The Trouble with Lawrence Kansas

When the good idea of a free state, a place for nigs to become humans, Lawrence put itself up as that place, even after the oft-remembered Quantrill Raid and Burning. But this is no more. One of the notable things about now-adays Lawrence, KS, is its modern racism, which includes Injuns and wetbacks or, more appropriately, spics, as well as blacks. I say “more appropriately,” because the illegal immigrants that make sure we get the wonderful things that keep the American Dream alive cannot pronounce a long e, as in “speak.” There are some Chinese, too, but as they feed us, they are okay. As it were.

But this is not the most notable element of disgust these days. No. The more notable thing about Lawrence, KS, capital of arrogance and Dunning-Kruger, has to do with the medical profession. To wit:- the medical profession in Lawrence, KS has lost all sense of itself as a service to Mankind and any ethical imperative that might obtain from the Hippocratic Oath, which has become more akin to the Hypcritic Oath. Here as elsewhere.

The first abrogation of ethics and dedication comes via the Business Model of Medicine, which is not about medicine at all but about money. And it cost me my doctor of 30 years who suddenly did not have time to hear my stories. Now, this may sound rather petty but my stories are context and history. I am what is known as a good historian when it comes to diseases and disorders. In order to make an appropriate diagnosis context is important. The more so as, in my case, reaction to medications is so variant to the PR of Big PHRMA. And yet, with the wholesale adoption of the Business Model of Medicine by the entire practice, this physician who was once held to be perhaps the best in Lawrence and most certainly the best diagnostician suddenly threw in the towel on her Calling, as she once told me doctoring was for her; she threw that, her soul, into the waste heap.

Apparently what is important to her and all other doctors who have adopted the Business Model of Medicine is getting home on time, at a reasonable hour. Yet with the mandated 15 minutes per patient, it has not dawned on her and the others that they are working more than they did before. Yes. We complained about the long wait in the office before being seen; but we could not ever complain about the care we got. Personal.

Now, with the Business Model of Mecicine it’s screw the personal, screw the patient: what is important for the Business Model of Medicine is profit; that is to say, money, money, money because money makes the world go round, it makes the world go round, that clinking clanking sound.

She does not like the Business Model of Medicine but she is whole-heartedly bound by it. And, so, I do not see her any more.

This has been a great loss to me. As it has been to others who do not like and will not tolerate so many of Lawrence’s physicians, now almost totally owned, more or less, by the private local hospital, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, a monopoly that is rated by a branding business as one of the nation’s top 100 hospitals. If it is, god help the hospitals of the country. A branding business like Truven charges a fee for a “brand,” a catchy phrase, a one-liner that is guaranteed to generate income. Easy in Lawrence as the hospital is a monopoly. What choice do we have? Especially the poor, who are not wanted in Brownbackistan.

Let me explain. The Kansas governor is Sam Dale Brownback, a man who is bought and paid for and is, thus, very heavily invested in privatization. So much so that he has stolen from the public education budget to finance his own agenda, that is, the investiture of the much worse education produced by the privatization of schooling. He also has privatized, to great State debt, the Medicaid program. This allows doctors to “opt out” of one or the other of the three private companies that require money to run, money on top of what the feds pay; that is, the State of Kansas must pay the company to operate its Medicaid coverage program. Thus, a great debt incurred by the State.

The fact that practices and doctors get to “opt out” of one or the other of the three companies, means not only that ethical imperatives have been thrown to the wolves often for the most petty of reasons, but also means that some people are left without medical coverage. Poor people. Poor people, to Brownback, aren’t deserving. They have not done any pulling of themselves up by the bootstraps. A great American social myth, mind you, but a good cliché to hide behind for the inhuman. For Brownback, as with the Tea Partiers and the Libertarians, the poor should be damned to nonexistence because “if you can’t afford to pay, you deserve to die.” This is highly ironic, for these kinds of American Patriots scream and yell about the horrors of socialism (which they do not understand at all) and communism (which is all about an ages old prejudice) yet their stance is Marxist, though Marx is much more human about being inhuman; to wit:- if you do not work, you do not deserve to eat.

This is the question I have for the Business Model of Medicine: how can you appropriately diagnose a person’s disorder or disease in 15 minutes when you don’t have time for the personal or the contextual? This is, of course, a rhetorical question, for you can’t. People react differently to medication, Big PHRMA be damned, and the prescribing of medicine solely because Big PHRMA has said whatever is good is a prescription for trouble. But, really, who cares? For the trouble will take the poor fucker or the old fucker to the ER at the local monopolistic hospital which will wreak an amazing profit.

For me, who has had such trouble with medication side-effects, this is courting death. Indeed, I came close via an overdose of Lithium, though this is more to do with the Business Model of Medicine’s directive that all records of 10 yrs or older be set aside. Why did I suffer so? The necessary information that would have bypassed my toxic reaction and its attendant encephalopathy was 15 years old.

How many unavoidable problems and deaths could be avoided by having access to these records?

So it goes.

But this is not all. Concièrge Medicine has begun to seep, like a fast leaking faucet, into Lawrence medicine. Concièrge Medicine has no ethical base at all. It is even more money oriented that the Business Model of Medicine. Concièrge Medicine accepts no insurance, not even private. You pay a certain amount a month for coverage and access to the doctor. There are, of course, different programs all the way up to the, shall we say, Cadillac Program where you pay a high price for treatment. Concièrge Medicine is touted as medicine for all. However, with the least amount of coverage being around $40/mo, this touting is an outright lie. There are many people, all of them poor, who cannot afford such a fee. Oh, well, you know, they deserve to die, they can’t afford to pay.

There is a horrible capitalist mentality to this. Not that capitalism itself is a bad thing. But the mentality of money before anything else and develop, develop, develop is, somehow perversely associated with the American Dream, what led to The Dust Bowl and the present “drought” in California. Note: The Dust Bowl was called, for most of its existence, a drought. Interestingly, most of the Okies who made it to California were, in fact, Kansans.

These people, the doctors of Concièrge Medicine need to begin reading and paying attention to history, for not only are they willing disease and death on people for the Almighty Dollar, they are driving the end of the line, Crazed Caseys. The lies necessary to gain access to the American Dream eventually fall apart, as they did for Gatsby. And, as with every tragedy, the innocent are brought down as well. 

As Twain quipped, those who don’t read are more dangerous than those who can’t read.

So, in Lawrence, KS, the capital of the Free State, I am looking for a new doctor. Which, according to my immunologist, is what half of Lawrence is doing. I already ditched my long time doctor and I have ditched the doctor who practices by norms and averages and the graphs in her textbooks and whatever the hell Big PHRMA tells her and am now getting rid of one of the best doctors in Lawrence due to the petty refusal of one of the three private Medicaid companies, which could not happen under the Federal system. Am I having an easy time? No. Not at all.

No. I am not going to die. I will simply continue to cost the City and the State tons of money as it costs more than $800 just to pass through the doors of the private monopoly of Lawrence Memorial Hospital staffed by doctors who are more interested in saving their asses than in treating the admitted. . .and then come charges for the doctor, the drugs the tests and. . .whatever.

This, the medical deterioration of medicine into the pit of money hell, is the major problem besetting Lawrence, KS.

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