Our broken healthcare’s savior has finally arrived

America MNDespite the title, this article is not to describe, justify, glorify or discredit that attempt at healthcare reform.

Instead, it is to highlight what the ACA intends to fix, our “so-called” awful healthcare system.

The slightest mention that our healthcare system is subpar is disturbing to me. Why? I AM A NURSE and an integral part of such healthcare system. So, it irks me when our healthcare system is badmouth by critics, and worse, critics from within our own ranks in healthcare.

Our nation’s healthcare is by far the best in the world. Others disagree, commonly invoking, “If our healthcare were the greatest, why does it fall behind other nations with regard to infant deaths and life expectancies?”

Well, our healthcare system should not be blamed for our society’s shortcomings. Yes, our immediate-gratification and instant-action demanding society or what I encapsulated in my book, “The Customer is NEVER Right: A Nurse Practitioner’s Perspective”, as exaggerated unrealistic emotional expectation, entitlements and so-called VIP.

“Healthcare cost is too much in our country because we deliver too much healthcare.”

Our nation is known worldwide for abundance and impatience. Both, Achilles’ heels at home, where, our nation’s greatest healthcare ailments are erectile dysfunction and insomnia according to pharmaceutical budgets as pointed out by Dr. Thomas Doyle in his book, “Suck it up, America”.

So yes, rather our healthcare system, it is our abundance and impatience as to why the United States of America falls behind other nations in healthcare.

Those are not alibis but facts and facts not commonly pointed out during our healthcare system’s criticism.

Facts that, directly or indirectly, affect the numbers of life expectancies and infant death and numbers, of which, are not seen in nations with “healthier” rates.

To highlight, but a few, numbers maintained by the CDC.

  • In 2008, 121,902 accidental deaths: 41,000 due to prescribed opiate overdose and 38,000 due to motor vehicle accidents.
  • In 2008, 13,582 homicides and 36,035 suicides. Before the emails, know that I am NOT a gun control advocate.
  • Not mentioned, the hundreds of thousands our great healthcare system was able to resuscitate and will care for due to chronic complications from their non-fatal accidents or surviving a homicide or suicide attempts.
  • More deaths in 2008, heart disease 616,828, chronic low respiratory disease 141,090, stroke 134,148 and diabetes 70,533. Some due to bad genes, however, many because of bad diet choices, tobacco/recreational drug use, and/or lack of exercise.
  • For the first time, EVER, the previous generation will outlive the current generation. Sad, and the first nation to earn such HONOR the United States of America. However, not mentioned by critics, the honor was not due to a lack of healthcare, but again, due to poor life-style choices. Such phenomenon, of the previous generation outliving the current one, unheard of in nations where children are physically active and likely never heard of “Twinkies”.
  • In 2008, 28,059 Infant deaths. Another shortfall critics like to point out. However, they do not mention the 825,564 elected abortions in 2008. Again, before the emails, I am neither a Pro-Life or Pro-Choice advocate. Regardless, both sides have to agree that fewer abortions (234 abortions per 1,000 live births in 2008) would improve our infant death numbers. Once again, numbers not witnessed by other nations.

With all that said, our healthcare is NOT broke. What is broke is our society with their immediate-gratification and instant-action demands that lead to access abuse and the overwhelming of our healthcare system.

Doyle pointed out, “Healthcare cost is too much in our country because we deliver too much healthcare. We deliver too much because we demand too much. And we demand it for all the wrong reasons.”

To be clear, although critics will complain regardless, by no means is this an effort to denigrate, discredit or downplay patient’s reason for seeking medical attention. Doyle called us a nation of whining hypochondriacs and I agree.

Adding to that, I would say that is where our problems lay, as not everyone needs medical attention and reaching for unneeded handouts leaves less opportunity for those who do have needs.

That includes the children. As not every fever, cough, runny nose child with a rash, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding nose or constipation that hit his head or is pulling at her ear needs to seek medical attention. The same goes for the adults with the same and their sprain injuries, sore throats, back pain, headaches, yada, yada, yada.

Again, save the emails as this has nothing to do with I have mine and you are on your own to get yours, either. We ALL know the consequences of overindulgence, risk taking and irresponsibility but ONLY some of us believe it is not fair to burden our neighbors with taking care of us because of our poor decisions.

Critics are right, other nations have better numbers than ours, as it is numbers that critics use to make their arguments. However, none of those mentioned nations deliver as much healthcare as our system does, not only within our borders but outside our borders as well. For that alone, our healthcare system deserves a standing ovation rather than being torn down by critics.

On top of that, regardless how much better those other nations’ healthcare systems are they would not be able to care for our nation’s immediate-gratification instant-action and demanding society who are impatient and take for granted the abundance in our nation.

Now, to the dissatisfied colleagues I want to say, “Our healthcare system is NOT broke. Nor does it need a SAVIOR! What needs a savior is our nanny state where many abuse the system taking from those who need it more.”

So, instead of criticizing our healthcare system versus the world, colleagues need to find the courage to confront patients with exaggerated unrealistic emotional expectation. By doing so, everything else will fall in its place. That is my two sense.

  • Note from Mighty Nurse – We encourage open and honest discussion of all aspects of nursing career and lifestyle. Let us know what you think about this issue, or submit your own story.

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