Thursday, June 25, 2009

ABC Primetime Prescription

So did you watch President Obama on ABC's PRIMETIME: Prescription for America last night? Or the additional segment on NIGHTLINE? Yes, it was a one-sided presentation of Obama's goals for health care reform but with pointed questions it seemed to bring up a full picture of the need for change and our options.

The fact is America can't continue with our current health care system, period. We simply cannot afford it. Already 16.3% of our GDP it continues to climb faster than inflation (usually 2x or 3x) and will soon cripple our economy. I enjoyed the comment from the doctor at the Mayo Clinic that we simply can't afford to give all treatments to all people. Every special interest group recognizes that change is going to happen, they just want to protect their interests.

There are several fundamental changes being proposed by the administration. First is a shift from Western medicine's focus on treatments to an emphasis on prevention which is the foundation of Eastern medicine. Since the three leading causes of death in our country are preventable this is self-evident.

The key part of this shift is a change from a nation of medical specialists (80% of doctors today) to relying on primary care doctors. In every other industrialized country the ratio is reversed with 80% primary care doctors and only 20% specialists. Again, doctors have simply followed the money in a system that's evolved to reward procedures instead of results.

If you managed to stay up late you heard the best question of all: Every other industrialized country in the world manages to provide health care for every citizen while spending half of what we do in America. It's time for a change.

Change is coming whether we want it to or not, it has to. Now the challenge is to shape the change for the best future for America.

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