America is about to get a godawful lesson in why health care should never be a for-profit business

For four decades, American corporations have been caught up in a whole series of refinements that are intended to improve efficiency and productivity. Our processes are lean. Our efficiency is six-sigma. Our productivity has mysteriously run far ahead of employee compensation in a way that has made CEOs billionaires while leaving workers on food stamps.

It’s a system that maximizes profit. But it’s also a system that assumes that everything can be stripped to the bare bones; that business can make do with minimal staffing, minimal supplies, minimal alternatives. Nothing is there that makes the system in the least unprofitable. The system stands like a house of glass, waiting for something to challenge its fragility.

And in the United States, health care is just that kind of system.

Campaign Action

Like every other system in America, we now have a super-lean, infinite-sigma healthcare system, absolutely dependent on every cog remaining in place. It’s one in which there are fewer than a million hospital beds for the entire nation; one in which many, many rural counties have no hospital at all. Because that’s the most profitable way of running the system, and that’s what happens when health care is subjected to the winnowing of the marketplace—just barely enough health care, at the highest possible prices people will tolerate without demanding a change.

It’s exactly where a nation does not want to be when encountering a health crisis. And it’s why America is, unfortunately, about to get a lesson in why there is much more to a national health system than whether you pay for it in taxes or with checks to an insurance company.

In the 1960s, astronauts used to joke about flying on a giant rocket built by a collection of contractors who submitted the lowest bids. But NASA had a safety culture then, and now, that demanded each of those components be tested and retested until its function was as near certain as possible. A spacecraft is the opposite of “lean,” with a backup, and a backup, and a backup to the backup’s backup at every possible point—and a massive staff of very smart people standing by to get creative if Murphy scores a perfect strike.

None of this is true for our healthcare system. Failure very much is an option at every clinic and hospital in America. A certain level of failure is even assumed. Building a system with redundancies and experts who were not always pushed to their absolute limits would cost more. Every intern, doctor, and nurse (especially nurse) who you ever met was overworked, because running the system on the ragged edge of failure is exactly the sweet spot. Or at least it is as far as corporations whose goal is to milk every penny from the process are concerned. In the average hospital visit, there are more people involved in billing you than in treating you.

This thinking isn’t just pervasive and accepted—it’s also actively considered a very good thing. During his press event on Wednesday afternoon, before fumbling the hot coronavirus potato into the waiting hands of Mike “Smoking is good for you” Pence, Donald Trump defended the cuts he had made to the CDC and the experts on pandemics he had dropped from the National Security Council and the epidemiologists he had flushed from his planning team. He didn’t want those people sitting around when they weren’t needed, said Trump. Besides, he claimed, you could always go and get them when they were needed. Because somewhere, somehow, there is a system that keeps vital specialists waiting in hermetically sealed containers, fresh, ready, and informed to meet the nation’s needs.

That is, it goes without saying, bullshit. But let me say it again. Bullshit. The value of an expert brought in to repair a system after disaster strikes is so much less than the value of having that person on hand to plan that the old ounce of prevention being greater than pound of cure formula doesn’t begin to cover it. You cannot decide to hire some pilots after the plane has crashed.

The thing about extraordinary events is that they’re extraordinary. Planning for them will never improve profits. It will only save lives.

By treating health care like a business, Americans have already seen one of the first people who dared ask to be tested for COVID-19 get handed a bill for thousands of dollars, the primary result of which will be to dissuade other Americans from asking to be tested. Which is, right there, exactly the result that is best for insurance companies—and worst for the nation.

It’s an absolute certainty that Americans will hide their sniffles, drown their symptoms in over-the-counter drugs, and try to “tough it out” because they can’t afford health care. Besides, they have no paid sick leave, no paid child care, and no guarantee that missing a day’s work won’t mean being cast to the curb. All that “socialist” crap.

And because our whole system runs so excellently lean, American hospitals are already seeing shortages of everything from gowns to masks to painkillers, because the single-source, lowest-price vendor of those items happens to be in an area that’s already been overrun with the coronavirus. Not only have those factories on the far side of the planet been sitting idle for weeks, but what production has been available has been needed close to home. 

Right now in Hubei province, Chinese healthcare workers are staggering around in exhaustion. Or, as American hospital workers call it, Thursday. Our understaffed, undersupplied, overworked facilities spend every day running at their limits. That’s what is considered normal.

