Obama is talking about getting healthcare to everyone in the United States. That is indeed a noble and grandiose idea. I mean everyone deserves to be treated from an emergency car wreck, or unanticipated disaster without going bankrupt.
But there are huge problems with his goal. The first is that healthcare needs to be completely redefined. Right now, healthcare in America means going to the doctor and getting diagnosed and then prescribed the newest cutting-edge brand name drugs that will make the patient feel better. It means putting your health in the hands of your doctor, and allowing this magic pill to make you feel better, for only a copay of a price. Ask many people what healthcare is all about, and it’s about having these types of services, doctor visits and drugs, paid for. The more that is paid for by insurance, the better the quality of insurance is considered.
In reality, this is not healthcare. The health of a human consists of the body, mind and spirit. The body is the physical representation of the symptoms that we are all familiar with. The mind is the fact that the mind has the ability to heal the body. The spirit, depending on the beliefs of the patient, is those forces beyond the visible.
Regarding the mind, before a new drug is ready to be put on the market, it must first be tested against a placebo, which is basically a dummy pill with no effect. Half the patients will take the drug being tested, and the other half will take a placebo, which has no pharmaceutical effects. In some cases, the patients taking the placebo will have a greater response, or more relief from their condition (depression / pain / anxiety, etc) than the drug in testing. In other words, just the idea of taking a pill can in some instances treat a condition and make a patient feel better.
Drug companies understand the power of the mind, but instead of using that information to treat patients or make them healthier, they use that information to create a demand for their product and make more profit. Drug companies understand that a patient’s beliefs and attitude towards an illness or disease can greatly affect their condition and prognosis. Rather, drug companies use the power of the mind to make patients believe they need the medication and will have problems if they go without it.
And then there’s the spirit, which is those forces like visualization, or faith, which are beyond the visible and often associated with a higher power, depending on the beliefs of the patient. Drug companies do not acknowledge any connection to the spiritual or healing powers.
Doctors and drugs are not complete health care, they are a business system that has kept the pharmaceutical companies profitable and powerful; they are only a small sliver of health. A sliver that makes patients feel more comfortable rather than dealing with the root of the problems. A sliver that creates long term customers at the expense of the patients. A sliver that is profitable and powerful and dominates what we now call healthcare.
In fact, if car insurance plans handles claims like health insurance, then people would bang up their cars and instead of fixing the problem, they would patch up the tires and doors, and then expect the insurance company to pay to redo the patches every month.
But that’s not how car insurance is. We are responsible to maintain our car, keep it in good running condition. Nobody else is. And then on those rare occassions when an accident happens, then insurance should be there to help.
What healthcare actually is must redefined and people must be taught to take control of their health, to understand that our good health must taken into consideration the body, mind and spirit, and not depend on the diagnosis of a doctor and a pill to follow. Until then, our country is in no position to offer national healthcare.