Welcome to another week of Your Doctor Talks! It’s been extraordinarily rewarding to bring you these snippet interviews, and we hope you won’t feel shy to ask follow-up questions the next time you’re in the office. Take a look this week at what Dr. Harris has to say in answer to the question, “why are you passionate about healthcare?”
…Why be passionate? Because in this country, healthcare is seen as a commodity. It’s not seen as a necessity, even though—on a personal and on a social level—it’s one of the very building blocks of our quality of life.
Access to healthcare is currently a “some have access to it, some don’t” model. There are open markets, and places to buy—but to say that it’s within financial reach of everyone in the country would go too far. The costs of healthcare, especially good healthcare where you get the attention you need, are too high for millions of Americans. And more might lose access soon.
Wait, didn’t they recently say that healthcare is a necessity? We even get taxed for not having it.
Talking about whether healthcare is a necessity or a luxury, many of you might remember the debates leading up to the passing of the American Care Act, or Obamacare. The legislation determined that healthcare is a necessity, particularly at a larger social level. Thus, a tax was introduced to move people to purchase health insurance.
But we’re not talking about insurance here. We’re talking about the care—individual healthcare that you need. The care that your family needs.
Culturally, we still don’t see healthcare as a necessity—not the care, not on an individual basis. We see it as a luxury because so many can’t afford it. We associate it with wealth and comfort.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine reported a study that found a connection between wealthier countries saying healthcare is a luxury, and poorer countries saying it’s a necessity. The U.S., for all its wealth, falls into the “luxury” mentality on a whole. However, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation—of which the U.S. is a member—we’re the developed nation with the greatest wealth disparities and the highest rate of poverty in the world (adjusting for purchasing power parity).
So, we see healthcare as a luxury, but then individually we can’t afford it. Where other wealthy countries who see healthcare as a luxury have the governments who support a public option, and a population who can even pay for the private option if they want, we don’t have either.
Direct Primary Care takes the guessing out of whether healthcare is a necessity or a luxury. It takes the guesswork out of how to get access, too, if you’re one of the millions who struggle with high deductibles and medical costs. Under the DPC model, you just get the care you need—whether you think it’s a social necessity, or just a personal one.