Can You Make the World Healthier?

“Miss, I never go to the doctor,” he said. He’d been sick for a while. Weeks. I was torn between my natural inclination to be concerned and the fact that every time he came into the room I thought he was going to infect me and I’d, die, too.

“Go! You’re sick.”

“I can’t. I don’t have health insurance. and she’s not taking a shift off from work. When I’m sick, my mom gives me Sudafed. For everything. It don’t matter what…Sudafed, and ‘Go to school.'”

We’ve been discussing the impact of major health issues. Some people talked about health policy on the world stage, and things that hit closer to home.

Here are four critical issues:

1. Global health: In this article, we see how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is trying to combat malaria, a mosquito-bourne illness that affects many of the world’s poorest tropical regions.

What are some health problems that plague people who NGOs are trying to solve?

  • AIDS
  • Clean water
  • Family Planning and childbirth
  • Hunger and famine
  • Injuries from landmines
  • …and many, many more

2. Insurance: With the recent controversy over “Obamacare” the nation has at least started the dialog of insurance for all. Is this insurance a good thing? Will small businesses fail to hire employees because of the cost burden? Will it finally get coverage for the nation’s least protected? This Washington Post “Fact Checker” breaks it down. Will you be one of the 23M Americans–7% who will be using Obamacare?

What is insurance anyway?

  • Insurance spreads risk. For example, you can’t afford a car accident. Trust me. The insurance company charges you an amount every month. On a good month, your car’s in one piece and they keep the money. On a bad month, they pay you for your damages. It’s sort of like gambling at Foxwoods. But far less fun, because the only time you win the jackpot is in some kind of disaster, like an accident, a fire, or a major health problem. Trust me–you’d rather complain about insurance prices than need to use them.
  • Insurance assigns risk. That means that they charge you based on your risk. Riskier people cost insurance more money.
  • Insurance protects you from large disasters. This is important, because one hospitalization can ruin a family financially.
  • Insurance indemnifies. That means it pays you to put back in the same position you started out… it’s not supposed to be a financial victory.
  • The Affordable Healthcare Act allows for preexisting conditions. In other words, if you were sick before, you can not be excluded from getting healthcare. This is a big thing.

3. Local healthcare issues:  Is there a difference in healthcare quality or accessibility? Do certain geographic regions have certain problems? Can we work together to solve local, national, or global healthcare issues?

What types of things are important to society locally and globally?

  • Researching for cures
  • Funding for initiatives
  • Prioritization

You might find there’s a lot to think about here. Maybe we can’t solve the problems of the world, but we can keep our eyes open for problems we can solve, then innovate solutions for them. This is what the best of the best do. It’s what separates YOU from the rest.

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