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Who is going to fix healthcare?
It’s an important question because, well, it’s broken. Costs continue to spiral upward. Accessibility is a challenge. Satisfactory coordination of care is elusive. Health outcomes are often less than they could be. Frustration mounts.
So, who is going to fix it?
To be sure, healthcare is a perpetual hot topic in the various branches of our government and rightly so. Healthcare spending accounts for nearly 18% of GDP and continues to steadily rise. There is no shortage of good ideas in Washington but there are simply too many variables for good sense solutions to take root. More candidly, there are too many ulterior motives in play politically and economically, too many fingers in the pie, too many self-interested players feeding at the trough of healthcare.
Not insurance companies.
Let’s be clear, healthcare and health insurance is not the same thing. In fact, health insurance plans are a significant part of the problem.
Employers are focused on gaining health insurance for their employees at the lowest possible cost that retains employees. Healthcare consumers – you and me – are left completely out of the picture. We don’t have a seat at the negotiating table. The employer is interested in productivity gains through better health and well-being for their employees, but they focus on the hard savings of lower insurance costs.
Not healthcare systems.
While those in the marketplace of delivering healthcare talk a good game and do, indeed, make incremental gains, they aren’t focused on delivering the least expensive, most effective care. They are appropriately focused on treatment, surgery, and the latest services to save peoples’ lives, but they aren’t focused on preventing illness and providing proactive, preventive care. This way of thinking simply does not result in patient-centric or consumer-centric healthcare.
Not even physicians.
Your doctor got in to medicine for a reason; he or she wanted to solve medical problems and had a passion for helping people. This is nearly a universal truth. Your doctor put in the time, did the work, and garnered the expertise to accomplish just that. But then they became ensnared in a system that entraps them. Authorizations, reimbursements, administrative requirements, pressures of running their practices, and the necessity to carry heavy, heavy patient loads just to make the economics work all contribute to less and less time available for medical problem solving. These burdens also prevent physicians from proactively engaging in the health and well-being of their patients. (That’s why physician burnout rates are soaring and why more and more physicians are moving to Concierge or Direct Primary Care practice models.)
So, again, who is going to fix healthcare?
In one word… You.
The most patient-centric, consumer-centric model of healthcare can and must come from you. You do have options. You can take control. You can fix it for you and for those you love. Achieving this model means finding physicians who are willing to partner with you and align around you and your health goals, and developing a financial and insurance strategy that makes sense for you.
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