Healthcare Vs. Illness Care: The Affordability Issue

Updated on April 21, 2018
Glenn Stok profile image

Mr. Stok shares his unique assessment of the many social and economic concerns in our society. His viewpoints may inspire further thought.

Our healthcare system focuses on managing disease (illness care) rather than prevention and wellness (true health care). I think this is one of the reasons why the cost of health insurance keeps increasing.

The purpose of this article is to explain the disparity between Healthcare Management and Disease Management.

I notice several problems:

  1. Many people don’t know that some diseases are avoidable.
  2. Some people are in denial about their health and they just think they are prone to being unhealthy.
  3. The system of healthcare is not focused on prevention as much as it should be.
  4. Some medications are costly because the pharmaceutical industry is mostly unregulated.

I’ll discuss each of these issues in detail.

Source

Health Education

Health management is not taught in our schools. People grow up without any knowledge of how to take care of themselves and how to lead a healthy life. Doctors should offer patients some form of education so they know how to live a healthier life, instead of just treating illnesses after they occur.

I notice some people make themselves sick with the way they live. Then they go to doctors to treat their problems with medications that sometimes have worse side effects. I don’t see any effort with trying to figure out what is causing their problems in the first place.

The answers exist. I know, because I read up on health-related journals and I learn how to lead a healthy life. People think I'm 10 years younger than I am. I suppose this has something to do with my diet and exercise, in addition to a healthy lifestyle (non-smoking, etc.)


Being in Denial About Reasons for Sickness

Denial causes people to avoid doing what’s right. I once told a friend he would get cancer because he always ate carcinogens. He liked to barbeque his means every day. He was in denial and continued to do this until he developed colon cancer and needed to have a portion of his colon removed.

The problem is not always the patient’s fault. The healthcare system is messed up. It rewards doctors for doing procedures, not for teaching patients how to live longer. It is totally up to us to educate ourselves.

Doctors get paid for performing services, not for helping patients get healthy. I had an interesting discussion with my doctor once about this.

I’ll tell you this brief story:

After I started eating more vegetarian dishes, my cholesterol and triglycerides came down tremendously. My doctor said it must be due to my changed diet. I asked him why he doesn’t tell his patients to eat that way when they need to improve their blood counts.

His frustration was obvious when he answered, “Because they don’t listen. They find it too difficult and would rather just have me prescribe a medication.”

I was shocked, and I realized the insurance companies have to pay for this. That’s why the premiums keep going higher.

Source

Illness Management and Prevention: A Failed System

If a patient has a heart attack, a doctor can make $1500 for surgery to add a stent.

If the same doctor takes 45 minutes to discuss with the patient how to get healthy so that they can avoid future heart attacks, that doctor may get paid only $15 for the service.1

According to the Institute of Medicine, a 2011 study showed that 30% of healthcare spending is wasted and does not improve health. This is roughly $750 billion annually.2

Bypass surgery just solves the immediate problem. Future costs for more surgeries will most likely occur, raising the cost of insurance even further.

If a patient is not educated on the proper lifestyle to avoid heart attacks, they will most likely end up with more stents or more bypass surgeries, until they die.

Going from Sick Care to Health Care

The Preventive Medicine Research Institute did a survey that found heart disease is reversible. Blockages in arteries that end up requiring stents actually clear up when one changes their lifestyle and eats heart-healthy foods.3

I once spoke with someone I met at a party who had a triple bypass. She said she would soon need another. I asked her if she knew about the research that found how a plant based diet could help reverse heart disease. She said it is too difficult for her to avoid red meat and delicious fatty foods.

I was stunned. She would rather go under the knife. Unfortunately there are many people like that.

Why Drug Prices Are Out of Control

Most health insurance includes coverage for medications prescribed by a doctor, usually with a deductible. Medicare Part D also pays for prescribed medications. However, they are divided into tier groups. Tiers 1 and 2 usually have zero or low co-pays. However, drugs in the higher tiers can end up costing thousands of dollars.

The influence of the pharmaceutical lobbyists caused the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to leave the pharmaceutical industry unregulated. This left Medicare powerless to negotiate for better drug prices.4

I wonder if many of these costs can be avoided altogether, especially if patients take the time to read up on the side effects and ask questions.

I love to do my own research, so whenever I experience something strange happening after starting a new medication prescribed for an ailment, I study the data on the drug to determine if it might be the cause of it.

I would usually discover that many of my problems were a result of medication side effects. How many patients actually do his or her research in this manner? They expect their doctor is taking proper care of them, but, in my experience, I see that the doctors don’t have time to do their own research. They just trust the drug companies. In addition, they have no idea about costs to the patient.


Review

Leading a healthy life is more affordable when you focus on getting healthcare before you need illness care. You’ll be happier for it.

I think it’s important to discuss health issues with your doctor. Never take things for granted. Don’t accept what your doctor prescribes without asking about side effects and if healthier alternatives are available.

Of course there is always the possibility that one will succumb to a genetic disease that is prone to occur because of an inherited gene. Nevertheless, many people can be healthier than they presently are. It just takes the willingness to learn how to lead a healthy life and put it into action.

The healthcare industry still needs improvement, but you can do your part in making it affordable.

© 2017 Glenn Stok

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      13 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Natalie Frank - Very well said. Too bad most people don't think that way.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 

      13 months ago from Chicago, IL

      This speaks to an important issue - namely the shortsightedness of the healthcare industry. I know when seeing patients attempting to impress upon insurance companies how letting me work with someone before problems occur is much more cost effective than waiting for a problem to develop and then trying to remedy a situation. My entreaties have always fallen on deaf ears. Moving to a risk prevention and health promotion model vs. a disease focused model should be a no brainer but somehow we never seem able to truly make this transition. Thanks for another informative article.

    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      13 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Nell, That shows the difference between healthcare and illness care. At least your brother won his case in court, if I understood you correctly.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      13 months ago from England

      My brother recently had his sickness benefit closed as they kindly informed him that 'you are 60, bad heart, bad hiatus hernia, terrible duedonitis bad, so go get a job!!!! he fought it, and the courts were disgusted with the health service for putting him through it!

    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      13 months ago from Long Island, NY

      That's right Dora. We need to be responsible for our own heath. Doctors can only do so much. They are just as frustrated, as mentioned in this article, because patients don't listen to their advice.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      13 months ago from The Caribbean

      So we cannot blame the doctors for not teaching proper nutrition (I often did); some of them just prefer not to waste time. Thanks for these important facts and the reminder that our health is our responsibility.

    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      13 months ago from Long Island, NY

      FlourishAnyway - You’re right. I’m not a vegan, but when I’m not feeling well, I go on a total vegetarian diet for a couple of weeks and I’m back to normal.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      13 months ago from USA

      I’m currently on a vegan for a month challenge and have found that plant based nutrition has helped to reduce or eliminate even very serious health symptoms. I’m convinced that we can help heal ourselves with better eating.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, soapboxie.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://soapboxie.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)