Health Care Accountability

john-mackey

Source: Success Magazine

When I first learned about the comments made by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey on the topic of health care reform, I was upset. I questioned whether it was appropriate at a time when our country needed to focus on systematically reforming health care delivery, to redirect that conversation to personal accountability. I agreed that personal accountability was (and is) important, but I think most people also agree that changes are needed in our health care system. The question is how those needed changes should be made.

It’s obviously not an easy question to answer. While the bureaucrats figure out the systematic changes, what are “we the people” supposed to do? What can we as citizens do to make sure we have the best and most affordable health care available?

It is this line of thinking that caused me to reflect more on John Mackey’s op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal. There seems to be some merit in today’s health care reform discussion on the topic of personal accountability. As a result, I’ve decided to start a series of posts on what we can do as individuals to optimize our health care. There’s no perfect system out there. But there are things that we can do to stay as healthy as possible and to know the system well enough to be informed consumers.

Did you notice I used the word consumers? I think the first step in personal health care accountability can be taking a new look at our role in the health care House-scape-032milieu. We are progressing from being submissive, helpless patients to becoming more informed (thank you, Internet!), knowledgeable and active members of our own health care team. We are informed consumers. It doesn’t mean all the information we have is right (not everything on the Internet is accurate?). That’s why it’s all about the relationship between the healthcare provider and the consumer.

I hope this series of post will help us become more informed health care consumers so we can all take personal accountability of our health care. Feel free to let me know if you have a topic you’d like me to add to the queue.

4 Responses to “Health Care Accountability”

  1. […] health care reform ? Maybe Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, had it right. It’s time for personal.Read More var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_localize = { Share: "Share", Save: "Save", Subscribe: […]

  2. Rather than go into a long analysis, let me suggest that the key issue regarding personal healthcare accountability is the difference between what “we” (me, you, anyone reading this) can do as an individual or sometimes as a family and what we expect/assume/demand others do — or in John Mackey’s case, punish others for not doing.
    People are very different and exist in very different circumstances, the most obvious (but far from the only) one is socioeconomic. Almost all of the people who might be having this discussion are middle to upper-middle to upper class; even when the individual, by choice or studenthood or job loss is not currently making the money that qualifies for that socioencomic group, they usually have been brought up in it and/or have the values associated with it. The key values, relevant to personal health decisions, are a belief in the ability of the individual to have control. Called “internal locus of control”, this is so ingrained in most of us that we find it hard to believe that some people do not feel this, that they have an “external” locus of control, that things happen to them, but these are most people. Combined with the direct socioeconomic stressors from competing life demands (here’s a task: look up the median household income in the US, then what % make more than $75K, $100K, $150K, etc. and you’ll see what a small slice most professionals, intellectuals, politicians and of course big-businessmen inhabit), social difficulties (is there a store with good food accessible? Is the neighborhood safe to walk in?) and just the stresses of life, it is unreasonable to demand that everyone act in the same healthful way “we” feel we should (and still sometimes don’t!) This is called the Social Determinants of Health.
    Maybe I do need to write a blog on this after all!
    Josh

  3. marly says:

    Josh – This is a great reminder to us all. In fact, could that be added to our list of personal accountability? That in addition to being as healthy as we can for ourselves, part of our personal accountability is finding ways to help others in need. Seems like that would be a good foundation to build on. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. And your post on the Social Justice site on this topic was very through provoking as well!

  4. […] agree that Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, had a point when he said that people should take accountability for their personal health. However, blaming the […]

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