Opinion: Why we need single-payer healthcare

Anne Wojcicki worked in finance as a healthcare analyst for investment funds. Her focus was on biotech firms.

She started to realize that if someone is a healthy 100-year-old, and was never diabetic, never had heart disease, never had walking issues—then they are not generating any money for the healthcare system.

The healthcare system does not optimize for longevity. It doesn’t even optimize for quality of life. It only optimizes for profit.

There’s no money-making opportunity in saying, “I’m going to keep you healthy.”

The U.S. healthcare system and its investors are really good at monetizing illness.

What about wellness?

Not so profitable.

The problem is that the payment system is set up so that you pay for treatments of conditions, but you don’t pay for ongoing health. If I stay healthy, no one really cares except for me. The consumer voice is really not represented. And it’s a shame that there’s not really a business model in place to say, “I’m going to reward you for keeping you healthier.”

Worse, most people are covered by health insurance, which exacerbates the problem. Health providers are incentivized to bill the insurance company for as much money as possible. They are not incentivized to prevent illness and keep you from going to the hospital in the first place.

Lots of investors on Wall Street are part of the problem. They are in the business of profiting from the healthcare system.

After 10 years, Wojcicki was starting to realize that a lot of what is profitable is not healthy. For example, obesity is a crisis and it’s very detrimental to society. Yet obesity is the ultimate moneymaking opportunity.

Obesity in China, for example, is not a short-term opportunity. These people aren’t going to get sick and die right away. They have 20 years of heart disease, diabetes, and numerous other complications. And it’s incredibly profitable to treat for all of those conditions. It is evil, but it’s the way the system works.

This system is meant for making money off sick people.

We need a revolution.

References:
– Podcast: 23andMe (and You, and Everyone Else)
– Wikipedia: Single-payer healthcare

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