Probably the best thing that can be said about 2016 is that it's finally over. Alas, 2017 doesn't hold much promise, either. The healthcare industry is headed for turbulent times.
The Affordable Care Act, which provided more than 20 million Americans with health insurance coverage and is having another record-breaking sign-up season despite the election results, appears headed for extinction. What it will be replaced with exactly, no one knows.
In thinking about what advice to offer the incoming Trump administration, soon-to-be HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price, and designated CMS administrator Seema Verma, I instinctually reached for the Hippocratic oath's injunction to “first, do no harm.”
However, in my internet searching to ensure a proper quotation, I learned the phrase doesn't even appear in the ancient Greek. The closest approximation, according to a 1943 translation by Ludwig Edelstein published by Johns Hopkins Press, says: “Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.”
That's the ancient Greeks for you.
Liberals will be distressed to know that translation also includes a proscription against offering anyone life-ending drugs or an “abortive remedy.” It makes you want to ask for a second translation.
But the ancients certainly have much wisdom to offer anyone feeling flummoxed by a social, cultural and political moment where cancer moonshots, smartphones and free information live side-by-side with climate change denial, creationism and fake news.