Tuesday, August 18, 2009

U. S. Healthcare is Broken! Let's Fix It! 2

Here are some more:


5. Doctors are rewarded for prescribing drugs. Big pharmaceutical companies are known to hand out “consulting agreements” worth more than your annual salary to doctors who prescribe their drugs like candy. And unlike contributions to political candidates, there is no way to track what doctors are considered “top-performers” and receiving the most lavish gifts. This is one of the worst practices I can think of that drives a stake right through the heart of healthcare’s credibility.

4. Big Healthcare, i.e. pharmaceutical companies, hospital networks, insurers and their support industries, spend hundreds of millions each year lobbying Congress to make sure there are not major changes to the business structure we call healthcare. They have a vested interest in keeping things the same (again, see #1) which is good for some and bad for many.

3. Tens of millions of healthy people choose not to pay for health insurance, putting the financial solvency of the system at risk. This leaves those that do pay into the insurance system paying more. The concept of insurance is to spread the cost so that when you need help, you are not buried under steep bills that you could not possibly afford to pay back. So those who opt out are cheating everyone else. Including, probably, their own family and friends.

2. We are killing ourselves. Our choices bring on diabetes, heart-attack-inducing high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, chronic illness, and the like. We eat crap. We supersize it. We consider the walk from the parking lot to our office exercise. We only see the doctor when we get sick. Even then, we only listen to the prescribed advice about half the time. And we’re totally aghast at the increasing costs of care when we get really sick.

And the #1 reason healthcare in America is broken...

1. The current system is set up to reward sickness. Doctors get paid when you see them. And you only see them when something’s wrong, right? Hospitals get paid when someone gets injured or is sick. Pharmaceutical companies make outrageous profits when their drugs are prescribed (and they lavish gifts worth more than your annual salary to the doctors who prescribe the most…see #5). Insurance companies take in more money when there are more sick people to cover. Everything revolves around us being sick.

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