Now, I’m not trying to say that the healthcare industry is completely and utterly broken. It’s just a lot of what our country has done with healthcare is wrong. I don’t think that all of it needs to be overhauled, but some things definitely need to change! The problem as I see it is insurance companies. They are in the business of making money and nothing more. They don’t care about you (the customer), they only care about your health and how much or how little they can charge based on your current situation. This leads to rationing care whenever possible so they can save money while also giving their stockholders a profit for whatever year they happen be in currently. I think that social responsibility is important. When you’re in the business of making money, your only responsibility is to make money. That’s why a lot of insurance companies out there are so bad. They don’t want to cover you and they’ll do whatever it takes not to pay for something that you need.
That’s precisely what I’m trying to get at here: Why does my healthcare cost so much? There are two answers, which I will get into shortly in more detail, but the short answer is because our system is broken and we have been conditioned as a society to believe that healthcare should be free or very low cost if we have insurance (but it isn’t).
The first part of the problem here is that people believe in their heart of hearts that healthcare costs too much, but then they go right out there and buy an $8 cup of coffee from Starbucks every morning on their way into work (that’s $108 per week or $5280 per year). When it comes down to it spending an extra few dollars on your health versus a latte with cream every morning doesn’t seem like such a big deal (it isn’t), but when you look at this over an entire lifetime these small decisions add up tremendously – especially for those who don’t get regular preventative care (which costs less than treating something after it happens). What if we could stop buying all those lattes completely? We could save thousands upon thousands upon thousands over our lifetime! But. We. Can’t. And here’s why:
Our health is very important to us, and for the most part we do what we can to take care of ourselves. But, let’s face it: when you’re on your way to work every morning and you have $10 in your pocket that you plan to spend on coffee and a muffin at Starbucks it doesn’t seem like a big deal (it isn’t) so you do it. But if instead of doing this every day for the rest of your life, that money went into an IRA or a 401(k), then over time that could be thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars saved! That’s a lot of money! You might say, “But I’ll never be able to afford my healthcare with all my savings”! True enough, but let me ask you this: What if I told you that there are ways for everyone in our country – no matter how much or how little they make – to get affordable healthcare? Would it still be worth skipping out on those lattes before work? (Spoiler alert: yes).
The second part of the problem is insurance companies deciding who gets what care based on their profit margins rather than their customers’ actual health needs. This is one massive problem in our country today because these decisions are made by people who have no idea about medicine or even science.
We’re all in this together. The only way to change the healthcare system is to take action and get involved! Be an active participant in your own healthcare. If you see something that isn’t right, say something! I’m not going to sit here and tell you that our healthcare system is great when it clearly isn’t, but I will tell you this: Our healthcare system can be so much better than it is today, and if we are willing to put in the effort then we can make it so.