Hey, Stupid, What’s the Top Healthcare Priority?


Yes, obesity, cancer, diabetes, depression…all top priorities, of course: if you or someone you love has any, it’s your priority.

And yet: the economy – the integration of the capital, the labor, the infrastructure, the legislative branches – is the core pumper of the circulation of health care.

If our capital system continues to weaken, we are going to have a rough time advancing healthcare into the 21st Century.

Health is Economy, Economy is Health. Just as our bodies are complex systems of ecosystems, our economies are complex systems of ecosystems.

For the last several years, we have been involved in the greatest recession since the 1930s. But…

…but the big bad stuff is heading our way.

The American capital system is chillingly close to collapse: Financial Capital is far in excess of Productive Capital. Enormous piles of growing financial capital sit right next to enormous growing swaths of unemployed labor. The differential is so great, that when it snaps – catastrophically snaps – the ensuing calamity in itself will be a healthcare crisis: more spikes in unemployment, new crime waves, the final demise of a middle class – the Brazilifcation of America in other words.

If you have any interest in healthcare – whether as a provider or technologist or device-maker or marketer – consider well the times we live in, for the challenge coming is dire.

If you have any doubts about the health of our economy, look at the picture at the topic of this post [image link]. Also read this.

I know, I know – I’m depressing you.

So that I’m not the messenger of nothing but bad news, I’d like to offer these thoughts on what can be done:

  • Technological advances may not be enough to grow GDP, but those technologies which streamline point-of-care and shrink the gaps among all points of care might be the best investments.
  • Start a campaign promoting the economic superiority of manual labor. Yep: manual labor. What do you think health care is? Manual labor is mind-body work. We misinterpreted what the Information Age means: it’s not about letting your body go, it’s about informing your mind on how to get your body to work smarter. Think: soon, everybody in the world can do what you do via computers. What will set us apart? An advanced economy depends on robust labor. If I’ve lost you, watch this.
  • Health care education needs a re-look (by this, I’m referring to the provider side, although the consumer side clearly needs investment). The Nursing and Medical professions are critical. I don’t care what people say about Watson (and I sing its praises), we need human brains and human hearts. Academic, Healthcare and Government organizations need a council to address how to allocate capital (real capital, not more debt) to healthcare eduction.
  • Local approaches to healthcare problems need investment.

It’s all overwhelming and disparaging, yes.

The fact is, however, that over the last 40-50 years, we indulged thrills at the expense of our future. These indulgences were both economic and health in nature

  1. We Americans worked more than we played. And when we played, we weren’t present in the moment. We already were showing signs of indiscipline
  2. Our increasing consumption of sugar – in all its forms – set us on a positive-feedback loop. The American Dream morphed into something far more devastating than herion addiction. If there was one single independent variable that could dramatically reduce financial and human health care costs, it would be sugar. (My opinion…considered as it is.)
  3. We fell into the entertainment trap. See #1. Our increasing addiction to distraction from boring jobs – coupled with the proliferation of television and other media – diverted capital from needed sectors (like Healthcare).
  4. We failed to see Health as a national security threat. When the Soviet Union collapsed, it didn’t have far to fall – plus the citizens were used to living in harsh circumstances…and many knew how to draw substance from the land. We, on the other hand, have much farther to fall…and our disconnection from land, ourselves and our bodies won’t help.

We can’t change the past. But knowing that we can’t – knowing that we screwed up – at least gives us the opportunity to accept the facts.

What can you do?

Here are my personal recommendations:

  • Know your spiritual center (spirituality is different from religion). Value bread, but feed your stamina for hunger.
  • Meditate. (Meditation is like Twitter, except the opposite.) If you’re new, you can start here. If you’ve a taste for something more Western, give this a shot. Or, you can just sit for ten minutes and pay attention to your breathing, paying close attention to how your mind doesn’t pay attention. Try it. It’s a discipline – weather you’re religious (either Orthodox or Gnostic) or agnostic or a-theistic. Unlike any costly medical device, you can meditate anywhere, anytime…bonus: you’re gonna die one day, so learn how to unlearn all that seriousness cluttering your view.
  • Imagine the end of the world, at least once a day. Then look at all that’s right in front of you.

Cheers, stupid!

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter


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