Healthcare systems globally have a variety of challenges they need to resolve to provide their citizens services they deserve.
For example, the United States (USA) spends $4.3 trillion or $12,914 per person for healthcare which comes down to an unbelievable 19.7% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). ¹
Unfortunately, despite outspending the rest of the world, the U.S. doesn’t even come close to having the best healthcare system in the world. Forty-three percent of working-age adults were inadequately insured in 2022. Internationally, ranked the U.S. last overall among 11 major industrialized countries as of 2013.
Another enlightening example is Africa.
Countries spend $8 to $129 per capita on health, compared to high-income countries that spend above $4,000 – $15,000. This is due to several factors, but most sign low GDP and tax collection, wasteful spending, and competing priorities.
Low government spending hurts citizens the most and results in high out-of-pocket spending and an inequitable health system that only guarantees access to those who are able to pay.²
The ultimate measure of an effective healthcare system is reflected in whether people on average are able to lead long, healthy and productive lives. In this regard, the U.S. and many other countries are a dismal failure for many people.
Why is healthcare so expensive & ineffective?
Over 80% of today’s healthcare costs are connected to non-communicable (chronic) lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, pain, Alzheimer’s, Anxiety, Depression, and other auto-immune disorders. (2)
The big problem with chronic symptoms is that in traditional medicine we mostly focused on “managing” these very expensive conditions and even new advances in technology won’t change this downward spiral because they are not designed or meant to address the root-causes and reverse chronic symptoms.
There is a vast agreement between health professionals, governments, and patients that this is not sustainable and more importantly that we won’t solve the healthcare crisis without new innovative ideas.
- Do we want to continue mopping up the floor?
- Is managing symptoms for years and decades without resolving what’s causing these chronic lifestyle diseases the solution?
Now, here’s an evidence-based and solutions-oriented proposal:
We invest in Lifestyle Medicine Doctors and Health Coaches on a national and global scale!
Hear me out.
Extensive research shows that by preventing chronic disease, we obviously improve health outcomes, and productivity and save healthcare costs.
Example #1: USA
It’s safe to estimate that healthcare cost savings of 2-10% annually are absolutely possible. (3)
WOW, that’s a whopping $73-365 BILLION in SAVINGS.
Depending on some variables and current annual healthcare expenses of $3,650,000,000,000 we save:
- $73,000,000,000 (2% or $73 Billion saved)
- $182,500,000,000 (5% or $182 Billion saved)
- $365,000,000,000 (10% or $365 Billion saved)
Let’s be conservative and take the next step in this new Lifestyle Medicine and Health Coach focused healthcare model. How could we create a win-win-win situation with new high-paying and fulfilling jobs created, the strain on current health professionals eased, and most importantly, the health and productivity of people improved?
Stay with me … here’s how:
- 328,000,000 people living in the US
- 120,000,000 (120 Million) households
- 25,000,000 high-risk households that need coaching (about 20%)
- 250 households (about 1,000 individuals) are supported by one health coach
- 100,000 health coaches are needed to coach about 100 million individuals
- Each health coach receives approx. $73,000 annual income / reimbursement
This means we ONLY need to invest ONLY 0.2% of the annual healthcare cost into prevention ($7.3 Billion) and based on estimates, we’ll SAVE 2% of the annual healthcare cost annually ($73 Billion).
That’s absolutely astounding!
Example #2: Zambia (Africa)
The situation in a low-income and low-healthcare-spending country is very different. The big question, decision-makers need to consider:
- Do we invest in emergency medicine?
- Or do we invest in preventive
Zambia offers universal healthcare to all its citizens. By Western standards, this healthcare is very basic and Zambia’s public healthcare system is chronically underfunded. Many Zambian doctors leave the country or work only for the private health system, meaning that public health is subject to a skills drain. ³
K13. 9 billion from K9. 7 billion in 2021, a nominal increase of 44.1 percent. As a percentage of GDP, this increase translates to 3.0 percent of GDP in 2022 from 2.6 percent of GDP in 2021
Benefits of Health Coaches
Now, you might ask, what are these health coaches going to do?
Because health coaches are paid properly they can focus 100% of their time and skills to help chronic disease patients shift their unhealthy habits to
- Eat better
- Exercise more
- Stress less
- Love more.
Each health coach is responsible for supporting his/her patients using:
- Health Coaching Group Sessions
- Working with individual or family in personal consultations
- Prescribing Lifestyle Medicine or Root-Cause Lifestyle Prescriptions®
- Engaging clients to establish healthy habits
- Providing support and helping clients overcome challenges
Naturally, the best part is that addressing the root-causes will not just help manage symptoms, it will help reverse them, quality of life and relationships will dramatically improve, and we’ll save billions in healthcare costs that can be re-invested.
Just think about what we could do:
- Re-invested into Lifestyle Medicine and Prevention research
- Lower healthcare costs for businesses and families
- Repay our national depth
- The possibilities are endless …
PS: Let’s summarize:
We invest 0.2% of current annual healthcare expenditure into 100,000 highly qualified and efficient Lifestyle Medicine Doctors & Health Coaches working with 250 households each, improving health outcomes, productivity & quality of life for 100 million people, and save billions in healthcare costs in return.
Sounds like a no-brainer to me!
The only problem is that unless we take action and demand new innovations in healthcare based on prevention and lifestyle medicine it won’t happen.
Here’s a solution:
- SHARE this article to everyone you know especially health professionals, insurance, and government decision-makers!
- DEMAND CHOICES. Ask your doctor to prescribe Lifestyle Medicine and refer you to a health coach. If NOT you can always find a new doctor or clinic.
Johannes R. Fisslinger
https://fortune.com/2019/02/21/us-health-care-costs-2/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6211719/