The lack of adequate funding and accessibility to Healthcare continues. The “Healthcare Crises” as dubbed by the media during the Obama administration’s push for reform is accurately named. The Crises is rapidly progressing to disaster. There is no shortage of expert opinion and political debate on the reasons and solutions. Many feel that universal Healthcare is the appropriate coarse of action. As a Humanist I am inclined to agree, however my many years as a RN on the frontline has changed my perspective. I suspect that anyone who spends a week shadowing a RN or Physician in an Emergency Room of a county hospital, anywhere in the U.S. would feel similarly. It is simply not an option with the current system we have in place. At least not without extreme tax increases. Consider the fact that the vast majority of American’s with health insurance (excluding Medicaid and Medicare which is currently the best coverage available) can not afford to get severely ill. Health insurance is an expensive product that fails to deliver. Not because they don’t want to, the system is just that broken. Unfortunately the media does a terrible job at helping people understand the problem on an intimate and simple level. I suspect they do this on purpose. Similar to the 2008 recession, they deliberately confuse the public by making it much more complicated than it really is. If the people don’t really understand the problem than they are unlikely to admit it. This makes shifting the blame, responsibility and misuse of tax dollars possible. Let us not make the same mistake with our Health.
The current debate tends to focus the supply of healthcare. Regardless of which side of the political fence one resides. The proposed solutions are one of two. Increase funding through increased taxes and -forced consumption of health insurance or decreasing funding and allowing the chips to fall as they may. Both approaches are fundamentally flawed. The focus is on increasing or decreasing access to the supply. The only solution that is beneficial to the public, sustainable and practical is decreasing demand. In other words to decrease our dependance on the system by improving our health. The primary factor is simple. The system was never designed or intended to do what we are expecting of it. There are simply too many people and those people are increasingly more ill than previous generations. They are requiring significantly more complex, specialized, frequent and intensive care. The current trends only project this problem to increase with the millennial generation. The fact that the life expectancy of child born in the 21st century is projected to be less than that of their parents. The fact that 1 in 3 (1 in 2 minority) of these children will be obese by early adulthood. Not to mention that quality of life is regressing and known to cause physical and mental health problems. I personally believe that the estimates are much more favorable than what we will experience in our Golden Years (which are rapidly becoming our 50s and 60s).When we factor the rapid deterioration of planetary health (ie climate change, decreased fresh water, pollution, decreased crop diversity etc) than thing get really bleak. Yes, there are many people, governments and corporations to blame. The destroyers of our health and the Earth should face justice but blaming does not solve anything other than making us feel better about our personal contribution and shifting responsibility. We are not just part of the problem, we are the problem. We have allowed others to assume our duty of creating and maintaining our most precious asset. The corruption in government and immorality of corporate practices will continue until we stop tolerating it. In the meantime, We have the power to determine our current and future health outcomes. We are only destined to die of heart disease or Cancer if we choose to remain the same. In acknowledging this truth we gain power and insight. If I am the cause then I am the solution.
It is our ability to change that makes us powerful. The Healthcare problem is a self-inflicted one. It is the embodiment of our lives of excess, ease and neglect. If a fraction of the population made significant lifestyle changes then the healthcare crises would cease to exist. Hospitals could return to focusing on acute and emergent healthcare needs. There would be less hospitals and universal healthcare without massive taxation would be a reality. The difficulty is making and sustaining those much-needed lifestyle changes. This is why I coach. I am Dan McGinley RN BSN. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to take control of your health. With love and empathy.