Healthcare is a business. A lucrative one. Around the globe, major corporations hold the lives of billions in their hands and make decisions based solely on their bottom line.
When that business model affects your quality of life and length of life, you need to be concerned. Now, more than ever in human history, you must take control of your personal healthcare.
The Staggering Global Picture
In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (NHS) is massively overwhelmed and understaffed. Their bed and staff shortages result in last-minute surgery cancellations – currently at a 15-year high. More than 74,000 patient operations were cancelled in the span of one year due to “non-clinical” reasons.
Patient advocates predict the issues will continue to worsen. While men, women, and children await the medical care they need, their condition declines. Time is of the essence!
Medical bills are the number one reason for bankruptcy in the United States. According to a study released by Harvard, more than 62% of those who file list medical bills as the primary factor forcing them into such a position.
To bring the issue more in perspective, 72% of those financially devastated by health emergencies had at least one form of health insurance at the time.
Then there are the horrific (and all too common) tales of patients being turned away untreated for being unable to pay the astronomical costs for personal healthcare up front.
It’s one of the cruelest things I’ve ever heard.
No One is Coming to Save Us
How did we get here? It hasn’t happened overnight but I estimate it will take at least another decade or two for those in power to get their act together.
In the last 20 years, I’ve watched certain things slip right off the rails. Those in power have created massive short-term profit at the expense of the world population’s long-term health.
The unmitigated greed of health insurers and pharmaceutical companies. Corporations and those who have monetary investments in their success play a clear role in the decline of your personal healthcare. Outrageous premiums, unrealistic deductibles, and ala carte pricing creates a gambling system where the house always wins.
The International Federation of Health Plans (IFHP) released a report on price gouging of pharmaceutical drugs. They discovered that a patient in the United States pays $3,000 for an autoimmune drug – double the cost of the same drug anywhere else in the world. The same goes for antidepressants, arthritis, autoimmune, and cancer drugs.
This report doesn’t even touch the vast price differences in lab work, medical testing, and specialty care. Yes, all of it is as bad as you think it is.
Worse insurance, higher costs means more patients defaulting. More than 50% of people with health insurance have a deductible of $1,000 or more. A shocking 36% of those have a deductible of $5,000 or more. Before you walk into a hospital (or are transported there by ambulance), you’re on the hook for that amount.
If it isn’t paid up front (and most people simply don’t have that kind of money sitting around), the chances that the full amount will be collected get slimmer by the day after a patient’s release. This results in less profit, more collections, and even legal action.
Considering the cost of an aspirin in medical facilities, the exorbitant costs add up faster than any other industry in the world outside of actual gambling. When they can’t pay it, they’re sometimes left with bankruptcy as their only option. That creates a problem for everyone.
An explosion of unnecessary care. Medical personnel are inundated with patients who don’t really need the tests, drugs, and follow-ups they’re being given.
The American Psychological Association stating more than half of those on antidepressants have been misdiagnosed with depression. Drugs have a higher profit than therapy and are easy to prescribe.
While these unnecessary treatments seem excellent for the profit margins of the facility, drug manufacturer, and attending physician (if they receive their payment from the patient and/or insurance carrier) – it bogs down how many patients can be seen and the quality of their care.
Experts estimate that 70% or more visits to the emergency room are unnecessary (non-emergency). If you’re one of the 30% of true emergency situations at your ER, you know how frantic this can make you feel.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Your Personal Healthcare is Your Responsibility!
None of these facts or figures is going to change anytime soon.
It’s going to remain about the money until the corrupt system is torn down and rebuilt in a way that provides a solid living for those who chose the medical field without sacrificing the care of the patients who walk through their doors.
When the medical and insurance systems are focused on profit, it’s makes it hard to know who to trust and when the cost is truly necessary. Those who have no insurance (or insurance deductibles so high they might as well have no insurance), forego regular wellness checks and testing that can keep them healthy for longer.
- Obesity is out of control for every age group and demographic.
- Heart disease remains the number one killer in the world.
- Cancer is affecting more people than any other time in history.
- Autoimmune disorders are being diagnosed at an alarming rate.
- Alzheimer’s numbers are expected to triple in the next three decades.
We Are Doing It Wrong
At the end of the day, it’s up to you, to me, to all of us to take a stake in our personal healthcare. What you do today can (and does) dramatically impact how you’re going to look and feel in ten years. Habits you have right now can take decades off your life.
Over and over, we ignore the warnings. We keep doing the same things we’ve been doing for the last 20 years or 40 years because that’s what we know.
Your long-term health doesn’t just change when insurance companies stop being greedy and inhumane, pharmaceutical companies stop operating without a conscience, food manufacturers stop poisoning our food supply, politicians stop looking the other way to pad their own pockets, or corporations stop trading our environment for fatter checks.
If you wait for those things to happen, you’re going to be waiting a very long time.
You will feel more in control because you’re paying attention. You will live longer because you acknowledge your previous health mistakes and stop repeating them. You will feel better because you are loving and protecting your body.
It starts and ends with you. Right now. Today.
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