Why is health care so expensive?
How can we make healthcare more affordable?
These are the two primary questions that face the majority of Americans today when they look at their annual expenditures and the risks we all have to prepare for.
What if those are fundamentally the wrong questions?
Asking the wrong question will never yield the right answer……
In order to have a constructive conversation about this topic we have to frame the problem first and then we have to define what we are talking about.
First let’s define what we aren’t talking about. We aren’t talking about rare diseases, genetic disorders or catastrophic injury/accidents.
According to the CDC (as of 2015) 114 million Americans now live with diabetes or pre-diabetes. That is 35% of the population, and this is before accounting for those that don’t know or have yet to be diagnosed. This is frightening enough before we discuss the projections for the next 30 years. The rate of diabetes prevalence is probably the one of biggest threats to the US economy outside of nuclear war.
86% of health care costs are attributed to chronic disease…..Coach Greg Glassman has written and spoken about the 5 Buckets of Death at affiliates around the country as well as on Capital Hill.
Even the most rudimentary understanding of supply and demand easily explains why health care costs are rising at unsustainable rates. Massive amounts of sick people with only a limited amount of health care professionals doesn’t make for a positive outcome.
Lots of sick people + not enough health care professionals = Bad news
That is course true unless we ask a different question and ask who else can service that need.
So the better question would be:
Why are people sick?
Any discussion had about health care in the absence of why people are sick is meaningless.
It would be the equivalent of someone complaining about why band-aids cost so much and when asked why they need so many they responded with “I keep cutting my fingers with this knife.”
Any rational person would find the question about the band-aid market to be extremely odd given this scenario. We would be much more curious about the propensity for this person to cut their fingers.
So why isn’t anyone asking the right question?
Would it matter how much health care cost if you never needed it?
Insurance was invented to plan for the unknown and unknowable. It was not intended to be a necessity to function as a human being. Yet that is what has unfolded over the past 30 years. People are dying without it and it’s the largest cost for most households next to their mortgage. You don’t buy home insurance because you punch holes in your wall everyday, and the insurance company wouldn’t cover that damage anyway. You buy it in case your house gets flooded during a hurricane or burns down. If you take care of your vehicle then the chances of you needing to have invested in an extended warranty are about 2%. Our bodies aren’t much different, if we take care of them they are highly functional for a very long time.
So why are all the questions being asked solely revolved around making health care costs more economically friendly (which is impossible based on the scenario we currently face) for costs that are almost entirely attributed to things people have control over??
The short answer is the health care system is booming right now because they are in the business of treating chronic disease not curing it.
Did anyone ever consider that the insurance and healthcare system is working exactly the way it was designed? The fatal assumption is that the current health care system is designed with the best interest of the consumer in mind……
The avg household spends more than $1000/month on health care premiums and that figure rose more than 22% from 2016-2017. This cost is about 500% of the average cost of a CrossFit membership. People are spending 1/5 of the money they are spending on health care to be a part of a community that is curing chronic disease and reducing the need for medication and frequent doctor visits. The ROI there is pretty high. Even frequent personal training comes out to less in many scenarios.
Curing chronic disease has fallen on the shoulders of the 14,000 CrossFit Affiliates around the world.
Coach Glassman’s analogy of the lifeguard and the swim coach is becoming more real every day.
Let’s stop asking everyone why the cost of lifeguards is so high when people are drowning so frequently.
Let’s start asking them why then can’t swim.