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Fixin' Healthcare

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Transforming the Culture of Sickness

Americans expect so very much from medical care. That is a problem because medical care provides some relief from sickness but few cures. On the other hand, healthy lifestyle can prevent as well as reduce the severity of many chronic diseases. But people's judgement and resolve is clouded by their faith in medical care. Thus, medical care is a process that continues to grow in amount, level of intervention and cost without achieving optimum health status. Governments contribute to the situation by expanding medical care but they do very little to actually reform medical care or achieve optimum health status.

It is possible to reduce the need for medical care by 50 percent if everyone pursued a healthy lifestyle and medical care was better organized. And it would be value added as the health status of the nation would improve. The purpose is not to take away something but, rather, to add to the quality of life by redirecting attention and effort to a more effective means of achieving optimum health status. People need to be inspired and motivated to achieve and maintain their optimum level of health.

The role of leadership is to create a vision, establish a goal and outline a pathway to achieve the goal. The President must advocate a vision of a more healthy population and establish a goal of reducing the need for Medicare and reducing Medicare by 50 percent over ten years. This is to be achieved by a more effective, efficient and ultimately smaller medical care system plus a community based public health care system that promotes and maintains healthy lifestyles. To illustrate the point, reforming federal agriculture policy would do more to improve health status of the nation than manipulating health (medical care) insurance could ever accomplish. Governors should follow suit with a goal of reducing the need for Medicaid and reducing Medicaid by 50 percent over ten years.

Reducing the need for Medicare and Medicaid and reducing Medicare and Medicaid by 50 percent over ten years is a goal comparable to the one in the 1960s of putting a man on the moon. Now, that would be leadership. And it can be done. Americans do not want to be sick but they have been taught to fear sickness more than to trust the pursuit of good health. They need to be led out of the medical care wilderness into a health care world.

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