For most people, the amount of dollars spent on healthcare is not sustainable. I say let’s boycott healthcare. It would be pretty simply, the system has already priced most of us out. We just witnessed the gutting of the Affordable Care Act, which wasn’t a brilliant bill but it was certainly better than the previous system. The new law in its current state is a joke, who asked for things to get worst. We expected a better system but got one worst than what we had? This new bill demonstrates a total disconnect from the experiences people are having in the real world. Today people essentially pay for something they cannot afford to use. Take the example of corporations passes more medical expenses to their employees.
Texas Medical Center
In Houston home of one of the largest medical complexes in the world and yet so many Houstonians cannot afford to utilize the facilities. The excellent leaders in Austin decided not to expand Medicare. Texas, health care insurance, is expensive. Houston home to a large medical center has the largest uninsured and underinsured population in the nation (26%).
Texans like many American decide to purchase catastrophic coverage (high deductible low monthly payments) or nothing. If they buy coverage with a high deductible, they cannot afford to use their coverage except for major problems ($2,000 for individuals & $5,000 per yr family). If they opt to do without, they are dependent on the emergency room system. In either scenario, they cannot afford a regular doctor visit.
Expensive medical insurance absorbs a larger portion of families earning. Wages stagnation, lack of livable wages and the Republican party intensity to eliminate safety nets create a dire future for the greatest portion of the American populous. I am speaking about the people represented in the jobs reports we hear announce every month, 80% of which work in the service sector. While there are highly paid professionals in the service industry, far more are low paying hourly employees.
Where are the Wellness Professionals for Poor People
Corporate wellness professionals do a great job programming, cheerleading and motivating the professional class. Creating comprehensive healthcare policies, for moderate and high earning employees. Paying for medical coverage is a challenge for many employees, regardless of salary. However, many employers offer wellness program to help offset the cost of health care. The cost of coverage for healthy employees is less than unhealthy employees.
However, who’s advocating for the hourly workers, where are their wellness programs? They need programming and motivation to offset unaffordable medical care. Where are the Wellness professionals for the low paid service sector employees? Where are their company sponsored Fitbit? Who’s teaching them about the food pyramid?
Instead, we blame these workers because they are lowly paid. State and Federal governments have turned their backs by refusing to elevate the minimum wage to a livable level. The States with the neediest citizens refuse to expand Medicare. The Federal government seemingly is accelerating efforts to eliminate all opportunities for low income workers to gain access to coverage.
Cost Less to Insure Low Income Workers
If their employers offer healthcare, many hourly workers cannot afford to purchase coverage. First, the cost of coverage is prohibitive as it would consume too much of their small take home pay. Their best hope was through subsidized coverage. However, as the Feds seek to eliminate this alternative, wellness professionals could be a solution. A healthy low income worker cost less to cover as well. In fact, wellness intervention would have the greatest health care impact.
Poor people are not the subjects of studies examining health outcomes. Researchers mostly hypothesize or make assumptions about findings and their effects. Science has a long history of this type of practice; conducting research using only white males then assuming women and men of color would respond similarly. That has not worked out well. Research need to be specific to improve health outcomes for poor people.
I would imagine it would be difficult finding funding for research on poor people because they are disappearing in this country. In the 2016 election, neither presidential candidate spoke to, about or reference poor people. They mentioned the shrinking middle class. I guess we are to assume that the middle class is shrinking because either they are moving up to the upper middle class or vanishing from the planet.
I wonder if the existence of poor people reminds politicians of their failure to adequately serve their constituents. What we experience from politicians, public figures or portrays in the media is a narrative that blames, shames or subjugates poor people. The narrative that you are at fault for making minimum wage, then it becomes a choice and nothing need to be done. It is surreal how talk related to livable wages, income inequality and the wealth gap is shoved aside for non sequitur topics like transgender bathrooms bills. Livable wages affect millions of Americans, while where a transgender person uses the bathroom only have an impact on a few pervs who like to watch people pee.
The disappearance of poor people may be OK for even poor people. Most poor people do not consider themselves poor and if they recognize that they are poor, they tend to identify with people in higher economic brackets. It is ok to ignore poor people because they do not vote their self interest. Poor people are leader driven at the ballot. Abortion, LGBTQ, racism or sexism all issues which affect poor people harshly, poor people themselves are easily dissuaded and align with those who ultimately will make their lives worst.
Profiting off the poor has become an American thing, basically keeping poor people poor. However, until low income earners recognize their situation, they will continue to do harm to their cause.
Disrupt Medical Insurance
Wellness professional with an entrepreneurial mind could target an untapped segment of the market millions of people strong. Conventional health care is too expensive and ripped for innovation. Low income earners should ignore offers to join a health care market and revert to the ER system for care. Boycotting medical insurance is a disruptive concept, but so was walking to work instead of using the city bus system in 1955. If you are honest, they are just taking our money and not offering much in return.
Can you imagine the response from the medical industry, local, state and federal government? They would do what they always do, come down hard with threats possibly changing ER policies to prohibit boycotters from receiving service, people would be arrested and publically shamed. Contrast with what we have now. We pay into a system; we cannot afford. The out of pocket expense is too high. The physician they cannot find a diagnosis or the treatment is so expensive it leads you bankrupt. You are broke before you are cured.
Boycotting traditional medical insurance is not the same as boycotting physicians. Most physicians became doctors because they wanted to do good work for the people they serviced. Many have express concern and continually advocate for changes to the system. The type of changes, which would make practicing medicine appealing. There is no group of doctors more saddled with grief than primary care physicians. They have seen their fees cut; hours increased and they can forget about opening their own practice. Doctors are ready to fight back.
Direct Primary Care
An article in the Wall Street Journal describe, February 2017 by Melinda Beck, With Direct Primary Care, It’s Just Doctor and Patient. Ms. Beck detail the disruptive practice of one physician, with not no waiting rooms, no office staff, the doctor speaks with her patients via text, email or phone and no insurance. Each patient pays a monthly fee of between $25 to $125 depending on age. Direct Primary Care is an innovative idea; some doctors are turning to and breaking the chains of the big medical establishment.
Wellness Pros should convert from for profit enterprises to nonprofits and tap into the charitable giving of the billionaire class who engage with social enterprises doing good work. Wellness pros, silicon valley and social entrepreneurs collaborating bringing technology, thinking outside the box can make a difference. Bringing affordable healthcare to the masses is a disruptive idea. Boycotting medical insurance would be disruptive and call attention to the plight of the majority of Americans. How can technology help outside of linking people together to coordinate a boycott?
Can technology bring doctors into your living room for a visit? Technology can be used to purchase pharmaceuticals from around the globe. Sourcing the orders, the same way UPS and FedEx does when shipping products. Wellness entrepreneurs could go into the neighborhoods, grocers and convenient stores talk to people about food choices, physical activity and concepts of body and mind. Technology could provide checks and balance for people to keep track of their progress and to motivate when they are struggling.
The system is not going to correct itself. The system and those in charge will continue to exploit and profit off poor people unless a disruptive force intervenes. It is time to make a difference.