Health economists walk a precarious tightrope: Their analyses are quantitative and, presumably, emotion-free. But health care is intensely personal — and often, intensely emotional.
Most people have a stereotypical perception of Tourette syndrome. Likely based on a movie or TV show, their vision is of an uncontrollable stream of insults and curse words. On the screen, these symptoms become the joke, the punchline. Yet cliché portrayals of Tourette syndrome are not only oversimplified, but also harmful.
Cancer patients are breathing a sigh of relief. So are patients with movement disorders. And those with epilepsy, HIV and mental health conditions.
These days, I find myself using some of the same words to describe Parkinson’s as I do to describe the experience of physicians like me who treat patients with the disease. It’s a sad reflection on current health insurer practices.
Add movement disorders patients to the long list of people whose health could suffer under the Trump administration’s proposal to loosen Medicare protections on six classes of medications for high-risk diseases.
An upcoming meeting will give people with movement disorders a chance to tell Food and Drug Administration regulators their story – the story of their physical symptoms as well as their emotional ones.
Men and women with a co-occurring movement disorder and mental illness experience painful stigma. Fear, shame and isolation hurt them, their families and their communities. Stigma also keeps people from seeking treatment.
Last month, the federal government proposed changes to Medicare’s billing rules. The net effect: Doctors will spend less time with their patients. As a physician myself, I know that’s not necessarily a good thing.