World Health Education Initiative

  

   
Contents
Introduction
Deaths
Theory
Problem
Shame
Education
Future
Internet
Training
Money
Plan
Research
Learning
Causes
FAQ 1
FAQ 2
FAQ 3
FAQ 4
Links
School
Contact

First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win. Mahatma Gandhi

 
    
The Root Causes of Healthcare Dysfunction
   
When we hear healthcare reform discussed, it is usually centered around the subject of some sort of economic plan to pay for those who can't afford treatment.  You may have noticed that I haven't addressed that issue.

This series of web sites deals with the root causes of social dysfunction.  A root cause, as I use the term, is a misperception or blind spot that underlies the more visible causes that most people, often erroneously, see as the primary problem.  Correcting a root cause costs nothing, and in fact saves enormous amounts of money. 

We have established that our healthcare system is the third leading cause of death.  Based on that, one could make the argument that the harm the system does cancels out at least a large part of its benefits.  When you consider that Americans spend about $1.3 trillion dollars annually (1) on healthcare, we can easily draw the conclusion that we're not getting our money's worth.

  Some of this runs very much counter to conventional wisdom, but if conventional wisdom were correct, we would have already solved the problem.  One reason I don't take a position on who should pay the bills is that that is an ideological question that I feel should be left for the people to decide.  We also have scores of economists working on the problem, but they are at an
impasse because of the astronomical costs involved.

When I entered medical school, I had
the wish that I would learn magical healing powers.  It was very disappointing when I discovered that I could only cure a very small percentage of the sick people that I encountered.  I find that people in general want to believe that doctors have powerful treatments.  That's why they
bestow doctors with a title.   But in order to cope in the real world, we need to be realistic.  I know a lot of sick wealthy people that can attest to the fact that money can't buy health, and sick poor people that believe that if only they had enough money, they would be cured.

Of course this is all relative, but it is this social delusion that is the basis of the heavy emphasis on the high priority our society places on trying to come up with paying for existing costs, rather than addressing the reality of our low cure rates, high incidence of medically induced injuries and deaths, and exorbitant costs.

1. Levit, K., Smith, C., Cowan, C., Lazenby, H., & Martin, A. (2002, January/February). Inflation spurs health spending in 2000. Health Affairs, 21(1), 172-181.

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