Monday, August 31, 2009

Great Article on Health Care in America - Please Read This!

Each of us has a health care story, probably one that touched our lives pretty closely. Both my mom and my dad, who lived in South Florida, were 'vicitims' of the health care system. I can enumerate a series of hospital borne infection, a leg broken by a hospital technician, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills that were totally nonsensical. This article "How American Health Care Killed My Father"
by David Goldhill does as brilliant a job giving us a national, personal, human, professional perspective on health care as I have ever read. Here are just a few paragraphs of note:

  • My dad became a statistic—merely one of the roughly 100,000 Americans whose deaths are caused or influenced by infections picked up in hospitals.
  • There needs to be a business reason why an industry, year in and year out, would be able to get away with poor customer service, unaffordable prices, and uneven results—a reason my father and so many others are unnecessarily killed.
  • As a nation, we now spend almost 18 percent of our GDP on health care. In 1966, Medicare and Medicaid made up 1 percent of total government spending; now that figure is 20 percent, and quickly rising. Already, the federal government spends eight times as much on health care as it does on education, 12 times what it spends on food aid to children and families, 30 times what it spends on law enforcement, 78 times what it spends on land management and conservation, 87 times the spending on water supply, and 830 times the spending on energy conservation

The horror is undeniable. Please read it. What you do after that is up to you. Our problem (and it is OUR problem) is not going to go away, and it certainly looks like this round of legislation is not going to come anywhere near the root causesof our dismay.

Similarly to David Goldhill, I have now spent years reading, trying to understand how we can accept, day after day, a system so broken that the application of any common sense would demand dramatic change. Yet the system just persists. Peter Senge can explain it, but WE (and our children as we 'age into' the high use years of health care) have to live with it!

When our grandchildren are left with even worse choices than we have today, what are we going to tell them when they asked why we did nothing?


1 comment:

  1. I've often thought that if we can't have single-payer, we ought to have real choice and real competition in medical care. The article is a pretty powerful confirmation of that thought. I still like the single-payer idea, but I think that guy provides some powerful arguments for his idea. "Moral hazzard" isn't just an issue for the corporate bankers. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Rob Feeney