Has our health care system been exposed? As I am following information about the virus, we can all see the shortcomings of the healthcare system. I realized we could be in deep trouble. If this virus takes off affecting 2-3 times more people, we would not be able to take care of them. This got me thinking and doing some research. I have been listening to doctors on podcasts, blogs, and interviews talking about how woefully short we are on staff, beds, hospitals, and supplies.
According to the CDC, in 1975 we had 5,875 community hospitals nationwide. In 2015 that number had dropped to 4,862. This also means that in 1975 we had 941,844 hospital beds in those hospitals, but in 2015 we had 782,188. Today, according to the American Hospital Association, we have 792,417 beds total with 107276 for all types of Intensive care units.
That sounds like a lot of hospitals and beds until you look at the total population. According to the US Census Bureau, the population was approximately 215 million people. The table showed just over 203 million in 1970 and 226.5 million in 1980 so I estimated the 1975 total from those numbers. In 2019, according to the Census Bureau, our population was 328,239,523. That is an increase of around 50% since 1975. So though our population increased by approximately 50% over the last 45 years, we have lost 1013 hospitals and 159 thousand beds. Don’t forget we are living longer too.
In our day to day world before the virus, we didn’t have a problem because we are able to use treatments that are efficient and long hospital stays are not necessary. However, in the middle of a pandemic like Covid-19, we are really short on everything.
Has our Health Care System Been Exposed?
I look at it from a supply and demand perspective. This is where our healthcare system is exposed. It is best to keep the demand low due to a low supply of facilities and staff to care for them. The high cost of healthcare comes from this low supply and high demand. The easy answer is to build more hospitals which would be very expensive. There is a better way and we are seeing now during our quarantine.
Telemedicine is becoming very popular and some people like the idea of not having to go to the doctor’s office. For the doctor, it can save money on space and staff. For the patient, it saves time and is convenient for those with limited transportation. There is one catch! We, the patients, will have become more aware of our body, willing to tell the doctor what we see happening to our body, and truthfully how we feel. Since the doctor cannot touch you and see you close to spot possible problems, it will be up to the patient to inform them.
This brings me to the point I have been making to people fro over 15 years. We, as patients, have to become a part of the diagnosis and treatment plan from now on. The old idea of running to a doctor, making the doctor find what is wrong without sharing any symptoms, is over. Our health care system has been exposed.
What Can We Do?
We need to be aware of our foods, lifestyle choices, and learn what is good or bad for us when to protect our bodies. Something that is less talked about is we have another pandemic that has been going on for years. It is called obesity. It is not all your fault if you are obese, however, understand that we need to be more aware of where our food comes from, how it is grown, and in the case of meat, what drugs have been injected into it. This is important because whatever goes into that meat you are eating, is going into you, that goes for dairy products too. I know it is not easy but obesity is the driver behind 99% of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and even cancer.
We don’t need to wait for the government to make the changes. Companies are supplying these goods only because we are buying them. If we change what we buy, demand better foods, and stop buying the foods that are making us sick, the companies will oblige us by supplying exactly what we want. Gen Z is already having that effect on restaurant chains as restaurants are working to figure out what they want. This has affected their bottom line. We don’t need to wait for the government to handle this, we have that power to do this together. Check out this blog article, https://musclerepairshop.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1197&action=edit.
Lifestyle changes can happen the same way. The companies and government are here to serve us. When we buy, they profit. The companies don’t really care what they sell and how it affects us, they care about profit. Look at what less driving has done to the insurance companies, oil companies, and even the environment in less than 2 months. When we change so will they and that includes the government.
This isn’t about anti corporations, government, or our healthcare system. This is to let you know that everything that feels hopeless and helpless, is really in your decisions. If we all join together and millions of us do it, we are still more powerful than any entity in the US. Our healthcare system has been exposed.
Looking into the future, we will be more responsible for our health. Which means, we must learn about our foods. Buy food locally, instead from all over the world. Local food is naturally designed to help survive the climate. A northern diet in the south can make you fat. A southern diet in the north may cause you to freeze. Mother nature has the recipe for you and your environment.
Lifestyle changes are the other side of the coin. Choosing to walk instead moving sidewalks or elevators can go long way in helping you regain your energy and stamina. By losing the weight, it takes the pressure off your heart by reducing diabetes and high blood pressure. Keeping your muscles strong and joints flexible improves your energy. I lost 105 lbs. in 1997 and i can tell you it was hard at first, but taking baby steps each day allowed me to hit my goal in 18 months. You can do it too. For more information or to contact me, go to https://www.musclerepairshop.com