Last night, I watched HR (the state-run Hessen channel), and they had this show entitled...."Krankenhaus-Report-Wo Medizin Kasse Macht".
Basically, it was a forty-five million explanation on why German medical services are suffering, and the various degrees of fixing it (all related to more cost or less service in the end).
Germany, over the past couple of decades, has built this giant mechanism that provides health care (yeah, it's a question now if it's first-class care or second-class care). Folks are noticing problems, discussing them, and it's to the point that even doctors are talking more about how it can function in the future....rather than thinking entirely on medicine. That's usually a hint that the insiders know the screwed-up nature of the business.
An American can sit and observe all of this and take home some simple facts.
First, medicine is no longer medicine....it's a business, and it all relates to cash in some way. You want more services, better chances of living, or less pain? Then there's some type of money involved in your desires. If the doctor said he could make all your hip pains disappear, but it'd be roughly $150,000.....would you pay it?
Second, it's obvious that we all have geared ourselves to needing a doctor for just about every single ailment known to man. Strangely enough, it was barely a hundred years ago.....when mid-wives or amateur doctors did their services and we accepted that. Chances of dying earlier in life were greater, but we just accepted that as the norm.
Third, everyone seems to stand there and want to analyze what doctors get paid. They want to know the salary level and usually anything over a certain amount.....is just plain wrong in our minds. Germans are that way....Americans are that way.
Fourth and final.....I think Germans are slowly coming around to realizing that the guys who manage the health insurance industry....are writing the rules, the standards, and the exceptions. Lobbyists are out there and manipulating the system to the advantage of the insurance company. The German government might say that they are in charge.....but they are simply waving a hand, and allowing the industry to move along at their speed of choice.
Generally, when you hear some dimwit American news media expert tell you about the wonderful balance of medicine and health insurance in Germany.....you ought to stop the guy right there, and correct him. There is no balance.....and ever so quietly.....Germans are frustrated over where exactly this mess is going.