I am Pippa Abston, MD, PhD, a general pediatrician who sees patients as well as teaching medical students and residents in Huntsville, Alabama. The work published on this blog does not reflect the opinions of my employer or many of the organizations and boards I belong to. It started as a way to talk about healthcare reform in terms of insurance, primarily to advocate Improved, Expanded Medicare for All, also known as single payer. Along the way, the blog itself has expanded into other areas of thinking, such as reproductive health, state politics affecting medicine, and what medicine itself really means to us.
In the process of thinking and writing about healthcare, and just life in general, I have changed quite a bit. If you read some of the early posts and compare them to more recent ones, you will notice that. I’ve “met” people online who have, in their responses, helped open up my understanding of politics, human relationships, and the meaning of the medical profession. I no longer believe there is an easy fix to our current disintegrating healthcare system that can be applied from the top down, partly because good change doesn’t happen that way and partly because the US is not a healthy nation. We have so much disease in the core of our structure that a change in the healthcare financing model will be insufficient to redeem the practice of medicine within the essentially corrupt container we now inhabit. However, I’m not overall a pessimist. I do think it is possible for each of us to develop an attitude of “everybody in, nobody out” and that this change in attitude towards each other is the only meaningful change. Every good action and system emerges from valuing our human relationships deeply.
I will not publish comments which are personally insulting to anyone or that have language I wouldn’t want my pediatric patients to read, but otherwise I will avoid editing anyone’s opinion, for the sake of diversity.
(revised July 2013)
Addendum, April 3, 2010: It is customary in medical fields to provide a disclosure of any possible conflicts of interest before a talk or in a research publication. I am salaried, and my employment contract specifies that I must maintain my “Preferred Medical Doctor” (PMD) status with a specific insurer in our state. That PMD contract says that I must not do anything to discourage providers or patients from contracting with this insurer. Therefore, I will not be able to mention any specific insurer in my state by name.