“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”
In discussions of the healthcare system we have in the U.S., much of the talk is centered around the idea that the system is broken. The most recent estimates of people without insurance put the numbers close to 50 million people. Over 60 percent of bankruptcies are a result of of medical bills. If we allow the current trends to continue, the price of family health insurance may surpass the average family income by 2025. These are not symptoms of a few problems that we can solve through making some minor changes to the existing healthcare system. These are pathological symptoms of a system which is fundamentally flawed.
It is noble for those of us working in the healthcare field to try to do the best to serve the interests of patients. I have deep respect for those on the front lines of the battle for health. The over-worked, underfunded staff of our community health centers. Our primary care and mental health professionals working in our most underserved areas. My fellow Health IT geeks working to utilize technology to combat health disparities and make care safer and more efficient. We’re all trying to do our part.
It’s not enough. It’s not enough to work within our respective silos and hope that healthcare reform will “fix” the system. We need something more! Something that gets past professional pleasantries and acknowledges the fundamental, fatal flaws in our system of health. It requires a holistic approach, as shown by the impact of social determinants of health on our well-being, and it isn’t something that can be solved overnight.
The fundamental flaw in our system, the one that can’t be solved by any mere reform, is that in the U.S. healthcare system it is more profitable to treat sick patients than it is to promote healthy living and prevent illness. This can’t be solved just by introducing a new business model. Even with Accountable Care Organizations, we still don’t address the influence that the Medical Industrial Complex has on how the Federal government makes decisions. That is why we need Occupy Wall Street. We need to be a part of the movement to give power back to the people. we need a mass movement to demand that healthcare should be a social, community good rather than a profit center or commodity.
Please don’t just Occupy Healthcare because it’s the latest buzz word. Get involved in your local occupation, and if there is none, start one! Healthcare is one of many issues facing our society, but it’s a big one. We need to be involved in movements addressing the fundamental, systemic problems facing healthcare today.
Because we don’t just need healthcare reform. We need healthcare revolution!