THE BUREAUCRACY IS A TERRIBLE HEALER
It all starts with government intervention. Once government starts making policy around health care, it starts down a long road that gets swampier and swampier.
The result for consumers (those are people who need doctors and nurses and medicine) is that they require health care navigators, something that became popular during the rollout of Obamacare. Remember health care navigators?
Health care navigators are still a thing. They continue to help people get through the increasingly complex medical system that government has fostered. The system itself has become so bad, it’s like the Fire Swamp from The Princess Bride.
In the course of three generations, we have gone from “going to the doctor” to becoming a part of a health care “system” that has in many ways served us well, but at an enormous cost. Policy and regulation has benefits and is also crushing the very healers that want to help people get well.
To the conservative brain, it’s almost as if liberals are trying to break the entire health care provider network so that universal health care will become the law of the land. It will be the only alternative in a world where Americans have come to expect a government solution.
And when that happens, it’s the government making the decisions about how much care you receive. You’ll be entrusting the government with your very life, from your slippery entry into the world until your uncomfortable exit.
These are some of the topics I covered in my portion of a panel at the State of Reform conference in Anchorage on Wednesday. I shared the panel microphone with Matt Buxton of MidnightSunAk.com and Nat Herz of Alaska Public Media. We had 45 minutes to explain how the media in Alaska views and covers health care topics.
What we showed the audience is that news writers have no idea how to fix health care costs and availability in Alaska.
At the end of the panel, we did a rapid speed-dating question of the audience to find out what they want from the media coverage on health care.
They want more. They want better. They want more informed coverage. And, likely, they want someone else to pay for it.
But as with health care, the media landscape in Alaska is shallow, overstretched, and underfunded, and that was abundantly clear to them — they were offered two bloggers and a public broadcasting reporter who covers energy — not health care — for the media panel. The pickings for writers were, perhaps, slim. The one writer who typically covers health care the most will be leaving the Anchorage Daily News soon. One third of the news staff has been laid off there. There are no writers left in Alaska who have the luxury of being health care specialists.
ONWARD TO THE TOPICS
The health care professionals we spoke to were especially interested in Alaska news writers covering these topics:
- The 80th percentile rule and how it has affected health care in Alaska. [See this paper from State of Alaska]
- Creating a health care authority in Alaska [See this State of Alaska web page]
- Vaping and its health consequences [Read about the public health consequences of e-cigs]
- Marijuana and its adverse health consequences [See this paper on marijuana cyclic vomiting syndrome]
- The cost of health care, not just insurance [See this quick set of charts at Vox.com]
- Capping costs [See this liberal group’s suggestion about how this can be done]
- Trauma-informed care [Here’s a website that explains that]
- Impact of health care cost on the entire health care and education system. [Here’s a story about that topic]
- A deep dive int opioid abuse. [A scholarly article from a pharmacy perspective.]
- The inequality of paying for care [Here’s an Atlantic Monthly article on how the health care system is unfair to the poor — even more so now]
- The social determinants of health [See this government website devoted to this topic]
Must Read Alaska will endeavor to get to these topics in the coming weeks, so long as we are not forced to navigate the three terrors of the Fire Swamp.