Upstream vs. Downstream – Healthcare
One other glaring example of attempting to solve a problem by focusing downstream is healthcare. Within this issue are two significant factors: 1. The occurrence of ailments requiring treatment and 2. The cost of treatment.
Occurrence: Looking at the reasons that people seek treatment for ailments one significant factor is the condition of a person’s immune system. There is considerable evidence that folks with strong immune systems require far less treatment than those persons that have impaired systems. In general, obese & overweight and individuals who smoke have much weaker immune systems than the rest of the population. Currently, in the U.S., 34% of the population are obese and 2/3rds are overweight. These rates are 3 to 4 times that of most European countries. The solution to this issue is relatively simple; regular rigorous exercise, a sensible diet and smoking cessation. There is no magic here and billions are spent every year to educate folks on this. Despite this spending the obesity and overweight rates continue to rise. (fortunately, progress has been made on the % that smoke). One suggestion that would reverse this trend is to initiate a process whereby the users of the healthcare system bear costs in relation to usage. Currently tax payers with healthy immune systems pay a heavy tax subsidy to support the remainder of the population.
Cost of treatment: In the past I have posted numerous reviews on this issue and I would encourage readers to look back at these if you missed them. In summary: The per capita costs to our tax payers for healthcare runs 3 – 10 times that of most European countries. The areas that contribute to this massive burden on the tax payer are: a) The frequency of occurrence as explained above b) the excessive per day cost of a hospital stay c) Cost in US of RX drugs d) Physician charges e) Insurance overhead & profits f) legal costs associated with ineffective RX & malpractice.
The solution to the cost issue is again very simple, but change will require efforts that are contrary to the interests of very powerful industries that control legislative decisions. When you think about this situation we are being “taxed” at a very high rate by our elected representatives. The industries that control our healthcare system are achieving excessively high revenues and profits at the expense of the tax paying consumer. In my view this represents massive corruption at the very highest levels.