We Are Suckers!
I hate to say, but we’ve been duped by Steven Salzberg.
Not only by his medical bigotry or by his gross lack of fair journalism, but by the fact that he has purposely stirred the pot of controversy not to create a sensible debate about the woes of Medicare, but to increase hits on his blog.
According to PR professional, Laura Carabello of CPR |STRATEGIC MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS, “Yellow Journalism sells newspapers – or increases website hits to the Blog – which is how these Bloggers get paid.”
So the more people respond to his biased misinformation, the more he earns. Are we suckers or what as he smiles all the way to the bank?
In retrospect, her comment makes sense since other yellow journalists make millions by doing the same thing. Think of yellow journalists at FOX News like Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity as well as radio demagogues such as Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck—they will say the damnedest things to get attention to show their advertisers their huge number of viewers or listeners. And these demagogues make millions annually–$20 million for Hannity and Beck to $50 for O’Reilly and Limbaugh.
This ploy makes perfect sense considering if Salzberg really wanted to have a rational discussion about the huge costs of Medicare, which was supposed to be the subject of his article before it turned into a chiropractic witch hunt, he might have probed the more obvious issues this Medicare report broached.
Not only was the sum of money paid by Medicare to physicians shocking, such as the $252.4 billion in charges and $77.4 billion in payments, the average reimbursement per MD for the year was $87,883, or the fact that more than 2,000 of those medical providers broke $2 million in Medicare receipts.
Keep in mind the AMA and GOP adamantly opposed Medicare/Medicaid when JFK first proposed it in the early 1960s. Ironically, this program has now become the AMA’s own cash cow.
Salzberg also might have questioned why America spends so much money on a medical system that is so ineffective considering this country leads the industrialized world in every category of chronic degeneration disease although America spends ten times more money than the next ten countries combined.
He might have also discussed the ungodly amount of unnecessary surgeries considering Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy suggests 40% of all heart, back, hip and knee surgeries (as well as the hospitalization costs) are unnecessary. We chiropractors can attest to the medical mess left by unnecessary fusions that we clean up daily in our offices as the proverbial last resort.
This yellow journalist might also have discussed that more Americans die annually from opioid painkillers than car accidents. The Hillbilly Heroin epidemic is rampant as MDs hand out Oxycotin like Halloween candy.
But the most glaring oversight of Salzberg’s diatribe was his complete omission of the most obvious point in this report—that the AMA squelched this information for the last 35 years to keep the public from knowing how expensive the Medicare system has become to taxpayers as well as enriching to their doctors.
The Center for Medicare Services released data of Medicare expenses for the year 2012 only after a court order lifted an injunction sought by CMS that had been in place since 1979 in behalf of the American Medical Association.
So, where was Salzberg’s outrage on this suppression by a trade association, the AMA, once dubbed by Harpers magazine as the “most terrifying trade association on earth”?
Now we all can understand why. Considering that Medicare is a publicly-funded program run by the federal government for the benefit of the people, yet this singular private, self-serving trade association was able for 35 years to prevent this information to the public.
Instead of addressing these important issues, Salzberg has the gall to write, “If we want to start controlling the cost of Medicare, here’s an easy first step: stop covering chiropractic. We will save $496 million a year, and people’s health will improve.”
What the hell is wrong with this man? Obviously the push back from the 224 blog responses as of Friday morning, five days after its release, indicate that few bloggers agree with him. But his goal wasn’t to find agreement as much as to stir the pot.
Indeed, there are many things Medicare healthcare reform can do other than suppress chiropractic more than it already is, such as cut back on the 40% of unnecessary surgeries, lower hospital costs as Steven Brill suggested in his TIME article, Bitter Pill, or cut back on medical fraud that is rampant in the medical profession.
Again, Salzberg is the sly demagogue who knows if he makes outlandish statement, good-willed people will respond and that’s what this yellow journalism is all about—getting hits so he profits.
I imagine if Salzberg is willing to be branded as a yellow journalist, so be it. He has already aligned himself with the medical trolls at the so-called Science-Based Medicine website and none of them are legitimate scientists either—they are simply medical haters who bash any and all CAM providers.
The saddest part of this yellow journalism is the inability of CAM providers to have equal access to the media. Forbes ignores the Fairness Doctrine to give equal time to opponents. Moreover, since Big Pharma is the main sponsor of medical shows on TV, they do not permit non-drug practitioners to present their wares. The drugging of America is its only goal, not achieving better health, naturally.
Nor do MD hosts like Sanjay Gupta allow chiropractors to express their opinion on health matters as we saw in his one-sided program, Deadly Dose, where he bemoaned the opioid addictions and deaths, but refused to mention the best non-drug solution to pain—chiropractic care, the third-largest health profession in the nation.
Indeed, Americans are spoon fed this bad medicine constantly that promotes pharmaceuticals and surgery exclusively despite the fact we are the sickest country in the world with a medical system that has bankrupted the nation.
When Medicare finally reveals the huge money spent in this failed medical system, all Salzberg can do in a lame attempt to deflect the real issues is to criticize chiropractors.
Again, I’m proud of the rational responses to his diatribe, but I am sad to realize we are the well-meaning suckers who respond to his nonsense.