If you read this blog then you know I can rip on everyone, including myself. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been targeted plenty of times by me but this time he got it right. In fact, it fits in with my argument I had recently about the study comparing longevity and healthcare costs. Here are some highlights of what he had to say in his piece Better health not about Obamacare, its about you.
- Even if that seems extreme, it’s still worth asking: Does health insurance make us healthier?
- The website may be working better now, but to me that’s not the most important issue. In my mind, the real suspense comes from whether Obamacare will really make us a healthier America, even if it succeeds in its ambitions to dramatically expand coverage.
- A healthier America: That is the goal we should share as Americans, but access alone won’t get us anywhere close.
- The newly insured Medicaid population did go to the doctor more often, used more preventive health services and received more medications. Problem was, in nearly every area, they weren’t any healthier. Furthermore, the 10-year risk of having a heart attack didn’t change in those who had Medicaid. It wasn’t at all what the proponents of universal access to health insurance hoped they would see.
- In this case, I don’t mean that “good” or “bad” insurance is the critical factor, but that health insurance alone doesn’t lead to better health. None of this works unless we all take personal responsibility, and hold ourselves accountable.
- If we are serious about a more healthy America, the real change starts in each and every one of us, and it’s not that hard to do.
So the question is, Sanjay, can we force people to take care of themselves? If not, then maybe we all should have to buy catastrophic plans and let the public decide for themselves how healthy they want to be? This is opposed to what we are doing now by stuffing the insurance products with “guaranteed” colonoscopies, yearly exams, mammograms, etc that just increase the cost because there is no transparency and no one does any price shopping to bring down that cost. Just saying.