You can also go through life obsessing about your health – constantly searching online for health products; demanding every diagnostic test, no matter how expensive or irrelevant; believing that if you do all the right things you won’t die.
Both are extremes, excesses. They are also enormously expensive and uneconomical: the first forgoes prevention for future intervention, while the later diverts resources from others who need them.
There’s a middle between them which Americans have forgotten. There was a time when healthcare wasn’t the financial and bureaucratic catastrophe it is now. In fact, our healthcare problems may be America’s Achilles Heal – our greatest national security threat since the rise of Fascism and Stalinism in the 1920s.
Some of us paid no mind to our health.
Others wanted everything possible to be done.
We lost sight of the Golden Mean.
Perhaps it started somewhere in the 1960s when advanced technologies saved lives previously beyond salvation, and those technologies were repurposed without deep consideration of the consequences.
Perhaps it started when geniuses from Harvard School of Business or Wharton realized that the efficiencies of operations management for factories could be applied to hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Whatever the reasons, over the last fifty years, Healthcare has – bit by bit – steered away from the helm of human brains toward mechanical methods. Efficiency started to replace care…human, hard-working, committed care.
I don’t know exactly where the middle is in our desire for the best healthcare.
But there is a golden spot somewhere in between our Romanesque excesses and our post-war American apathy.
Do you see it?