Health care change will have to come from the public

Most of us want to know how to fix this healthcare mess these days. We’re scared about the future and how we’re going to afford costs that never, ever seem to stop skyrocketing. We’re scared about the world our kids are going to inherit and the phenomenal debt they’ll be haunted by throughout their lives. We’re scared about living in a country that’s cowering under the hefty weight of fear and control perpetuated through incessant sound-bytes controlled by those who have against those who have not.

When leather-capped crusaders with bows and arrows of outrageous fortune steal from the poor to give to the rich, it’s called a Reverse-Robin Hood Phenomenon. We seem to be living in it today; especially in healthcare.

As a quick summary, health insurance companies make about $4 billion dollars per quarter, give or take. Drug companies make about $20–60 billion a year. The government wants to mandate you to pay for the uninsured while still trying to pay for your own health insurance without getting rid of for-profit incentives.

You (19–64 year olds) already pay for > 80% of $2.5 trillion dollars. As you get sicker and drop into the growing ranks of the uninsured, the poor slobs left over who are still struggling to pay for private health insurance and public programs will bear the brunt of the costs.

Private health insurance will go skipping into the sunset by separating the market into those who are healthy, scared and willing to pay, and those who are sick, poor and dying. The cost of both will still be carried by you and I, the 19–64 year olds who keep paying more and more without seeing any relief.

What’s wrong with this scenario?

Well, for starters, we’re wasting time talking about what’s wrong with this scenario. We’re holding our breath, scared to do anything about it. We keep waiting and waiting until someone like a government institution or a doctor’s group or some political junkie to figure this out and tell us what to do with our health and our lives.

We’re waiting for the capped crusaders to save us.

But that’s the problem. Those crusaders are going to hand us a sack that looks like it’s filled with gold. But there’s only a lump of coal inside. All the gold is still going to Wall Street.

So here’s a solution. It’s a scary thought, but waiting for something to happen is even scarier. Are you ready?

Change is going to have to come from the public.

Yes, that means you and I.

That also means no more waiting. That means if we want to find health, if we want to live a good life, a happy life and change the world for ourselves and our kids, invest in a failing country’s future, we are going to have to “be the change we wish to see in the world.”

The bottom line is there is no hope for America’s health until self-interest dies. The American dream is dead. It can’t afford its own health care.

So how do we kill self-interest in healthcare and resuscitate our dreams?

First, we all drop health insurance. Across the board, we do not accept private health insurance. Period.

Escalating premiums that outpace inflation, posting billions in profit during economic recessions, and creating underhanded, unethical, immoral tactics to profit from controlling your access to health is worse than Lex Luther trying to take over the world. It’s the Grim Reaper.

Second, we drop Medicare. Yes, we drop Medicare. It’s been sold to private companies who make profit. It’s not a healthy program anymore. The money Americans paid in forty years ago has been long gone, face the reality. It’s simply a horrible distraction away from the real issue of how do we find health and stop paying exclusively for disease.

Third, doctors join you. We work together, doctor and patient. And as paradoxical as it may seem, doctors should drop Medicare.

At the same time, they should all drop private insurance.

So when you need care and you come to the office, there’s nothing standing between you and your doctor. And the cost will be much, much, much cheaper than playing these insane games that both patient and doctors play for outside parties who control bureaucracy and nothing else.

Fourth, doctors have to drop their malpractice.

This cost has increased by 229% during 1990–2006. It’s not the doctor who pays for malpractice. No indeed. It’s you and the doctor – it’s all of us. And that cost is driving up your cost of health care via lawyers who need to perpetuate hatred and blame between you and your doctor.

It’s a terrible thing when the most healing and sacred of all relationships a human can have has been toxified like this. How can we expect to nurture health in the middle of hatred and blame between doctor and patient?

Fifth, you need to negotiate ALL your health care bills.

That’s what insurance companies do to all of us. Why can’t we do the same thing? Hospital bill too high? Start at 10% cash if you can afford it and stop at 15% of the bill. Tell them to screw it and take you to bankruptcy. You’re going there anyway, so they may as well get something as opposed to nothing.

What you don’t know is that hospitals bill you the same rate they bill health insurance companies. That’s a health insurance rule. Although they would like to offer you a ‘cash rate’ they can’t.

But believe me, they don’t want to keep begging for insurance to cut their bills by a third after 90 or more days. They’d rather cut the bill now (since it’s higher than what they expect anyway) and have the cash now.

It’s just business. Take away insurance and the government and we can do business together. Just like they do.

Finally, America has to decide what kind of country it wants to be.

What kind of country do you want to live in? Do you have the balls to stand up and fight for what you want?

The recent estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January to June 2011 on the Financial Burden of Medical Care show that about 33% of all Americans were in a family experiencing the financial burden of medical care. The worse news is that children were the ones who were three times as likely to be in a family that was struggling to pay medical bills.

It’s our kids who we’re killing.

So are you strong enough to fight for your kids?

When we continue to block real solutions to care and leave families bereft of hope, health and life by blocking bills to real solutions just because we want to block bills to real solutions, we all stand to lose. Big.

Political and financial self-interest at the level of unrest it is today is killing us, literally. It is time to collapse what we have.

From its ashes will be born something new; a system that functions on a different paradigm – one that worships health instead of death, dying and disease.

It boils down to the question we don’t want to ask.

“Is health care all about me, or am I willing to sacrifice for the good of my country since we’ve gone so far?”

Our personal health and the future of our country are at stake in this tale of merry-men. Every one of us should care about healthcare – doctor, patient, CEO, uninsured, mother, father, child and you. Especially you.

Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s going to cost you a lot more than money if you don’t.

Natasha Deonarain is the founder of The Health Conscious Movement. She is the author of the  upcoming book, The 7 Principles of Health and can be reached on Twitter @HealthMovement.

View 20 Comments >

Most Popular