There comes a point in time that certain popular phrases just become the norm. We call certain items by name simply because it is what we always called them.
We speak the phrase because it is what we have always heard and since the majority of the population refer to it by said name, then we happily, and unconsciously comply.
And this is especially the case here in the south. There may not be a party going on or loud music playing at the time, but when you arrive at a certain destination, a southern co-traveler will inevitably ask you if you are "getting down."
The same goes for clean dishes, freshly bought groceries, or folded clothing. I do not know why these items are so endangered or consistently threatened, but we southerners always find ourselves "saving" them.
Yet, on a larger scale, the term we continue to use, without thinking twice about, is "American Healthcare".
Ask most doctors or nurses what field they chose as a career and you will most likely hear, "healthcare". But, when we back up from that response, we can clearly see that caring for the healthy is not what we are doing.
We "put away" folded clothing and washed dishes.
We "get out" of our vehicles.
And, here in America, we provide some of the world's leading "sick care".
Elisabeth Rosenthal wrote a great book lining out the flaws and logistics of our sick system quite nicely. Her book is called, "An American Sickness".
She does a wonderful job of lining out 10 rules for a "dysfunctional healthcare market". And, being the obedient little nation that we are, America follows them admirably:
American Sickness‘s 10 rules for the dysfunctional healthcare market:
- More treatment is always better. Default to the most expensive option.
- A lifetime of treatment is preferable to a cure.
- Amenities and marketing matter more than good care.
- As technologies age, prices can rise rather than fall.
- There is no free choice. Patients are stuck. And they’re stuck buying American.
- More competitors vying for business doesn’t mean better prices; it can drive prices up, not down.
- Economies of scale don’t translate to lower prices. With their market power, big providers can simply demand more.
- There is no such thing as a fixed price for a procedure or test. And the uninsured pay the highest price of all.
- There are no standards for billing. There’s money to be made in billing for anything and everything.
- Prices will rise to whatever the market will bear.
"Do what now, son...?"
I know, I know. It is sort of scary once you really let each one sink in. We technically don't have a "healthcare" system once you lay it out on paper in this way.
We have a very profitable, ineffective "sickcare" business.
Although, as much as her book portrays the problems with the system, she does fail to hammer home a very important point, which is: Primarily, the book fails to blame patients for their share of the healthcare problem.
And I think we all know what doesn't get you on the New York Time's Best Seller List: blaming the reader for their own choices and problems.
Yet, we cannot look away from the facts:
70% of healthcare costs are a direct result of behavior.
Shocker, right? As much as we want to blame the system for our woes, it is a tough argument to make with a majority of our sickcare costs coming from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity... which all are preventable.
Wrap your head around this:
- One in two Americans now suffers from chronic disease, with one in four suffering from multiple chronic diseases.
- Almost 30 percent of kids now have a chronic disease.
- Seven of ten deaths are caused by chronic disease.
Immense healthcare savings could be had with just a few subtle tweaks to the patient's current lifestyle.
Healthy plants can't grow in sick soil.
Where are your roots buried?