LMS President’s Message: July 4th Message – Let’s Make Our Healthcare System Better
By Khalil Rahman, MD, MBA
Happy 4th of July! I want to wish everyone in the Lexington Medical Society a happy Independence Day, I hope you get some much-needed rest from all the hard work.
Since our nation gained independence nearly 250 years ago, the United States has defied the odds, going from a small cluster of colonies to the leader of the free world. As an industrial and intellectual powerhouse, this country has created a vast and impressive healthcare system of which we are all a crucial part. America leads the world in research for medical equipments, treatment protocols, and surgical procedures. Robust federal and philanthropic investments into research and development have made this country a global leader in fighting diseases such as cancer. America has attracted intelligent physicians and researchers from across the world, allowing this nation to be at the forefront of advancements in life sciences.
While our nation’s healthcare system is excellent in many ways, it fails the American people in many others. Due to the nature of our private healthcare system, patients are put in financial ruin due to steep medical bills, which is the single leading cause of bankruptcy in this nation. High costs deter patients from adherence to medications or from regular medical appointments, which just leads to a deterioration of their health and even more costs down the line. The U.S. spends twice as much on healthcare as other high-income nations but has the lowest life expectancy and highest infant mortality rate of those nations. Clearly, this system is extremely flawed.
As physicians, we are on the front lines, witnessing the marvels and missteps of our healthcare system on a daily basis. It is with this unique insight that we need to fight in order to improve our healthcare systems. As the LMS, we must stand united in advocating for expanding healthcare coverage, especially to the most vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and the impoverished. We can fight for reducing red tape and barriers to the creation and distribution of generic drugs to drive down costs for patients. Bolstering our support for public health initiatives can prevent patients from requiring care in the first place. These are just a few ideas that could help improve our healthcare system.
As we watch fireworks and fire up our grills on the 4th of July, let us also consider what brought us to this point in history. Nearly 250 years ago, the Declaration of Independence was signed to proclaim the American colonies were no longer subject or subordinate to the British monarchy. Today, we must carry on the legacy of those colonists and recognize the injustices, the inequities, and the intolerable aspects of our healthcare system, and change them for the betterment of this nation.
A group of Kentucky physicians, with support of LMS and other Kentucky medical societies, is hosting a live webinar CME event on August 17th entitled, “The US Healthcare Delivery System: Where it Fails to Meet the Needs of Patients and Providers, and Options for Change.” The purpose of the educational webinar is to improve physicians’ awareness of how the structure of the current system impacts their ability to provide, and their patients’ ability to receive, care, as well as impacts of the current system on health outcomes in the US. Here is the link to register for the webinar. Have a Happy 4th!
Khalil Rahman, MD, MBA.