<![CDATA[I usually avoid political debates, because I have too many friends on opposite ends of the political spectrum (as a general rule, Seattleites and Tennesseans view the world through a completely different set of spectacles, as anyone who reads my Facebook entries would know). The healthcare debate – which has become a political, corporate and lobbyist debacle – is an exception. I must rant….. First of all, I have to apologetically admit I have no silver lining for making our healthcare system more efficient and affordable (I guess if I did, I’d probably be preaching on Capital Hill). My health insurance policy sucks – it’s expensive and covers practically nothing. There’s absolutely no incentive for me to pursue preventive health measures, because I have to pay out of pocket for cholesterol checks, skin cancer screens, mammograms and other lovely tests like that. My answer to this problem, in the short-term, is to take ownership of my health in any way I can. That’s one reason why wrote a book – if you can’t afford to be sick, then do your darn best to stay well. All this said, I think a fundamental problem of our healthcare system is that it treats illness, rather than promoting wellness. Here’s a true story which beautifully illustrates my point. I have a good Friend X who has stomach problem Y. (I’m obviously doing my fair share of complying with HIPAA regulations). He goes to the doctor to see what’s wrong and the doctor prescribes medication Z. Great news! Medication Z solves his problems! Better yet, this medication, which costs $W/month, is paid for by his health insurance company (clearly his policy is better than my catastrophic one)! Problem solved? Here’s my synopsis:
- Doctor is happy because patient is better.
- Pharmaceutical company is happy because they are getting monthly revenues from this patient, which could, theoretically at least, continue till eternity.
- Insurance company is happy because they are likely getting a cut from this whole medication/treatment program.
- Patient is happy because he is feeling better. Right?
- Original doctor probably doesn’t even know, because he/she was only interested in a treatment for the ailment.
- Doctor #2 is very happy because she found the root of the problem and is effectively treating the patient with a natural remedy (which, by the way, Friend X has to pay for).
- Health plan company didn’t pay for any of the follow up tests anyway, so what do they care?
- Pharmaceutical company is likely bummed because the lifetime revenue of Friend X was taken away from them.
- Patient is very happy because tummy is well without the necessity of prescription medication.