Let’s Put Health Back Into Healthcare!

Since the advent of health insurance, more of an emphasis has been placed on treating disease than in promoting health, resulting in a “disease care”. Healthcare reform  should be about how we make people healthy rather than how we get people healthcare insurance. A healthcare system focused on you, rather than on your disease. We must change what we finance rather than how we finance healthcare if we want to accomplish something meaningful. In order to accomplish this we not only need shifts in the structure of healthcare insurance, but also shifts in our priorities, spending, and objectives. As a society we value life and a high quality of life, which is not achievable without having a healthy life. The price on that value is compromised when our objectives are offer treatments for diseases and conditions which are unnecessary, but highly profitable. Additionally, as a society, we must also realize that death is a natural process of life; there is no fountain of youth. If we do not change our priorities and continue to demand highly expensive treatments when we they won’t do any good, healthcare costs will continue to sky rocket, leaving many people without access to care. Remember, health is the great equalizer, it does not distinguish between rich and poor. That could very well be you in the ER being ignored while in excruciating pain following an accident at home.

We must focus on the here and now and get back to basics. This will happen at the community level by providing health education and communities that promote healthier lifestyles. Our schools should be involved by reinstating physical education back into the curriculum and offering nutritious meals to its students. Communities should also prevent fast food restaurants from locating near schools and ban sugary soft drinks on their campuses. Promoting good health is a positive investment and it will reap rewards for our society. We must convince those at the healthcare reform negotiating table to buy into this theme because it is best for society. For more on changing our healthcare system, see “Renegotiating Health Care” by Leonard J. Marcus, Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA, 1995.

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