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Shannon Brownlee

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Greed linked to healthcare ‘corporatization’ said to ravage America

“Avarice,” by Jesus Solana.

Vikas Saini, M.D., president of the Lown Institute, and Shannon Brownlee, the healthcare reform organization’s vice president, discuss in the Huffington the massive, greed-fueled corruption in U.S. healthcare that drives up costs to astronomical levels and ravages the economy.

They write:”

“Our health care system is no longer about relieving the suffering of patients… It’s about making money.
“Why? Because our increasingly corporatized healthcare system is driven by an insatiable appetite for profit. Our healthcare system is no longer about relieving the suffering of patients or the intrinsic value of maintaining the health of our population. It’s about making money: for pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers, hospitals, insurance companies, and increasingly, for doctors. And all of these players are gaming the system and hurting patients in the process.”

“Healthcare spending consumes one-fifth of GDP. While health care does create jobs, it also takes jobs away by reducing spending for other public goods: housing, education, and infrastructure. Healthcare costs bankrupt patients, choke small businesses, contribute to stagnate wages, and force governments at all levels to trim public services.”

To read the piece, please hit this link.

Guidance on reducing unnecessary care


In a Baltimore Sun Commentary piece headlined “The myth of more medicine and better health,” Dan Morgan, M.D., gives some advice toward the end of the piece:

“Although there are many factors promoting overuse {of medical care} there are a few things clinicians and patients can do to limit unnecessary care. Clinicians can educate themselves to the problem of overuse and become more thoughtful in how they use tests and treatments. Physician groups have determined lists of over 250 current practices that should not be done. The British Medical Journal has a section ‘Too Much Medicine’ and JAMA Internal Medicine has a ‘Less is More’ section, including a yearly clinician ‘update’ on practices to reconsider. Physician groups educate on ‘Right Care’ or ‘High-Value Care.’ Likewise, it is important for patients to educate themselves. Consumer Reports has a Choosing Wisely series for patients describing key types of care to avoid, and books by the Dartmouth primary-care doctor Gilbert Welch or journalist Shannon Brownlee are readable and informative.”

Warning to physicians, researchers: First, don’t fool yourselves


“King Lear and the Fool in the Storm,” by William Dyce

Shannon Brownlee, of the Lown Institute, in a piece about big economic conflicts of interest involving physicians, researchers and the drug and device companies that try to influence them, writes:

“Do I think pharmaceutical and device companies are run entirely by evil people? Of course not. They are working within the rules they’ve been given. Do I think researchers who have conflicts of interest are unethical and greedy? I’m sure some of them are, but most are simply kidding themselves that they can take the money, allow industry to control the agenda, and still conduct unbiased research. As physicist Richard Feynman once said, the first principle of good science is you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Moral or simply economic?

Shannon Brownlee,  at a Lown Institute conference, discusses whether medicine is a “moral endeavor” or simply a  set of ”economic transactions”.


“If we want to get to the right care, we must begin to envision a vastly different system.,” she said. “A just system. A system whose purpose is to serve patients and communities. A system that is not just reformed, but radically transformed.”

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