When will healthcare have its “Occupy Wall Street" moment?
In order to answer this question, let me first define what the occupy wall street movement is about. According to ABC News:
"Their [Occupy Wall Street] causes include everything from global warming to gas prices to corporate greed, and the Occupy Wall Street website says organizers took their inspiration in part from the so-called Arab Spring demonstrations that have tried to bring democracy across the Arab world.
But while their message might be a tad muddled, all are united by their anger over what they say is a broken system, a system that serves the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the rest.
Protester Brendan Burke insists he and the others are fighting for more than 99 percent of the American population.”
Let me highlight one section from above:
"…all are united by their anger over what they say is a broken system…"
Those of you who have looked this blog before know that I like to talk a lot about integrating mental health and primary care. No doubt this is a solution to the problem of fragmentation, but I digress.
What I want to know is why the public is not more outraged at the broken healthcare system?
While healthcare costs continue to grow uncontrollably, the public continues to suffer. In the face of this suffering, there does not appear to be much relief. Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act does try to mitigate some of these issues (especially cost), but is this sufficient without adequate community “outrage” over healthcare?
As Gawande has written - “In every industrialized nation, the movement to reform health care has begun with stories about cruelty.”
Not to be overly melodramatic here, but one needs look no further than “mental health” to see how the system has often failed folks who have this as their presenting problem. Not to imply that this is cruelty, but when one starts to cite statistics about mortality in the severely mentally ill, there should be some outrage.
There should be a demand from across the community that healthcare should be high quality, affordable and integrated as to avoid fragmentation. Yet where is the demand?
Maybe healthcare has not had it’s “Wall Street” moment because there is no one place the national community can gather to express their outrage. Yes, we advocate in our own unique ways - write letters to our legislators, visit them and on speak up in town hall meetings, but is this sufficient? Even if we had a special street corner to meet to talk about healthcare, would we?
How can we begin to engage the community so that healthcare can have its “Occupy Wall Street” moment? Or, as the Occupy Wall Street movement has shown, where are the select individuals who will rise up and fight for “the 99%”?
Isn’t it time?
Maybe soon seen we will start to see the beginning of an Occupy Healthcare movement.