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Response to “Top 5 Reasons Healthcare is Broken” on ZDNet News

The current Healthcare Debate has the potential to be the most important issue of our generation.  For good or bad this legislation will affect all of us for the rest of our lives and the lives of the generations after us.  This post is a departure from our usual posts, however, I read a blog article by an online insurance broker writing on ZDNet News giving his top 5 reasons why our healthcare system is failing and given the timeliness of the issue I felt inclined to respond.  His points are in quotes and italicized.

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.”

The current system doesn’t “reward” sickness.  I can’t imagine a cancer patient feeling rewarded.  More likely they feel  grateful for the excellent care their insurance covers and the second chance at life.  Our current system, unfortunately does not reward good lifestyle choices (see #2).  The coverage for well visits is weak at best.  It is true doctors as well as hospitals get paid when we are sick. I don’t know of a single doctor that would not welcome the chance to consult with a patient regarding preventative medicine.  Preventative care saves a ton of money in the long run and improves the public’s productivity by keeping people well, out of the hospital and in the workforce or school, home, etc.

Who is to say a profit is outrageous?  Profits are necessary to fund future medications, medical devices etc. that solve health problems that treat your family, my family, everyone.  Without a profit a drug company has no money to fund research, donate their product to the needy etc.  Regarding lavishing gifts on doctors to prescribe their meds worth more than an average citizen’s yearly income is an inflammatory statement with no basis in fact that makes the public’s blood boil, and for good reason I might add, but it has no substance.  Many years ago I would not doubt some degree of this went on.   To say or imply that “pay to prescribe” is now or was in the past a common, everyday practice that most, if not all, docs were involved in is to irresponsibly inflame the debate.

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.”

I agree here, however, we don’t need to nationalize healthcare to solve this problem.  We need to reward people for making the right choices. We also need to educate people that the choices they make directly influence their well being and future financial health.  Heathcare costs could be cut tremendously through educated lifestyle changes. Read Points 3, 4 and 5 Here….