The real problem with government, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and the people of this country can be summarized in one word, "selfishness." If I were given the opportunity to glue an adjective to the front of that word, I'd use the word, "childish."
The main issue we face is not what health care we get, how good it is, who is covered, how much doctors or insurance companies make or charge. The main issue is: how efficient is it to be healthy?
Health care costs much morein the US than it does world wide. As it stands, US health care barely functions. Its on crutches and its legs are straining. Its carrying a huge burden on its shoulders, the burden of waste and inefficiency and if something is changed soon, it will buckle and break under its own weight. I predict if changes aren't made to change health care's efficiency, it will fail in ten years. The economic bubble burst was bad, but what happens when the health care industry goes bust? What happens when hospitals, drug stores, insurance companies, lose money because no one can afford to pay them anymore? Does this seem unlikely? I say it is already happening. As people realize they can't afford medical expenses, they drop out of the system. Then when they get sick they are a burden to the system they aren't paying into.
I watch people and people representing corporations, doctors, nurses, etc fight over a few measly bucks to their bottom line and feel disgust and disdain. We are inflating a bubble to the bursting point yet again. The economy is a perfect example of how not to build a system and yet, the medical industry in the US is exactly like our economy. Its based on selfish greed and self interest. No one cares about anything but themselves and their own bottom line and no one sees the big picture of how "unhealthy" the health care system is.
And that's my point: the health care system of the US is like an old Type II diabetic man who just can't stop buying McDonalds cheeseburgers and fries because they're so cheap, easy to get and tasty. He's setting himself up for an early and painful death, but he can't stop because he's addicted.
The health care system, on the whole, is addicted to profit and like the financial economy, the health care economy is a gigantic bubble that is destined to burst unless it re-invents itself and becomes more healthy. It must re-prioritize toward a goal which involves profit but does not obsess over it. It must find ways to encourage people to be healthy to save money,
focus on maintaining a healthy attitude of its participants, from insurance companies, to doctors, to patients.
In my opinion, we must seek efficiency above profit.
What really needs to happen to fix health care?
- Health care for all to increase total efficiency. Once everyone's covered, costs will be spread more evenly.
- Preventative medicine that includes education. We must teach people to eat healthy balanced diets, get regular exercise and give them the opportunity to live healthy lives. We can't force them of course, but we can do better than we're doing now.
- Single payer. There are far too many middle men that add very few benefits for their cost. It doesn't have to be the government, it could be a big non-profit entity that is supervised by the government and consumer groups. They represent the people and their job it to extend people's lives as cheaply as possible. Sinlge payer will make the whole paper shuffle so much more efficient. The only people who don't want single payer are the insurance companies because it puts them out of business. Personally, I won't be sad to see them go, they had their chance to put people first and blew it, now let them face the consequences of those actions.
- Tighter regulation of the whole industry to help keep costs down. Free market doesn't work in health care because there are too many ways to manipulate it. For example, companies pay doctors for prescriptions (kick backs). Also, pharma patents drugs and hold virtual monopolies on the market.
- More interaction and cooperation between researchers and pharma, between doctors and patients. In other words: create big incentives for companies to work together instead of trying to compete with each other. The competition is so stiff that we are missing opportunities for huge advances. Enable doctors to work more closely with pharma. Enable doctors to become more involved with patients by removing the litigation threat. And lastly, in this vein, identify the bad doctors and stop them from practicing.
- Lastly, we have to show people that there are no quick fixes. We can't make our bodies healthy after abusing them for years by taking a pill, or even a suite of pills.
One really big point here. These are just ideas I've heard in various places, things that make sense to me. I don't know if they will work. But we can't continue as we are, the system cannot survive. When the boomers hit their eighties we are going to be burried under health care bills that we can't pay and the government it going to have to bail out Medicare and print even more money. Those consequences have yet to be seen, I don't want to increase them.
We must try something. We must not allow fear of making mistakes prevent us from trying. Its as if the captain of the Titanic saw the ice ten miles ahead and decided to not turn the ship because he might make a mistake and aim for a bigger iceberg. Its ridiculous to even suggest the idea, let alone entertain the possibility that we should keep things as they are when its pretty clear its doomed.
The thing is: its okay to make mistakes, its how we learn. No matter what we try, we will learn from it and we can try something else if this fails or even if it just doen't do what we need it to.
Causes Brian McKee Supports
I support the cause of peace via peaceful means.