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Three Reasons Healthcare Consumer is a Better Name than Patient
Before Sickness Health Care: Preventive Health Care

Welcome to BB’s Healthcare Brigade!

The time is NOW for individual Americans to band together and take healthcare reform from an endless discussion to action! The United States healthcare system needs our help badly to deliver Affordable Health Care and Beyond for ALL Americans. We pay the highest prices in the world and receive less than the “best” health care. Compared to ten other developed nations (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom), our healthcare system costs are almost double and consume a greater percent of our GDP!

health--spending-per-capitaWhat does this mean to us? Our higher health care spending robs money from productive parts of our economy and makes us less competitive globally. Many private employers cannot compete on global markets and continue to subsidize costly health care insurance premiums for employees. Higher health care costs mean fewer productive JOBS for Americans now and in the future.

The U.S. healthcare system consists of thousands of private businesses, 50 state governments (plus the District of Columbia), and the federal government. Healthcare laws are created and become micro-managed government “programs”. Private healthcare businesses jockey to extract as much of the total healthcare spending as possible. I will be collectively calling the various healthcare groups the “Healthcare Industrial Complex Under Protection” (HICUP) in this blog when their interests and actions work in concert.

Members of HICUP are not addressing the problems that have created the “red” zone in the figure above. Instead of reforming the health care system problems at their source, their solutions involve passing costs onto the individual American. This methodology keeps government “program” cost lower and private healthcare business incomes (and profits) intact. This has resulted in unaffordable cost sharing, reduced medical provider networks, reduced benefits, and increased taxes. Because we quietly (or out of frustration) accept whatever practices our healthcare system delivers, it is politically easier for government to pass more and more of the health care costs onto us than to deal with the inefficiencies within the system that translate into high costs. We are comfortable staying on the sidelines of efforts at healthcare reform. The frightening part of this scenario is that vaguely worded (as special interest laden) healthcare reform measures will continue to target the individual American.

We, the individual Americans, stand apart (and largely alone) from our elected officials in government who legislate healthcare policy and members of healthcare businesses, who lavishly spend on lobbying efforts for favored treatment. An example of this is clearly seen in the fact that, by law, Medicare is barred from negotiating for better prescription drug prices for its 54 million beneficiaries (2014).

In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for short was a long awaited reform legislation. Known for familiarly as Obamacare, its greatest contribution has been to bring the concept of universal health insurance (100% of the people with health insurance) closer to a reality.  Packed with special interest perks and vague language that leaves the door open to inaction, Obamacare fails to bring about true  “affordability” in health care.

To the members of HICUP we are the money trees to be picked clean and any contributions to health care reform we may advance are largely ignored or even vigorously opposed. Health care is done TO us and we are expected to silently pay whatever is asked.

The BUSINESS of health care and not the PRACTICE of health care rules in the United States.

We, as individual Americans, need to educate ourselves and speak with one voice that our elected officials cannot ignore. Right now, no one in Washington is listening. Individual voices spouting anecdotal evidence and subgroup, self- interest messages make us ineffectual noise in the big picture of health care reform and political gamesmanship. We Americans are united with many common principles of right and wrong and we each have valuable insights and knowledge to further Affordable Health Care and Beyond for ALL Americans. We can bring common sense, big picture solutions as only people on-the-outside-looking-in can!

This is not a blog to dispense medical advice. I am not a medical professional. This is not a blog to dispense information about government healthcare regulation (I would rather eat dirt than try to make sense of it). I am not an expert on government regulation and policy. This is not a blog about health insurance minutia. I am not an expert on health insurance. My blog will be touching on each one of these areas and I will invite the experts out there to correct any major errors in my reasoning that can seriously impact my final message. This is not a medical provider or insurance company bashing blog but when the goals of these groups differ from those of the individual Americans, then I will present this and mobilize for change. The goals of the brigade are not aimed at individual American enrichment or interest.

This blog IS about changing antiquated and ingrained attitudes, practices, and ways of doing business in our healthcare system. We need put the interests of individual Americans BEFORE those of HICUP members. I hope you all join me on this journey of discovery and promise for Affordable Health Care and Beyond for ALL Americans that awaits us. I invite you to read the pages under “Start Here” above and I hope you will come to be counted as a member of BB’s Healthcare Brigade.