Today as the energies of a new world order step up to bring reforms by dividing people on earth, it is more important than ever to re-examine the need to heal the healthcare situation in the United States of America.
As I was flying into Washington DC from Frankfurt, I sensed the uneasiness which was continuing to grow upon me as the number of times I started to cough increased, my voice further troubled and I was certain I am almost on the verge of catching an upper respiratory tract infection.
After practicing my wait and watch approach two days into my stay at Washington DC, I realized it wasn’t getting any better. Approaching my local host, I enquired if I could buy some antibiotics in my individual capacity as a doctor of medicine. Unfortunately, I was told I might need to go to an Urgent Care Center or an ER to get myself treated and even if I do have insurance, I would have to shell out 100 dollars which in an Indian equivalent could buy me a flight travel from Mangalore to New Delhi in off season timing. It struck me as to what sort of a health system has the American Empire created where for a primary care need, I was being guided to an emergency room corridor. This is a curious case of hyper-regulation to prevent antibiotic misuse. But I wish to view it as an error in excess which needs amends.
It is important and necessary that the US Government seriously changes the approach to its healthcare. The politicking between the democrats and the republicans over Obamacare is an entirely different story, but having said that, the US Life expectancy is slipping further low when compared to other high income nations.
It is that time of the day when US elections are won and lost over healthcare mandates and knowledge building among the youth, failing which the future can be very risky for Americans. As per the estimates provided by OECD, US life expectancy is 78.7 years as on 2015 and it fairs poorly when compared to Japan, Spain, Italy and Switzerland as well.
The homeless problem is growing, un-employment is rising, opiod crisis and obesity continues to consume young Americans, gun violence threatens lives like never before and the American GDP isn’t the best it should be. This is creating inequity in social determinants of health which will continue to cultivate an inequitable positioning. In 2016, CDC points out that, deaths due to opiod overdose stood at 63,600 and the numbers have tripled in terms of the age adjusted rate of drug-overdose from 1999 to 2016.
The US in their overall performance for health ranked last when indicator variables like healthcare outcomes, equity, access to care, administrative efficiency were accessed and reported by the Commonwealth Fund. Interestingly, the US spends more money on healthcare when compared to other high income countries.
What can be done to heal the ailing health system?
US Government must invest in Primary Health Care system of medicine. More people die of common diseases, commonly. Investing to prevent the same can be a great idea than investing to build a wall.
The culture of fast food and the culture of smoke and clubbing must be discouraged and parental discretion and wisdom reigns supreme. The same time must be utilized to enjoy the great outdoors which nature has gifted the land.
Americans must invest in their families. Rather than sending their children away as they become teenagers, it is more meaningful to stay together and foster family bonding which is essentially absent, which is an direct cause for mental health illness. The burden of family separation, the dwindling institution of marriage, the new age philosophy will have its toll on citizens, not today, not some years from now, but decades from now, when the same will be irreversible.
These are basic primary solutions not amounting to radical changes or rocket sciences. Much of this is possible by self-realization and competent governance.
Lastly in conclusion, the American dream can be revived, the empire in decline can certainly be halted, but bold decisions, beyond rhetoric and divisive campaigns must see the light of day. The power to bring this change lies in the hands of the average, hard-working American.
Long live the Star-Spangled Banner.