The health care industry is astoundingly confounding to me.
As a nation, more than 75% of our health care spending is on people with chronic conditions. It is well known that chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. It is also understood that four modifiable (aka “you can do something about this”) risk factors: 1) lack of physical activity, 2) poor nutrition, 3) tobacco use, and 4) excessive alcohol consumption are responsible for much of the pain, suffering, productivity loss and early death associated with chronic disease. The industry knows that modern medicine has proven to be an ineffective cure for chronic diseases, so it focuses instead on disease management.
So 75% of the money we spend annually on health care goes to interventions that do little to nothing about the problem. If my company spent $0.75 of every dollar it makes on programs that didn’t work, people that didn’t produce or investments that never paid off, we’d be out of business in short order. Do you see what I mean?
Four out of five Americans believe that the U.S. health care system should place more emphasis on the prevention of chronic disease. It’s easy to see why, but the real problem is that we, the people simply aren’t doing our part. We’re convinced that if we wait long enough someone or something else – a clever doctor, a magic pill – will take up the slack.
Wishful thinking will never be worth a pound of cure.