This past week I was thrilled to speak on the debut show of Positive Living on TalkZone with talk show host Patricia Raskin about my book. She has interviewed other doctors, like Dr. Mehmet Oz (Oprah's doctor) as well as Dr. Dean Ornish.
We spoke about the state of the healthcare system, the differences between brand and generic drugs, the ability to fund healthcare costs with health savings accounts, and what tests you must do to stay healthy. What you don't realize is our healthcare system on average gets the right preventive tests done 55 percent of the time. As a result, 80,000 Americans (twice the number of women who died of breast cancer) died prematurely last year because they didn't get their blood pressure, cholesterol, and / or diabetes controlled levels recommended expert medical committees and / or didn't get screened for colon cancer or breast cancer. Had they accessed a high quality health insurance plan, which may be no more expensive than what they currently have, they would be here today with family and friends.
The biggest mistake people make is that they think that all health insurance plans, doctors, and hospitals are created equal. They aren't and for you to make sure you are getting what you deserve, you need to research much the same way you do for a car. Incidentally, even if you doctor has great bedside manner it doesn't mean he has made sure you are up to date on the latest preventive screenings. Research shows on average it takes 17 years for a new guideline to be commonly practiced in the country. So if you weren't a doctor or didn't have a friend who was a doctor, how would you know if you were getting the right care?
As a practicing front-line primary care doctor I am extremely concerned about the future of our healthcare system, its current crisis, and how it on average fails you, the patient. Until there is real healthcare reform, it is up to YOU to make the right choices to stay healthy, live longer, and spend wisely. It's not hard. It's up to you.