Greetings Leaders!

Paying for health care is a complicated subject and it is not my purpose here to rehash all the statistics or reasons behind our current health care dilemma. If you are looking for some consolidated information, follow this link to the National Coalition on Health Care. What I do want to discuss over a series of articles, is how “Leading With Honor” can help achieve common ground in discussions over possible solutions to our health care crisis.

In business and life, most of us are familiar with the phrase “it’s a dog eat dog world” or “let the buyer beware.” This is just, unfortunately, a reminder that there are unscrupulous men and women out there who will rob you blind if given a chance. Having said that though, studies have shown that people in all cultures have a strong distaste for those that consistently take advantage of others and that most of us like to live life with a level playing field. No one likes to be taken advantage of.

My first premise… Leading With Honor prohibits taking unfair advantage of another person’s misfortune to your own benefit.

Before I go any further, I want to point out the word “unfair” in the premise above. When we look at health care, it implies that someone is either sick or injured. To treat these people requires resources and therefore costs money. The difficult question is when does the cost of care become “unfair” to the patient. How much is too much?

If we as a nation ever hope to control health care costs, we are going to have to come to terms with the fact that better drugs and technology come with a price. If we have unlimited funds, we can have unlimited potential in the development of new technologies. However, we do not have unlimited funds. To pay $30,000 for a single dose of a new medication, that “might” help you, is a lot of money. Who pays for this? We all want the silver bullet. The “thing” that will beat cancer or another rare disease. But how much are we willing to spend on it? Can we afford to let our country go broke in the search for the illusion of mortality? This is a philosophical question in that there is no right answer and is the reason that this is such a hard topic to discuss.

This is going to be an unpopular stance, but… the public incorporation of a hospital or facility that provides health care services, crosses the line between fair and unfair. I understand the need to gain financial backing to create world class medical institutions. However, when a company is incorporated and its stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the institution now becomes an investment vehicle, as the financial backers become investors and the institution is no longer just a center of care.

If Leading With Honor means not taking advantage of another person’s misfortune, why do we allow health care institutions to be traded on the stock exchange and rewarding, no, demanding, that the CEOs and managers of these companies turn a huge profit. This is not meant to bash CEOs or investors, they are living within the confines of the system that our government allows to exist. To fix the system we have to rethink how health care institutions are funded.

There are so many possibilities here, but the main point we have to take away is this, that as the current system stands today, we are NOT leading with honor. People are benefiting, unfairly, on another person’s misfortune. Investors are making money, based on people being sick, and we are rewarding those institutions that make the most money in the delivery of care. This is one of the reasons so many people are upset with our health care delivery system.

Subscribe to my blog as I will continue this discussion in a series of articles on fixing America’s health care crisis by Leading With Honor.

Lead With Honor,
JT

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