A Health Care Holiday Wish List for the U.S.

by Cathy Miller on December 4, 2012

in Health and Wellness

Holiday wish lists cover everything from commercial consumption to an altruistic wish for ending hunger.

This year I decided to throw in a holiday wish list for health care in the U.S.

We’ve tried everything else to cure the health care crisis.

Why not a wish list?

Health Care Holiday Wish List

#1 – I wish someone – anyone – finds a workable solution.

I spent 30+ years in the healthcare and insurance industry. I often wished I could come up with a magic pill with the following side effects.

  • Comprehensive, affordable coverage for all
  • Plans focused on health, education and support
  • A system that views technological advances as a marvel instead of a liability

I’ve never been very political. Frankly, I don’t care where the magic pill comes from. I just don’t want us all held hostage for it.

#2 – I wish for the true meaning of partnership.

Smart businesses understand they need help.

  • Shippers need reliable carriers
  • Manufacturers need parts
  • Service providers need technology

No matter what business you’re in – you need strategic partnerships for success.

So, why do insurers and healthcare providers often work against each other?

  • Most healthcare professionals need the patients insurers bring
  • Insurers need the healthcare professionals for clients’ services

Doesn’t it make good business sense to work together for improved health care delivery?

Just a thought.

#3 – I wish for accountability across the board.

Using the business analogy again, each participant in a partnership is accountable for his or her action – or should be.

Don’t you wish we had the same accountability across the board for health care?

  • Individuals are accountable for their health - Our current system of you get sick, your insurance pays, does nothing to hold individuals accountable for anything beyond their insurance payments.
  • Healthcare providers are accountable for their services - It is frightening when one of the most dangerous places to stay is your local hospital. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated the number of healthcare-associated infections acquired while being treated was 1.7 million.
  • Insurers are accountable for transparency in their transactions - For reasons sometimes only known to a select few, insurers withhold health data vital to health plan sponsors.

One industry experts expresses the lack of transparency this way ~

Employers know more about the office photocopy machine than they do about their health plan. Year after year, employers must tolerate double-digit increases without the data to know what the increase represents or more importantly, how to fix it.

John Kahle, Employee Benefit Adviser Magazine

#4 – I wish for a focus on health and productivity.

For decades, our health insurance system focused on managing disease.

As an industry, we mitigated risk by playing a numbers game.

  • Cap the amount paid
  • Limit the number of those eligible

The increasing number of unhealthy Americans may have beat us at our own game.

  • CDC reports more than a third of adults and 17% of youth are obese
  • CDC estimates 1 in 2 Americans live with at least one chronic health condition

Finally, there is a shift in focus.

More health plan sponsors recognize the link between health and productivity.

  • Healthier individuals are more productive individuals
  • Total health considers the physical, mental, and social well-being of individuals

As a recovering unhealthy addict, I understand the challenges and the rewards.

#5 – I wish everyone a happy, healthy 2013.

Even the debating politicians. Maybe if they enjoy happiness and good health, they’ll want to share the experience.

Hope springs eternal.

What’s on your health care holiday wish list?


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Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or a health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legal matters with an attorney and visit your physician for health care issues.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda December 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Even though we are fortunate to have a free health service in the UK, we have similar problems. If more people were aware that prescription drugs are the main cause of hospital admissions, and as you say, that “one of the most dangerous places to stay is your local hospital” – they would become more responsible for their own health.

The dependence on others to fix their problems means that there is insufficient incentive to prevent problems occurring. Everyone needs to eat healthy food – not processed, learn how to cook it in schools, and this would save billions.

Then, if everyone learned methods that suited them to prevent, and release, stress they would live happier lives – free from medical intervention.

It is that simple – but it won’t happen while companies such as McDonalds influence governments.


Cathy December 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Hi Linda: Thanks for the virtual trip across the pond to weigh in on the topic. :-) The biggest thing I fear from hospitals are staph infections. But, I am so in agreement with you that we need to take accountability for our own health.

As I said, I have been on both sides of the health meter and the one who has me in my current state (knock on wood) of good health is myself. Of course, unfortunately, people who do take care of themselves still get sick, but at least we can do something about our own healthy behaviors.

Thanks again for dropping by and sharing your view, Linda.


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