CMH –> PHL –> YTZ
Flying time: 3 hour 48 minutes
Trip Agenda: Lead meetings with colleagues from the Toronto office, pitch the work of the lab to strategists and project managers, and finally meet (in-person) folks we do a lot of work with over the phone.
Have you ever heard of an “escape fire”? When fighting massive wildfires, firefighters often become trapped and unable to outrun a spreading fire. An escape fire is a controlled burn that creates a safe zone that an approaching wildfire can’t penetrate.
I spent the first leg of this trip watching Escape Fire—a documentary about the US healthcare system that I read about at the Health Experience Project.
It’s terrifying. The US healthcare system is the most expensive in the world, costing the nation $2.7 trillion each year. That’s $8,000 annually per person. Even though we spend more, we have worst outcomes.
The US ranks 50th in life expectancy 50th There are 49 other countries in the world whose citizens live longer, healthier lives than Americans.
Medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the US.
What I learned from this documentary is that the American healthcare system is wrongly named. We live in a disease management system. And in a for-profit healthcare model that reimburses based on how much care is provided versus the quality of care that means two things:
- Providers need us to get sick
- But, they don’t want us to die
- But, they don’t want us to get well either
Here’s the realization point for me: Our healthcare system will pay for a 60 year-old diabetic to have their foot amputated, but as a 27 year-old I receive no incentive to utilize a gym membership or visit a nutritionist.
We pay physicians to see—not cure—as many patients as possible. We pay hospitals to be full. 1…2…3…4…5. Patients are just numbers.
The documentary pitches “escape fires” as a way we can ignite reform and innovation to start saving our system.
With car insurance, your driving record dictates your premium. The healthier your driving record, the lower your premium. Your behavior drives the premium and there is no reason why that shouldn’t be the same for health insurance.
– BMI under a certain level = discount
– Confirmed non-smoker = discount
– Healthy levels of cholesterol & blood pressure = discounts
Why as a society are we not working to prevent disease and to promote health?
– We need to start a grassroots movement to change the political balance of power
– Create a system that is less high-tech and more high-touch
– Empower people to take care of themselves
Our healthcare system is not providing healthy outcomes and it’s bankrupting our nation. Start setting escape fires that will protect us from the wildfire that is the US healthcare system.
*Note: I believe most physicians are intrinsically motivated to provide the best care. It’s the system that is broken.