According to one study, Americans have more than 16 million unnecessary hospitalizations and procedures done every single year. That’s a phenomenal amount.
Estimates for iatrogenic deaths, or death by medical system, vary from 250,000 dead Americans per year, all the way to almost 800,000. That makes iatrogenic deaths one of if not the leading cause of death today.
Think about that. The medical system, the very thing that’s supposed to heal you, is killing more Americans than any disease, illness, or war out there.
Isn’t that horrifying?
The incentives are all wrong
One of the many culprits is the economics of healthcare. I won’t go into all the ways the insurance companies, the government, the AMA, and others have engineered this dystopian meat grinder of a medical system, let’s just talk about a very unfortunate truth:
If you’re a healthy patient, the doctor makes no money from you at all, besides maybe the occasional checkup.
But as soon as you get sick, that’s where doctors get involved, and then specialists, blood tests, X-rays, and all manner of diagnostics and procedures, many of them completely unnecessary.
You’re only profitable to the system if you’re sick. If you’re healthy, doctors want nothing to do with you. In other words, to keep their job and make money, doctors need sick patients.
That’s quite a twisted incentive, isn’t it? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t doctors want people to be healthy and not visit them? That sounds like the right approach, but then they’d all be out of a job, so how can we make that work?
My wife pointed out to me that one way to get doctors interested in keeping you healthy instead of creating repeat sick customers, is a subscription that you only pay when you’re healthy.
Pay your doctor when you’re healthy, not when you’re sick
Say you pay the doctor $100 a month, every month, to keep you healthy, but the moment you get sick, they or their insurance foots the entire bill.
Suddenly, your doctor’s calling you every week to make sure you’re taking your vitamins, keeping up with your exercise, and eating a good diet, because he makes money when you’re healthy, and loses money when you’re sick
Our medical system is so far removed from the radical concept of keeping you healthy that it’s even hard to imagine what it would look like, but try.
Imagine that your doctor, like in the olden days, made house calls and came to check up on you every few months. They came to visit, maybe you had a barbecue together, and you talked about your diet and exercise plan to make sure everything was on track.
Instead of playing whack-a-mole with dangerous (and profitable) pharmaceuticals every time a symptom of illness reared its ugly head, your doctor would try to keep you healthy using the least intrusive, most holistic ways possible. After all, he’d be the one paying for all your medication if you were sick.
Now that’s a world I’d like to live in.