Listen to the podcast; join the follow-up teleconference at www.compression.org. This podcast topic is “How Healthy is Health Care?” Learn how to address complex issues, think from alternate viewpoints, originate solutions, and dialog with others.
Teleconference: Technically, U.S. curative care is tops, but the American health care system is bloated. The system treats 60% of all adults for a chronic disease, and 40% of them for more than one. In addition, 25% of American 2-8 year-olds have a chronic condition. Does “healthy” mean not needing curative care?
An issue attracting attention is how much health care results in unintended bad outcomes? Somewhere between 250,000 and 440,000 deaths per year are now attributed to medical errors. That’s enough that people aware of this tend to fear the system. By contrast, about 45,000 persons per year are estimated to die for lack of access to the system. (Murky data make precise estimates impossible, but the numbers are big.)
We’re in the midst of acrimonious political debates about American health care. This debate concentrates on financing health care, not the status of Americans’ health. The most common question seems to be, “How much does it cost?” Secondary to this debate is self- induced illness like alcoholism and drug addictions. Rarely does debate consider system-induced illness, like bad diets.
Keep probing how to live better using less, and we cannot avoid ethically provocative questions, like “When does life begin?” “When should life end?” “Is my medical provider more interested in my personal health than in running up charges for procedures?” Such questions dig deeply — perhaps more deeply than you can stand.
Is the best measure of good health not requiring curative care?
Can we define preventive health care? What is it, really?
What evidence do you see of “chronic bloat” in the US health care system?
Could the US health care system break into two systems, one for the wealthy, and one for those who cannot pay?
Is health care a right? If so, what obligations doe this right impose on us — both patients and providers?
What can we do, personally, to be “chronically healthy?“
Perhaps we can cut through many of the emotional questions by asking how we can stay healthy.