Apr 15, 2007
By: Alvaro Fernandez
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.