The United States Health Problem
Los Angeles Times just published an article that documents consumers having difficulty finding in-network doctors. Is anyone really surprised by this? We have already been facing a shortage of both doctors and nurses. More people are insured and the shortage gets exacerbated.
Many people with pre-existing conditions have complex needs that require specially trained experts. Our poor are disproportionately obese (a wide variety of reasons for that) and are at greater risk for chronic health problems.
Medicaid reimbursement rates get worse and worse with more and more doctors opting out of accepting it. Meanwhile, the cost of education for a doctors has skyrocketed over the last few decades and combine that with the lost earning potential from the age of 18 to late 20’s/early 30’s to finish their residency. Then you also have top hospitals and high level doctors not accepting the vast majority of plans provided by ACA, so you have a situation where really wealthy people can get high end boutique care.
While I strongly feel that every citizen deserves health care, this is clearly a problem that can’t be fixed by ACA alone. We need comprehensive change in education, food access, physical activity, cultural attitudes to real fitness and nutrition, etc. The United States needs to curb the demand for high cost specialized healthcare by being healthy. There’s only so many highly intelligent people willing to give up prime earning potential years while simultaneously racking up hundreds of thousands in debt to develop the expertise to deal with complex health problems.
Are we willing to invest in education so that at the very minimum people can understand the high school level science behind how our body reacts to food consumption, exercise, etc.? Are we willing to make mandatory physical activity with children so that they develop exercise habits? Are we willing to teach people how to choose food, prepare food, and develop a nutritional plan? Are we culturally willing to set aside the calorie dense comfort foods that were created for when more people engaged in active labor every day instead of now sitting at desks? Are we willing to provide the infrastructure necessary to provide nutritious and fresh foods in our poor food desert communities? Are we willing to admit that being fat is a problem?
Is ACA really the first step in dealing with the problem? Are our leaders willing to step up and talk about all the issues above? Or will they be scared away by interest groups that don’t want comprehensive change, don’t want to pay for infrastructure that could save us a lot of money in the future, don’t want to acknowledge the problem with their very own behavior and choices, etc.?