The worlds irrational fear of death has made healthcare unpractical. No healthcare system in the world is viable. They all lose money at incredible rates. From Europe’s universal systems to America’s insurance system. It doesn’t matter if an emergency room visit is free as in the UK or if an aspirin in an ER costs $60 as in the USA.
The major problem relates to our current culture. Namely that every life is precious and death should be avoided at all costs. Both of which are wrong. We all have a price and death is no where near as important as quality of life. Death is our curtain call. Every show must end. Hopefully we have entertained and been entertained and leave with dignity as the curtain falls. Nobody enjoys a show that ends badly or drags on.
Our healthcare systems should focus on two points. Taking care of the young so they can contribute by working, and preparing the old for death. But let us progress from birth to death.
At birth we are all equals. There are no Hitlers or Einsteins. So there should be a very straightforward process. If you are born premature where you need an incubator nature should be allowed to take you. Spending hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars and living in a little oven for months is ridiculous. I’m sorry that some mistake was made but your parents can try again. The same if you have a crippling disease. It is selfish of parents to tell a doctor to do everything to keep you alive, especially when it is known that you won’t live long and those days will be in extreme pain. No, if you cannot survive on your own at birth you should be allowed to die.
Next come children and adults. Some will have issues such as asthma, allergies, and others. No problem. We have cheap medications where they can live normal lives at a reasonable cost to society. Bones will be broken and trauma had. This is normal and easy to fix. No issues with a healthcare system covering these issues. Other rare diseases would be on a case by case basis depending on cost and outcomes. Call them death panels if you will, but we all have a worth. Very few people would be worth millions of dollars for treatment. A cancer removed by surgery is cheap and effective. If that cancer becomes systemic and costs millions of dollars in chemotherapy treatments then it does not become worth it. You may throw out all the miracle stories you wish but it is the odds that matter in this, not the individual.
Old people need palliative care. An 80 year old getting a $100,000 hip surgery is not practical. The use they will get out of it is not worth the cost. Instead of extending life we should respect when it ends. On a personal note I refused to see my grandfather once he developed dementia. I did not want him to treat me as a stranger. I wanted to remember him as the excellent grandfather he was, not some crazy old man who didn’t recognize me. I was ticked with the half my relatives that made him get a pacemaker, which just extended his unhappiness. He wished for death in his lucid moments and I hate my relatives for doing that to him. On the flip side my aunt is 106 and still kicking. Amazingly she lives at home alone and has never had a serious surgery. It is the quality of the persons life that matters, not the length of it.
Old people, seniors if you wish, take up a huge percentage of healthcare funding. If we would change our beliefs and honor and accept death we could make a healthcare system that works for all. On our present course in just a few decades the solution will be much more intense and severe. It will be much scarier than death ever is.