Fixing Healthcare

7 years. And neither side has anything to offer.

So, here is what needs to be done to fix healthcare…

  1. Torte reform. Make it hard to sue a doctor or a hospital that puts genuine effort into a positive outcome for the patient. Surgeries don’t come with guarantees. If something goes wrong, you can’t sue the doctors just because you either refused to realize the inherent risks that come with any procedure, surgery, or the outcome wasn’t 100%. If you make it harder or (close to impossible) to sue doctors then they wouldn’t have to spend so much on malpractice insurance. That would help rates to come down for patients.
  2. Encourage hospitals to post their rates for surgeries. Make it all-inclusive to show what the final bill will be, factoring in hospital stay, drugs, the cost of tests, medical staff, aftercare, etc. so that you know what you’re in for. This may encourage patients to think about where they go and encourage hospitals to compete for patients by keeping prices low.
  3. Eliminate expensive tests, x-rays and MRIs. Much of the tests ordered are done to keep the physician protected from unwarranted lawsuits. Many of these tests could be avoided altogether.  Listening to a patient’s heart with a stethoscope will yield just as relevant insights as expensive alternatives.
  4. Charge people who live unhealthy lifestyles more for healthcare. If you smoke then you do so knowing what smoking does to your body. You also do so knowing how 2nd and 3rd hand smoke hurts people around you. If you insist on smoking, then you should have higher premiums than someone who does not smoke. This goes for overeating, over medicating and over drinking.  Many of the diseases our society is dealing with are preventable (and the minimum, they are manageable).
  5. Talk about quality of life. If you are on a breathing machine, unable to get out of bed on your own volition, have reached an age where nothing is working anymore or you can’t enjoy any measure of a pain-free or conscious life then it is time to die. It ought to perfectly okay. The honorable, humane thing to do is to give people a quick departure from their sad existences. We should not prolong lives artificially. We should not allow religious sentiments to muddle the logical decisions to let people control how and when they die. We’d save a lot of grief and money if terminally ill and chronically old people were given an easy way out.
  6. If you’re going to limit what a doctor or hospital can charge for services then you have to limit what a medical equipment provider or utility company can can charge a doctor or hospital.
  7. We have to address the notion that a for-profit insurance company must provide coverage to everyone in a population at an equal amount. That’s unfair to the company. It’s just as unfair to force a healthy person to pay more for insurance just to support an unhealthy person who pays zero for equal coverage. Where is the economic incentive to stay in business if you can’t make a profit? Where is the incentive to quit smoking or overeating or abusing drugs if you never have to contribute to your own  healthcare costs?
  8. What if we simply make it illegal to have health insurance at all? Healthcare providers would be able to charge less for services because they would be get paid for 100% of the real rate versus an artificially high rate current charged because insurance companies and medicaid and medicare reimburse so little.
  9. If we insist on maintaining the insurance model and the drug coverage model then consumers must be able to buy coverage and prescription drugs across state and international lines. Competition is the only way to encourage lower prices. That also means that the FDA should give a green light to more experimental drugs and encourage the proliferation of generics to bring costs down and make them accessible to a greater percentage of the population.
  10. Stop force-feeding the narrative that we are all in equal. Money buys access to better care. Lack of money buys access to minimal or non-existent care. That’s the reality of a for-profit approach to healthcare. Those who have less will die at greater rates than those who have more. Higher deaths are actually beneficial given that the rate that the overall human population is growing is unsustainable. Not everyone is meant to live into their 70’s, 80’s, 90’s or beyond. Cancer serves an invaluable purpose. So do other illnesses. On the same note, if mental illness is not curable and a person suffering from it can not cohabit with others safely and productively then locking them up is not a moral solution. Giving them a way out is moral and fiscally responsible. The same can be said of addiction. If a person is hopelessly addicted to a drug, with no to little chance for a return to functional normalcy, then they ought to be presented with a positive death alternative. In general, we have to encourage people to accept death as “okay” and make dying comfortable and speedy.
  11. If we are going to insist that governments cover contraception then we have to take a look at sterilization. It costs less to tie a woman’s tubes once and give a man a vasectomy once than it does to provide the same couple with a lifetime of condoms, morning-after pills, birth-control pills or risky abortions. Sterilization also frees the couple from having to remember to use their birth control and cuts down the risk of accidental pregnancy. Fewer children is a boon for a couple trying to get ahead financially and again reduces the overall burden that the human race places on our ecosystem.

How to Protest For Real

Okay. You marched and have the social media pictures to prove it. Congratulations. What’s next?

Hopefully, you abstained from joining in acts of senseless violence. Protest and destruction are not synonymous. So many people representing so many causes and issues showed up to voice their anger, shock and discontent with the way things are.

The fear is palpable. Beneath the veneer of anger is a thick fear that groups of people are about to lose their specific rights.

More pointedly, the folks who created the narrative that Hillary Clinton would win decisively were shocked to discover that Donald Trump had won the Electoral College Game. The narrators fumed (and continue to fume) because the loss means their direct access to people of influence is limited.

The populations who trusted the narrator’s story were fed months of ads designed to scare the heck out the general population.

What do you do now? Your candidate lost. The other guy won and is frantically fulfilling his campaign promises. He’s appointing officials who don’t agree with your worldview. He’s calling the media out for it’s part in perpetrating the “Inevitability Myth” and for doing its best to spread the “Our President is The Beast” Narrative.

Impeachment would put someone in power even more determined to control reproductive rights and to deter adults with the same reproductive organs from loving one another. Wishing any other fate than impeachment to befall our president is immoral and criminal.

So, other than boarding up your home, ingesting handfuls of random prescription drugs and alcohol, what can you do to be the change you want to see in the world?

First, flex your muscle as a consumer.

Sex sells because your buying decisions tell retailers that they should keep on using scantily clad women (and men) to sell products. If you’re really sick of the way retailers build their sales and marketing campaigns around the objectifying of women then you should demand they change course.

Refuse to buy their products. Show them what their ads should look like, devoid of provocative images, sexual language.

Say no the double standards.

Why does a woman have to wear makeup or cover up her grey hair to be considered beautiful? Why does a women have to wear special bras and panties while a man can wear any undergarment he chooses?

Demand that film makers, producers, music video directors, song lyric writers and authors stop the gender injustice. Why can’t a woman’s intelligence, complexity and passion be showcased without using her body as the main attraction? And when sexuality and sensuality do enter the equation why should they diminish a women’s ability to be a leader, caregiver and positive role model?

Next, run for office.

Seriously. If President Trump taught observers anything it is that social media outguns paid media and that even people with zero political experience can win. Run for office. Even if you run on a handful of issues, run on them with the intent to win and make life better for everyone.

Volunteer. Go into your community and get involved with causes you claim to care about.

Get onto the board of directors.

Spearhead fundraisers.

Help people who need refuge by giving them a place to stay in your spare room or living room.

Adopt the children of women who can’t raise them.

Become a foster parent.

Give money to food pantries.

Teach someone to read or use a computer.

Tutor a person in a skill that you excel in.

Give up coffee or tea and use the money to support a women’s outreach center.

Start a scholarship fund. Start a free charter school.

Setup a GoFundMe account to help women with their legal or hospital fees.

The best good comes from individuals helping individuals and from individuals helping groups helping lots of individuals. You have way more options and more power than any elected person at the mercy of  a budget or special interests.

So, now that your candidate lost the game and a new administration has taken the reins, what is your next move? Will your protest be confined to a few pictures on Facebook and SnapChat? Or will you take real measures to defend and support the people and issues you say you care about?