Why Health-care Fails Us, and Why We Fail Health-care!

I often hear about the pitfalls and downfalls of health-care. Fingers are pointed in every direction; in the direction of the insurance companies who make fortunes off of the public; in the direction of the hospitals who cut services and manage care in efforts to conserve shrinking dollars; and in the direction of health-care providers who have less time to spend with patients and end up running “factories.” The list goes on, the number of conspirators is endless.

To some extent, the health-care system is to blame for its own woes and for the woes of the consumer. Like any structure built upon shifting sands, the systems upon which the present health-care system were built don’t exist as they did in the past. The unlimited financial resources have dried up, soaring costs of insurance – malpractice, health-care – have crippled both providers’ as well as consumers’ abilities to make payments, or have resulted in the costs trickling down to those who cannot afford it. The socially-supported systems, i.e., Medicare, Medicaid, are failing in their ability to meet their obligations to the underinsured and uninsured.

People are also living longer and with an increase in the age of the population comes an increased demand for care and services. What we’re seeing is the perfect storm for a major change and reevaluation of the system that we have come to know and…loath!

So, why have I included in the title, “…Why We Fail Health-care“? Is the consumer to blame for the woes of the present system? Are there things that we should be, or could be doing differently that would affect how our health-care system is doing? Yes. As consumers, we’ve been passive participants in the system. We’ve sat back, in some cases abused our body, waited for something to go wrong, and then we’ve gone to our doctor or to the hospital, and had the care delivered to us. Kind of like a restaurant; check out the menu and order. But this is no longer the case; now we’re being asked, or forced, to make choices, sometimes between care and cash.

With the increased need for responsibility on the part of the consumer has come an exponential number of choices, for diet, exercise, meditation, remedies, drugs, alternatives-to-drugs, etc…etc…While this increase in choices can seem confusing and overwhelming, it also highlights the freedom that we have, as consumers, if we choose, to become empowered and in-charge of our health and health-care.

Granted, certain circumstances and events can leave us none or little choice in how or even whether we’ll be able to get the care that we need, or the right care. For example, people facing the debilitating effects of chronic-fatigue syndrome, an often-times devastating yet misunderstood ailment, are met with skepticism and doubt by many health-care practitioners as well as by agencies charged with caring for long-term and disability claims. Such individuals end up depleted, broke, and – many times – undeserved by the health-care system. Even trying to file for disability for this misunderstood illness can result in a final retreat by the sufferer, resulting in depression and despair.

For those of us not confronted with unthinkable or unmanageable illnesses, there are concrete steps and pro-active choices that we can make in order to increase our wellness and decrease the burden that we put upon the ailing health-care system. For more on this discussion, please see my previous post – Why Manage Your Care: Five Good Reasons. In addition to the reasons that I’ve presented in that post, the most obvious reason why we are failing the health-care system is because we’ve become too reliant on it to provide us with answers that we are capable of knowing, answers about our bodies, about our needs, about what is right for us. This is why we need to make changes, by increasing our knowledge and education about what we need, we’ll be able to decrease the impact that we make on our crumbling system and give it more time to heal its own wounds, and to give us the care that we need, and care for those in need.



0 Comment   |   Posted in blog,care management,Insurance,Pain,self-care February 28, 2013