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Bill Clinton on health care and wellness

We read a good arti­cle on med­ical salaries recently, and are happy to see an increased empha­sis pre­ven­tion and well­ness rather than on sickness.

Along these lines, we were for­tu­nate to attend Heal­thetc yes­ter­day, a day-long health event in San Fran­cisco co-organized by KCBS and CPMC that had Bill Clin­ton as keynote speaker. You can read an arti­cle on his great inter­ven­tion here.

Some of the speech highlights:

1) Clinton’s great overview of key data:

  • 16 vs 10–11: % GDP spent on health care in the US vs. other indus­tri­al­ized coun­tries. This per­cent­age dif­fer­ence equals around $800 bil­lion annually
  • 84 vs 100: % pop­u­la­tion with some form of health insur­ance in the US vs. other countries
  • 34 and 37: rank­ing of the US sys­tem as mea­sured by health out­comes and life expectancy, respectively
  • 34 vs 19: % health care costs spent on admin­is­tra­tion in the US vs. other countries

2) He out­lined the 3 main prob­lems with US Health­care as follows-and empathized that any seri­ous, long-term solu­tion needs to address these 3 ele­ments as a whole:

  • immoral unequal coverage
  • inef­fi­cient sys­tem: we pay more for less
  • we still focus more on dis­ease than on health. But he is hope­ful about an increas­ing focus on well­ness, absolutely nec­es­sary to alle­vi­ate future cost pressures

3) A cou­ple of (aprox­i­mate) quotes with pro­found wisdom

  • I am a tes­ti­mo­nial for the best of Amer­i­can med­i­cine. Given my heart prob­lems, it is a mir­a­cle I am here with you today. These days I can­not stay more than 5 min­utes in a bad mood, because I remind myself how for­tu­nate I am sim­ply to be alive”
  • (when peo­ple were clap­ping and cheer­ing to easy “sound bites” while he was still try­ing to make a com­plex point) “Please stop. I don’t want you to boo or cheer, sim­ply to think on your own”

In the after­noon we spent some time talk­ing with exhibitors at the Expo and attend­ing some pan­els, such as the one put together by the Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion. We were sur­prised at the amount of edu­ca­tion still needed to make the med­ical and health com­mu­nity incor­po­rate science-based advice on life­long learn­ing and men­tal stim­u­la­tion on top of “tra­di­tional” advice around nutri­tion and phys­i­cal exer­cise. The Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion is being one of the pio­neers with their “Main­tain Your Brain” campaign-we are doing our best to con­tribute to the effort with arti­cles such as Easy Steps to Improve Your Brain Health Now.

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