Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Affordable Care

Obamacare was passed and deemed constitutional as a tax. I do not feel like political commentary today, however, and I just want to talk about healthcare and patients. This post is a lot of lists.

We have a problem in the first world. The problem is: healthcare has gotten very expensive. What would make care affordable? I posit that this is impossible without a change in mindset. The first world must re-learn a few things (I placed negative principles next to the positive counterparts and bolded what I though were the two:
  1. Death and suffering are not the greatest evils (not even close).
    Rather, holiness is the greatest good.
  2. Simplicity is a great means to the greatest good via the second greatest commandment.
    This means acquisition of wealth is not the greatest good, or the greatest means.
This is, simply stated, justice and righteousness. I'm asking for a lot, and it's not going to happen in every soul in the next twenty years. However, the more we realize these truths, the better off we will be. Just to give some examples of the potential effects:
  1. Physicians' (and other providers') motives shift from moneymaking to taking care of patients.
  2. Legal professionals' motives make the same shift (albeit to protection of justice) and medical malpractice insurance goes down, lowering fees for service.
  3. Patients are less afraid of death and place an appropriately higher value on conservative (cheaper) treatment.
  4. Anyone affected protects the sanctity of life (abortion is chosen as an alternative to a kind of death, or suffering).
  5. Perspective reigns and people across borders are truly equalized: the phrase "first-world problem" is an embarassing testament to our lack of perspective. Although some medical problems are objectively distressing, some that are currently treated ($) could be tolerated if a mindset change occured.
Practical suggestions are almost futile without this large-scale change of heart, but here are a few:
  1. Payment in kind to healthcare providers
  2. Increase in charitable involvment in healthcare
  3. Subsidiarity in healthcare insurance
  4. Movement toward the master-apprentice model of medical education to decrease physician loans
The first steps to affect the change of heart in the medical professionals are probably:
  1. Improve ethics training in medical education (improves physician's choices of medical procedures)
  2. Improve bedside manner (improves patients' self-value and ability to make good choices for their health)
  3. Protect the traditional family (health outcomes are vastly better when families are intact) including elder care as the population ages
I feel like God's calling me to a crusade....

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