The biggest problem with our system and especially healthcare is that we seem to lay landmines in our path in the form of loopholes fuelled by lobbyist’s money. Then we have to neutralize each mine as we travel down the track, but we need a fundamental approach for a real change.
The healthcare community, especially the physicians, doesn’t have the ownership to implement the functional technical requirements. Until they can do so, profit-seeking entities will take advantage of the situation creating a vicious cycle of overwork and burnout.
The same situation can be seen in many aspects of our system, just like “net neutrality.”
The Fight for Net Neutrality
California is leading the way in net neutrality and has recently passed a bill that limits the powers of internet service providers to have undue control over their users. The new bill will not allow internet providers to favor, block or slow certain websites. It would also stop the practice of collecting new fees from apps and websites to reach internet users. Providers will also not be able to exempt apps from user’s monthly data cap if the process leads to damaging small businesses and competing startups. The bill directly challenges the Federal Communications Commission and may lead to a legal battle in the Supreme Court.
Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers have to grant access to all websites and content and not block certain websites or sources. The opponents of net neutrality, on the other hand, deem the laws unnecessary as they think broadband companies don’t have any intention of blocking content or degrade network performance. But can this be true?
Can we make everyone neutral and hold the tech companies to the same standards? The answer can be both yes or no- we have all suffered the consequences for centuries arising out of lobbyism, corporatism, monopoly, and dirty politics. Net neutrality is just a small fight in the broad struggle for internet freedom. The internet should be accessible to everyone as it is a crucial infrastructure in the 21st Century and can even save lives. Every nation needs reliable, cheap, and world-class internet connections- in the same way, we need affordable, high standard, and reliable healthcare.
I believe that most of us have good intentions and appreciate quality information from the internet and cyberspace, especially with aspects such as health and the healthcare system. That being said, we need to be careful about the quality of information and have a fair chance of reaching the relevant information.
However, here is the thing — good intentions don’t always translate to good deeds! We need strong laws that are hard to break past, and while doing that, we need to ensure that regular users aren’t affected by them.
The Loopholes in the System
The government system and its frameworks, like the legislative system, are filled with loopholes big enough to entrap us. For example, many giant tech companies in Silicon Valley get exemptions like tax breaks so that the state can enjoy the flow of funds and don’t lose them to other jurisdictions. Late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee gave the tech companies a 1.5% payroll tax exemption who moved to properties in the Mid-Market neighborhood. Such moves directly harm the interests of small businesses who should have given some incentives.
So can we trust the net neutrality laws?
They can have good intentions but enforcing the mandates is unnecessary. We need to apply the aspects carefully to their right points universally across the board so that every business gets equal opportunity without compromising individual and entity rights. For example, we can use the same standards as journalism to ensure transparency in all activities and hold every capability as impartial.
I don’t believe that the government has any role in the micromanagement of any entity as long as there is equal opportunity for all businesses and the absence of undue influence based on size, wealth, or political persuasion. We can give another example of insider information in the stock market. Can they be held accountable for the inside information and the way it is utilized? Or it can be similar to pharmacy benefit services (PBM), where they have all patient information to influence the pharmacy market without transparency or accountability.
It can also be similar to the information sold by giant corporations to insurance companies who use it to influence their pricing and premiums. They can use the information to their advantage, leaving the patient in a disadvantageous position.
We will be looking to open a can of worms if we try to deal with the situation through micromanagement. It is a multifaceted problem coupled with the interests of lobbyists, which leads to too many loopholes. We have too many mandates to deal with while the patient cannot own his health data.
We need to step out of the woods and look at the big picture!
The opportunistic should not be provided any more opportunities. We need to hold companies accountable and create transparency with a competitive market that doesn’t favor big corporations. The ownership and control of information have to be distributed with proper authentication for the contributors. We need laws, but more than that, we need the right people and honest work; we need to handle the problem using technology and science.
We cannot punish a child for eating cookies when we have left a jar full of cookies in front of them!