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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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8 Responses

  1. therapydoc says:

    Amaz­ing that Bill and I have this in com­mon. Who knew he’d be such a rel­a­tivist?

    Ther­a­py­Doc, Lin­da Freed­man

  2. Alvaro says:

    I was very impressed when he said that. Pret­ty nice atti­tude to have!

  3. amanda says:

    awe­some!!! I am impressed by Clin­ton’s cajones in address­ing a nation­al cri­sis. Health care is sim­ply drag­ging our coun­try down, our econ­o­my, our free­doms, and our sol­i­dar­i­ty. The future how­ev­er, is clear, the US will one day have nation­al health care.

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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