Did you know that Starbucks pays more for health insurance for it's employees in the United States than it does for coffee?
Did you know GM spends more on healthcare costs for employees than it does on steel?
These are just two of the facts I've read about in the book Fractured: America's Broken Healthcare System by Dr. Ted Epperly.
I posted some preliminary information about this book from the publishing materials over on my other blog - (Basking in Books post dated May 7.) Now I'm about a quarter of the way through the book and I'm thoroughly intrigued. At times as I've read certain portions of it I have felt overwhelmed / discouraged by the extent to which our system of educating, recruiting, regulating and paying for medical care providers is indeed very, very broken. But the book has moments of hope as well. My favorite line so far is when Epperly writes on pages 25-26 "Medical care is about treating a whole person in the context of their family and their community. It is not about treating disease. It about treating a person with disease."
Unfortunately, that seems to be the ideal rather than the reality in this country right now.
I'm still wading through the sections of the book that detail why our current system is totally unsustainable. (Some down right scary stuff there!) I'm very much looking forward to moving on to the part where Epperly will describe what can be done about it. I've worked with Ted Epperly (disclosure: he is on the advisory board of the agency where I am currently employed). I have been consistently impressed by his articulate insight and his compassionate commitment to the medical profession. I have tremendous respect for this guy.
What I don't know is how we are going to change directions of the runaway train that is driving our current medical mess.
I see what COULD be done. I think I understand what SHOULD be done. I just wish I had more confidence that both the policy makers and the people of this country would have the necessary will to shift gears. My fear is that too many, like Nero, are willing to simply play the violin while Rome burns.