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Authors Liepert A, Babu M, Leichtle S
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Journal Bull Am Coll Surg Volume: 96 Issue: 8 Pages: 33-8
Publish Date 2011 Aug
PubMed ID 22319910

History has shown that the professions of medicine and surgery have been in constant evolution. Physicians, including the historical barber surgeons, often remained focused only on medical practice and patient care. As a result, the medical profession had a reactionary response to the financial and political circumstances that developed over time. Subsequently, physicians have worked in environments designed by nonphysicians lacking the benefit of medical insight. The most poignant example of this in the U.S. was the rapid development of private insurance and Medicare. Due to the surrounding financial and political forces, these programs rapidly changed the practice environment of medicine. Physicians found that they needed to participate in these programs to remain financially solvent. Various countries around the world have faced similar challenges of increasing health care cost. As populations expand, the need for care increases, but is limited by available resources. These global experiences can lend insight into the effects of different models and how variations may or may not work within the U.S. The effects of those systems demonstrate the importance of physician input into the development of new models. A long-standing unwritten rule in medicine has taught generations of physicians to avoid discussing reimbursement and health care politics. Yet, in order to recruit the brightest minds with a compassionate bedside manner, excellent judgment, and high vigilance toward patient care, medical professionals need to discuss topics related to reimbursement. The government, insurance company administrations, and other lobby interest groups freely express their interests in these issues. Physicians must engage in health care politics to ensure an adequate physician pool in the future to take care of patients. By influencing the structure of the health care system, including physician reimbursement, all patient care can be positively influenced. Copyright © 2016 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System