It’s time to take a page from Gen Y and challenge the status quo

I am a Gen X’er. We are a generation that I think is most aptly described as hardworking, rule-following, law-abiding, good, and productive citizens. That’s a good thing, right? Most of the time, sure. Where we go wrong is we work hard, follow the rules, and do what we are told even when our hearts are not in it. I have too many times overheard, and if I am being completely honest, have even participated in the millennial-bashing conversations about work ethic.

But I think we owe them a little more credit. I will even go a step further and say that I envy them for two specific qualities. They ask questions, and they set boundaries. For us Gen X’ers, there is a “that’s just the way it is” and “you can’t fight city hall” kind of acceptance of some of life’s struggles. For Gen Y, they don’t accept a struggle until they’ve asked why and offered a thoughtful debate or campaign in response. And as evidenced by the Reddit revolution, they are willing to collaborate.

The recent events in the stock market surrounding the GameStop stock-buying frenzy made headlines and waves. I will not pretend that I understand these events’ technicalities because I do not, but I understand something that I think is even more important. A group of individuals, outsiders and underdogs in a rigged game that they were never meant to win, got together, played by the rules, and won.

I thought immediately of our health care system, and I felt hopeful. For a long time, rule-following doctors and patients have unquestioningly participated and have been the underdogs in this game of health care and have accepted that “that’s just the way it is.” It’s time to take a page from Gen Y and challenge the status quo. We have what is undeniably the best health care in the world. We do not have the best health care system, and we should. We need to ask why. We need to set boundaries around the doctor-patient relationship and stop allowing this collaboration’s commoditization. Without patients and the doctors who do their best to care for them, there is no commerce in health care. So why is commerce the focal point of our system? If doctors and doctors, patients and patients and, most importantly, doctors and patients can come together and collaborate, we can make health care the focus again, as it should be.

Maryanna Barrett is an obstetrician-gynecologist and can be reached at Not a Commodity and on Twitter @CommodityNot and Facebook.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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