer system are embraced, enlightened and ethusiastically quoted in the media as if they represented all physicians and surgeons in the United States.

The truth lies somewhere between the two extremes, but you wouldn’t know that by the tone of the current debate presented by the media.  The issue is often framed in black and white, one or the other, we must do something or we’ll be sorry later for our inaction. 

We hear a lot of noise about health insurance and access to healthcare, as if the two are interchangable and totally dependent upon each other.  And we’re fed a steady diet of reasons why our system is miserable, inadequate and antiquated; earnestly told to look at other countries and their universal healthcare systems.

While I do agree that some things in our present system need fixing, I also do not believe a single-payer unversial healthcare system is the answer.  Here I hope to openly examine our system, its flaws, its triumphs and the professionals tasked each day with delivering quality healthcare in the United States. 

Because “profit” is a dirty word, doctors find themselves limited in their ability to articulate their position in the matter; more importantly they’re often not even asked their opinion in the matter.  So, while all doctors and other healthcare professionals obviously will not agree with my stance, I’m attempting to clarify the position of those that do.

My comments are open and moderated.  I will only reject those comments which are obvious spam or that a blatant attacks rather than lending an opinion one way or the other.

My blogroll is a mix of opinions, from various medical and science bloggers that I enjoy reading.  Their inclusion does not imply my endorsement or their endorsement of me and my opinions!