Headed for medical meltdown

That’s the title of a nice rant/op-ed piece at the Houston Chronicle’s online effort, chron.com.


By KIRA BACALchron.com

Once upon a time, health care was a matter between you, your doctor and the chicken that you used as payment. Then it became a matter for you, your doctor, your employer, your health insurance company, the doctor’s malpractice insurance company. The list goes on …

I am a doctor. Although not old enough to have personally experienced the days of the chicken, I am old enough to be alarmed by this trend. It was out of a desire to learn, “How do we get back to the chicken?” that I left my emergency room in Houston for the U.S. Senate.

I wish I could say that I came away from the experience heartened by the dedication and attention that our leaders are lavishing on the “health care crisis,” confident that bold solutions are just around the corner. Unfortunately, my time on Capitol Hill left me less optimistic than before.

I thought it was from a field-trip, but apparently not:

Bacal is a physician with specialty training in emergency medicine, aerospace medicine, and public health. A graduate of Baylor College of Medicine’s Medical Scientist Training Program, she has worked on health policy for the U.S. Senate as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow.

I know nothing of the New Zealand solution mentioned; can anyone enlighten me?


  1. Goatwhacker says:

    Looks like a good overview here

  2. Re: Enlightenment

    company website:

    Gubbment site:

    I’m finding a lot about their coverage of injuries, but little about illness.

    If I research it extensivly, then I’m afraid I have to charge you for it. Must go study.

  3. New Zealand has a no fault type of malpractice. It’s not even that, if you are injured or if you are worse off even if there is no malpractice you can get funds. Docs there encourage their patients to apply to the fund when they have a bad outcome. No one sues anyone.

  4. Goatwhacker,
    Cannot read the article, even with bugmenot.

    The second of EMT2Doc’s links refers to

    Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) provides work-related injury cover for all New Zealand citizens, residents and temporary visitors to New Zealand.

    We are the sole provider of all work-related injury cover in New Zealand. We also provide injury prevention services, case management, medical and other care and rehabilitation services.

    Sounds kind of like WorkComp for everyone, but it keeps saying ‘injury’ and never says ‘illness’. Hmm.

  5. ACC’s definition of ‘injury’ is fairly broad, but it’s not intended to cover illness. I’ll see if I can dig up some better references.

  6. Goatwhacker says:

    Hmm, looks like I accidently got into the article through a backdoor. I guess I could get into it again and copy it but I’d probably be infringing on their copyright.

  7. I don’t want to get sued, but I REALLY don’t want to get paid in chickens.