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The Economy Affects Everybody

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The Economy Affects Everybody

The Economy Affects Everybody

Even though the world is suffering from the current economic crisis, we, as human beings, tend to overlook the big picture and feel that we alone are suffering. It’s not true. This problem affects everybody — even royalty.

Queen Elizabeth and her family were hit by serious cuts in income this week. And, no, I’m not proposing a tag day for them. But the British government has curtailed payments given to the royal family in return for state service. There will still be champagne at royal receptions, but there will be less official travel and repairs on Buckingham Palace will have to be delayed.

The point is that in this crisis which affects healthcare, nobody is unaffected. In the area where I practice my colleagues report slower days, less income, and having to lay off some staff. Patients are worried as copays and deductibles increase and they have to shoulder a greater part of their healthcare costs. I sense greater fear, frustration, and anger in my patients and, truly, in myself.

There are some things we can do to ease these negative feelings.

The first is to open our eyes and realize that everybody is affected.

The second is to communicate honestly and openly with each other. Many physicians are willing to make adjustments for people without insurance but patients have to be fair. Asking us to lower a fee and in the next breath sharing the high points of a Hawaiian vacation or the size of the plasma television you just bought won’t win points.

We have to change the way we have been thinking and acting and make healthcare a priority in our country and our lives — more important than new electronic toys, cable television, or those new hundred dollar sneakers we “need.”