I make no pretense at being an expert or even having intimate familiarity with the politics of today’s health care, but I have made some observations and drawn some impressions over the years.
When I graduated from the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans in 1953, and for a number of years thereafter, the patient population could be divided into two main groups those who could afford private care, either through their insurance or personal wealth, and those who could not.
For those who could not, there was available the best, most up-to-date medical care that existed anywhere in the world through the Louisiana charity hospital system, with its satellite hospitals around the state, all headed by “Big Charity” in New Orleans (genuflect) where so many of us received so much of our training.
Did we occasionally render care for which we received no compensation or had any expectation thereof? Of course we did. We simply did what was necessary until we could get the patient to an environment where he could receive further care.
As the years progressed, however, we became aware of an ogre lurking on the sideline that we came to call “socialized medicine.” We noted that the quality of medical care gradually declined and the cost thereof gradually increased, both in direct proportion to the degree of involvement of the federal government.
Today, that ogre is among us in the form of the abysmal, chaotic mess we find ourselves in. Where do we go from here? I don’t know. I retired from the system 2½ years ago at the age of 82, and I consider it to have been none too soon. May wiser heads guide us.
George Stubbs Bourgeois