The author of Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much (Harper/Collins 2006)
During the holidays, I received the letter below from Dr. Peter Eisenberg, Medical Director at California Cancer Care, an oncology practice in Northern California. A member of The Century Foundation’s Working Group on Medicare Reform. Eisenberg is a very experienced, and successful oncologist, who has served on the board of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Association of Northern California Oncologists.
One of the things I admire about Eisenberg is that he pulls no punches. In the extraordinarily candid letter below he criticizes a health care system that pays physicians fee-for-service for “doing more” in the form of ever more aggressive treatments.
Sometimes they are effective. Often they are not. Meanwhile, the same system pays little or nothing for what some call “thinking medicine”—consulting with other doctors, counseling patients, giving them choices, and offering services that recognize patients as human beings.