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One of the guests on the show just stated that 'everyone was to blame for the state of the health care system as it stands. Providers, doctors, patients, government, etc' I would like to hear him elaborate how the patients are to blame for the twisted system we are stuck in.
That someone was Bruce Goldberg, director of the Oregon Health Authority. His response:
We are all responsible for the health care system we have. We've created this; we are collectively to blame and collectively we can solve it.
I told him I had a painful case of sciatica a couple years ago and really tried to get an MRI. The doctors I saw had seen many cases like mine. They knew it was highly likely that physical therapy would ease the pain. They also told me regular exercise would prevent it. Still, I wanted them to just take a peek at the picture. So I did get an MRI, and got exactly the same advice afterward. Wasn't I a patient to blame?
I also mentioned a friend who is overweight and drinks a lot of the big soda drinks one caller felt should should take some blame.
Goldberg let me off the hook by saying the health care providers also went along. He let my friend off the hook with "complicated culture." And he offered his own example: a ski accident that broke his shoulder and cost $50,000 to fix. "Skiing is a lifestyle choice," he says. "Where do you draw the line?"
At this point Eileen Brady chimed in. She is co-owner of New Seasons grocery store and a member of the group that's worked to get health care changes in Oregon underway. She wanted to point out that people ski and drink soda, (and put crayons up their noses – listen to the show to get that!) in other countries, where those accidents are taken care of and the overall bill for health care is still lower than in the U.S.
And Martin Taylor with Care Oregon, which covers about 1/3 of the people on the publically funded Oregon Health Plan, jumped in to say this:
Blame doesn't get us to a solution. It's responsibility. Blame tends to make people defend their cultural patterns. Responsibility give them a chance to improve.
OK, so no blame on individual patients. Still a focus to change the ways of at least the minority of people who cost the health care system the most. Stay tuned!
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