Day 52, or, Words Matter


Dr. Sunshine

2/22/20233 min read

It is important to be intellectually honest. For example, is it really accurate for me to call this a sunrise?

Oh, look, a duck-billed platypus!

Maybe those are bad examples, at least the second one. That's just silly. But what about the term "health"? As it is being used in the mainstream, particularly when we talk about healthcare, or health insurance, is inaccurate. In my opinion, what we call the "healthcare" industry is more appropriately called medical care. Medical care is what you get from the pharmaceutical and device companies, delivered by doctors, nurses, and their respective advanced practice providers. Medical insurance (not health insurance) is there to help defray the costs of medical care. We could dive in to what exactly medical insurance can and should cover, but one problem at a time here!

Health care, on the other hand, is what you give to yourself. It is on you. It does not come from big Pharma, or big Insurance, or big Government. It is smart decision making with respect to smoking cigarettes (don't do it) and use of other drugs (also don't do it). It is practicing good sleep hygiene. It is making smart food choices. It is paying attention to the light sources you expose yourself to. It is strengthening interpersonal relationships to bolster mental health. It is....all sorts of little things that add up over time and that you can choose to prioritize depending on your needs and resources. I am fortunate to be in a position of leveling up to stay healthy, and making small changes one at a time so as to not get overwhelmed. Because of this I have difficulty quantifying my gain of function (haha!), although I definitely feel improvement in my sleep and my morning energy level. But part of how I came upon these ideas is hearing about many people with serious medical issues that were failed by the system, either lacking a diagnosis or lacking a treatment, and have seen success in healing themselves; their gains are absolutely quantifiable.

This is not to say that medical care is bad or unnecessary. There are absolutely times when a well-researched medication or surgery is life-saving. But that is not health care; that is a band-aid. Health care prevents those events from occurring. If we really want to control "the spiraling costs of healthcare in America", this is where we would be putting our money. But the current system is incentivising (and disincentivising) the wrong parties. This is sort of what I was alluding to in my post on Monday; this stuff is tough to quantify and measure over years, let alone quarterly, so we can't measure the "value" and determine whether it's worthwhile. Health care as I define it delivers improvement over years, sometimes generations. Nobody in business is that forward thinking. Also, there's no money in it. If the system can't sell you a drug or a pacemaker, why bother? The information to improve health is out there for free; you just have to open your eyes. You also have to remember that ultimately this is on you and the choices you make. But if you are looking for a coach to get you started, I'd be happy to help you out!

As always, this blog should not be considered medical advice. Talk to your doctor before considering smoking (or just don't do it), drinking coffee, making changes to your medical insurance, or if you really thought that was a duck-billed platypus.