Monday, September 21, 2009

Healthcare debate and health based charities, who wins?

Healthcare is such a hot kitchen table issue right now, that people demand changes and action, regardless what side of the political aisle you stand on. Some people want the government to expand the use of Medicare as the only alternate health insurance for people who don't have coverage, and other want the government out of the healthcare business, and only want to reform the way some insurance companies do business, like denying patients coverage for pre-existing conditions. Others, just want out of it all together, no health insurance, then tough cookies and don't want the government to penalize you for not having it. Either way, you look at, it all boils down to the costs of healthcare. It would not be such an issue if the the cost for some of the procedures you get at a hospital from having a child to getting a cyst removed from a breast wouldn't be so much. The stay at a hospital, the medicines, the around the clock care from the nurses and doctors, the electricity to keep the hospital open, the technology needed to detect diseases, all cost money and trickles its way to the bottom line of patients needing the care.

How much does it cost to sustain human life? According to Time Magazine, it is $129,000/year. This study was based out of Stanford's School of Business, using patients of dialysis. Costs like "quality of life" and the amount of time for treatment, value of organs, etc. were all taken into account. I don't know if you can put dollars and cents on human life, but at least you get the picture of incomes versus expenses when it comes to healthcare. If a person makes only $50,000/year and has to get dialysis, imagine the time and cost going into it for that individual! That person would be broke for sure!

And where does all of this lost money go? Back to the taxpayers, the companies producing the healthcare products, and to the insurance companies for increased premiums, among a few. Another avenue of where some of these costs would be coming from would be health based charities. Alot of churches have them, community clinics and even pharmacies are starting to help out those in need of a little help with medic care. I am sure in the case of an individual going through dialysis, research for more efficient and effective methods would be covered under the umbrella of National Kidney Foundation. But with the ailing economy, alot of these necessary non-profits are getting the boot from some people as a place to give donations, and don't see the immediate value that such support of health-based charities could do to the economy down the road.

Maybe I am tooting my own horn here because I am working with Team In Training this year to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and I HAVE to raise money! I think people need to see that donations to an organization means that 1)they have control of where their money is going in supporting a health cause 2) it contributes to the research of that particular organization so the medicine and treatments would be more efficient and effective 3) once the organization is contributing to more efficient and effective ways in finding cures, then it would lower healtcare costs down the road for individuals with that disease, and could mean less of a burden on all people! Makes the healthcare more affordable and available to all with that disease.

I could be too simplistic in my theory of healthcare and health-care charities, but I challenge everyone to give up that 500 calorie daily iced coffee for a week, and give that money to a health cause instead. Better yet, give up on your annual Christmas gift this year and just tell people to donate to your favorite health-based charity instead. Or even participate in a community health walk or 5k run/walk and raise money for a charity that really needs the money. I think it would lower everyone's health costs down the road if we all do it together!

1 comment:

Judy said...

Very good blog article! You make very valid points about healthcare issues and donations to charities :)