The concern about dollars over people is so accepted that on Thursday the White House announced two new members of the Coronavirus Task Force—Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council chief Larry Kudlow. Though to be fair, it’s not as if they completely lack expertise. Kudlow does have long familiarity with taking nasally administered drugs from rolled $100 bills. So there’s that. And if in this version of The Stand the role of the Rat Man is to be played by Mnuchin … no one can say that this is not good casting.

Disaster is far from certain. Local and state officials can still take measures that will slow the impact of COVID. And antiviral medicines may prove effective, or maybe a vaccine will come along more quickly than expected— though, should either happen, you can assume there will be a line of Pharma Bros on hand to buy the companies involved and raise the prices to eye-watering levels. After all, holding people’s lives hostage is exactly what our healthcare system is all about.

COVID-19 is going to swing a big hammer at the glass house of American health care. All anyone can do is hope they don’t get cut in the process.

And then vote to change the damn system.

This content was originally published here.

Visiting an Orthodontist – Women Fitness Magazine

The Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist
The Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist

The Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist : When we know that something is going wrong with our teeth, a toothache or sensitivity perhaps, we generally think about making an appointment to see a dentist. However, what about when you have a dissatisfaction with your smile?

If you have always been unhappy about the state of your teeth or you just want to see an improvement in your smile, then what you need to do is visit an orthodontist. You may be interested to know that your orthodontist in Stockport can offer various non-surgical treatments that your dentist can’t. Read on to find out what services your orthodontist can provide:

What does an Orthodontist do?

An orthodontist is a qualified dentist who has undertaken years of study to become a specialist. He or she can help adults and children alike with common dental problems using a variety of non-surgical procedures and corrective appliances. These include aligners such as Invisalign or metal braces to correct crooked teeth, but this is just one of the issues an orthodontist can help with.

An orthodontist can diagnose a problem which may not have occurred to the patient, but which has been causing significant difficulties in eating and smiling and could even have been causing pain. These can include:

An incorrect jaw position or jaw joint disorder such as temporomandibular disorder, or night-time teeth grinding can also be diagnosed and treated.

Other services which an orthodontist can provide include:

Why visit an Orthodontist?

Too many people are inclined to simply put up with dental problems, particularly where there are cosmetic anomalies rather than having things fixed. The problem is that if things are not treated, they can go on to become much worse over time.

For example, where the teeth are overcrowded or overlapping, they can be difficult to clean properly. Eventually, this could lead to tooth decay and even gum disease. A gap in the teeth, which is called a diastema, can become larger over time and this can have the effect of pushing adjoining teeth out of position. An orthodontist can correct this by pulling the teeth back together essentially filling in the gap.

Problems with the teeth generally start in childhood and having misaligned teeth, or too many teeth, in childhood can be especially problematic for the child as they grow. Early visits to an orthodontist are advisable where braces will usually be recommended and fitted to precisely correct the child’s problem teeth.

Gum Disease

Dentists will always advise on how to prevent gum disease and will tell you that the best way is to practice correct oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing of the teeth, and using the correct type of toothbrush and toothpaste. Unfortunately, gum disease is still a problem which if left untreated can have far-reaching effects.

Gum disease begins with plaque, which if not properly removed turns into tartar. This build-up can cause the gums to become sore and inflamed. Tartar is very difficult to remove and can only be removed professionally by your dentist or orthodontist.

When teeth are misaligned or overcrowded, there is a greater likelihood of developing gum disease through an inability to clean them properly, but if your teeth are correctly aligned and spaced this likelihood reduces. Corrective orthodontic treatment, along with advice on correct brushing and flossing techniques, will ensure good oral health as well as a healthy smile you can be proud of.

Related Videos about the Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist :

Why should you care about orthodontics?

The benefits of Orthodontics and Straight Teeth In Children and Adults – Winnipeg Dentist

HOW BRACES WORK

Why orthodontics matters

Why Visit an Orthodontist?

Reasons For Orthodontic Treatment

The Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist

orthodontist appointment stages, how long after your first orthodontist appointment do you get braces, orthodontist consultation fee, orthodontist vs dentist, what happens at your second orthodontist appointment, orthodontist consultation questions, orthodontist meaning,


This content was originally published here.