The departure of two American cultrual icons yesterday – Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson – demonstrates just how tenuous our grasp is upon life. Both these legendary figures passed away years before their natural time. Their untimely demise provokes some thought surrounding the immense benefits of wellness care and other preventative medical strategies.
While Congress debates the particulars of how to reform our healthcare system, there is a good deal of debate surrounding how to pay for bringing the 70 million currently-uninsured Americans into the system. To me, the solution seems obvious. With a focus on preventative medicine – enabling everyone the ability to enjoy regular check-ups and well visits to their doctor – we as a society could seriously reduce the reliance of the uninsured on Emergency Room visits for treatment of preventable illnesses. The enormous costs currently incurred by ER visits by the uninsured could be saved and applied to providing basic coverage to the same uninsured folks. Simply put, it seems cheaper to subisdize wellness visits than to cover the high costs of emergency care. So this week, as we say farewell to Farrah and Michael, we should take the opportunity to consider the fleeting nature of life and the value in protecting our health in a proactive way instead of the costlier, reactive way.