Thanks for the question.
Before I answer the question directly, one must realize that our healthcare system in the U.S. is no longer about health nor about care. It is systematically flawed as many other systems we have built in the U.S. implicitly are. We are generally cunning short-term money-grubbers, not great system-builders to drive multi-generational evolutionary value. For our systems latch on to the improper definition of freedom (one without its pertinent paradox), and therefore by definition become unsustainable at their core.
The market we commonly refer to as healthcare is a self-perpetuating financial scheme of dependence on, and enslavement to drugs, stimulated by the companies producing them. Those companies spend about $24B/year marketing to doctors in cunning backdoor monetization schemes, and direct marketing on television and other media to consumers of $4B/year, despite the majority of those drugs requiring a doctor’s prescription. Healthcare now costs us 17% of GDP and growing, with 70% of Americans now using prescription drugs as if it is candy, and antidepressants comprising a sizable chunk of the $329B/year expenditure.
Let’s break down the definition of healthcare.
Health: the health of humans can only be secured by strengthening the evolution of humanity. By building a natural protection and best prevention of disease, upstream if you will. Living a healthy life, eating the right food, living in a healthy environment being the major contributing factors. Not by ignorance to known risk factors of cause, rescued years later by the intervention of medicine as the endless suppression of spiraling consequences downstream.
I am reminded by a shocking anecdote from my eye-doctor in Menlo Park, California who told me he can now see from the smallest veins in the human body (in the back of your eyes) which children will 30 years from now have an increased risk of heart attacks and aneurysms. The lasting scars from the scraping of veins as the result of eating what I call “food from a box” clearly visible yet not destructive at this young age. Feeding children bad food, one may conclude, is literally child abuse.
But we do it to ourselves too. Key examples of our own neglect of health, not actively guided or countered by a government are:
- Obesity, the U.S. is the second most obese country in the world with 69% over-weight, the cause of a massive waterfall of other compounding diseases, not in the least mental and multi-generational negative impact.
- Smoking, the cause of respiratory disease is now – 30 years later – the 3rd leading cause of death of Americans, responsible for skyrocketing medical insurance premiums, much paid for by the next generation (even by those who don’t smoke).
Care: the delivery of care is a beast of burden, a cost center, to the health insurance companies. Simply put, the less attention they provide, the more profit they make. That system has evolved to make those companies the arbiters of the care a patient receives, not the doctor. Our system of “care” is buckling under the pressure of its self-induced malaise of downstream, and its inability to shift focus to prevention of disease with investments in upstream guidance and incentives instead.
The latest development of the impending worsening of care is how primary care physicians are now being made responsible for the effectiveness of the drugs they prescribe to their patients, a responsibility that exposes doctors unjustly to the lofty promises made by pharmaceutical companies and a lack of absolutism inherent to medicine. Care will suffer as doctors become more and more enslaved by health insurance companies, and less driven by morals and merit to do the right thing.
There are too many fallacies in “healthcare” to fit this format or question, and too many fallacies no healthcare finance marketplace will resolve. They are all consequences of a system not adjusted to the proper evolutionary cause.
Yes, we do have some of the best doctors in the world, because we have developed a vast knowledge bank of how to deal with the massive consequences of downstream. But make no mistake: your health is in your own hands by way of prevention, not in the hands of a doctor wishing the uncomfortable consequences of ignored cause away.
We must begin to build systems that focus not on the apathetic aftermath of individual ignorance but develop new principles that drive and stimulate the strengths of a renewable evolution of humanity. Because if we continue at this pace, many of us may live longer than ever before, but propped up by medicine, will produce an ever-spiraling degenerative offspring.